Learn how to decipher your relationship and strip it back to its bare bones to find out if you and your partner are compatible for the future.
If you remember the days of love calculators and crush compatibility tests, you’ll know that there are plenty of urban myths dictating what kinds of people are successful in relationships.
These preconceived notions have taught us from an early age that an Aries and a Cancer are a match made in hell, and Type A and B personalities will struggle to find common ground.
But according to an Instagram post by relationship experts Decoding Couples and therapist Simone Saunders of The Cognitive Corner, we only really need to focus on two key factors to determine whether a pairing could be successful or not: chemistry and compatibility.
As they explain, both chemistry and compatibility depend on a number of elements, and can change as a relationship becomes more long term.
What is the difference between chemistry and compatibility?
Chemistry, though often difficult to quantify, is an instantaneous feeling that we can experience physically, emotionally or mentally. It’s those sparks that fly during a flirty conversation, or the stomach flip you might get when you see someone for the first time.
Compatibility, on the other hand, “takes time to assess” and is built upon “shared values and perspectives”. It looks like the commonalities you discover after a few dates, as you delve deeper into one another’s personalities.
So which one is more important for a successful relationship?
Compatibility relies on the shared understanding of priorities and is a healthy footing for a sustainable, longer-term connection. Because it’s “based on various elements of who you are individually and together,” it extends deeper than just physical attraction or bonded personalities, meaning it’s more likely to be an indicator of a successful match. Naturally, if you fundamentally disagree on aspects of your future, such as marriage or children, or even where in the world you’d like to settle down, this can cause friction.
Chemistry, on the other hand, is able to be “experienced regardless if you are very different on big life stuff”. Being drawn to someone is rarely the foundation of a relationship, but rather the spark that ignites it.
But is it possible to be super compatible with someone and have no chemistry? The dating experts Facio and Sherrell believe so.
“Ideally, you want a balance of both,” they say, but a muted connection to begin with doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed from the start. Some people are merely slow burners, so if there’s no instant magnetism or it’s not love at first sight, don’t worry. The best may still be yet to come.
How to figure out what your relationship is based on
Facio and Sherrell suggest that the key to deciphering your relationship is staying curious and open-minded about one another. Particularly in the early stages, they advise not putting too much pressure on your companion, but making your values clear and seeing where it leads you.
Not focusing too heavily on either chemistry or compatibility can also help a relationship thrive. Assessing the longevity of your relationship can be a difficult task, but is made easier with a joint effort from your partner.
Ultimately, every couple has a different dynamic, and if it works for you, that is all that matters. As the experts advise, taking your time getting to know someone is the most surefire way of beginning a successful relationship.
So go slow and see where each date takes you, resisting the urge to over-analyse every thought and feeling. You might end up pleasantly surprised by what happens when you step out of your own head.