How You Can Tell if You’re Compatible With a Guy

How You Can Tell if You're Compatible With a Guy
22 Shares

Compatibility is not what we think it is.

If I’ve learned anything after 15 years of coaching and 11 years of marriage, that’s one of the big ones.

Most people think compatibility is having things in common:

“I’m Catholic. He’s Catholic. We must be a great cultural fit based on our backgrounds.”

“I have a Masters Degree. He should have one, too. Only men with advanced degrees can understand me and men without it will be intimidated.”

“I like skiing. He should like skiing. What, am I supposed to go the rest of my life without a husband who likes skiing?”

On the surface, this sounds like compatibility. In practice, it is nothing of the sort.

Imagine the opposite sex version of yourself (admit it: that’s what you’re attracted to).

Have you dated someone like this before? What happened to the relationship?

You broke up, of course.

You broke up over money. You broke up over honesty. You broke up over sexual incompatibility. You broke up over selfishness and poor communication.

Compatibility isn’t about what you have in common; it’s whether you work well together as a couple.

The fact that you were both Catholics with Masters Degrees who like skiing didn’t give you a happy marriage. Compatibility isn’t about what you have in common; it’s whether you work well together as a couple. Full stop.

For years, people have been trying to find a short-cut to compatibility. OkCupid thinks that your feelings about horror films are telling (they’re not). eHarmony has a 436 question personality test to gauge compatibility (which, unfortunately, leaves out chemistry). And, of course, there are personality tests like Myers-Briggs.

Today’s article is a New York Times Modern Love column about a woman who sees all relationships through the lens of the MBTI.

As I hope you can see, it’s pretty limited – more of a footnote to explain how people think and act – as opposed to an actual test of relationship compatibility.

My test for relationship compatibility inside Love U is far simpler: how do you feel in your relationship on a day to day basis, year after year? If it’s good, don’t worry about whether you’re an INTJ or whether he makes as much money as you.

Your feelings about your relationship reveal your actual compatibility.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

 

 

Join our conversation (10 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Claudia

    I really don’t think feelings make up everything. Sure, they can tell you if you’re in a relationship you value, enjoy and feel good about. However, feelings can change very quickly too.

    I do believe there also has to be an underlying urge to actually make a relationship work in the long term. That way when bumps come along, which will inevitably not always make you feel good, you are still able to find a way to work together to get past them.

    Nevertheless, I do agree that the examples shown above really are women struggling through unproductive relationships. It really doesn’t need to be that hard. I’ve had three relationships in the past (and countless dates in between). Two of my relationships flowed super easily and one felt forced after 1.5 months. It’s for that reason I fell in love with two… and for that reason I knew I would never fall in love with the other.

    Even easy relationships break down though – as my history evidences. For there are still aspects in life like timing, finances, willingness and education in what good relationships are meant to look, feel and develop into, which only experience can provide.

    Side note: I hope you’re ok Evan – I’ve felt a little tension from your writing in the past few weeks. Please take care of yourself!

  2. 3
    S.

    “My test for relationship compatibility inside Love U is far simpler: how do you feel in your relationship on a day to day basis, year after year? If it’s good, don’t worry about whether you’re an INTJ or whether he makes as much money as you.”

    That’s an interesting reaction to the Times article. The author felt great in her new relationship but her partner didn’t. And it didn’t last years. I can agree that one can assess compatibility over years but isn’t that a bit late? I think using the personality test was a way of the author attempting to suss out compatibility earlier. What I notice in the letters here on the blog is that people stay for years. It takes a while to figure out! And by then they’ve bonded and invested so much in the person–unsuitable for them or not–and don’t want to leave.

    No conclusions to my thoughts. Yes, if you aren’t feeling it early on, get out. That’s pretty obvious. But sometimes things can be good, can feel good on both ends, for a long while. And then change. I think it’s sometimes difficult to know if those are natural bumps in the road or glaring instances of true incompatibility.

    1. 3.1
      Lynx

      S. – Well said, I second it: “But sometimes things can be good, can feel good on both ends, for a long while. And then change. I think it’s sometimes difficult to know if those are natural bumps in the road or glaring instances of true incompatibility.”

