This problem is SOLVED!!! Scroll to the end of the post for the grand realization - thanks to all who participated and helped me make the breakthru realization.
Seeing the post at
got my head thinking.
How do we optimize our chances of finding compatible partners? In essence I think I've broken it down into a mathematical question we can ask ourselves.
What % of compatibility must two people have in order to seriously consider a working long-term relationship?
Looking at the edge cases.
0% (equivalent to just trying to hook up with the opposite sex on looks alone) will most likely lead to disaster in the long-term once someone's had their fill.
100% - Realistically impossible to find a 'perfect match'
So what's the verdict? I wanted to ask the community because I've been out of practice for a long time. A lot of you may say, "You'll know what it happens" or "trust your gut" but I believe my compass no longer points to true North anymore. If the compass is miscalibrated how can one ever find their way home? Hence - it's time for the community to chime in if they'd be so kind!!!
Clarifications (update 2/26/14)
Many thanks to everyone who has put input in thus far - a lot of new concepts to swirl around in my head! I did see the percentage concept was a bit general so I will try to make it very specific.
Say you are looking at a personal ad - your potential partner lists things they like:
Hi - thanks for looking at my ad! Here's stuff I like:
I like rock music
I like video games
I like cooking
I like TV shows
They've listed 4 things. You gloss it over and go eh rock music is OK but not really my thing, I like video games though, haven't much experience in cooking, I don't watch TV. Thus you match on 1 out of 4 things = 25% compatibility.
We are assuming that all of the hobbies/interests listed have equal weight (as in reality people value some things more than others - this case is too complex for making a ballpark figure so we'll make things simple and assume everything is equally weighted)
We are assuming there are no dealbreakers.
We are assuming the two people will not change in personalities for a 3 year period. (we care about the match initially on the surface when they first meet)
The goal is to get a rough percentage figure of how much two people have matched initially on the surface before they were able to engage into a relationship of sufficient length to get thru the 'honeymoon' infatuation period (2+ years). This informal poll of % compatibility leads up to...
The Grand Question
When I mentioned I said my compass was miscalibrated earlier what I was trying to get at was this. Historically I have been both deluded and over-valuing of myself and judgmental and under-valuing of the other party. Apparently this has not worked out well for me :p. I used to be somewhat of a hard liner also in that a lot of things I could learn how to just tolerate or grow into appreciating I've shrugged off as dealbreakers. I want to change all that but given this has been my nature all my life I don't know how much "give" I need to have with another person to make a relationship work.
Let's say I was about to open the hatch and start really putting in an effort to open myself up into being a match with someone. Time and effort are finite resources though so is it worth it for me to let's say take a 5% match and consider a 2 year+ relationship a serious possibility by opening myself up and spending energy trying to appreciate them? What about 25%? 50%? etc... I'm kind of a hard person to match given how I'm kinda divergent from the norm anyway so I'm trying to get a realistic assessment of how much effort I should be expecting to put in while having a realistic shot (instead of just haphazardly putting in effort and getting nowhere wasting energy).
i.e. If we are 25% compatible should I try to grow into 50% of the things they like to make it 75% or would I just be selling myself out and making myself unhappy?
What is the realistic amount of leeway that two people in a relationship have to make it work? Obviously it can't be too small as everything becomes a dealbreaker. If it's too large then both parties are not being independent people but are rather "melting" into each other due to lack of identity.
Seeing a dump of initial % compatibilities for past relationships of > 2 years will really help give me a baseline. Let the numerics begin!
PS - Historically looking back my personal avg has been 20-30% (I like about 1/4th the things she does). I've never been able to bridge the gap into a long-term - maybe this is why. Is this abnormally low? Am I just so used to not finding anyone like me that I've settled? Do I need to broaden my interests?
The Grand Solution (updated 2/27/14)
I have read thru each answer in detail and juggled it in my head. I also talked to my good friend in-depth last night about my dilemma and he came up with the same realizations that most of you came up with.
