I had a freaking epiphany.

I am a terrible person when I get bored. Especially at networking events or dinner parties, I get really tempted to spice things up. The trouble-maker that I never was as a child comes out and I disrupt whatever boring-ass conversation we’re having about the weather (which sucks in Maine until July) or a play-by-play of the latest Downton Abbey episode by exclaiming “I think the most important thing in a relationship is sexual compatibility. What do you think?”

I love this, because it gets people all riled up. Nostrils flair and everyone has a wildly different opinion.

  • honesty
  • open communication
  • love
  • trust
  • humor
  • personality
  • chemistry
  • devotion
  • acceptance
  • appreciation
  • friendship

a quick aside: I think you all you people are crazy. My personal opinion (which is heavily influenced by how much time I spend thinking about sex for this blog) is that although we can decide to be someone’s best friend and choose to be completely honest with each other or even love each other, we can’t decide to be sexually compatible. Far beyond physical attraction or chemistry which fades and changes over time, the ability to have great sex and an insane connection with someone is not something you can easily “work on” or decide to create in a relationship. You are compatible or you aren’t. boom.

But it doesn’t really matter what you think. Because we’re not in a relationship.

(insert mindblowing epiphany)

What matters most in a longterm real-deal relationship is not any one particular thing, but the ALIGNMENT of your values with your partners’ values.

And it’s not something that’s easy to pin down. Having alignment is more than having similar views about a political issue, liking the same music or both being vegan.

It’s understanding whether or not those likes, habits or opinions are truly meaningful to you, or just preferences.

What are your core values?

You don’t need to be with someone who has the same likes and dislikes or even daily habits that you do. Because likes and habits change over time. But having core values that are aligned affects the way you live your life day to day. It explains not what you do, but why you do it.

It’s about understanding that if our political belief systems, music choices or the fact that you “don’t eat anything that has a face” are a part of our core values, then they will inform the decisions we make every day.

Here’s what that means for me. I am an entrepreneur. Innovation and creativity drive me. These are a huge part of my core value system. It’s something that is so engrained into my lifestyle that I need a partner who understands the nuances of this part of my life. I write blog posts before I leave for work in the morning. I spend time dreaming about future business opportunities and might stop in the middle of a romantic dinner to grill my boyfriend on what he thinks about the A/B testing options I have for a new podcast. It affects the minute details of my life but also what life looks like for me in 20 years. I need someone who understands that I won’t be a stay at home mom. I will be a stay at home mom who runs an empire from my home office. I choose my partners around their ability to see themselves in this identical situation. They have to at least be open to the idea of being a stay at home dad while I go on a book tour or host a retreat in the south of France.

You get where I’m going?

So here are some of the things that set you up to be phenomenal partners that are aligned

Know Your Core Values Inside and Out

Having a strong sense of what you believe, is valuable not only to having amazing relationships, but being a person who makes a difference in the world. Know what you’re willing to fight for, know what your opinions are and what makes your heart pound with the excitement of love. If you can’t figure out what these things are- ask yourself what you are willing to defend. Will you argue for hours about why it’s important to rescue animals or why eating healthy is a no-brainer. These are core values. It could be anything for you. But be passionate about something and don’t be afraid to take sides.

Ask Your Potential Partner How They Feel About It

Get the important stuff out in the open. Maybe not on the first or second date, but before deep emotions or sexual tensions entice you to compromise on what’s important. I’ve on many occasions said “Thanks but no thanks” to amazing men who have said upfront that they don’t want kids. It’s just one of those things I value. They’re not bad people and of course, some of them in the right situation could change their minds, but why dance with the devil? Find someone who values what you love from the start.

Live Your Passion Every Day

Being aligned with your own passions helps you find someone who is also aligned with your passions. If you value adventure and spend most of your evenings at the rock climbing gym and mountain biking, you’ll likely find someone who has the same drive for adventure. But if you aren’t living your passion and you are hanging out in bars to meet people, you’re more likely to find someone who’s passion is booze and good conversation. Do what makes you happy and you’ll find people who make you happy.