Kim and I met at a Paris café, a long time ago. We met there because both of us had picked this particular café as our writing spot. As you probably know, there are zillions of cafés in Paris, one at every street corner. So picking this one, between St. Michel and St. Germain, this one and no other, might tell a long tale about compatibility between an American who loved visiting Paris and a German who loved living in Paris.
Indeed, it turned out we were “made to order” for each other, and we firmly believe that compatibility is an essential ingredient for happy long-term relationships and marriage. But if I imagine Kim and me in today’s online dating world, if, let’s say, we had entered some version of Match.com, I wonder about our “compatibility index.” We might not have made it.
Monogamy? Back then, I would have said: Never! Not for me. Marriage? You must be kidding! Kim, by contrast, jumped on it in one of our first cross-Atlantic phone calls: “So when will you come over here and marry me?” I was stunned. I thought: this will never work – we are completely incompatible. As it turned out, Kim was half joking. Gay marriage, at that time, was light-years away. But her joke touched upon her being a romantic and me, a skeptic.
Other essential questions by Match.com would have landed us just as far apart. For example:
If one of you has more money, do you suggest a shared bank account?
Do you U-Haul on day one or wait to move in until you are absolutely sure, months later?
Do you feel an ethical duty to keep your ex-lovers close?
When you get separated in a crowd, do you go back to where you last met or forward to where you were headed?
Is your dream vacation a tropical beach resort or a walking tour in the rain forest?
When you host dinner for six, do you buy food for twelve?
I could go on. No doubt, with Match.com Kim and I would still be on the waiting list, looking for our soul mate – unless compatibility is not what it’s cut out to be?
Stay tuned for our next article: “What is Compatibility?”
Renate and Kim are the authors of Lesbian Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit. They are relationship experts in the SF Bay Area.