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Beneath the Layers Blog

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The Complexity of Compatibility

In my experience, we often get stuck in the idea that to be right for each other, two people need to be like each other. We figure, this person has a logical, analytical way of thinking, she for sure needs someone similar, not the sensitive emotional type. That person is cool and friendly and outgoing, I'd never put her together with someone quiet and slightly nerdy.

But compatibility doesn't mean "the same". I believe that as long as both people are happy with it and willing to invest in it, a relationship can work. I'm not particularly looking for a guy version of me.

Sure, I do agree it's important to share the same core values, to agree on key ideals. And sometimes shared interests can build a bond. Beyond that though, if the couple respects and appreciates each other's differences, I think there's a lot of beauty in a relationship between people who are visibly different. Different strengths complement each other. One can be strong for the other when they're down. They have the opportunity to learn from each other to approach the world in a different way, to grow into a more balanced person.

I include myself in saying it can be fun to observe relationships and study personality types and draw conclusions about what matches up with what. But let's admit that people are complex. There are many aspects to my personality, and I see that different kinds of people draw out different sides of me. It's often tempting to stereotype ourselves and jump to conclusions. But we don't really understand it all.

I hope we can open our minds to the possibility of different relationships and encourage more opportunities for people to meet each other. Why knock down an idea because "I don't see them together"? Put them in touch without promising that they are perfect for each other, and just let them figure out if it works for the two of them. Ask people what has worked for them in the past, and truly listen to what's important for them and what's minor in their eyes. You might be surprised to find that rather than looking for someone as smart or cool or gentle as themselves, they appreciate people who are strong in other, complementary areas.

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