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A lot of ex-back advice glosses over compatibility, assuming most people have an intuitive grasp of it and know why it’s so important to a successful relationship.
There are two reasons for this.
The first is because there’s simply more demand for advice on the nuts and bolts of re-attraction, like knowing what to say, when to kiss an ex, how to not look needy, how to use no contact, and so on.
The second reason is more serious — because talking about compatibility simply isn’t good for business. You see, unlike most re-attraction-related areas, compatibility can’t be faked, changed, or controlled. It’s either there or it’s not.
And let’s be honest, no one wants to hear that. No one wants to hear how they’re probably incompatible with their ex, despite a breakup being a literal sign of incompatibility.
For better or worse, the ignoring stops here.
If you want a lasting and functioning relationship with your ex, you must be somewhat compatible. There is no going around it. More specifically, you must somewhat align on four areas of compatibility: identity, chemistry, sexual harmony, and interests. The more, the merrier.
Let’s tackle them one by one.
Identity mainly boils down to values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices. Values being guiding principles that we find important and base our actions on. Beliefs being ideas and opinions we believe are true. And lifestyle choices being the ways we choose to live our lives based on our distinct values and beliefs.
You and your ex must have these things aligned. Otherwise, your relationship probably won’t work out. Thankfully, an average person only gets romantically involved with another if they share a similar identity.
- High achievers will usually get into relationships with other high achievers.
- Health nuts will usually mingle with other health nuts.
- Intellectual and cultured folk will usually stick to people who are equally intellectual and cultured.
- Party hound socialites will usually flirt and fuck with other party hound socialites.
- Close-minded, lazy drunks will usually attract other close-minded, lazy drunks.
- People who value cleanliness usually jive with people who likewise value cleanliness.
- Conservatives valuing family and religion will usually get involved with other conservatives who value the same things.
In a nutshell, like attracts like. And two people with different identities repel each other — sometimes violently. Pay attention to this stuff.
Chemistry is essentially an unconscious emotional bond that keeps you and your ex excited about each other. Think of it as a reaction of your personalities and emotions aligning in a certain stimulating way.
It’s chemistry that makes all the hours you spend together with your ex go by like seconds. It’s chemistry that propels you to want to constantly cuddle with them and have them by your side. It’s chemistry that makes fucking them so bed-shatteringly-cum-all-over-the-wall amazing. It’s chemistry that tricks you into thinking your ex is the love of your life despite them dating felons, blaming you for their depression, or cheating on you with your best friend.
But unlike a stark disconnect in identity, a lack of chemistry doesn’t necessarily repel your ex — it just makes your relationship kind of dead and boring, sometimes even asexual.
What exactly does chemistry entail? No one really knows. Still, there are best guesses. The best one stating that it’s a mix of shared values, vulnerability, and complementary personality traits.
So the more alike your values are, the more vulnerable you can be with each other, and the more complimentary your personality across dimensions like extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, etc. — the more chemistry you should, in theory, have with your ex.
3. Sexual Harmony
This area basically encapsulates physical attractiveness and sexual preferences. Let’s begin with the former.
I know this is obvious to most, but if you want to create something lasting with your ex, or even if you’re just interested in a hookup, you must be physically drawn to them — and they have to be physically drawn to you.
This physicality threshold will vary from person to person, but it will also vary depending on where you are in your life and how desperate you are at the time.
Regardless, ensure your ex does it for you in the looks department and vice versa. Hopefully none of you have let yourselves go. As for the sexual preferences part of sexual harmony, this simply refers to being on the same page regarding love-making.
- Does one person enjoy discussing sex and the other doesn’t?
- Does one person like to talk dirty and the other doesn’t?
- Do you prefer to be on top or bottom?
- What does your ex prefer?
- Is one person more kinky than the other?
- Are you guys into dress-up?
- How about oral — giving and receiving?
- Do you like to masturbate in front of each other?
- What about phone sex — how do you feel about that?
- How many times a week do you like to have sex?
- Was a disconnect in desires that ended in unmet needs a regular occurrence?
These are all questions you must consider to accurately determine how compatible you are with your ex in terms of sexual harmony. Now if you discover that sparks just aren’t flying in the bedroom, yet you’re both determined about and working towards mending your relationship, you should be open to experimentation, couple counseling, and even sex coaching.
The theory goes that you need many identical interests with your ex to make your relationship run smoothly. Mainly because those identical interests allow for spending quality time together.
Based on hundreds of couples I’ve helped till now, I just don’t buy into this idea. I’ve seen too many of them rekindle things and maintain a healthy and enjoyable relationship in spite of sharing little to no identical interests with their other half.
For this reason, I’m convinced you don’t have to have any identical interests with your ex to make things work. And while it certainly does help, what’s actually far more important is sharing a few similar interests (at least one or two).
Hiking vs. running. Baking desserts vs. grilling meat. Meditation vs. journaling. Painting vs. photography. Swimming in the sea vs. the lake or river. Working in animal shelters vs. working with kids or the elderly. Traveling to the Western world vs. the Eastern world. Reading about economics vs. listening to a podcast about political philosophy.
You get the idea.
In Search Of Flawless Compatibility
A question I often receive after yammering on about this subject is whether or not you have to be 100% compatible with an ex to make things work.
The answer is no.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, all you need to be is somewhat compatible. Being so is enough. Besides, it’s just unrealistic to think you’ll be fully compatible with anyone. There will always be something that will bother you about your ex and vice versa.
And even if by some miracle there aren’t any incompatibilities between you (which I doubt), there’s no guarantee that things will stay that way next week, month, or in ten years. You, me, your ex — people change.
Broadly speaking, aim for being about 70-80% compatible with your ex. Is there a way to measure this? Fuck no. The percentages come down purely to subjective feelings.
But aside from that, being 70-80% compatible is still more than enough to have a well-functioning and lasting relationship, granted there’s still ballooning attraction on your ex’s side, and you took care of the emotional baggage that contributed to your breakup.
As for the remaining 20-30%, just forget about it. It’s dealing with a partner’s flaws, irritating quirks, and mild incompatibilities that will ultimately make a relationship meaningful and fulfilling. We’re attracted to each other’s rough edges, after all — not perfections.
That said, if you’re not about at least 70-80% compatible with your ex, move on and find someone else. You’ll thank me later. And while you may argue that since people change, your ex will eventually change as well and perhaps become compatible, I’d still say it’s not worth waiting for their breakthrough.
It’s not worth waiting simply because life’s short. That, and because hanging onto an ex you’re incompatible with just shows a massive lack of self-respect and esteem, which nobody appreciates or finds appealing. So, in many ways, waiting for them to return will paradoxically just repel them further away.
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