After much searching, you’ve finally found the perfect match! But like everything in life it’s never quite that simple. You soon discovered that while you fancy each other you don’t share any of the same interests.
Are common passions – beyond the obvious adoration of your mate – the key to ties that bind for life? Are differences a positive or negative in a long-term relationship? Should disparate interests shape the make-it-or-break-it phase in a relationship?
Some, all, or nothing at all
It’s important to assess where the dissimilarities lie. You like stirred martinis, they prefer shaken. They want kids, you prefer pooches. Placing a weight on the importance and relevance of your preferences can go a long way. One person wanting a home in the country and the other a loft in the city should likely garner more attention than being partial to comedy clubs over symphonies. It’s important to determine if the potential of your love should outweigh the differences.
Can you ultimately align on the more important matters that shape the bigger picture of life or are there showstoppers (like kids, locale and wealth) getting in the way? Having different passions is one thing, disagreeing on life-defining issues, is another.
How deep is your love?
How deep are the discrepancies and do they cut into your quality time together? Do they work against you repeatedly and to a significant degree, or are they a mere blip? In today’s harried times it can be challenging to carve out ample time to connect as a couple. Do you have things that you enjoy doing together, interspersed with activities that you do with other friends or on your own? Are there enough things to talk about and can you find a common thread to hang your relationship on? Be cautious if you spend all of your waking hours apart, “doing your own thing.” It could beg the question if you can really be in a relationship at all.
Walk on a new side
Differences can be an amazing opportunity to try something new – to go out on a limb and accomplish something that you’ve never had a proclivity to do. Why not look at this as a chance to learn more about yourself and your mate in the process? A lot can be gained by diving more deeply into what motivates your partner, whether that be watching Monday Night Football or partaking in monthly jaunts to the opera. Are you willing to test new waters with the potential of unleashing a new passion?
Or maybe you’ll simply find joy watching the excitement that said activity brings to your mate. Getting to know what turns your lover on, could wind up being an aphrodisiac for the both of you. Learning what makes your partner tick opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for the future. By sharing you can better understand each other, all of which goes a long way in building a solid and healthy foundation for the relationship. Once you do dip your toe into their water, notice if you see acknowledgement or appreciation and perhaps even a returning of the favor. Or maybe the deed goes unnoticed. Regardless of the outcome, the experience should be telling in determining the viability of a future together.
Can you respect the differences?
Are you able to accept what your lover enjoys and willing to give them the space to do things that make them happy, even though you don’t share the same enthusiasm? Or maybe you know you’d resent the time they spend on activities that chip away at your time together.
Be honest with yourself, because if you’re not, you may be setting up the relationship to fail in the future. Stop and take notice when their interests become all-consuming or something that you fundamentally disagree with. Say their favorite hobby is hunting and you’re an animal activist. Or maybe they are a vegan, and you like to fish one day, and eat it the next. Can you respect each other’s passions or are you offended by them? You need to assess how important the activity is, and if your partner deems it a “must have.” Decide if you can live with that for the long haul.
Tiptoe carefully around asking a loved one to forgo doing something that they enjoy. It could be a surefire way to build resentments over time. In the end, differences are a fact of life. Each coupling has to determine if those disparities are healthy or detrimental to the relationship. Only you can decide, but why not have a little fun as you get to the bottom of that answer?
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