Compatibility and Chemistry in Relationships

Healthy and Toxic Combinations of Compatibility and Chemistry

Unfortunately, compatibility and chemistry don’t always occur together.

A relationship with high compatibility but little chemistry is likely to be a boring yet comfortable series of meetings and conversations. It will be a dry and dull affair until both parties simply stop caring and drift apart, or they consummate their mutual convenience by getting married and find themselves in a lifetime of uncomplicated and (often) asexual companionship. Sadly, this arrangement isn’t uncommon.

Chemistry without compatibility, on the other hand, usually leads to disaster.4 Sometimes it can be as simple as not living in the same part of the world, but often it’s far more complicated than that.

When two people are completely incompatible, their behavior becomes completely irrational. Too often, two incompatible people initiate a cycle of mutual emotional immolation, spiraling through love/hate cycles together at the speed of life.

People find themselves saying things like, “I don’t care if he’s married to a convicted felon, we’re meant to be together,” or “Look, I know she faked being pregnant to get me to propose to her, but you know, it may just be fate, right?” Meanwhile, friends stare, jaws agape, unsure whether to risk the backlash by trying to snap them out of it or to feign support while their love-blind torture victim pal continues to spin helpless and deluded in a tornado of love.

High levels of chemistry with major incompatibilities is bad news. Really bad news.

These relationships usually begin quickly and passionately, exploding like a geyser, before dying down just as quickly as it erupted. This tends to happen when logic kicks in and when reality makes itself known. Suddenly, you realize how fucking offensive you find each other, but getting out of such a relationship is easier said than done. Your heart says yes, but your head says no. And then you convince your head to say yes, which in turn makes your heart say no.

At this point, your decision making usually defaults to your genitals—even though their track record for decision making is about as good as a drunk third-grader’s—which only leads to embarrassing public arguments, unpaid drink tabs, thrown iPhones, changed locks, unanswered phone calls, tear-ridden voicemails, and the sterile interior of a clinic, or if you’re lucky, an oh-god-please-don’t-give-me-a-false-positive-you-piece-of-shit-$9.99-pregnancy-test-from-a-7/11 experience, which is guaranteed to challenge anyone’s sanity.

And then there you are (wherever you go, as they say), and you find yourself jobless with two one-way tickets to Bermuda that were never used, six stitches, slashed car tires, and a shattered cell phone. But at least that psycho is fucking gone (even though you still kinda miss them). The experience is vicious yet thrilling, and will never let you forget that we are, after all, animals.

Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything. Nope. Nothing to see here. Move along.

The chemistry and compatibility matrix