Read an Excerpt
The Love Compatibility Book
The 12 Personality Traits That Can Lead You to Your Soulmate
By Edward Hoffman, Marcella Bakur Weiner
New World LibraryCopyright © 2003 Edward Hoffman and Marcella Bakur Weiner
All rights reserved.
THE SEARCH FOR INTIMACY
The search for intimacy is now a worldwide phenomenon beginning earlier in our lives than ever before and lasting into our seventies, eighties, and beyond. For the adventurous, becoming romantically involved with someone five hundred or five thousand miles away is now as easy as a click on your Internet browser. The goal? To find and keep your romantic ideal, of course. While there's certainly nothing wrong with this intent, people can waste so much time and effort because they lack a beacon. It's like groping in a dark tunnel.
We now offer the beacon to make your search infinitely easier, more effective, and relevant to who you are. This beacon is the product of our combined forty years of clinical experience and research in personality and developmental psychology, not of traditional marriage/couples counseling based on obsolete views and myths about love. We offer not only a revolutionary new perspective, but also a viable method and a complete set of tools for your use. Indeed, over the past seven years, we have found our method to work again and again. Finally, our colleagues and friends persuaded us to write this book.
Finding someone who is compatible takes considerable time and energy, and it is often discouraging. What if we told you that our method, based on scientific research, eliminates all the frustrating guesswork and leads you decisively to your likely soulmate — not a fantasy, generic Prince Charming or Aphrodite? Even though people are using many innovative methods in their search for a mate, such as surfing the Internet, they are unknowingly using a love-model that is obsolete — much like a pilot using an archaic flight map. Why is it obsolete? Because of pervasive myths, which though outdated and invalid, are still accepted by most. Basically they hinge on the outworn concept that everybody is alike in their intimacy needs, and therefore all we need in selecting a love partner is attractiveness and kindness, and that all possible differences will eventually work out. To believe this now is as sensible as believing that the sun revolves around the earth.
To forge ahead in your quest for lasting love, you need to know the essence of your core personality and that of the one you choose. When this knowledge is lacking, the following example may reflect your experience. A young woman who describes herself as "sensual and loving" stated that she had had forty dates in a few short months, no doubt squeezed into a busy work schedule almost as an afterthought. As is true of many, she rarely got to a second date with the same person. Said one woman with similar "hyperdating" experiences, "It just wasn't what I'd hoped for. The disappointments seemed to stack up." The underlying reason is plainly stated by one young man, "There is the notion that somehow mates are interchangeable, like parts in a car." He adds, "If I fantasize, my ideal mate will be wrapped in misty perfection. But, in truth, people don't come that way." Indeed!
While a boon to many, the Internet definitely has its romantic limitations. Says one young woman about someone she met on-line, "Ian was so great; we had conversations that just flowed, hours at a time that seemed like seconds. And then we met. And I thought, 'My God, is this the same person? How could this be?' And the photo he sent? I think the photographer was looking in someone else's direction." The answer isn't necessarily to stop using technology, but to replace our obsolete view of intimacy. Contrary to the outmoded cliché that "ignorance is bliss," the price of ignorance has in fact never been higher.
A Short History of Love
If the search for intimacy is as old as humanity, how did it all begin? According to the Bible, "God created Adam in His image, male and female in one body, and God created them male and female. On the day when God created them, God blessed them and called their name Adam" (Genesis 5:2). God, in his love, saw that Adam was alone and needed a mate. So he fashioned Eve, which in Hebrew means "mother of all life," from Adam's rib. And then, as we all know, along came the testing serpent. While some regard God's banishment of Adam and Eve from the garden as the "Fall," others see it not as punitive but as a way of plunging them into a new world so that they could know love for one another and for God.
Adam heard God: "Adam does not have a partner that fits" (Genesis 2:21 — 24). Everybody needs a partner who fits, but not everybody has one fashioned from one of their body parts! In reality, the relationship that works is not one in which we're attached at the hip but one in which our chosen partner mirrors who we are. With the right person, our passion climbs to dizzying heights, pushing past our preconceived notions of ourselves so that we are both most outside ourselves while at the same time, paradoxically, most inside.
Adam and Eve knew sexual love, which was also a sacred love, including God. Sacred love, as true today as it was then, always involves an Energy, a Light, a way of being the most present to ourselves. Says the thirteenth-century Book of Splendor, a sacred text of Jewish mysticism: "No other kiss is like the ecstasy of the moment when spirit cleaves to spirit in a kiss" (Zohar 2:146a). A verse from the biblical Song of Songs (4:10 — 11) says it beautifully:
How much better is thy love than wine
And the smell of thine ointment than all spices
Thy lips, O my spouse drop as the honeycomb
honey and milk are under thy tongue
The ancient Egyptians, 3,500 years ago, were the first to write love poems. Using metaphors, they compared love to an illness that only the presence of the beloved could cure in a sweet entrapment. For the Egyptians, like for many cultures, the heart was the organ of love, an inner structure apart from the rest of the personality. Some poems concentrate on the lover's own heart:
My heart flutters hastily,
When I think of my love of you:
It lets me not act sensibly.
