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Old 08-01-2012, 01:26 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 1,443

I took my time to post in here because it's a tricky subject, but I'll give it my best shot.

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
How have you known when you were compatible or incompatible with someone? A feeling right away? A conclusion reached after a long period of trying to work? Intuition? Chemistry?
Every time there has been an incompatibility, it started with a feeling right away. However, I tried to make it work anyways, I didn't see it as an incompatibility from the get go, just as a difference. Then after time working on it and things not getting better (sometimes worse), incompatibility would lead to a breakup.

I think it can be a chemical thing, especially if it's sexual compatibility, if you're not sexually attracted to someone or the sex doesn't work for you, that's a pretty big incompatibility. Other times, it's just a feeling you get when you talk to someone and you realise you're on different wavelengths, almost like you're having two different conversations.
There is someting between the two of you that just doesn't work. It can be cultural, it can be political, it can be religious... it doesn't have to cause you to argue endlessly or hate each other, but it can create a disconnect, and that means the potential for intimacy with the person is reduced. I don't think I can feel emotionally intimate with someone if I keep thinking "he doesn't understand me at all!" and "I just don't get him".

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Is it even anything we can quantify or analyze? What does the word compatible mean to you, with regard to your relationships?
Quantify, maybe not; analyse, definitely. What it means to me, well, see above, that disconnect, that different way of thinking, or feeling, or doing. The kind of thing that makes you feel like you just don't have much in common, like you're from different planets.
I'm French and I've dated people in France, Canada and the US, but I don't think the cultural shock depends on nationality alone. I felt I shared cultural values more with some people in North America than some people in France.
Sometimes it's little thing, like watching the same shows or playing the same games as kids. But these don't matter that much, you can have different experiences, what matters is what you did with them. When someone tells me about the show THEY watched or the game THEY played, I'll know right away if it resonates with me or if I'm just left thinking "what the hell?"

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Are there different kinds of compatibility and is that why poly can work for some seemingly disparate combinations of people?
First half of the question: yes, there definitely is. Sexual, emotional, cultural... There are a bunch of different reasons for people to be incompatible.
I'm not sure what poly changes to that. If I'm incompatible with someone, I'm not going to "fix it" by getting together with someone else. If, say, I'm sexually incompatible with partner A, no amount of amazing sex with partner B will fill my "sexual intimacy with A" gage. That one relationship will still have that one problem. Will it affect me less? Maybe. But then, any incompatibility other than sexual could be "fixed" by being compatible with your friends (which you usually are in many ways, that's why you're friends) and that's just not how it works either.

When I look at it, the partners I'm attracted to, the partners I get along with, they follow the same model. They're the "compatible with Ton" type. Not being 100% perfect for each other is always something you need to be able to live with, but by the time it reaches "incompatibility" status, to me it means the problem is too big and it compromises the relationship.
Because to me "compatible" doesn't mean "100% compatible". It means "at all compatible". And "incompatible" means "sorry, you can't make that aspect of your relationship work". Otherwise you're still compatible, just not perfectly.

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
How do you handle relationships when incompatibility becomes the obvious problem? And do you think incompatibility can be overcome and result in a satisfying relationship anyway?
In the past, I have tried to work on it hard, and for a long time, and made myself tired, unhappy, and wasted time. At this point, I think it's best to let it go. You can't be with everyone you like who likes you back. And that's fine. They can be part of your life in other ways. I'd rather nurture a relationship that's off to a great start from the beginning than spend the same energy struggling to make a relationship work.
I guess what I'm saying is, I'm done with the scarcity model. Sure it's hard when you're in love with the person, but experience has taught me it's harder the longer you hang onto it. I wish I had been less idealistic when I was younger, it would have saved both me and my partners some trouble, and we'd have a better relationship now. Sure it would be a friendship, not a romantic relationship, but these are awesome too.
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