Understanding Relationship Compatibility Factors

Updated December 10, 2019
Happy couple at lakeside

You've heard the phrase opposites attract. But are they compatible? Compatibility is much more than just getting along with your significant other. It's knowing that your significant other has compatible views and opinions on some of the most important issues in your life. Most couples who are not compatible have relationship problems that lead to a break up.

What Is Compatibility in a Relationship?

When you first meet someone, you get to know the person by talking about experiences and worldviews. You might even take a new relationship compatibility test. As you continue to date the person, you start to realize that your boyfriend or girlfriend is either a lot like you or very different from you. As you probably have guessed, if he or she is like you, you are compatible with the person. However, if your significant other is different from you, it doesn't always mean you are not compatible with him or her.

Understanding Compatibility

Compatibility in a relationship means that both partners understand and accept each other's life philosophy and goals, as well as genuinely enjoy being around each other without feeling preoccupied by what they feel needs to change within their partner. In a compatible relationship, both partners can be very different personality wise, but will tend to agree on several core factors that dictate how they both want to build their lives together. In a compatible, healthy relationship, both partners will strive to meet each other's relational needs.

Chemistry Verus Compatibility

Chemistry and compatibility are not necessarily coupled in healthy relationships. In a relationship filled with initial chemistry, it is not uncommon for partners to miss red flags and incompatible traits, as they may be clouded by sexual tension and physical attractiveness. In compatible relationships, there may or may not be initial chemistry. Chemistry can wane, but compatibility will always be present in healthy relationships.

5 Relationship Factors That Impact Compatibility

There are several core factors that dictate a couple's compatibility. In healthy relationships, each partner will accept and appreciate each other's natural personalities and will give each other the space to grow individually while working together to evolve as a couple.

Emotional Compatibility

Emotional compatibility means trust. It means you can lay your heart on the line and trust that your partner will be there for you, acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, all while knowing that they feel just as comfortable doing the same with you.

Woman and man playing piano together

Physical Compatibility

If you are physically compatible with someone it means that you click sexually. Feeling compatible sexually is the one factor that can be worked on if you've found a partner who you are compatible with otherwise. Being honest with your needs and encouraging your partner to share their desires as well can improve your physical compatibility.

Monetary Compatibility

This is a huge factor to pay attention to. If you and your partner do not agree on a core level when it comes to handling money, if you decide to merge assets later on, it can lead to huge fallouts and potentially a dissolution of the relationship. While there are many philosophies out there as to how you should best handle your money, it is critical that you and your partner are aligned when it comes to this topic.

Future Goal Compatibility

Future goal compatibility means that you and your partner understand each other's perspective when it comes to housing wants, travel plans, career aspirations, and children. Future goal compatibility is one of the most important to have in a relationship because the majority of these goals impact the time you will get to spend together as a couple meaning these are topics that should be discussed at length.

Life Philosophy Compatibility

Your life philosophy is how you see the world and interpret meaning. Life philosophy encompasses religion, your interpretation of gratitude and love, as well as a general sense of what it means to be a living being. Connecting with your partner on this level will allow for a deeper, more intimate relationship. Although you can have differing world views, it's important to appreciate and understand your partner's.

When Similar Personalities Attract

When one partner says or does something the other partner would have, it fuels the relationship positively and can make the couple feel closer to each other. When a couple agrees on issues or decisions made in the interest of their relationship, their love grows and they may feel like they are kindred spirits.

Man and woman enjoying rock climbing

When Opposites Attract

Some couples find differences intriguing and they appreciate each other for them. Respect for each other's views and opinions are important in this type of relationship. Despite personality differences, it is still important that both partners are compatible on a core level and have a solid foundation of trust and honesty within their relationships.

Do Compatible Couples Argue?

Arguing in a relationship does not mean that you and your significant other are not compatible. Every couple has disagreements, but it's a true testament to the relationship's strength to see how the issues are resolved. Doing so in a respectful and loving way where you both are on the same team solidifies your bond and increases trust. If an argument goes unresolved, more often than not the same issue will show up again and again as one or both partners are not having all of their needs fully met.

Improving Compatibility in a Relationship

Some core compatibility factors are unlikely to completely change, if at all, like one's religious view, life philosophy, desire for children, money handling preferences, and future goals. Although shifts are possible, if you and your partner are unable to respect and be happy with each other's natural desires, you most likely are not compatible. To improve compatibility, it's important to discuss your wants and needs in an honest way. You'll know very quickly what you and your partner are able to agree on and what is a deal breaker in terms of compatibility. Seeing a couple's counselor is also a great way to work on compatibility related issues, but keep in mind that this doesn't guarantee that you will opt to stay together.

Finding a Compatible Soulmate

You will know if someone is compatible with you. You will be able to speak to the person easily and have a good time being around him or her. You may or may not agree on everything, but you will cherish the person for who he or she is and respect his or her differences. It may take a few dates or even asking a few relationship compatibility questions to find someone you mesh with the way you want to, but in time, you will find a compatible soul mate.

Understanding Relationship Compatibility Factors