Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No One Can Possibly Meet All Your Needs

No one can possibly meet all of your needs.

The reverse is true too. Above is what I call a Compatibility Needs Chart to help you understand why. Like the the Social Dating & Mating Chart in my article, Evolution Is A Bitch, I couldn't find one to convey this message on the Internet, so made up my own.

This one breaks down most of the basic needs people have, and it's useful to compare yours with someone you're interested in or involved with.

Think of this chart as a pie - but remember that the slices are never equal. For example, one section could be large and another very small. You can assess your own needs and also add your own slices, such as your parenting style if or when you have kids.

This is useful in comparing yours to a potential boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. Do the two of you have compatible needs and styles?

Emotional & Temperament Compatibility

As a couple, are the two of you comfortable with each others inborn and basic temperament?

Here are a few examples. Some people are stoic. They don't cry easily or are given to drama. Others are very expressive and wear their feelings on their sleeve. This may or may not work out, depending what the other person craves in a partner.

Some people are naturally quiet. They can spend an evening saying very little and prefer a quiet partner too. Others need lots of conversation, and are uncomfortable with silence. There are plenty of successful 'mixed' couples, however, and wouldn't have it any other way.

Some folks are spur of the moment. They'll pack a suitcase in a heartbeat and head for the beach or last minute invitation. Others need to plan and don't like quick and unexpected changes.

There are those who live for today and don't plan. They don't save money, their credit cards are smokin' hot, and they don't make long-term plans for career. They are entirely comfortable living like this. Others would never dream of this lifestyle and consider it dangerous. This type of couple often has a lot of conflict.

Visual Pleasure, Sex Drive, and Sexual Style in Bed

Never underestimate visual pleasure. Before we want something, except for the blind, we usually have to see it.

Some people have a need to maximize their appearance. They even want their pets to look good, like Rainbow Poodle above, or a muscled out Doberman dog named Killah. These folks look great most of the time, and often prefer this in a mate, but not always. Others are strictly casual, jeans and tee shirts, or even slobs, and dislike dressing up.

If one person needs their lover to have that certain look to light their fire, and their lover rarely satisfies the other's need for visual pleasure, they have a compatibility problem in this area, particularly if one was a certain way in the beginning, but slacked off as the relationship wore on.

Their lover is likely to feel betrayed if the other makes little or no effort to stay in shape, or the opposite situation where suddenly one gets in shape and starts dressing up. I'll have a whole article about couples who had that on their plate next week.

People vary in their sex drive. Some have an enormous sexual appetite. They literally cannot study, focus on their work or anything else until it is satisfied. This hits teens and the 20s crowd the hardest, and for many, is a contributing factor for low grades.

Blame Mother Nature disguised as our hormones, commanding us to seek a mate and reproduce. A strong sex drive is not evil, although the Puritanical streak in our culture paints it so, while the hedonistic side of our society will exploit it.

Some people have low sex drives and cannot understand why others or their partner is always ready to get naked and do the wild thing. They can go days, weeks, months, even years without having sex, or even masturbating.

As people age, they also tend to 'forget' what it felt like to be all juiced up all the time. Ask a woman in her mid to late 30s who is taking a fertility-inducing medication. If she's honest, she'll tell you she hasn't been this horny in 15 or more years.

Sexual style and compatibility in bed is important in determining compatibility. A lot of people love to do it off and on all night, every night, especially when they're young, while others are ready to quit way sooner and are content with getting laid once or twice a week.

Some people like the kind of sex you see in porn movies, where anything goes. Then there are those won't do oral sex, or only be on the receiving end. Others may reject sex toys, anal sex, threesomes, sex parties, etc. People have widely varying comfort levels in bed, and when one needs one type of sex that the other rejects, their pie charts ain't overlapping and they have problems in that section.

Need for Entertainment and/or Physical Activities

The couch potato with the athletic type who can't sit still and wants a partner to jog with or go camping, swimming, etc. runs the risk of becoming bored with one another.

This is true of the party animal paired up with someone who hates going out socially. Or sometimes, they share little in common with what they like to do for entertainment. One has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to bowling events while the other will hide rather blow a day at a museum.

Nearly all couples have activities they like that the doesn't, but if they can't find a common ground of fun things to do together, that's less pleasure in the relationship and ultimately can hurt it.

