When I ran into my friend Kalia the other day, I was amazed at how relaxed and happy she looked.
Her hair was styled in the same light brown bob as always, and she was casually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, but she looked like she’d stepped straight off the plane from some tropical island vacation.
As we chatted, I found out why. She’d met someone. They’d been together three months, and everything was going swimmingly.
“When can I meet him?” I asked.
She hesitated. Her mood changed before my eyes. Then she grabbed my arm and said, “James, we have to talk. Do you have time?”
Over the next half hour, I found out what was troubling her. She didn’t know if she had a long-term future with this guy.
Even though she’d never been in a relationship this good, and even though their chemistry and connection were undeniable, they weren’t anything alike. He liked mud truck racing; she liked the theater. He liked country music; she liked pop.
“We just aren’t compatible, James,” she said with a sigh. “I feel like I’m leading him on. I love being with him, but I can’t see a future for us.”
Kalia was surprised to learn that I hear this kind of thing all the time. (I even wrote a mini-report about it…which is free to those of you in my Irresistible Insiders program.)
A LOT of women fall in love with men who aren’t exactly what they expected.
So how important is compatibility?
Even more important, what does it even mean to be compatible with someone? Does it mean you like the same hobbies, same foods, same music?
I’m excited to share the latest research with you, especially as it seems to contradict much of what we’ve been taught. Hopefully it will reassure you as much as it did Kalia!
Compatibility Fact #1.
Happy couples aren’t necessarily similar.
One of the most surprising research findings is that happy couples don’t always have as much in common as you’d think. They often have different interests and spend time apart doing their own thing.
A longitudinal study of long-term married couples found that happy couples recognize that the quality of their relationship comes down to the work they put in, not how much they’re alike.
Unhappy couples, on the other hand, blame incompatibility for their relationship dissatisfaction. They put a high premium on similarity, as if being more alike could fix their troubles.
Dr. Ted Hudson of the University of Texas put these couples to the test. Were the happy couples blessed with compatibility? Were the unhappy couples too dissimilar to be happy? Here’s his conclusion:
“My research shows that there is no difference in the objective compatibility between those couples who are unhappy and those who are happy.”
So it’s not how alike you are that matters. It’s how you treat one another.
Surprising Compatibility Fact #2.
Having similar tastes doesn’t necessarily make you compatible.
If you met someone who liked all the same things you do—same books, same movies, same lifestyle—would you be compatible?
The surprising answer is not necessarily.
You could be a 100% match according to an online dating site, but that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy his company once you’re sitting across a table from one another. Sometimes, a person’s differences are what makes them appealing.
Instead of focusing on superficial similarities, focus on how you interact. It’s the ebb and flow of conversation, or the physical contact of a hug or a touch, that tells you whether this person has a place in your life or not.
As I told Kalia, it’s okay if your guy’s tastes don’t match your own. What matters most is how you feel when you’re together.
Compatibility Fact #3.
What you want isn’t what you want.
When you sign up for a dating site, they ask you what you’re looking for. You can specify—often in great detail—exactly the kind of partner you want.
Yet here’s the crazy thing…
Most people throw their preferences out the window once they meet someone face-to-face.
You may want a guy who’s outgoing, likes nature, and wants children…
But that doesn’t mean you’ll actually like the guy sitting in front of you, even if he is outgoing, likes nature, and wants children.
In fact, even your deal breakers may matter less than you think. In one study, 3 out of 4 people agreed to go out with someone who possessed a deal-breaker trait. 
If you’re looking for strong evidence that you’re compatible with someone, your preferences are less important than what happens when you are together.
Does he treat you with warmth and respect? Does he work at making this a good experience for you? Does he support what you want from life? Are you on the same team?
Luckily for Kalia, the answer to all those questions was
yes. A good sign of happily-ever-after!