Bogie and Bacall. Tracey and Hepburn. They all seem to have achieved that perfect bonding, that melding of like-minded souls. But the fact is, finding a true soul mate is not easy.
"I think what's important is to remember is that even though opposites attract and even though someone may seem very mysterious and exciting because they're different, really what works best over a long period of time, over the course of a lifetime, is to find somebody who is like you, where there's that feeling of, 'He's from my village. I understand him. I get him.'" explains Dr. Linda Austin, psychiatrist and author of Heart of the Matter.
Austin employs the following acronym when looking for someone of similar mind.
The Fundamentals of Compatibility
E = Enjoyment
V = Values
A = Accessibility
L = Love
U = Understanding
A = Attitudes
T = Temperament
E = Environment
The E for enjoyment is the easy part, Austin says. Those are the things you have fun doing together. Once you're in a relationship, you need activities that bind you together and that you both really enjoy.
Values are the things you really believe in. At the end of the day, what do you want your life to be about? Family, friends, work? There has to be compatibility around those core human issues, she said.
Accessibility, Austin explains, is whether the individual in question is really available for love. Not just that they're playing hard to get, but that they really are hard to get because they don't have much of a capacity for emotional sharing. Likewise, does he show love, share love -- is his idea of love the same as yours?
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Understanding is fundamental. Do you 'get him'? Does he 'get you'? Are you constantly scratching your head because you don't understand why he is reacting in a certain way?
Temperament can encompass numerous things but Austin offered this example: If you're with someone who is prone to chronic depression, is it something you can live with, or will you be unable to deal with his condition after a while?
"Environment refers to the environment that we each bring to a relationship," she says. You don't come in just as a single person. You come with a family, friends, a community -- are each individual's communities compatible or will you constantly be making compromises and stretching yourself in uncomfortable ways?
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