What % is needed to attempt a long term relationship
Answer: 1% is enough with no dealbreakers present to grow from but realistically you want to get this as high as you can get it. Starting from 1% is theoretically possible but it is a huge uphill battle to bridge two very dissimilar people into a working relational unit. In the end the percentage is irrelevant. If you are attracted to them and you're not sacrificing your own life and integrity to make them like you then I'd say go for it!!!Relevant quote from the book of pook under lesson 10 - 'As you think you shall become.':
“Which would you prefer, a woman who collapses her own interests for the sakes of yours merely to have a boyfriend or a woman who likes you because of you!?”
Over here Pook was emphasizing that the focus is on You (the one looking for the opposite sex partner) - not on them. This post was written in my moment of weakness - I was about to sell out. I now know what I need to do - continue on my physical improvement trajectory and start seriously defining in even more detail what I want (until I can recall it perfectly without even thinking about it). Once I get that vision then I need to congrue my own life to attract it in reality. I can still sell out - but I shouldn't sell out just because the stocks are dropping and I'm in a panic. I will need to make a rational level-headed choice as to how much my dreams are worth pursuing realistically and then more importantly take action on that.Furthermore on the myth of 'compatibility' - My friend last night separated this concept into 2 distinct concepts - similarity and compatibility. Similarity would be how similar you are in superficial things like hobbies (what I described as 'compatibility' when I first wrote this post). Compatibility would be how well a relationship between two parties would work regardless of similarity. Thus a relationship can be dissimilar in that 2 people are completely opposite each other but they are compatible with each other as they grow from being exposed to the opposite. Similarly a relationship could have people who are 100% similar in interests but due to being too alike or whatever other reason they are not compatible with each other in a realtionship. Thus in the end similarity to your partner does not matter - only compatibility. With that maybe even 0% matches are possible but I'd go with the 1% mentioned earlier as that at least guarantees there is SOME working ground to start from rather than none.
In the year before I met the woman who is now my wife, I was dating with purpose. I didn't necessarily aim to find a wife, but I was pretty intentional about what I was doing. And since I ended up finding an amazing woman and marrying her, I figured I'd share what I learned from it to help men and women looking for something similar.
The biggest mistake I made by far was traveling so much. I wouldn't do it any differently, but huge gaps between the first few dates torpedoed a lot of relationships that may have otherwise worked. In fact, if it weren't for my friend Todd pushing me to fly to visit, I probably wouldn't be married. ("You never like a girl this much. You are an idiot if you don't see her before your next trip")
Despite your best efforts, a lot of it will come down to random chance. My wife told me that she only swiped right on me because I mentioned cruises in my profile and she figured we'd have something to talk about since she liked cruising too. There was another girl I was dating earlier with whom it may have worked out if her ex-boyfriend didn't show up in her life between our first few dates. You just never know.
That said, the key is just maximizing surface area. Figure out what it is you want and spend as much time as possible with potential partners. That also means spending as little time as possible with those who don't fit. One thing I think I did really well was stop seeing girls once incompatibilities surfaced, even if it was going really well.
Freedom is understood in many different ways by different people at different levels of intellectual, moral and spiritual consciousness. It is the masculine in us all that seeks autonomy and freedom (as noted by David Deida and others). The feminine yearns for fullness and relationship. This is yet another manifestation of emptiness and form as the masculine and feminine. We all have both the masculine and feminine within us whether we are men or women, but these aspects of us may be at very different stages of development. Nevertheless, the masculine within all of us seeks freedom.
When I first started 'waking up' a few years ago, I became interested in Anarchism. Like many people with a liberal background (see previous article on the individual and socio-cultural environment), I was impressed by how social structures constrain and limit people.
Most people who don't take the time to think about themselves and their environment simply adopt the values and culture supported by the social structures around them. Using our individual-environment model, we can say that the environment feeds strongly into the individual, but most individuals simply regurgitate this feed of values and culture back into the environment, contributing little to its growth and evolution. Most of us are like the human batteries in the Matrix (what would we ever use for analogies had that movie never been made? ;), never questioning the reality or legitimacy of the environment presented to us.
At the time, I determined that if the social structures were forcibly changed, that individuals could be changed, in this case freed, as well. This is true to a large extent, of course, but it also neglects the role of the autonomy of the individual, one of the very ideals we are trying to realize through social change in the first place. That is, it focuses solely on how to change the society to effect change in ("freeing") the individual. It does not consider how it may be possible to develop the individual to change society.