The human experience is all about relationships with ourselves and with others. Finding ourselves and building strong relationships can be hard enough already, but without understanding us, it can be hard to understand others. But understanding yourself and your needs becomes important in finding the right partner.
The first step to any relationship should be emotional compatibility. What is emotional compatibility? To me, this means that the person you are having a relationship with can understand your emotional highs and your emotional lows. Why is this important?
I had a partner once who was not emotionally compatible with me. I didn’t understand this or its importance at the time, of course. Every time I’d get really excited about the smallest things, such as the ice cream truck having my favorite flavor, they’d get confused and make me feel silly for feeling so happy. Same thing when it was low. I could have really bad lows about small things too like not getting a good grade. They would downgrade my feelings, saying things like “it’s your period.” The worst part of it all? They made me believe it.
Having a partner who couldn’t understand why my feelings could be so high or so low was painful. They’d make me feel like I was losing my mind or that all my feelings were rooted in my menstrual cycle. I started to believe that my feelings were invalid and not worth paying attention to.
After this relationship, I realized that there is more to relationships than physical chemistry. Now, I have my checklist of needs that need to be met. And my current parent checks all the boxes off and I’ve never been happier. If I get sad because there’s no milk for cereal, they don’t make me feel bad, they take me for a fun car ride to the store to grab my favorite milk. If I get extra happy because a new episode from my favorite series came out, they don’t laugh at me, they get the popcorn and candy and sit down to watch with me. And those are examples of little things, but understanding my good and bad moods have become a must in any relationship, romantic or not.
So what are the points of my ultimate compatibility checklist? Over everything, emotional compatibility. They need to be able to get as high and as low as you. Intellectual compatibility. You don’t have to be smart about the same things, but understand that some things make you really passionate and you like to keep learning. Being with someone from whom you can always learn something new from. That to me is what life is all about. Lastly, physical chemistry. I’m not saying it isn’t important, because it is, but I’m saying it is not the most important. Physical chemistry should come after other aspects, such as being compassionate and being able to understand your feelings without degrading them.
I know sometimes we want to jump into a relationship with the most conventionally attractive person in the room, but next time you’re looking for a long-time partner, try looking into your emotional compatibility as well.