Intellectual Interests, Curiosity and Humor

Some people discover after the sexual excitement has been satisfied that they have little to talk about, or if you do talk, your style of communication is so different that misunderstandings are common, and you may even accuse each other never meaning what they say or never saying what they mean.

Another indicator of compatibility is do the two of you laugh at the same things?

This is more important than you might think. A little laughter each day is a major stress reducer and can smooth over a lot of the hard times couples encounter. If one is annoyed at another's sense and style of humor, that's a wet blanket on the relationship.

Folks with widely different educational backgrounds find happiness all the time, and the key really isn't education but knowledgeability about issues the two think are important.

I believe that a well-rounded education benefits most people, but college isn't the only avenue to this.

Some of the smartest people you'll ever meet never got past high school but read the paper and learned a skill. There are folks out there selling cars and houses (before the economy nosed dived) who only have HS diplomas but the make a mint.

Aside from specific technical and professional information, you can learn more from keeping up with the world, national and local news, style, and sports section in a paper than in college. Many college kids graduate and don't know jack about the world or their profession beyond the textbooks.

Tip to college students: Take half hour a day to review the world and information related to your chosen profession. You'll have an advantage in job interviews, because you can drop names and trends in the conversation.

But let's look at 'smarts'. It isn't all that important to a lot of people, and they don't need, care or want to talk about a lot of worldly stuff. This can include black issues. They just want go to work, get paid, come home and relax and have fun when they can.

They might enjoy conversations about sports, celebrities, fashion, what so and so's been doing, or a hobby like music, gardening and fixing cars.

Doesn't mean their IQ is lower than the other person, although it could if there's an overall dullness about them. More likely is that they're tuned out to other conversations because they feel like they're not part of it ('it' being the system or world events), nor have any control or power over it, so why bother worrying about it?

Thus, if one person has a need for 'smart' discussions, i.e., intellectual stuff, and the other is bored to tears by this, their pie charts don't match up. After awhile, one usually gets bored or downright resentful if the other tries to change them.

Ambition and Economics

Traditionally, this was the man's role, to be ambitious enough to get a job and the best job possible. Black families, however, have always needed both partners to work, and now, most white American families have to, to pay the bills.

Women still have a strong bias against men who sit on their behinds eating cereal and playing video games all day (and if you can't tell, I'm one). Resentment often creeps in even if he's taking care of the baby while she works, if this goes on "too long". If the couple doesn't mind this arrangement, you can bet their family and friends have plenty to say about it.

Historically, people view men as not fulfilling their role as being the hunter or farmer and able to bring home dinner. He is often seen as low in the hierarchy or totem pole, and disposable since he's viewed as useless.

When men are doing fantastically well, most don't mind if their wife doesn't work, particularly if they have children. But what if she has a real career and doesn't want to stop working, and he hates his babies in daycare? Their values and expectations clash.

Spiritual and/or Religious

I'm not using the two words interchangeably. One can feel deeply spiritual and connected to God without ever setting foot in a church or attending only on holidays.

Some folks are not religious or spiritual. They not only don't need this in a partner, they don't want it. It's not a slice on their chart. Some may or may not care if it's on yours, as long as your don't force it on them.

Others need religion. They may be peripherally involved with church or attend regularly and play life by the Book in a very orthodox or even rigid way.

The biggest mistake a friend of mine made years ago was giving up a woman he really, truly loved because she couldn't agree to go to church with him every single Sunday. This is so important to him that he had to have this and no compromise of I'll go once a month could satisfy him.

Hardly anyone understood this, even her. He grieved for nearly a year over the loss of this relationship, and is still single.

Disagreement over religion and/or how to raise any children in terms of their spiritual or religious upbringing is also one of the top reasons couples break up.

In summary, we can have different styles and interests, and still have a successful relationship, but it's harder.

When you think of your past loves that failed, beyond the "he/she did me wrong", ask yourself how much overlapping there was on your mutual Compatibility Needs Chart.

And like the photo below, and despite who did what to who, was one of you like a cow trying to swim with a dolphin?


Hope you enjoyed this Hard Rocks Love #2, No One Can Possibly Meet All Your Needs, which is a reprint from my series.

~ Kit

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