The Question of Compatibility


Looking for a partner with the same hobbies and interests to you? Well then you’re looking in all the wrong places. Relationship coach and writer Laura Yates explains compatibility and why it’s such a big deal.

Compatibility. It’s a funny one isn’t it? A big part of the dating journey is often accepting and understanding that when it comes to the match, compatibility is a huge factor in why a partnership works out  – or doesn’t.

Right from the major things such as standards and values to the more surface ones like humour, career choice and lifestyle preferences, ultimately it all comes down to whether two people are compatible.

So why is it that we often get caught up on people who we’re simply not compatible with? Partly because we tend to want what we can’t have and also because we can underestimate how important compatibility is – and not confusing that with ‘having things in common’. You can have nothing in common with someone when it comes to hobbies and interests (I think it’s actually a good thing to try dating people with other interests to your own. It makes for more conversation and introduction to new things!) yet still be compatible with them. And vice versa. Compatibility often comes down to timing too. If you’ve really liked someone you’re dating and they decide they don’t want to pursue it further that can be tough to take! But ultimately it’s usually because something made them feel you weren’t compatible. Maybe it was bad timing in their life, maybe they’re looking for something different in a partner. Maybe it’s their own issues. It’s usually not because they love jazz and you’re more into Drake! Hobbies, interests and tastes are important yes, but true compatibility goes a lot deeper.

If you’ve ever been in that situation where everything seems to be going swimmingly and then all of a sudden you get the text, call or (if you’re lucky) conversation that brings the whole thing tumbling down before your rosy vision of you both standing at the alter, that can be mighty confusing! But it will be down to something not working for the other person. Which means it won’t work for you either. If you are not the right match for them, they are not the right match for you. You’re not compatible – at least right now.

A further reason why we get caught up on people we’re not compatible with is because we’ve fallen in love (or lust) with the idea of being with them. In this situation, maybe look at what it is about that person you’re so drawn to. Does it reveal something about yourself that you’d like to change but haven’t committed to? Maybe they live their life in a way that you aspire to live like. Although it’s still a kicker, use that as fuel to create the changes in yourself and your life that you desire.

Compatibility is personal to everyone but largely down to two people sharing the same values, morals and standards. Sometimes we can really fall for people who we intuitively know deep down don’t match our values and standards but still get hung up on them anyway and consequently let our own values slide to try and force ourselves to be compatible with them. When it doesn’t end the way we want and we walk away feeling hurt, this again highlights how important maintaining all this stuff really is.

Accepting this is a huge part of getting over people we’re not actually compatible with.

Use it all as a learning experience and as a way to define what it really is you’re looking for in a person. Sometimes you have to date a few (or many!) folks to really figure out what type of person you are compatible with. And that’s totally ok! You can still have fun on the dating journey. But if something doesn’t work out with someone you really like, remember, if it’s not right for them it’s not right for you either! Dust yourself down and move on.


Laura Yates is a relationship coach and writer who specialises in helping people through break-ups and heartbreak. Laura provides clients with bespoke tools, techniques and mindsets that enable them to deal with their emotional struggles whilst moving forward in their life with renewed energy and focus. Laura also helps people to build up their confidence, communication and interaction skills when getting back into dating.

 Find Laura on Twitter, Facebook, or on her website.

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