The early Greeks, focusing on sexual passion, asserted that the reason we choose one person over another to be our beloved cannot be consciously known. But it was Plato, one of the greatest Western philosophers of Western culture — his school, known simply as the "Academy," was the first intellectual center in Europe — who recognized in the fifth century B.C.E. that love is based on a longing, on a wish for union to release us from our lonely existence. He believed that in love, one person and one person only can offer us this bliss.
The twelfth century saw the flourishing of "courtly love," its chief spokespeople being the troubadours, or poet-musicians, and their chief tenet being the ennobling power of love. In their captivating vision, love is a burning passion. Rarely extinguished, it was not deemed possible between husband and wife, though fidelity was pledged between lovers while love lasted. Sang one troubadour: "By nothing is man made so worthy as by love and the courting of women, for thence arise delight and song and all that pertains to excellence. No man is of value without love." Men, they believed, are crude and insensitive until love strikes them, and then they acquire courtesy, a thirst for learning, and gentleness of manner. Analogous to this viewpoint are those found in some early Church writings, which, in honoring the Celestial Mother, state: "The heart has its own reasons, which the intellect does not know."
But perhaps no historical period has produced such a profusion of discourses on love as the first half of the seventeenth century. For example, in a painting by Titian, a goddess is gazing into a mirror held up to her by Cupid. The clear message is that self-love is a valid form of love. As she gazes at herself, she contemplates, a moving inward into the deepest regions of the self, not a mere looking into her mirror image for affirmation of her outer beauty.
We lose this self-focus after the early stage of babyhood when, omnipotent in this new world we've entered, we are not yet aware of human limitations. Happily for most of us, this form of early self-love shifts into an adult form in which we are able to observe the real qualities of a potential lover, and, most significant, to evaluate the future of the relationship. Blinders off, we now progress from the dream state to one of experiencing our relationship as real. Bliss, however, remains. Says the eighteenth-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who was much influenced by the Eastern philosophies, especially early Hinduism and Buddhism: "Love is endless bliss associated with the possession of one particular person and unthinkable pain at the thought that the possession is unattainable. I encounter millions of bodies in my life. Of those millions, I desire some hundreds, but of the hundreds I love only one."
Such romantic writings certainly tug at the heart. But the reality is that many people find themselves in unhappy relationships. They have the desire for intimacy, but not the tools. The quest for intimacy becomes a hit-or-miss affair, with much wasted time and energy and many disappointments along the way. If the desire for enduring intimacy is so prevalent, why aren't more people finding it? What, indeed, is intimacy? How can it be defined? Yes, physical chemistry is a necessary component, but even more relevant is the realm of personalities and compatibility between them.
Some Myths About Love
Basically, lasting intimacy is based on personality compatibility. And in this regard, two conditions are absolutely necessary: I) you must know your own "core personality" as it relates to intimacy; 2) you must then match it up with an appropriate partner, someone who is romantically available and similarly interested in finding romantic love. Among the most pernicious barriers to achieving compatibility is the prevalence of longstanding myths surrounding romantic love. Of these, we have identified four. Let's examine each in turn.
Myth One: One Size Fits All
This myth suggests that people are more or less the same when it comes to their intimacy needs. Many believe that somehow a generic Prince Charming or Aphrodite will be sent to them and that love will be like a sweet elixir to intoxicate and provide a lifetime of bliss. Others think more of the concept of mother-infant love, that a relationship will be like a mother holding her newborn to her breast, each enveloped in that early stage of oneness when the world is perfect, heaven on earth. But even here, all mothers and children are different. One mother prefers to nurse, while another thinks it's old-fashioned. And if mothers are different, so too are infants, right at birth. Ask any parent with more than one child, and he or she will tell you that no two are alike. If your fingerprints are unique, God given to you and you alone, how can your intimacy needs be exactly the same as those of other people? They cannot. To know what you need from someone, you first must know yourself. If we are all different from one another, so too are our responses to life. You are not one kind of person one day and totally different the next. The point is to know who you are, regardless of circumstances.
Myth Two: If You Work On Your Relationship, All Will be Well
A common view, perpetuated by movies, TV, books, and therapists is that a relationship is something you have to work on. This is a huge fallacy! Far more accurate is the view of the ancient Greek philosophers who said that leisure is something you enjoy for itself, with turning inward being its highest form, while work, if it is enjoyable and something you look forward to, is leisure.
