Romantic relationships can be a lot of fun! The start of a new relationship is nearly always one of the most exciting times, as you each explore one another’s hopes, dreams … and bodies.
But what happens if you want to turn that short-term fling into a longer-term thing? Will those same characteristics you found exciting and different in your romantic partner work long-term?
You don’t have to be 100 percent compatible in order to make a long-term relationship work. But there are a few areas that you’ll find it beneficial to have partner compatibility.
Now don’t get me wrong — you can have a successful relationship and have only a few of the things listed below in common. But you’ll find your relationship will have greater smooth sailing the more of these attributes you share or have close in common. And the less stress your relationship has in its natural state, the more the two of you will work together in harmony to support one another during those greater times of stress that life will inevitably throw at you.
Here are six areas that the greater compatibility you share with your partner, the easier and less stressful your relationship will be.
1. Timeliness & Punctuality
How many relationship arguments have started over, “Why are you always 30 minutes late to everything?” People who aren’t compatible in how punctual they are for appointments, engagements, dates and such will find one person always unhappy with the other person’s timeliness. If you both can’t make anything on time, you’ll be happy together. But if one of you is punctual and the other isn’t, it’s a recipe for constant arguing.
2. Cleanliness & Orderliness
People who are neat and orderly often find it difficult, if not downright challenging, to live with someone who’s a slob. And people who don’t put much time or effort into cleanliness don’t often care that it means something to others. You know how cute you found his cluttered and messy apartment those first few weeks? That wears off fast if you’re someone who likes things to be clean and orderly.
3. Money & Spending
More couples argue about money and finances than anything else (well, except maybe for the next one). This is a much larger issue than most relationships ever consider at the onset. And because it can be awkward to talk about money and finances, most couples also put off such discussions until things start going wrong. If he’s a spender and she’s a saver, that could mean trouble down the road when you’re planning for life’s bigger purchases, such as a house, cars or your children’s future education.
Couples who are on the same page with their money and finances will usually find it easier going than those with wildly divergent spending behaviors.
4. Sex & Intimacy
How many articles have been written about the importance of sex and intimacy in a relationship? It may be hard to gauge how sexually compatible you are at the beginning of a relationship, since sex is usually more of a shared enjoyment then. But as the newness wears off, it’s a good time to gauge whether your sexual needs and desires are truly similar.
Like money, talking about your own personal sexual desires and needs may be challenging. But the sooner you do it and figure out if the two of you are sexually compatible long-term, the quicker you can know whether you share this compatibility. Incompatibility in the bedroom is the second most-common reason for long-term relationship discord.
5. Life Priorities & Tempo
Different people work and live at different tempos in life. Discovering and acknowledging your own personal tempo is an important step to finding someone with a similar and compatible tempo.
Some people are laid-back and let little get to them, while others take every one of life’s challenges to heart. Some people value work, seeing no problem in working 12-hour days, while others value spending time with family and one’s children. Are you the kind of person who’s okay with “being” with your partner while the two of you have your heads down in technology?
If you’re on the same page about what your life’s priorities are, you’ll find you’ll have a lot less arguments about these kinds of issues. Sharing life will be easier as you progress through life at the same tempo.
6. Spirituality & Religion
Many people who come from two different religious backgrounds make their relationship work. However, talk to such couples and you’ll find most of the agree it can sometimes be a challenge — especially if children are involved. If one partner in the couple isn’t going to convert to the other person’s religion and both partners are religious people, you’ll often find trouble brewing.
The more you and your partner share in these six characteristics, the smoother going your romantic life is going to be (although you don’t need to be 100 percent compatible in all six areas — nobody and no relationship is perfect). Because when your relationship is firing on all cylinders, it helps keep you more resilient and better able to handle whatever else life throws at you.