Forging a romantic connection with a potential partner can be thrilling and nerve-wracking all at once. After all, how can you truly know whether the spark means genuine compatibility?
To find out what those looking for love should know about compatibility, the idea of “the one” and dating in general, we spoke to Nikki Lewis and Greta Tufvesson, the founders of The Bevy, a bespoke matchmaking service in New York City.
According to the co-founders, who pair potential partners without using pictures or last names, the most important step in finding love is going into it with an open mind.
If you are relying on dating apps or blind dates, this means refraining from researching a date before meeting for the first time.
“A good rule of thumb is to have an open mind before even going on a first date,” Tufvesson told us. “Don’t judge or create preconceived notions of who this person is based on a Google search or gossip.”
Understanding what you should be looking for in terms of a romantic partner is also integral - as compatibility doesn’t mean finding someone who is the same as you.
“Compatibility is not about how similar you are, but more about how you complement each other,” Tufvesson explained. “Do you share fundamental goals and visions? If you’re just looking to date someone who is exactly like you, you put yourself at risk of boredom.”
In addition to keeping an open mind, Tufvesson suggests being willing to “learn about someone’s differences, and work towards a similar vision of what you want your life to look like”.
When you do find someone with whom you can have a lasting connection, Lewis said the relationship will have certain attributes, such as shared trust, “clear and honest communication,” patience, understanding, and lastly, fun.
“It takes a lot to make a relationship work and last, but if these fundamentals are in place then you’re in a good spot,” she said, adding: “Make sure you have a deeper connection that cultivates long-lasting happiness - like intellectual stimulation, empathy and respect.”
Alternatively, if you feel that you may not be compatible with a partner, there are certain signs you should look out for.
For example, if you notice that your relationship is sucking energy from you, it is likely because you are not a good fit for one another.
“Real connections give you energy,” Lewis explained. “If you don’t feel joy, excitement, or inspiration from your significant other, then it’s time to move on.”
It is also important to be wary of relationships that are based on “superficiality,” as these relationships can “feel good in the beginning, but can also be harmful,” according to Lewis.
If you do realise the person you thought was your soulmate isn’t for you, the good news is, despite what we’re taught in movies, “the one,” or the specific person you are meant to be with, doesn’t actually exist.
“The idea of having one and only one soulmate is an unrealistic notion,” Lewis said. “We live in a huge world. Your perfect soulmate could speak a different language and live on a different continent - but that’s not a realistic working relationship.
“So no, there isn’t just one right person out there made for you, there could be many or a few wonderful matches.”
Researchers previously found that having similarities with the person you are dating isn’t as important as most people think. Instead, finding a person who is “nice” is what matters, according to the 2019 study.
“People invest a lot in finding someone who’s compatible, but our research says that may not be the end all be all,” said Bill Chopik, associate professor of psychology and director of Michigan State University’s Close Relationships Lab. “Instead, people may want to ask: ‘Are they a nice person?’ Do they have a lot of anxiety?’ Those things matter way more than the fact that two people are introverts and end up together.”
Overall, researchers said that even among couples who share similar personalities, having a partner who is “conscientious and nice leads to higher levels of relationship satisfaction”.
[This article was originally published in December 2019]
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