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By Tom Blake
Marie, 68 and divorced, is puzzled. She emailed: “Is compatibility the basic foundation when meeting someone? So many people are involved in non-compatible relationships where passion and emotion are missing.”
“Why am I so confused about this? I need clarity,” Marie concluded.
I asked other readers who have recently written to me how they feel about the importance of compatibility in relationships.
Kay emailed: “I am far beyond 50, however, I am in excellent health and am full of energy, and have a good sense of humor! I am blessed that my dad taught me about cars, guns, and sports. This enables me to get along with men, as we have much in common.”
“Compatibility is important,” she added. “Couples can have interests that are different … but I find life calm and peaceful and yet exhilarating when two people enjoy similar things and both love the same way.”
Susan said, “Compatibility must be present but also compassion and understanding. Two people are not compatible because they like the same things all the time. They are compatible because they have many qualities that encourage understanding, patience, compassion, desirability, attraction, and more.
“If you enjoy home-cooked meals and neither of you likes to cook, then you are probably not going to be compatible after the newness of the relationship wears off.”
Althea emailed: “Compatibility is important, especially for people 60-plus. When you are older and have already developed all your values, likes, and dislikes, quirks, habits, etc., you need and want someone who shares those things.
“I get excited initially when I see a man on a dating site who grew up in New England where I’m from, or loves dogs, only to discover some deal breakers: like he lives a seven-hour drive away, is a smoker, or is politically opposite.”
Two Orange County men offered their opinions on compatibility in relationships.
Wayne said, “Like-mindedness is very important in a healthy relationship. As we go through the various stages of life (youth, marriage(s), building a career, raising a family, etc.), we deal with many issues including resolving lots of conflicts.
“At 73, I now prefer a relatively stress-free, drama-free life. Why not enjoy the final chapters of one’s life with both friends and loved ones who share similar values and interests?
“Basic (not perfect) compatibility adds both longevity and quality to one’s life.”
And Tom shared: “I met Linda online—Our Time—and clicked on the first wine meetup. We’ve been dating exclusively since June 2019.
“I became a widower in 2005, and she was widowed in 2015.
“Widows and widowers, if they can get over their loss, are comfortable knowing someone already has—and a new person can—rekindle their love of life. They are not trying to duplicate the past, but know the traits that excite them and embrace reality.
“Linda is a fantastic cook, and I’m a diligent cleaner-upper so we work together on meals and then enjoy Netflix or a TV sporting event.
“Compatibility is very important. I don’t think ‘opposites attract’ is worth the time to make it a success. The willingness to work together shows mutual caring for each other. Linda found gardening to be enjoyable working with me. Be a giver more than a taker.”
Hopefully, the comments from the five above readers will clear up Marie’s confusion about compatibility in relationships. It’s imperative in relationships, particularly during this pandemic when most of us are cooped up together under one roof. But other qualities need to be present as well—physical attraction, caring, kindness, and love. All are important.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.