Why Love Does Not Equal Compatibility

In June I was scouting places to cater my church’s African themed Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.  I went to Veronica’s Kitchen in Inglewood to taste the food (delicious cuisine by the way) and encountered the antiquated coin-only parking meters.  I had one quarter on me and to my frustration the machine did not register it when I inserted the coin.  The meter was broken.  I wondered why this meter would not accept the quarter for which it is perfectly made.  Why would a perfect match not fit? 

I felt the same frustration in previous relationships.  Why is being in relationship with this person difficult when I love him?  Why can’t or won’t he meet my needs?  Why does it seem we cannot get on the same page?  I came to realize that just because you love someone, does not mean you are compatible. 

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I talked to my cousin about this and he asked me: “How do you know it was love? Perhaps what you felt was lust?”  That begs the questions, what is love, what is lust and how can we tell the difference? To paraphrase a quote I once heard:  Lust is plucking a beautiful flower, love is watering that flower.  In lust, one’s main focus is on one’s self.  How this person benefits the self.  Whereas love looks out to acknowledge the other and care for him or her in a selfless manner.  How can we discern if it’s love or lust?  Ask yourself if you would be with this person if she did not have her looks, power, money, or status?  Are you content with simply spending time with her with no thrills involved? Of course, it is healthy to desire a person whom you find attractive and is established, however, that should not be your sole attraction to the person.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now that we know the difference between love and lust, what does it mean to be compatible?  I found two definitions for the adjective: Google (of two things) able to exist or occur together without conflict. Merriam-Webster capable of existing together in harmony.  We have existing without conflict and existing in harmony.  I would relate it as the quarter going into the parking meter and adding the time accordingly.  When you have constant conflict in your relationship, you must ask yourself, “are we compatible?”  There is a healthy amount of conflict in any relationship but prolonged conflict will not allow the relationship to flourish.  When I experienced prolonged conflict in my relationship I asked my partner questions it concluded that we were not compatible due to fundamental differences in beliefs and desires for the relationship.  I learned that love does not equal compatibility.  Differences in upbringing, value systems and lifestyle greatly impacts the success of a relationship.  The consequences of being with an incompatible partner include frustration, strife, lower self-esteem and self-worth.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Investing quality time in the beginning of a relationship can help you access the compatibility between you and your partner.  I learned that being my authentic self is of utmost importance in the courtship phase.  If I want a man to pick me up for a date, I tell him that.  This way I can see if he is willing to meet that requirement and he knows what I expect of him when we go out together.  Likewise, if I prefer phone calls to texting then I let that be known.  It is better for both parties to be honest about their requirements and expectations before making a commitment to one another.  This helps to avoid hurt feelings later.

I am curious as to what your thoughts on this subject are? Do you feel differently?  What has your experience been with love and compatibility.  Please let me know in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Why Love Does Not Equal Compatibility

  1. brirachal says:

    I enjoyed reading and I agree. You can totally love someone and not be compatible with them in a romantic relationship. Furthermore, I think sometimes people have not spent enough time with themselves to grow and figure out what they offer to a relationship and what they need/want from a relationship. So needs and wants can be unclear. Therefore, troubling to the relationship and/or time spent with the wrong person. Whereas when you are clear on your own needs and wants, it is as simple as telling the person what you like, as you mentioned. And when you understand what that person offers to you, you will either be thankful or have acceptance that it doesn’t meet your needs. It is easier to love someone when we know how to meet their needs (watering their seeds) and vise versa. Thus, I feel like the key to love is seeking understanding 🙂


    • Curly Roots says:

      Such wisdom Bri! I enjoyed reading your well-articulated thoughts on the post. I agree that taking time to know ourselves is a prerequisite for a relationship. Thank you for adding your perspective and pearls of wisdom. I absolutely love the expression “watering their seeds” – that’s love.


  2. auwiling says:

    This was very well written and well reasoned. It definitely spoke to my experiences. Love alone does not equal compatibility and that’s something that took me a while to understand. And yes, you can tell by an unhealthy amount of conflict that a couple is not compatible. However a lack of conflict does not also signify compatibility as the couple may just be practicing avoidance and those usually break up at the first real confrontation. Compatibility to me has come to mean ability to resolve conflict in a manner that enhances growth of the relationship.


    • Curly Roots says:

      Thank you Alain for sharing your thoughts. True, a lack of conflict may very well be avoidance which isn’t healthy either. It denotes the fragility of the foundation. Well said – Compatibility is the ability to resolve conflict in a manner that enhances the growth of relationship 🙂


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