A relationship that is all work fills you with the same kind of tightness in your stomach as a job you truly dislike — a job that gives you headaches or ulcers and makes you ache to have the day end. Your partner is not someone to be "worked on" like a car — to be shined, washed, and tinkered with — but a person sent to you as a means of teaching you lessons about yourself, a true gift from God. The result is that you grow from this blessed experience, but only if this individual is helping you to move deeper within yourself — the best haven that you have. Think of a plant. It only needs to receive the right amount of water and sunshine. It doesn't work at growing. Nor should you.
If your partner can match your "watering" needs, you're in luck. If he or she can't, then you have a clear message. Staying in a relationship past its prime, with work as its main focus, is stressful. Friends and others may tell you to keep working at it, but a better way to help things along is to move into yourself. Learn to listen to your body, to your breath, to your feelings. Be in tune with the sacred found within. The answers will come to you. The concept of "work," too often a false idol, can make us overlook the sacredness of life and love, which is what a relationship is all about!
Myth Three: Love Conquers All
While this myth is firmly believed by many, it is obvious from our growing global divorce rate that love alone is not enough. Indeed, psychological studies have shown that significant differences between people supersede love and bring unhappiness. Still, this concept clings to us like flies to honey. Women, in particular, are susceptible to it. Says Jennifer: "Alex had been a lonely child. His parents were both hard-working professionals whom he seldom saw. Rather, nannies came and went. An only child, he was placed in nursery school even before the age of acceptance, his parents' persuasion working on the administrator. When we dated for a while, one day I asked Alex what he had wanted to be when a boy. He answered, A patient. That's who my parents saw all day long, and I thought, If only I could be one of them.'"
Jennifer wiped her eyes as she spoke, evidently still moved by the telling. She went on: "We married. Alex was hard to live with, but I thought I loved him so I'd just hang in. Everyone said it was the right thing to do, and I didn't want to abandon him like it seemed his parents had. I just kept thinking, I'll love him with all my heart and soul. And he was a good man; we both went to church, though I felt I was the more committed one. The problem? Alex was seldom available to me. Always busy, he seemed to be constantly tinkering. Not much was really broken, but there he was fixing the car, the computer, or going to friends to help them with fixing ... whatever. One time we were invited to a Halloween party. Alex asked me how I would dress. I said, hoping he would catch on: As a computer.' 'Why?' he asked. 'Because,' I said, 'maybe then you'll pay attention to me.'He just shrugged, shot me a sarcastic look, and went off to fix something. We finally split. I had run out of love."
As an emotion, love encompasses joy, acceptance, receiving, and attaining. It is the opposite of sadness, which is based on the loss of a valued attachment or on deprivation. Still, while love is an emotion, it is deeply connected to personality. When a person's emotional state persists over time or is frequently repeated, we say that he or she has a particular personality trait. For example, if someone is angry much of the time, we label that individual as quarrelsome and tend to stay away from her. Conversely, if someone is loving, we experience him as caring and nurturing, one of the twelve core traits we highlight in the next chapter. And our movement is forward, for companionship is a joyous experience.
Traits are seen in children early on and stay constant throughout life. In fact, the older we become, the more entrenched our traits become. An onion becomes a bigger onion, a carrot a bigger carrot, but a carrot never becomes an onion, and vice versa. While this notion is undisputed today, it has not always been accepted. Had this viewpoint been emphasized just a few decades ago, it would have been regarded as completely alien. Children were born, moldable as clay; they could be pushed or pulled into any shape the parents wished. All the parents needed to know was what they wanted of their child, and it could be achieved.
Evan was a quiet child, loving to read and enjoying solitude. His dad was convinced that "Evan could do better. Something must be wrong with him." A concerned parent, he said, "Son, get out there and talk to people. Get to know them. Then, maybe later on, you can be a salesman, in charge of a whole department, just like me. You could be a big success." Were Evan to follow that route, which would be foreign to his nature, the road ahead, as you could predict, would be a disaster.
The same was true for Natasha, who wanted to be a dancer. Early on, when she was an infant, when people held her, they remarked that she seemed to dance in their arms. Her parents were appalled when Natasha, at age five, stated most clearly that, indeed, she did want to be a dancer. Said her mother, "Natasha, dancers have a short life. We are no longer in Russia, and you cannot be a ballerina. Even here in America, it's not a real career. Be a teacher, like me." Fortunately, for Natasha, she went her own way. And, last we heard, she is still dancing professionally, in her thirties, and with noted recognition. As a bonus, she has also found her true love, a male dancer with whom she shares much besides their love of music and dancing.
Excerpted from The Love Compatibility Book by Edward Hoffman, Marcella Bakur Weiner. Copyright © 2003 Edward Hoffman and Marcella Bakur Weiner. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
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