Tag Archives: compatibility

What is Love? Part 2

What exactly is love?

“Why can’t we just sniff each other like dogs and mate?”

“Why do women make this love thing so complicated?”

For one, the hunt wouldn’t be as interesting if it was too easy, truly. Being human takes work. To deal with the complex matrix that makes the human brain and find lasting love, we can take the word of any religion that tells us exactly what to do. Not.

You could figure it out by trial and error. How exhausting.

Really, you want to be smart about this whole love thing, right? Throughout history, romantic love has played major roles. Antony and Cleopatra, John and Abigail Adams, Bonnie and Clyde, Lucy and Desi, John and Yoko, and some of our parents. Repeat: some.

Making éros happen for the long haul takes 3 things:

  1. attraction
  2. readiness
  3. compatibility

Attraction

This is easy. All you need is a pair eyes. (If you don’t have eyes, sorry.) If every woman in the world took care of herself inside and out, the streets would be an ocean of eye candy. Since not every woman takes care of herself, the number of attractive women is limited. Still, there are plenty of women to light up your love rod. (Of course there’s the not-so-hot woman with personality who you might find is pretty “alright” after getting to know her. But that’s not the point right now.)

You want that attraction to last, of course. Looks don’t last forever, so it also takes associating those initial sparks with the intimacy that develops as a result of bonding. More on that later.

Readiness

Now, if you scoffed at the title of this article, you’re might not be ready to embrace this thing called love. Though you’ve probably been through enough trial and error to realize that it must exist. As tragic as true love ending in death, being ready means being willing to risk impending loss just to enjoy reknowned relationship bliss for even a brief moment on Earth.

Sometimes it takes life changes to realize readiness, such as the birth of a child, or witnessing the least commitment-minded person you know falling in love. Sometimes it takes pressure from family or friends. Sometimes we just grow up. A few are ready long before the rest of us because that’s how they were born.

Being ready for love takes having EQ. That is, emotional intelligence. If you didn’t know, EQ is like IQ, but it regards how one handles his or her emotions. A person with high EQ has the ability to empathize with others and handles heated situations with calm, for example. Not everyone who commits to a relationship has high EQ. But for true love to happen, it’s definitely helpful. True love could happen without high EQ, though that would be an emotional rollercoaster.

Readiness without drama certainly requires at least some emotional intelligence. Even better if it grows. EQ growth happens when working through emotions or painful memories and becoming resolved about them. It might take therapy, serious talks with someone you trust, or plenty of man-cave time.

Compatibility

If readiness isn’t challenging enough, there’s compatibility.

The problem with compatibility is that it’s easy to be deceived into thinking you get along with a woman just because you shared one amazing night or week together. More often than not, real compatibility lacks. It takes life experience, use of logic, or friends showing us how blind we are to see when compatibility is missing.

Sometimes similarities mask incompatibility. Just because you moved to the same neighborhood, worked in the same industry, and like the same music doesn’t make you and the girl you like compatible. The test of compatibility happens among day-to-day redundancies, such as dealing with how bills are paid, or how the house is kept.

Of course, you can’t know if you and a woman are compatible in daily life without becoming roommates. If that situation is out of the question, having friends who know you really well can help. You know, friends with that sixth sense.

Compatibility is unfortunately the one thing that couples absolutely need for true love but far too often miss. How can we be more astute in having compatibility in a relationship? That will be the topic in the next article in this series on love.

Issues? What issues?

When we’re single, we want a relationship. When we’re in a relationship–an incompatible one, that is–we want to be single. Never satisfied, it’s easy to miss what’s really wrong in the picture.

I’m what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator would refer to as “Perceiving.” Basically, that means that I’m comfortable in a state of indecision. To those who are opposite of Perceiving, or “Judging” (not the same as judgemental) it’s important to know what their weekly schedule looks like. But I like to keep it open and have options.

Even in a relationship with a boyfriend, I was never comfortable with the idea that he was “the one.” Get married? I’d rather wait and see. Any excuse I could find to get out of a relationship and find a new one was acceptable in my eyes. But then I turned 37. My boyfriend of 4 years and I broke up the year before. (My longest relationship to date.) At this age I started to think about whether or not I really wanted to bear a child. I decided I did and thought about settling down.

Fast forward to May 2010. I turn 39 in two months, and my boyfriend– who I found on a dating website– and I have been together over a year. Until a month ago, I was still in that state of indecision about marriage. Except this boyfriend is different from the other ones. He’s compatible with me. But why haven’t I felt in love with him? It’s that gnawing question that plagues many of us, that make us wonder if we can be more than friends, or whatever.

I got the answer to that question a month ago. It was something that I had been ignoring for years.

I had been in love once before. And I was in a relationship with him, Bill, in 2003. But I broke up with him because I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment and thought our relationship was getting in the way. But really it was my lack of independence that was in the way. About 4 months after leaving him, he was in a car accident and died.

Bill and I were still in touch the day of his accident. In fact, I ran into him the same day. He invited me to see a play. Inside I wanted to go, because I was still in love with him, but instead declined. Years later, while in this new relationship, I still hadn’t let go of my lost love and wasn’t allowing my heart to open up. I squashed my feelings with busyness and avoided intimacy out of fear for losing another loved one to death.

It’s very easy to go into denial about our problems. But being in denial doesn’t help anyone. Whether we’re in a relationship, dating casually, or playing around, every person we get close to can be affected by our issues.

My issue with my present boyfriend became a non-issue after I decided to let go of Bill’s spirit and move on. I had been feeling guilty for breaking up with the only man I ever felt like I could die for (besides my dad). And my reason for breaking up was my own problem. Another issue.

There are other details that affected my story that would take a book to write about. But rather than go there, it should suffice to say there were many other personal issues that needed attention and healing.

Since Bill died, I’ve learned to be independent. My present boyfriend, Jason, is also an independent person. It’s amazing when two independent people get together and are compatible. They become two interdependent people, and the chemistry is awesome. But the only way I could be here in this (amazingly) healthy relationship is to have dealt with those issues without dragging my significant others into the depressing depths of their roots. Of course, the guys were aware I was working through emotional trials, but they were not victims to them.

Got issues? Face up.