The 9 Dimensions of compatibility in relationships

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The basis of every relationship is an underlying foundation of compatibility.  There has to be some shared vision of where the relationship is going.  There are certain things that a couple has to agree on.  And those things can vary from couple to couple.

Here are the 9 dimensions that cause most couples issues in compatibility… 

Parenting and Family Values

The biggest responsibility any couple can have, is how do they raise their children.

Are they authoritarian and keep them under close control or are they more relaxed and want to let them express themselves?

There’s hundreds of other factors that a couple have to consider when raising children and most can be negotiated.  But what are the choices that for you are essential to how you choose to parent your children?

What values are critical to you about your family?  

How involved with your extended family do you need to be?  Do you need to live close to them?  You have to decide which of these are the values that are critical to you.  

Career and Independence

How important is your career to you?

Are you a workaholic that needs to just focus on work and needs a partner to accept that?

Or are you someone with deep beliefs and values and need to do meaningful work even if it means earning less money?

You need to be clear about what work for you and what is going to make you happy.  And you have to communicate that with your partner and check that they’re on the same page.  Or at least can live with it.

Along with career comes independence.  Do you live independent or interconnected lives?

Do you have separate social lives?  Do you share everything or very little?

Do you need lots of time alone or need lots of affection or to be kept entertained?   

What’s the critical elements that you must have and what’s negotiable for you?

Sex and Romance

One of the biggest areas of conflict for couples is sex.  

How much?  When?  How?

Mismatched sex drives or sexual interests can cause a lot of emotional pain and frustration that will ultimately lead to other relationship difficulties.  

So what’s essential for you and what’s negotiable?

Sex is the physical expression, but romance is the emotional and psychological equivalent.  For someone that needs an active and vivid romantic life, not having that attention can be soul destroying.

So what do you need sexually and romantically?  

Values and Goals

We all have things we want to achieve and values that are important for us to live up to.  Part of becoming a couple with strong foundations is having shared goals and agreed values.

Are you someone that always helps everyone and your house is open to everyone?  If your partner is more private that could become the issue you fight a lot around.

Is it important that you achieve certain things in your life in order to feel fulfilled?  You need to agree on where your future as a couple is, where you need to get to individually and how you go about getting there to prevent a lot of fights.

What are your values and goals and are there any deal breakers between you and your partner?

friends and sociability

Some people need lots of friends and wilt without an active social life.  Other people have few friends and are happier curled up on the sofa for a cosy night in.  

What do you need in terms of friends and a social life?

Does your partner understand your needs and is he/she willing to accommodate it?

Fun and Adventure

Some people need to hang off cliffs and kayak down the Amazon in order to feel alive.  Others need to feel safe and are much happier ordering the latest bestseller off of  

Where do you want to holiday?  How do you want to spend your weekends?

What fun and adventure do you need to feel fulfilled and happy?

Health and Lifestyle

Are you a fitness fanatic who has to workout and get their green smoothie everyday?  Or do you want to be able to eat what you like and slob out on the sofa in peace?

How you live and eat can be the source of difficulties over time.  If it’s important to you to eat well at any cost and the cost drives your partner up the wall, then these could be the source of arguments.  Many of these will be negotiable, but some could be deal-breakers.  What would be critical for you?

Personality and Communication Styles

All of us are different and our differences impact the way that we behave.  We don’t have to share the same personality and communication styles, but we do have to be able to live with our differences and understand each other.

If you’re very extroverted, can you live with a quiet introvert?

Are you very confrontational or would that level of conflict make you stressed?

Do you need to talk everything out or does too much talk wear you out?

So what’s your style and what do you need from your partner? 

Finance and Household

Are you OCD and need a tidy house?  Or do you believe that a house should be well lived in?

Do you max out your credit cards and worry about paying it off later?  Or would that cause you sleepless nights?

Understanding what you need can help you express that to your partner.  So what are the deal-breakers here for you? 

Purpose and Spirituality

Once we’ve got past the quest for day to day physical survival we want to feel fulfilled by a deeper sense of purpose and spiritual understanding.  If you’re a devout member of a religious community that have strict rules and your partner doesn’t understand these restrictions there could be trouble ahead.

Oftentimes people might go through many beliefs as they are working out their true beliefs.  And so it would be a mistake to ditch someone for something they no longer agree with themselves in six months.  However, if there are certain ideas and a sense of purpose that are really meaningful to you now and consistently over time, then you need to discuss this with your partner.  

You can live with someone for a long time without this being a big issue, but when everything else in your life is going well and you start to think about what your life is about, these issues can become make or break.  What could be a deal-breaker for you?

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