Psychology Today contributing author Preston Ni recently posted an article maintaining that the long-term viability of a relationship can be determined by examining seven key factors (Seven Key Factors to Long-Term Relationship Success). The lengthy article is well-worth reading, but I’m sharing the section on intimacy compatibility with all of you because, for those seeking more romance in their lives, increasing intimacy of any kind is important.
Apparently intimacy can be broken down into four dimensions:
- Physical (everything from a simple touch to sex);
- Emotional (effectively expressing and/or validating loving emotions);
- Intellectual (the kinship inspired by a discussion or debate with a partner one feels is an intellectual equal); and
- Shared Activities (shared positive interactions/experiences that help bond the pair).
A quick compatibility test can help identify the areas of a relationship that need extra attention. List the dimensions as follows:
Partner A Partner B
In each category, both partners should rank whether or not that category of intimacy is a must (crucial), should (good, but not needed daily), or could (relatively unimportant) for them in a romantic relationship. Obviously, a must-must match in any category proves excellent compatibility. Must-Should and Should-Should each signals good compatibility. The Could-Must pairing indicates poor compatibility.
If you and your partner come up short in a category, don’t despair! Poor compatibility categories require further dialogue between partners, but aren’t insurmountable. Once the issue is identified, it can be addressed if both partners are willing to compromise. While early attempts to overcome unnatural expressions of intimacy may initially feel uncomfortable to someone trying to meet his/her partner’s needs, everyone is capable of change, especially when motivated by the desire to stay connected. You’ve probably heard the saying “fake it until you make it”… and apparently it’s true!
We all know if our own needs are being met, but since we’re always evolving (individually, and as couples), it never hurts to touch base with your partner to ensure you’re meeting his/her needs as well.
When I consider this test, I’d probably rank the categories, in order, as should, must, must, should. Now I’d better check with my husband to see what he thinks!