Compatibility vs Romance: Can’t We Have Both?

By: Elizabeth Marie |

When it comes to relationships, I truly believe that compatibility trumps all. I am not on board the “all you need is love” train. I have no desire for constant passionate arguments, on-and-off intensity, or a burning flame of uncontrollable intensity. That sounds exhausting. That is exhausting; I’ve been there, and I got the hell out. This is why I spent a year and a half going on dates with as many men as possible, trying to figure out the traits I wanted and those I could do without..

While online dating has been “acceptable” and largely socially de-stigmatized for years now, there appears to be growing backlash against its popularity. The idea that it takes the romance out of finding a partner is something I’ve heard many times. Some critics say that you can’t just use a formula to come up with the perfect person, that chemistry is important, too. I agree with them about chemistry, but is there anything wrong with looking for someone that matches you in particular ways? I don’t think so.

Many dating sites use questions, formulas, and charts to determine how they set their users up with other users. Some, like Tinder, rely first on looks, while others like OkCupid utilize a percentage match system based on questions that you’re prompted to answer. Even if the site you’re using doesn’t rely on compatibility statistics, you can casually form your own questions and mental checklist. (Is this sounding a bit Type A? I confess, I’m a major list-maker.)

Looking for a partner and looking for a hot fling can be very, very different processes. For a fling, all I want is a good time. When it comes to a partner, I want to know that we’re mostly going to be on the same page, because that means we’ll be spending less time negotiating and more time doing. But both require that a few points be checked.

Obviously, it’s important that your conversation be organic. No one wants a message that feels like a questionnaire. But once you’ve gotten to talking – whether their profile picture sparked your interest or you spotted a fun detail in their profile that really meshed with yours – you can get some really useful information out of fun, innocuous questions. One of my favorites is, “What’s your favorite restaurant (or bar)?” Once you have the name of the place, if you’re not familiar with it, Google it. Is it loud but upscale, or is it a dive? Do you have the same taste?

You’re never going to meet someone who checks every single box, especially if you get down to nitty-gritty details like “must not be into heavy metal.” It’s all about having fun with someone and knowing that you’re on the same page. If you’re a professional couch potato, you might not have enough in common with a six-time champion triathlete to make a relationship work. But hey, if you’re looking for casual sex, I bet their stamina is incredible.

What do you think is the most important-compatibility or romance?