When you’re trying to assemble an electronic gadget, you’ve got all the cords connected, you’ve got the manual, but it’s just not working…that can be very frustrating. Same thing can be applied to when you’re dealing with relationships.
After my most recent romantic relationship ended in April, I learned a very valuable lesson…THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONNECTION AND COMPATIBILITY.
This was a great lesson for me as it helped ease the hurt and disappointment that often comes with a breakup. I’ll further explain.
More often than not, a connection serves as a catalyst for a relationship, and it is a great feeling that can attract you to someone physically, mentally and emotionally. But by sheer definition, a connection is simply a physical or metaphorical link to a person, thing or idea. While our lives are enriched by connections, I’m sure we could all agree that we don’t want to date any and every person that we click with. Connections are a come and go fleeting type of thing. Yes, we both like Thai food, love Janelle Monae, and challenge the status quo of organized religion, but is that enough to make a relationship work and meet one another’s needs? As I was reflecting on whether or not my needs were met in my last relationship, I realized that there was a great connection there, but that ultimately we both would be left with unmet needs.
Which brings me to my next point… compatibility. By definition, compatibility is a consistent harmonious ability to be matched and used together. When unpacking and applying that definition to a relationship, it raises important questions that any one and their (potential) partner have to figure out. “Do we value the same things?” “Can we understand one another’s needs?” “Are we equipped to meet each other’s needs?” These questions alone take someone from the initial attraction and connection phase, to making a sustainable loving compatible relationship.
One person in the relationship may value a faith and demonstrative displays of their spirituality, while the other person may not have a faith or might be more insular about how they practice their beliefs. One party may value uninterrupted venting and listening while the other person may see it as complaining and unable to solve problems. Neither is wrong for their approach, they’re just different and seemingly incompatible. A good first step in moving from a connections-only relationship based model is to figure out the things that someone would have to deeply understand about you and put up with for the duration of your relationship.
I’m still in the process of learning and discovering what it is I truly value and need, but with the things that I am aware of, I will certainly honor their role in my relational happiness, and commit to engaging suitors beyond a connection level. You can have all the right cable cords connected…but if they aren’t hooked up in a way that’s compatible to a device’s requirements…it just won’t work. I’m now seeing myself as a cable cord ready device…and hopefully there’s a matching compatible pair of
cords ready to make magic happen.