Ever wonder why your relationships end shortly after a year?
There are three forms of connection that every couple has progressed through in their relationship: Attraction, Chemistry and Compatibility.
ATTRACTION - This is the physical interest you have in someone. It's what catches your eye when you see them out in the world, and what stops you from swiping to take the time to read through their profile and touch base.
CHEMISTRY - Often confused with attraction, is the emotional connection. This is the ability to have a great conversation with someone based on having similar interests and sense of humour. Chemistry is what makes the difference between a great first date and a date from hell.
COMPATIBILITY - The most important and the most ignored form of connection between two people. Compatibility is the foundational morals and values of the two individuals, their views on relationships, family and life. Compatibility is what makes or breaks the longevity of most relationships, which is why the majority of modern young relationships (all of mine included) end around the 1 or 2 year mark.
Imagine you are swiping and come across a profile that catches your attention. After reading through their brief profile of 177 characters, that could never encapsulate even the smallest essence of a person, you decide they are worth a right swipe. If you're bold enough, you may even send them a message. Then they reply! After a few days of texting back and forth, you decide to grab a drink together. After arriving a bit early to get settled in, you see them walk in the door, they flash you a big smile and the hello hug feels oddly familiar and comfortable. You sit down together and start the usual first date chit chat. You can tell they are a bit nervous too, which you know is a good sign. There is definite attraction and you can feel the chemistry start to build. Since being single you have gone on probably 30 dates, and this is the first one that you can feel that connection you know is needed to continue romantically with a person. Bam! This is it. That rare connection that the media and movies have told us we will only see a few times in our lives if we're lucky. You think “Don't fuck it up!”
In the next couple of months, you want to spend as much time as possible with that person. You are learning so much about them, and can't keep your hands off each other. “Wow, they're so amazing!” you think. Everything they say is funny, and every move they make is so sexy, and you can’t forget about that smile. You like the same music, have the same outlook on politics and spend so much time having meaningful conversations about life. You haven't brought it up yet, because you don't want to sound too needy, but you aren't sure of their outlook on marriage and children. They have made a few comments that have suggested they may not be on the same page as you, but that's OK. They are totally the type of person you could start a family with, but let's not rush it. Sunday family dinner comes around, and you take them to meet your family. They really don't want to go, but you are very close to your family, and you've always dreamed of having a partner that fits in with them like a glove. The family dinner was a bit off, and they weren't being themselves. It almost felt like they weren't even trying; don't they care how important this is to you? The drive home is a bit tense, and a small argument takes place, but nothing that falling into bed together can’t fix. And wow, it feels so good to be curled up with them in the cold winter months. Monday morning comes, and you're up early to do a quick work out, and prep for the day. They have been getting up early with you the last couple of months, but lately they've been staying in bed a bit longer. They also used to eat relatively clean with you when you first started dating, but you notice they have been suggesting cheat days more and more often.
The months roll on and you have totally fallen in love. They really are such a great person, and they treat you so well behind closed doors, if only your friends and family could see that part of them. You've started to go to most of your social gatherings alone because you know they prefer to stay home, but that's OK. You rush out of each outing so you can get home and snuggle up to them and watch your shows together. It's been about a year and a half, and you start asking about marriage and children. They were always undecided yet open to the idea of children, but as the relationship progresses, you start bringing it up more often. They begin to finally discuss their lack of desire for children and talk about how they feel about marriage, coming from a broken home. You sympathize, but also feel frustrated; what does this have to do with you? Don't they care about you and what you want from life? You call your mom, who you haven't talked to in about a month. You want to tell her about your argument, but you know she doesn't like them, so you don't even bring it up. Instead, you just have a half-hearted conversation with her, and hang up even more frustrated. You get up and get ready for the day, putting on your gym clothes. Not because you're going to the gym but because it's the only clothes that fit you anymore.
I think we know where this is going. After the break-up, friends and family tell you how bad of a person they were. You know this isn't true, because only you were able to see their tenderness and kindness behind closed doors. What no one will talk about is your hand in creating this incompatible relationship that lasted 14 months longer than it should have. Yes, finding the perfect combination of attraction and chemistry is rare, but never stop there. The next two months should be spent finding compatibility. Asking the questions that need to be asked to ensure that all those values and goals you want to achieve with your life partner will be met by this person. You know what’s even more precious and rare than having both chemistry and attraction? Time. Time is something that we can never get back. And our time is something that some other people have no problem wasting. Enjoy the fun honeymoon stage of a relationship, but be sure to have the important relationship discussions with that person during this time. If you're not comfortable enough to talk about the things that matter then you should think again about spending your whole year with this person.