EVERY day people meet, fall in love and are convinced they have found their soulmate. Yet all too many starry-eyed couples eventually break up because they are fundamentally incompatible.
So what's going wrong? The truth is, most people tend to have fixed (but misguided) ideas about what makes the perfect relationship.
By abandoning these ingrained beliefs and understanding a few simple relationship rules, you will have a much better chance of finally finding Mr or Ms Absolutely Right.
Here, consultant psychiatrist Dr RAJ PERSAUD explains and explodes the compatibility myths.
The 8 great myths about compatibility Opposites attract THIS is a popular concept because people tend to find the differences between them exciting.
And it's often the mystery of contrasts that attracts us to someone in the first place.
Even if we do it unconsciously, we look for someone who'll make up for what we feel is missing in our own personalities. A shy woman, for example, might fantasise about a wild extrovert sweeping her off her feet.
But all the evidence on successful relationships seems to demonstrate that similar basic personality traits are important for long-term compatibility.
No matter how much you love him now, if you're a bit of a perfectionist, Mr Slapdash will eventually drive you mad.
Sexual compatibility is absolutely vital IT IS not so long ago that couples had to wait until their wedding night to find out whether they were sexually compatible.
Yet, although, of course, there are other reasons why couples stayed together MYTH 2 MYTH 1 New rule: SOME fundamental parts of your character will only be understood by someone who shares those traits. One of the most basic aspects of personality is how you relate to others socially, how outgoing or introvert you are. So if you love parties and being the centre of attention, it's better if your partner feels the same way.
in the days of 'keeping yourself until marriage', divorce rates were far lower then. Today, there's enormous emphasis placed - wrongly - on instant sexual compatibility.
It's far more important to consider how much you care for each other in a sexual context. Are you both keen to please each other?
Willing to communicate about what you want physically?
No matter how disastrous sex is between a couple at first, if the relationship contains these ingredients there is every chance your sexual compatibility will grow.
And even if you appear to have found the perfect mate in the bedroom, remember sexual needs change with the passing years, so it's vital you're both able to communicate and are flexible enough to adapt.
WHEN you first start seeing someone you spend a lot of time alone with them, which can leave you feeling the only thing that matters is that the two of you are compatible.
However, friends are the people we feel most relaxed with and with whom we take the risk of revealing our true characters. So, if you think you know the real him but you can't understand what he sees in his friends, you may not really know him at all.
And if he seems reluctant to introduce you to his friends, it may mean that somewhere deep down he isn't fundamentally happy with the idea of the two of you being seen as a couple.
Or he could have been saying unflattering things about you.
Also, beware someone who doesn't appear to have many friends. If so few others get on with them, what makes you think you will?
POLITICS and religion can appear to have very little to do with love, but shared values are very important.
You may well steer clear of discussing politics or religion for months because you are afraid of appearing controversial or provocative. But if your values and goals are incompatible and you don't share the same sense of morality, you'll have difficulty agreeing over major decisions in the future. …