In my first book, Dating from the Inside Out, I mention a Venn diagram of two intersecting circles where each person is one circle and the overlap consists of shared interests. Clients have often asked, regarding their dates, ‘Do we have enough things in common? What if we aren’t that interested in each other’s hobbies and careers but we have similar values, are attracted to each other and like to be together? Is that enough for a life-long relationship?’ Only you can answer this but here are 5 things to consider:
1. How Much Closeness Do You Want? Everyone is different. Some couples like to do their own thing and come together to share later. Others like to do almost everything together. So, the first thing you need to decide is whether you both want and expect the same level of closeness. Can you agree to pursue certain hobbies alone without resentment?
2. Do You Want to Learn from Another Person & Compromise? There are some opposite couples who want to learn from the other person and are able to compromise; switching off in movie choices and alternating between boxing and ballet tickets. But this takes a certain amount of curiosity, openness and goodwill. Are you willing to try out what the other person loves?
3. Will You Look for New Shared Passions? You can try and find one or two new things to enjoy together. It doesn’t have to be monumental. It can be dancing, date night, a favorite comedy club, bowling or bath time. Don’t assume because your favorite passions aren’t identical that you can’t develop other things to share.
4. What’s Most Important to You in a Relationship? There are many things that people look for in a life-long relationship, including maturity, responsibility, fun, attraction, ambition, teamwork, honesty and mutual respect. Shared interests are important but where do they fall on your list? If you have so many other great things together, will you eliminate the other person because of this issue?
5. How Will Your Chosen Lifestyle Affect the Importance of Shared Interests? When you’re young and single, shared interests may count for a lot since you have all the time in the world to hang out. Sometimes when you’re married with kids you’re lucky to have a weekly date night alone so other things may loom large– like shared responsibility, domestic chores, teamwork, communication, shared parenting, financial acuity, ambition etcetera. Then, when you’re retired and older and the kids are gone, you may travel together and share more interests again. Just something to consider before you assume it’s a deal breaker.
No one is perfect, I always say there will be downsides to everything and everyone it’s just which one’s you choose. So, think it over and see how important it is to have similar interests and how willing you are to engage someone who’s different. It’s just another way to grow!