23 Tiny-But-Crucial Differences Between Chemistry And Compatibility

Is he forever or just right now?

Couple jumping high Jared Sluyter | Unsplash

How can you tell the difference between chemistry and compatibility? Is there some magic bullet difference that will inform you if the guy you’re seeing is just a flash in the pan or a serious contender for the title of Boyfriend?

I mean, you obviously like having intimate relations with the guy if you’re contemplating the question. But seriously, is it simply lust, or are the seeds of love and a life-long partner buried within the relationship?


Haven’t you ever wondered after a one-night stand if the guy could be your true love?

As I tried to make sense of what the real differences are, I found myself needing to rely on metaphors to understand.

Hopefully, these differences will help spark your thoughts about whether that guy you just met is temporary, or if he's somebody you can see yourself falling in love with.

RELATED: If Your Guy Does These 7 Things, He's Playing You For A Fool

Here are 23 major differences between chemistry and compatibility:

1. Chemistry is temporary

Compatibility is forever.

2. Chemistry is dangerous with lots of bubbling potions and elements playing together with the great possibility of injury to self or others

Compatibility is like cooking from a recipe from a trusted family member, following all the steps, having all the right ingredients, baking at the right temperature, and knowing that what comes out of the oven will taste magnificent.


3. Chemistry feels like red-hot fiery urges

Compatibility feels like cool ocean waves laughing at your toes.

4. Chemistry makes you want to rip each other's clothes off

Compatibility makes you want to organize your drawers together with matching colors lined up in his and her dressers.

5. Chemistry means skipping the movie altogether and heading to his place

Compatibility means going to the movies, agreeing on the same sci-fi flick and snacks — popcorn with extra butter, Junior Mints, and a blue slushie.

6. Chemistry is the desire to know every single thing you possibly can know about your guy immediately

Compatibility is the desire to allow things to be revealed slowly and increasingly more in-depth.




7. Chemistry is ignoring the fact that he wants to vote for a different president than you, even though you think the person he wants to vote for is an idiot

Compatibility is having similar viewpoints on important topics like politics, education, and family.

8. Chemistry is wondering how you are going to ignore that noise his nose makes when he breathes

Compatibility is seeing past his flaws and having a vision of how everything can be worked through and dealt with positively.

RELATED: 6 Subtle Signs He's About To Ghost You


9. Chemistry is having to sit through a country music ho-down or rave just to get to the intimacy part

Compatibility is staying at home with both of your favorite music jamming on the radio while you're intimate.

10. Chemistry is not caring that he had garlic for lunch and didn't brush his teeth

Compatibility is him already knowing what you like and don't like (and brushing his teeth with forethought).

11. Chemistry is sleeping in the most awkward position that causes you pain in your neck all night long

Compatibility is your lover making sure that you fit snugly up against him. And who doesn't love a cuddle buddy

Photo: Ba Tik/Pexels


12. Chemistry is a lit match trying to light 25 candles before it burns out

Compatibility is a roaring campfire with plenty of logs right next to the fire to rekindle the flames if they start going out.

13. Chemistry brings with it a sense of dread of things going to end at any moment

Compatibility reassures you and lets you know for sure that this is forever.

14. Chemistry is a fireball candy, that burns your tongue

Compatibility is a gobstopper slowly revealing its different colors, flavors, and fun.

15. Chemistry is “right now,” while compatibility is “just right”

Compatibility will allow both of you to be ready for a relationship, regardless of the circumstances. 


16. Chemistry is wanting to bring him home to bed

Compatibility is wanting to bring him home to meet your parents.

RELATED: Emotionally Unavailable Men Share These 7 Characteristics

17. Chemistry is being willing to get sand in your pants and seaweed in your hair on the beach

Compatibility is one of you bringing a blanket and the other bringing a bottle of wine and even snacks because you know... snacks.

18. Chemistry is almost crashing your car in the parking lot because you're so anxious to get to the bar to meet him and be on time because you don't know how he'll respond if you're late because you have no experience with that and you're afraid it might destroy everything

Compatibility is being able to follow the rules of the road because you know your sweetie will not freak out if you're ten minutes late because it's not in your nature to do it on the regular.


19. Chemistry is dropping everything important for him, including your family, friends, and work

Compatibility is still wanting to spend as much time as possible with him, but keeping the rest of your life and all of your enjoyments and responsibilities intact.

20. Chemistry is watching him walk across the hotel room half-dressed, drooling at his hot body, wanting to jump up and rip him apart

Compatibility is wanting to hang out with him afterward to have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and engage in some meaningful conversation.

21. Chemistry is making out with a man and a woman in a crowded bar, thrilling at the intense stares that you get, but then stumbling home by yourself and regretting it in the morning

Compatibility is doing the same things at the bar, but strolling back to a hotel room, being intimate, and then leaving the next day with all three of you holding hands.


22. Chemistry is being intimate with somebody whose first name you don’t know and not even caring, because you know it's only going to last one night

Compatibility is not only knowing his name but his friends’ and his family’s too, and being able to plan a surprise birthday party for him and knowing who to invite and where to hold it.

23. Chemistry is like the challenge of hiking up a steep mountain and feeling completely out of breath, and when you finally make it to the top, looking down and being afraid for your life

Compatibility is a gentle stroll in the woods with a few ups and downs. And trust me, you’ll still get a little out of breath, but at least you are never frightened of the scene in front of you.

So why do these differences even matter? Why do we even care to be able to categorize actions or feelings as either chemistry or compatibility? Because it helps you deal with what your expectations are of a relationship.

Just because a guy drives you wild in bed doesn't mean he should be the person that you spend your life with. And don't invite a two-week-old fling to your niece’s graduation. Conversely, just because you are completely compatible in many ways, it doesn’t mean your love life is going to be all passionate, best-ever experiences.


The biggest factor is time. Chemistry tends to be so hot that it burns out quickly, and compatibility takes a while to discover. If you find a relationship that contains at least some of these differences in ONE package, it might be time to start scouting wedding venues.

RELATED: 3 Small Things You Can Do To Immediately Determine If It's Love Or Lust

Sheila Hageman is a writer who has appeared on The Today Show, ABC News, NBC News, and programs with Bill Cunningham and Anderson Cooper. Her writing has been featured in Salon, Mamalode, Mom Babble, and The Huffington Post.