12 Key Points Of Love Compatibility

Medically reviewed by Karen Foster, LPC
Updated April 24, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Dr. Edward Hoffman is believed to have completed extensive research focused on the types of compatibility that can contribute to healthy long-term relationships. The 12 main points of compatibility, according to Hoffman, can include the need for companionship, idealism, emotional intensity, spontaneity, libido, nurturance, materialism, extroversion, aestheticism, activity level, subjective well-being, and intellectualism. It can be possible to have wonderful, lasting relationships without hitting every point of compatibility, but often, having more areas of compatibility can contribute to better relationship outcomes. If you’re interested in working through areas of incompatibility in your relationship, you may wish to try online couples therapy.

The 12 points of love compatibility

Learn more about your compability in couples therapy

According to extensive research by Dr. Edward Hoffman, there may be 12 main points of compatibility in romantic relationships. These points may not all be important to you; there may be some wiggle room for you and your partner to determine if you are willing to be incompatible in some ways. For example, people with different spiritual beliefs may still be compatible enough in other ways that this difference can be accommodated, often with communication and understanding. Still, you may wish to be compatible on as many levels as possible if you’d like your relationship to last long-term. 

Need for companionship

According to Dr. Hoffman, it can be beneficial if both partners have the same need for companionship. If one person feels the need to be around their partner all the time, but the other one requires more space, the relationship may encounter challenges. For example, one person may begin to feel smothered, while the other may feel that their partner doesn’t give them enough attention or quality time.

A healthy relationship is often about the quality of the time spent together rather than the quantity of time spent together. While it can be healthy to want to spend time together and to do so, it can also be important to spend time apart and be able to function as individuals as well as a couple.


Some experts believe that for a relationship to work, you should both have similar basic ideas and belief systems. In general, everyone has an idea of how a relationship should work and what constitutes a good person and partner. If you and your partner have contrasting ideas about life, it may be difficult to get past these fundamental differences.

You may wish to be in a relationship with someone who has the same or similar views on politics, religion, and morals. However, many couples in successful relationships do not always agree on these matters. 

Emotional intensity

Having similar levels of emotional intensity can be an important component of compatibility. If one person is much more intense in their emotions than the other, the other person may feel overwhelmed or have a hard time understanding why their partner feels the way they do.

It can be best if both partners have a similar level of emotional intensity. If you both have passions that run high, you could have a very intense relationship, but it would likely be mutual and potentially healthy. You could also both be low-intensity lovers, in which case you may not be quite as occupied with each other but could still be well-matched.


Not everyone may enjoy being spontaneous. Some may love being surprised on occasion, while others may strongly dislike surprises. It can be helpful to know each other’s views on spontaneity. If you both like to be spontaneous, you might have a more adventurous relationship. If neither one likes to be spontaneous, you may thrive in each other’s ability to plan and be more organized with dates, trips, and other events.


Mismatched libidos can be a common problem in long-term relationships. When one partner desires physical intimacy more frequently than the other, it can lead to challenges and conflicts. While sex may not be a requirement for a healthy relationship and sexual desire can exist on a spectrum, it can be important for both partners’ needs to be met.



One-sided relationships generally are not healthy. Both partners should usually be willing and able to nurture the other to the same extent, or to the extent that both are comfortable with and that meets both people’s needs. Nurturing behaviors can include those in which one person cares for the other’s needs, such as providing emotional support, cooking a meal, drawing a bath, giving a massage, or spending quality time together.

When only one person in a relationship is nurturing, it can create a feeling of one-sidedness that may eventually turn into resentment. Often, very nurturing people enjoy being pampered themselves. They don’t necessarily nurture simply because they enjoy it; they may also nurture because they similarly enjoy that behavior.


Attachment to material things may not seem important during courtship, but as soon as you move in together or get married, it can become an issue for some couples. Some people like to live a minimalist lifestyle and have few material possessions. Some people prefer the opposite. And, of course, there can be many variations in between.

It can be important for each partner to accommodate the other or agree with one another about the number of material possessions you have and how you’d like to keep them.


According to Dr. Hoffman’s 12 points of love compatibility, people in a relationship should be relatively equally interested (or disinterested) in going out in public and doing things as a couple. When one person likes to go to clubs, movies, and parties, and the other person likes to stay home and avoid social interaction, this can lead to an incompatibility that could cause serious problems in a relationship if not properly communicated and handled.

Sometimes, when one person is more outgoing than the other, it can lead to resentment for both parties. The outgoing person might resent their partner for not wanting to go with them to parties and events. The person who is not outgoing could resent their partner for going to events without them instead of staying in to spend time with them. It can be best if you both have the same or a similar level of interest in social engagements or can find some form of compromise that is healthy and feasible for both of you.


Some experts believe that one of the primary things that determine if you are compatible with someone could be whether you are physically attracted to them. Looks are generally not everything in a relationship, but appearances can be more important to some people than others. Finding your partner at least somewhat attractive can be healthy. It can be beneficial to your relationships if you both place the same level of emphasis on that physical attraction.

Activity level

In some relationships, it can be helpful to have similar activity levels. When one person dislikes physical activity and the other likes to remain active, it can lead to a situation where there isn’t much you want to do together.

While it may not be necessary to have the same activity level as your partner, you may find you have little in common as far as desired activities. When you don’t want to do the same things for fun and recreation, you may discover that you are doing things you don’t want to do to please the other person or wish that you could impart the things you enjoy with them (or vice versa). This can result in resentment and lead to other challenges. Still, communication, understanding, and healthy, reasonable compromise can go a long way.

Subjective well-being

Both people in the relationship having positive subjective well-being can be another important aspect of compatibility. When you have positive subjective well-being, it generally means that you are happy with your life as it is. People who are inherently happy and have a positive outlook often get along best with others who have the same perspective. When one person is ultimately happy, and the other is typically not happy with their life, it can lead to some disillusionment later down the road.


Learn more about your compability in couples therapy

It may also be helpful for both partners to impart similar levels of intellectuality. When you are on the same intellectual level, it may be easier to communicate effectively and resolve the normal conflicts and disagreements that generally arise throughout the duration of a relationship. In addition, being similar intellectually may mean that you can have stimulating discussions that both partners can understand and equally contribute to. This can mean you have the capacity to converse about many different topics and may always have plenty of topics to talk about together.

Learn about compatibility in couples therapy

Couples therapy can be a wonderful resource for any couple that wishes to improve their relationship health and work through conflicts and challenges in a healthy way. If you’d like to examine the compatibility between yourself and your partner or wish to work through areas where you’re not as compatible, therapy can be a way to do that. If your schedule makes it difficult to attend therapy sessions in person, you may want to give online therapy a try, as you may schedule appointments outside of typical office hours.

In this study, the participating couples found online therapy to be generally positive and beneficial for their relationships. Although some of them had initial doubts regarding the ability to connect with a therapist over the Internet, they typically found that the experience exceeded their expectations, and many enjoyed strong therapeutic alliances throughout the process.

According to Dr. Edward Hoffman, the 12 key points of love compatibility can include the following:
  • Need for companionship
  • Idealism
  • Emotional intensity
  • Spontaneity
  • Libido
  • Nurturance
  • Materialism
  • Extroversion
  • Aestheticism
  •  Activity level
  •  Subjective well-being
  •  Intellectualism


Although not all 12 points may be necessary for a healthy, lasting relationship, it can be beneficial to have as many points of compatibility as possible. If you have questions about compatibility or would like to move past areas of incompatibility in your relationship, online couples therapy may be a valuable tool for you.
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