Is there a way to know, or even predict, if a relationship will last? In my experience as a relationship coach, there most certainly is.
If you are in a new relationship, or trying to decide if the person you’re dating is “the one,” or if you’re hoping to meet someone special, at some point you’re going to wonder if your relationship is built to go the distance.
And while I’m not a psychic, there is a specific indicator—a way to predict with a very high degree of certainty—whether or not an intimate relationship will last.
What is this indicator, you ask? Well, can I begin by telling you want it’s not?
It’s NOT love
First, and I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not romantic love. The Beatles were quite wrong when they sang, “All you need is love.” If that were true, then no one would ever get divorced because every couple was in love when they got married.
What makes two people fall in love anyway? There’s been a lot of research on this and what they’ve found is not very encouraging.
For example, Dr. Helen Fisher, the world’s leading expert on the biology of falling in love, says it’s nothing more than a chemical “cocktail” of sorts, a mixture of just the right amounts of dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, estrogen and pheromones. (Yummy! Can I get that on the rocks, with a twist?)
But it gets worse.
Psychologists like Harville Hendrix and most others, have long known that we fall in love with people who possess the negative qualities of our parents. In other words, we unconsciously seek a partner who will be our surrogate parent so that we can work through our childhood wounds. (Yikes! That’s sexy.)
So, in what might be the greatest understatement of all time, “falling in love” is not the best indicator of relationship sustainability.
It’s NOT compatibility
If it’s not chemistry, many experts believe that compatibility is what makes a relationship last.
They say you need to have shared interests and values, similar socio-economic backgrounds and intelligence levels, as well as congruent personality types and sexual drives. (Good luck finding all that in a single person.)
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that compatibility is a much better indicator of relationship success than is chemistry, but it too has its problems. For as John Gray pointed out years ago, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus!
That means, by definition, men and women are totally incompatible. It’s as if we’re from different planets! But it’s much more than that. Our fundamental incompatibility goes way beyond gender.
The masculine and feminine energies, while chemically attracted to one another, are completely opposite in every way. They have extraordinarily different priorities and purposes and very different styles of communicating and connecting. (This is covered in great detail in my book, Attracting Lasting Love.)
So compatibility—if it’s even possible—isn’t the best indicator of a lasting relationship anymore than chemistry or falling in love is.
The Key to Lasting Intimacy
So if it isn’t chemistry or compatibility, what is the best indicator as to whether or not a relationship is likely to last? A brief story will help answer this question.
A few years ago, I was playing golf with my friend, Jim Dethmer. He’s a best-selling author and co-founder of the Conscious Leadership Group. He’s also the wisest, most enlightened person I know.
As we were riding in the golf cart, I casually mentioned that another friend of mine was getting married. Without missing a beat, he said, “That’s cool. Do they like each other?”
He didn’t ask if they were in love; he didn’t ask if they were on the same spiritual path; he didn’t ask if they had shared interests; he didn’t even ask if they were sexually compatible; he asked if they liked each other.
At first I was stunned. “What do you mean, ‘do they like each other?’ They’re getting married, for crying out loud!” He said, “Roy, there’s a lot of people who get married but don’t really like each other.”
Liking each other is the key to a lasting relationship.
Pause for a moment and think about that. It’s brilliant, isn’t it? And it’s so simple. Do you like each other? How hard is it to figure that out?
Love, as we’ve seen, is biologically and psychologically complex and compatibility is complicated too, but knowing if you like someone is pretty easy to determine, right?
No so fast.
On the surface, it seems easy to know if you like someone, but really it’s not. In the early stages of a relationship, we’re prone to role-playing. In his best-selling book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle writes this:
“In the early stages of many so-called romantic relationships, role-playing is quite common in order to attract and keep whoever is perceived by the ego as the one who is going to ‘make me happy, make me feel special, and fulfill all my needs.’ ‘I’ll play who you want me to be, and you’ll play who I want you to be.’”
When this dynamic is happening (and trust me, it is), who is it that you’re actually liking? The person or the persona?
Do You Like Each Other?
In my opinion, you can’t say you really like someone (or like each other) until you’ve experienced at least 3 of the following 5 things—as a couple…
- You’ve seen each other’s dark sides to the point where the honeymoon is definitely over.
- You’ve gone through some sort of serious adversity or major life-change together.
- You’ve had a couple of major fights or issues that nearly ended your relationship.
- You’ve seen each other go through an epic fail or make a huge, embarrassing mistake.
- You’ve seen each other in some serious drama with family, friends or co-workers.
If you’ve experienced three to five of those as a couple and you still like each other, then I’d say there’s a very high probability that your relationship will go the distance.
Roy Biancalana is a certified relationship coach, a TV personality in Orlando, Florida, and the author of two books, the latest of which is the #1 best-seller, Attracting Lasting Love: Breaking Free of the 7 Barriers that Keep You Single. For the past 10 years, Roy’s mission has been supporting single people in the art of attracting and creating conscious, lasting relationships. He offers a complimentary 30-minute coaching session to explore how he can help you attract lasting love. You can contact him at, www.coachingwithroy.com.