The Curious Case of Compatibilities When Choosing a Partner

Dating is one of those few games where a vast majority of us are going to make mistakes, ranging from frivolous to grave. But fortunately, we are allowed to make them; dating is a science which is not absolute and we are left with no other choice but to rely on the trial and error method, however erratic the method may be. This is a piece dedicated to those of us who are prone to taking a higher number of bad decisions as compared to good ones; here, we’ll try to understand the variables that matter (if at all they do) and how we can work around and/or along with them in order to find a partner most likely to be a good match. But what are these variables? More importantly, can they be qualified (let alone quantified)? The answers to these questions are obviously contentious, and consequently, we’ll try to understand them in terms of the larger structures they’re a part of, namely: economic, cultural, professional and attitudinal.

Economic compatibility is probably the most debatable among the lot, since most couples we see around us scarcely take home the same amount of dough at the end of the month. Take the case of women who are dating rich older guys as an example; they may not earn the same amount, but the relationship is built over a different principle, and consequently the economic paradigm is rendered inconsequential. The key is to figure out what kind of relationship you want; if you want to have a long-term relationship where you expect a partner to ‘fund’ (loose usage) a family, one member definitely needs to earn more than the other; but if you want a relationship where the greater emphasis is on personal independence, you’d want to try dating a person who earns the same amount as you. Cultural and attitudinal compatibility are two aspects that go hand in hand, since persons from vastly different cultures can be great partners, the point is, are they willing to accept and tide over the differences in the other’s lifestyle? And this stands true for both parties, which means that you need to ask yourself two questions:

1) Are you willing to accept that the prospective partner has a different lifestyle? And

2) Is your partner willing to accept that you have a different way of life? The answer has to be yes in both cases for you to say that the relationship does not have conflicts. Furthermore, if you’re truly dedicated, you need to be able to shun the social perceptions that hang around your relationship.

When it comes to the professional aspect, it has lesser to do with being in the same profession than it has to do with being able to adjust to a partner’s professional commitments. For example, will a partner who travels often (say a pilot) suit you if you’re a person who likes spending quality evenings at home after work? Probably not; but such a partner will most certainly be desirable if you’re big on your ‘me time’. The key is to figure out how much time you’d like to spend with your partner and when, and then try to factor in if your partner’s profession will allow it the way you want. The piece however, would be incomplete without a disclaimer. We may use the best logic and reasons while trying to figure out if or not a partner is suited for us. But our relationships are still not insulated from failures, since our love life is rife with variables that are not only far beyond our control, but also far beyond our scope of understanding. Sometimes, the best laid plans amount to nothing, while those that scream of failure end up being successful relationships; take the case of a certain Edward VIII, who (despite whatever inadequacies he had) maintained a lifelong relationship that was speculated to end abruptly and abysmally; no surprise then that he’s going to be flashed by romantics who are keen on defying logic (the problem is that they’re sometimes right). The bottom line is this, human sensibilities often disregard logic, and love is no exception.

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