Finding someone you’re truly compatible with in many ways isn’t easy. When you finally do find someone who checks all the boxes, it’s only natural to feel like maybe this could be “The One.” But before you jump to that conclusion, it’s important to learn what is the difference between love and compatibility because often they’re not the same thing. According to experts, knowing the difference can prevent you from staying in a relationship that isn’t built on actual love.
“Compatibility means that you get along with somebody very well,” Vikki Ziegler, relationship expert and author of The Pre-Marital Planner, tells Bustle. You’re probably aware of what that looks like. When you’re compatible with someone, you enjoy each other’s company, you like the same or similar hobbies, and you may even like to eat the same food. Most importantly, you have similar views on marriage and kids.
Love, on the other hand, is a deeper emotion that you feel for another person. According to Ziegler, it compels you to be near them, to help them, to support them, to nurture them, and to do everything you can to protect them. “Loving someone gives you goosebumps and ‘butterflies’ in your stomach,” she says. “It makes your heart skip a beat and you want to be with that person all the time. It also has an emotional and sexual nature unlike compatibility, which doesn’t always.”
Basically, being in a compatible relationship means that you work well together, enjoy each other’s company and have a good time. You’re very in-sync but tend to act more like friends or friends with benefits, than two people who are actually in love. “You can have compatibility without love,” she says. “But you can’t have love without compatibility.”
So here are signs you may be mistaking compatibility for love, according to experts.