“But do we have enough in common?” Purposefully or subconsciously, we typically seek out similarities to ourselves in our dating sites dates and partners. But do we really need to have lots in common with our dates? And if we do, what exactly is it that we need?
In an age when we’re bombarded with photos – from your friend’s sickly sweet couples yoga retreat, your sister wine-tasting with her husband in France to the guy-you-haven’t-spoken-to-in-5-years-and-should-probably-delete taking salsa classes with his fiance – social media is full of couples doing exciting and, well, couple-y things.
But what if you don’t share your date’s love for following Arsenal FC around the country? What if the thought of going to another spin class together makes your skin crawl? Does that mean you have nothing in common, and your relationship is doomed? Happily, no! And here’s why:
1. You’ve got more in common than you think
Many commonalities run deeper than hobbies or interests, and these are often far more primal and intrinsic than activities. At it’s most reduced version, if you’ve felt you could be fulfilled by being together, there’s got to be something there which gave you those feelings. These might take a little while to uncover after you first chat on dating sites. Whether it’s sexual attraction, your similar political beliefs, matching personal philosophies, a shared sense of humour…if you look, you’ll be able to find those things which set your spark alight.
2. …and those things can be just as important as outward similarities
Though they often form an important part of your or your date’s lifestyle, hobbies and activities aren’t what make a a relationship. Sure, having a common passion is exciting, but it’s not the sign of a successful relationship. Obviously, that comes from how you feel about each other.
3. It’s your attitude to your differences that counts
The saying “opposites attract”comes from our natural cravings for novelty in our lives. But after a while you might find that what you once found attractive has been replaced by something else, and that’s completely natural. Maybe you used to love going out every Friday night, but now you prefer to binge on Netflix series. If your date, or your partner, has interests that you don’t share, that doesn’t have to be a relationship-dirge; you just have to decide if you can be happy while they do that, and you get to do you.
4. Keep an open mind before you mark something a difference
While it’s fine to have more differences than commonalities, that doesn’t mean you should sit back and declare “what has been, will be”. If your date has a hobby or interest that you don’t initially think you’ll like on their dating sites profile, you should still try standing in their shoes and try to feel the way they feel about that thing too – even if it’s just for an hour. Go in with the right attitude, and your date/partner should be more than happy to share their passion with you – and they should appreciate your effort. Whether it’s a book club or hiking, give it a go – you truly can’t be certain how you feel about it until you’ve tried it.
5. Value your quality time together
Whilst in your diary “cook dinner with Hannah” or “Saturday brunch” might look like pretty standard day-to-day activities, it’s good to remember that life is made up of all the little things. Don’t forget the small moments that do make you truly happy – very little can compare to them. These moments are usually less Instagram friendly, but in some ways that makes them even more personal and intimate. Don’t negatively focus on what’s different about you and your date or partner – try to see it as an opportunity to learn & grow.
6. But be realistic about what you want
There’s no doubt that differences can be hard, but you just need to be realistic about what they mean to you, and your relationship. Everyone has their own personal needs, desires and boundaries. What works for your friend might not work for you. There are extremes to every situation; if your date’s career looks to be extremely stressful, travel intensive and keeps them working 24/7, that’s a situation where it’s probably much harder to see a long and meaningful relationship forming, compared to a history enthusiast who goes away for a long weekend every month with a club.
7. Talk to your date or partner
If, after thinking about it, you still feel having nothing in common with your date or partner, and it’s a problem, the best thing you can do is talk it out with them. Don’t suffer in silence. The only way you’ll be able to address the issue is to talk about it, and most likely make a renewed effort to appreciate the parts of your relationship you do share, and to get out there and try new things together!