Compatibility vs. Chemistry – What Makes Love Last?
What is the secret to a lasting healthy relationship? Is it all about “keeping the spark alive” and that elusive chemistry you once had? Or is it more about finding long-term compatibility with your partner?
According to science, it’s the latter. Sure, physical attraction is important in a relationship, but putting a premium on it lessens your chances of enjoying a healthy relationship. Research states that it’s most important to focus on your ability to get along with your partner and build a foundation of unconditional love. Chemistry is what starts a relationship but cultivating ways to resolve conflict is what makes them thrive. If you show kindness and respect toward your partner, you’ll likely get better treatment from your partner in return.
Dating coach Evan Marc Katz breaks down the compatibility vs. chemistry debate in this article.
I don’t mean to pound the drum like this. Honestly. I don’t look for these articles; they just tend to find me. Thanks to living in the Information Age and the advent of Big Data, we now have the tools to prove the things that we’ve always hypothesized, like global warming. Now lots of scientists are shining the light on my personal hobbyhorse: compatibility vs. chemistry. Enter Ty Tashiro, Discovery Network’s relationship expert and University of Maryland professor.
While liking and lusting are both key features of romantic love, you’re better off betting on the former.
Ready for Lasting Love? Ready for Lasting Love?
In his forthcoming book, “The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love,” Tashiro plots a path to happily ever after, using analysis of studies about what makes love last and what’s likely to bring about a romantic implosion. In other words, focus less on chemistry and more on compatibility.
His words, not mine.
According to a U.S. News piece, “While liking and lusting are both key features of romantic love, you’re better off betting on the former,” Tashiro says. According to research cited in his book, lust declines at a rate of 8 percent per year of marriage, while liking declines at a rate of 3 percent. Moreover, specific personality traits are likely to predict marital success — and failure — in the long run. And since you can’t have it all — it’s a mathematics impossibility, he says — it’s best to pick based on personality. That’s not to throw sex out the window — it’s fundamental for a successful marriage. (Quoting one of his graduate school advisers, Tashiro writes, “If your partner is bad at tennis, it’s not a big deal, because you can go play tennis with someone else. If your partner is bad in bed, well, that’s a big deal.”)
Ideally, if you can match up with someone based on three personality traits — which he calls agreeableness, lack of neuroticism, and lack of seeking novelty — you’re more likely to have your bases covered, sexual innuendo and all.
Agreeableness, lack of neuroticism, lack of seeking novelty: These are the traits that make for healthy long-term partnerships.
Agreed. And it’s why so much of my advice is based on encouraging my smart, strong, successful women readers to be patient, supportive, easygoing, secure, and fundamentally accepting of men. (Again, I would advise men the same thing if they were, in fact, my clients). So when I get exasperated in the comments with my detractors who tell me that I’m wrong, I can only reiterate: my advice isn’t my opinion. My advice is based on three things: science, personal experience, and ten years of coaching.
Agreeableness, lack of neuroticism, lack of seeking novelty: These are the traits that make for healthy long-term partnerships. Anyone want to advocate for difficult, neurotic, and fickle?