July 31, 2023

Jewish Matchmaker Journal: How to Find a Compatible Partner

Finding a compatible partner to build a life with shouldn’t be so hard. Technology has brought nearly the entire world within our grasp. So what’s the problem? Why is it so difficult to meet someone who is aligned with our values and interests? Why is it so difficult to find a compatible partner?

As a Jewish matchmaker for over twenty years, I’m a direct witness to the changes that have taken place in dating and relating to others. One of the major shifts involves the increase in information that we are exposed to. More information means more opinions and more diversity. We form concrete opinions on more topics than ever before and we are set on finding a partner who shares our opinions. We’re also under the delusion that there are “plenty of fish” to choose from - seemingly oblivious to the fact that the more set you are in your opinions, the less fish are going to align with them.

So is it impossible to find a compatible partner? Not impossible, but not easy either. It will require flexibility on your part and some focused attention. As always, I’ve got some tips that might be of help so let’s just dive in…

Know yourself

The first step in finding a compatible partner is to know yourself. This means understanding your core values, needs, and goals. Reflect on your past relationships - what worked, what didn't work, and what role YOU played in the ending of that relationship. What are your deal-breakers? Where can you compromise? What qualities do you admire in a partner? What qualities do you offer? What are your weaknesses? What are your triggers? Knowing yourself and your contradictions can help you better identify who aligns with your interests and priorities, and can also help you accept imperfection.

Expand your social circle

Meeting new people is essential to finding a compatible partner. If you’re a loner or introvert, this could be a challenge. Seek out clubs or groups built around your interests or hobbies. Get involved in your community or synagogue. Go to book readings, start a class or course, volunteer with an organization that supports your values, attend more public events, take group lessons to learn a new skill or sport. Putting yourself out there and meeting new people broadens your social circle and increases your chances of finding a compatible partner. At the very least, you’ll become a more well-rounded and interesting person.

Use online dating apps and websites

Most of you are probably already all over the dating apps and sites, but for those of you still holding out - online dating can be a great way to find a compatible partner. Yes, there are cons and fakes and players and let’s be honest, plenty of lemons. But if you are honest and clear about what you are looking for and use some common sense, you will also connect with like-minded singles who have potential to be compatible with you. Online dating can be overwhelming, so it's important to take your time and be selective about who you communicate with. It’s also important that you don’t become emotionally entangled with someone you’ve never met. Don’t draw out the online communication too long. Meeting in person is the goal - if that doesn’t happen soon after connecting, move on.

Be open-minded

Yes, you have your preferences and your make-or-breaks. Don’t let those preferences limit who you are willing to have a conversation with. Talking with someone or meeting for coffee doesn’t mean you want a relationship, it simply indicates that you are free and open to new experiences and new people. If you limit yourself to a specific type of person or an idealized image of a partner, you likely won’t be dating much. Be open to meeting people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. Don’t expect someone to have the exact same opinion on everything or the exact same interests as you. Finding a compatible partner doesn’t mean finding your carbon copy. Compatibility isn’t about being the same. It’s also about an intangible energy and attraction, which is only discovered in-person.

Take things slow

Love-bombing is rampant. If someone comes on strong at the start, it’s a good indication that things will fizzle out just as quickly. It feels really good to have someone tell you how beautiful or handsome or smart or  sexy you are, and that they’ve never met anyone like you before or felt such a deep connection to anyone before. Unless you’ve met in person, starting dating, and spent considerable time with each other - don’t fall for it. No one can have genuine feelings for you without ever having met you. Sorry, but your ego is being fed and you are ravenous. This over the top behavior is a giant red flag. Don’t ignore it. Emotionally healthy people want to get to know each other and determine compatibility through shared experiences and challenges. Trust and emotional intimacy are built over time, rushing things is a recipe for disappointment and heartbreak.

Look for shared values

It’s nice to find a compatible partner who shares our opinions and interests but let’s be honest, our opinions and interests often change over time. It’s more important to find someone who shares your core values. Even our beliefs can change over time, but core values tend to remain constant. Core values can include your feelings about honesty, monogamy, social justice, racism, animal welfare, ecology, money, raising children, etc… Though it’s fantastic to meet someone who shares your passions and interests, it’s the core values that are going to determine the level of conflict in the relationship.

Pay attention to red flags

When you're looking for a compatible partner, it's important to pay attention to red flags. A red flag can be anything from inconsistent behavior to a blatant lack of respect for your boundaries. People show who they are pretty early on. When we’re caught up in emotion and attraction, we often ignore red flags because we want to keep the fantasy. Don’t trade reality for a dream that will turn to a nightmare. Trust your gut and don't ignore those warning signs. If something feels off, it probably is.

Don't settle

The journey to finding a compatible partner can be frustrating, time intensive, and discouraging. But it’s also an interesting ride and you learn a lot about yourself along the way. While it’s important not to be too stuck on an idealized image your partner, it’s also important not to settle for someone who doesn’t share your core values and standards. It’s better to be single than to be coupled and miserable. And although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding a compatible partner, I hope these tips will add some value to your search.