  3. 4
    jo

    Evan, you’re right: MBTI is a really limited way of deciding compatibility. How statistically sound is that chart in her article that shows which type is compatible with which? Is it based on actual couples, how long they lasted or how happy they reported they were, or on anecdotes and speculation? Anyway, if I understand MBTI right, every letter is on a spectrum, not either-or. So one INTJ is not equal to another INTJ. It would be a shame to use this chart to screen people out (or fixate on some aspect of them) for no good reason, as this author seems to do.

    Your suggestion to just see how you feel around another person daily is much more relaxed approach. It relates to another author you shared recently Eli Finkel, who wrote a book about how we expect a marriage partner to fulfill everything nowadays (not just co-running a household). That’s too much pressure to put on one person, as it would be to choose a partner based on MBTI. It’s better to have a mix of a partner and friends or family who can fulfill one’s many needs and wants. If you feel good with a person daily, that’s a lot – and might be the best you can hope for.

  4. 5
    Jeremy

    I could fill a book with what’s wrong with MBTI. Both in the assumptions it makes in its theory and the assumption that we humans are reliable when self-reporting on personality tests. The notion that one “type” is more compatible with another is nonsensical. And even Helen Fisher’s research on such pairings is highly flawed because it only examines who married whom, not who STAYED with whom.

    What personality archetypes can tell you is what some of the predictable challenges will be for any given pairing. Not what might make the relationship good, but rather what might make it bad. A Rational married to a Guardian, and “INTJ married to an” ESFJ”…. Will have predictable difficulties in communication style, social preferences, and interests. Does that make them (us) incompatible? Only if we fail to understand it and adapt. The value is in the understanding.

    When looking for a wife, I asked myself what qualities I wanted for the future I envisioned. Then I found the person who embodied those qualities…. And my wife did the same. Knowing what you want, knowing what you Will want, is so much more important than matches in personality quirks.

  5. 6
    Beth

    U look hot in ur pirate T-shirt

  6. 7
    Rampiance

    I totally agree with Jeremy’s assessment above.
    Kinda funny, given the context of the article, that I tested as an INTJ married to an ESTJ. And, as rather unevolved people, we ended pretty much the same as the author did. Parenting has been the only thing we did well (as a separated pair).

    After some personal growth, I began testing as an INFP. I brought out the side of me that had been squelched in childhood and during a faulty marriage pairing. I can’t really take the test any more because my interpretations of the questions are too broad to answer “yes” or “no”. For example, I use both feelings and logic, both at several levels, to make decisions. I need social time and I need alone time: I suffer with too much of either one. I’m very open and flexible in many ways, and I’m a closer who’s stubborn after I’ve come to a conclusion. I often say that if you can say one true thing about me, you can just as truly say the opposite about me.

    I found the MBTI useful for pointing out where I could grow and where I could understand others better. It’s been really helpful for that.

    MBTI helped highlight that I need someone who has a good measure of imagination and fantasy (which my husband did have, because he was 60-40 S-N). My conversations bog down with extreme concrete expressers.

  7. 8
    Noquay

    For me, what is key is that lifestyles and values mesh well. Being engaged in what’s happening in the world, involved in community, living a life of purpose, a healthy, sustainable life is of top importance unless one is willing to lead separate lives in separate dwellings. Ones Meyers-Briggs profile can change as one moves through life so yeah, I think it is not a good predictor of compatibility long term. Recently had to let a rship go and choose alone once again. It was a great gift to be able to converse on things like climate change, be with someone who eats healthily and exercises, hates TV and most Americans need to be constantly entertained. However, where and how he lived was very incompatible with my life. I went the extra mile and spent part of my time there although I couldn’t sleep and always stressed by vehicle and other noise. He wasn’t willing to visit my farm that I’m in the process of moving to although he’d never been in that part of the country. It was suburban Colorado or nothing. Ironically, he constantly complains about the weather and explosive growth there. He’s retired and thus potentially mobile. I’m willing to meet folk halfway but they have to be willing to as well.

  8. 9
    Suzanne

    I think having things in common is part of compatibility. If I like arts and culture and going on road trips, I won’t be compatible with a man who stays home watching football all the time, even if he’s a wonderful guy.

    I also think compatibility is different when you’re looking to get married and have kids than it is when you’re middle age, your kids are older, and you’re looking for companionship, and not necessarily to get married.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *