What do I mean by Compatibility?
At the onset, allow me to make it very clear, that the whole response below is neither meant as a sacrosanct model that works for everyone, nor does it indicate that this is some sort of a checklist. While I have tried to present it cohesively and coherently, that’s only to make sense of the quasi-hazy manifestation of compatibility in my head
Basically, despite all my cohesion and coherence, I am a very gut-driven person at the end of the day, but subconsciously, this IS certainly on my mind
There are two ways in which I have experienced compatibility… 1. Instinctive and 2. Systematic.
The first one is more like love at first side. You see someone, observe them in action, and then feel like you might want to be with them.
The second one is more systematic. I know someone for a long time, say a batchmate, or a colleague, or a distant cousin’s friend, someone from a community service initiative etc. Then I get to observe them in action, for long, and hopefully in different settings. My calculating mind says – OK this person, I can consider being with.
In either case, there are some key areas in which I classify compatibility:
1. Mental – further divided into Intellectual and Emotional:
Emotional – Are they emotionally mature? Are they manipulative? Do they lie? Do they think long term, or are they all about instant gratification?
Intellectual – , are they someone who is well-read and constantly working on themselves in terms of their common sense and general awareness.
2. Physical – While we might all like to feel holier than thou and say beauty is only skin deep, I think a basic level of physical compatibility matters. (I have dated differently abled people, I have also dated those with a deformity, I myself have a form of dermatitis; so trust me when I say this, I define physical compatibility as attraction, and not as the normative standards of beauty).
3. Social – Are they socially adept, can they carry themselves reasonably well in a party, do they have the necessary skills to navigate social interactions smoothly, even if not seamlessly?
4. Sexual – I am on queer spectrum, as well as the alternative lifestyle spectrum. I can’t sustain a relationship with someone who is neither willing to engage, nor willing to open the relationship in that sense. I wouldn’t lie and mislead someone into a purely heter-normative, monogamous relationship, unless I feel like that. Similarly, I understand that sexuality and relationships are very widely nuanced, and I would not want to be with a person, if they feel like they cannot express themselves fully with me in an intimate moment.
5. Financial – Are they a spendthrift? Are they miserly? Do they have debts? Are they capable of paying them? Are they WILLING to? What makes them think about the debts I have taken and paid?
6. Ethical and Value-System related – This is the most important for me, even though a lot of it overlaps with emotional and intellectual compatibility. However, I feel that a lot of times people can be emotionally mature, intellectually high EQ, but for all the wrong reasons. This one includes questions like: Are they honest? Are they communicative? Are they kind? Are they looking to constantly grow? Do they want to grow alone, or do they seek to empower?
Compatibility for me has to be an overall compatibility, as well as in each of these areas. There’s only this much dissatisfaction as one can have in one area, and still be happy in the relationship. At the same time, the overall combination also has to add up.
© Anupama Garg 2020