Style Sex & Relationships

Saturday 18 August 2018

Shane Watson: Couples compatibility test - 10 ways to tell if you’re with the right person

Woof love: John Cusack and Diane Lane bond over their love of dogs in Must Love Dogs
Woof love: John Cusack and Diane Lane bond over their love of dogs in Must Love Dogs

Shane Watson

Apparently, a common source of friction in the workplace is the thermostat setting. Half the people in offices are too hot (men), the other half are cold (women).

This instantly made me think of my couples compatibility list - a checklist, compiled by me, which I've been planning to print, laminate and hand out to anyone planning on making a co-habiting commitment.

Agreeing on the thermostat setting (and fug-or-fresh air in the bedroom) is, as it happens, number nine on the list.

If you can't agree on temperature, you're going to be tucked up in separate beds before you can say: "Who knew something so small could make such a big difference?"

The point about the couples compatibility list is it consists entirely of things you don't think about at the start of a relationship, which later turn out to be very important. You will not find "shared political beliefs" on this list. Or a mutual appreciation of film.

The items on the compatibility list are the soft, subtle, apparently inconsequential incompatibilities: the ones that gradually lead to eye-rolling, then tack-spitting and, eventually, who knows what, but nothing good.

So here are the top 10. Feel free to leave it lying around for those in the 'exclusive and serious' phase.

1. Dogs or cats

Are you both dog people or cat people (yawn, yes we know), but as importantly, how are you with pets: sentimental and oversensitive on their behalf? Kind and responsible? Flakey? Better be on the same page because this is your parenting preview.

2. Mooching

Are you going to all the galleries and the artefacts-of-war exhibition and the gourd-whittling demonstration, or are you basically drifting while keeping an eye out for a good lunch place?

3. Music

Taste in, obviously - but also volume and when and where. If you are an always-background-music person and they are an occasional appreciator of Benjamin Britten, that could make you sad.

4. Sense of humour-failure threshold

Sharing the same definition of what constitutes a crisis and what is pant-wettingly funny might sound like another way of saying check your beloved's sense of humour, but it's more than that. Their sense of humour-failure threshold needs to be on a par with yours. If one of you thinks that trying to catch pigs in a muddy field during a storm is hilarious, and the other one thinks it is serious and dangerous… uh-oh.

5. People-reading

If you have to explain why it was, in your opinion, the equivalent of nails raked down a blackboard when everyone assembled to hear Jill sing 'Summertime' a cappella in the conservatory, your people-reading radar is out of sync. Which means… it's hopeless, is the truth.

6. Honesty rules

If you're the sort of person who asks the question "How do I look?", expecting the answer "Amazing!", make sure you pick someone with a fully programmed honesty filter. If you would prefer the unfiltered response, even if it's, "I can see your pants. And, to be honest, you're reminding me of Charlton Heston", then go for one of them.

7. Warm fuzzies or instant nausea

Are you on the same page re the phrase "I love you to the moon and back"? Warm fuzzies or instant nausea? Sort this one out and you will accidentally cover a lot of bases.

8. Travel

Make sure you are either in Team Adventure, or team two weeks anywhere you can get a tan.

9. Agree on the thermostat setting

Not agreeing is practically divisive, and your temperature preference reveals a lot about your character. For example: low riders are more likely to enjoy outdoor activities, eat less, and spend less time at the hairdresser's.

10. Plate sharing

You've got to like each other's food.

That's the basic compatibility test. That and your definition of "tightwad" and "enough to drink" and "just loud enough to not disturb the neighbours".

Irish Independent

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