Television sitcoms about singles looking for love typically feature relationships based on only a few Dimensions of Compatibility: physical appearance, chemistry, sociability, social status and sense of humor. Rarely do they depict the other dimensions that are just as important to long-term compatibility and relationship success.
While the beginning of relationships based on only a few dimensions of compatibility may “feel” extremely compatible at first, over the long term they begin to feel oh-so-wrong. Both partners may feel as though they have to compromise so much that they are “boxed in” or are”under someone’s thumb.” From there, most of the interactions of the relationship will feel like a series of disappointing compromises. That’s when the dissimilarities surface in full view, outweighing the once-charming similarities that pale in comparison to the now-glaring incompatibilities. On T.V. these incompatibilities may be entertaining, but they are not as funny when you’re going through them yourself in real life.
The problem is not that these five dimensions often featured on television are superficial. Quite to the contrary; they are equal components of a total picture of compatibility shared between two people. When people first meet, though, they look for similarities in each other & and rightly so. Similarity in as many dimensions as possible does predict long-term relationship success. However, why look for love on only five dimensions when you can compare on so many more?
Maybe that’s why love on television looks so much more compelling and simple – man and woman are attracted, communicate, laugh together, and fall in love. And it can last in the short term, but that’s certainly not the whole story. It’s the total composite of the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility that leads to a lasting affair that will be deeper, richer and more complex than those relationships portrayed by T.V. characters.
Besides, imagine meeting, dating, and solving a major relationship problem in which all of your friends and possibly family members intervene – all within the course of 30 minutes less commercial breaks. Now that’s pure comedy.