by Andrew Summersgill
Tuesday, 17th April 2012
Hollywood’s uber couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have finally got engaged. This is one Hollywood union that appears to be a happy one. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but they do seem to be well-matched on every level, from their commitment to family, their passion for charitable causes and their focus on spending time together, even their coordinating clothing.
But behind the veneer of celebrity, is there really such a thing as a ‘perfect match’? And how can we tell if our date is going to be right for us, especially when the honeymoon period is over?
Dr Gian Gonzaga, Senior Director of Research at eHarmony.co.uk and an expert in the field of relationship science and compatibility explains the science behind a ‘perfect match’.
“Looking at a seemingly perfect couple like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie makes us all take a good look at ourselves and assess what kind of relationship we’re in - or we’d like to be in.
Of course the idea of the ‘perfect couple’ is a myth, particularly in Hollywood. We’re all flawed and it’s natural and healthy to have differences, but it is possible to be perfectly matched with someone. That’s compatibility.
Too often people confuse chemistry and attraction with compatibility. That glance held for too long, the smiles and laughter that make you feel as if you’re hopelessly in love – that’s chemistry and attraction. It’s amazing but you’re going to need more if you want to last a lifetime. That’s where compatibility is crucial. Compatibility is the magic that keeps you together. It’s about sharing a complementary approach to life, personality traits, interests, and the way you handle the good and hard times.
Here are a few attributes that all of the great couples I’ve interviewed share:
Passion – The best relationships involve two people who have worked hard to cultivate their passion for each other. If romantic passion is important for you and yet less so for your partner, cracks will appear. A ‘hearts and flowers’ type is always going to be disappointed with someone whose idea of romance is a frozen pizza and a night on the sofa. So be sure to understand how important romantic passion is to your partner and work together to keep the passion alive even when you’ve been together for some time.
Physical energy levels - A couple should share the same energy levels - whether that’s preferring more passive activities like going to the theatre or watching movies, or if you’re more ‘Brangelina’, sharing seemingly boundless energy levels. It stands to reason that if one member of a couple wants to be out dancing the night away and the other would rather be in with a nice cup of tea, your relationship is going to encounter more issues. You may adopt each other’s behaviour in the short-term but over the long term you will revert back to type and in doing so one or both of you will feel like you are continually compromising to make the other happy.
Sociability - Shrinking wall flower or social butterfly? Some people are extremely eager to be involved with other people in a social context. Others find social involvement anxiety-provoking and painful. If a person is high on sociability, they are usually seen to be eager for social engagement. The couples I’ve met who are happy have similar sociability levels so take the time to get to know someone and really understand their level of introversion or extroversion and whether it’s complementary to your own.
Shared interests - The couple that achieve goals together stays together. Not every couple will have the same hobbies, so you don’t have to go and join him on the football pitch, but sharing interests like DIY around the house or travelling to exotic places can bring you closer if you work together and make it fun.
Family goals - It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got kids, are planning on having them, or don’t want them. What is important is that you agree on family goals with your partner. The desire to have children is a delicate but significant part of your future life and is a crucial component of any relationship. Talk to each other and understand your needs and desires upfront, it’s unlikely these will change with time so it’s best to have this conversation earlier rather than later.
And above all - If you don’t feel that your relationship is going to be right for you in the long term, learn from celebrity couples, move on. There is definitely someone out there who is perfectly matched to you. You may argue, and there may be ups and downs, but it’ll all be worth it for the right person.
Guest blog kindly supplied by Dr Gian Gonzaga, Senior Director of Research at eHarmony
Picture credit: Wikipedia
As Managing Director of London's premier speed dating firm Original Dating, Andrew has huge experience of the dating scene and has been helping people meet since 2002. Andrew co-founded Dating Trail in 2008 and is a driving force behind this website.
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