What first comes to mind as I write about this issue is the old trope about yin and yang, or the expression that opposes attract. While there is some truth to these concepts – because none of us wants to be with someone exactly like us in every way – two people will need to have essential things in common in order for the relationship to last happily for many years. Very early in dating someone, you will have a sense of the things you do and do not have in common.
Take a look at the signs below, because these are the main ways you can figure out whether you have enough in common with someone to last. If you are looking for a long-term relationship, you need to share much in common in terms of behaviors, personality traits, and values.
Take a look at the differences below…and beware!
Your date doesn’t laugh at your jokes.
If you are someone who likes your own sense of humor and who likes to joke a lot or be goofy or silly, this is a big part of your personality. For a relationship with you to last, you need to be with someone who values humor and who likes your sense of humor.
Your date can’t tell when you are joking.
If you are showing your sense of humor but your date stares at you blank-faced – not even knowing that you are joking – this is a sign that you don’t share the same humor style.
One of you likes going to bustling, crowded places while the other hates crowds.
If you don’t think it matters if one of you hates crowds but the other doesn’t mind them, tread carefully. This is a major difference that often causes problems in couples in terms of how they spend their free time.
One of you is a home body and the other prefers to spend a lot of free time out of the house.
Typically, relationships work best if both members of a couple are similar in that they are both home bodies, or they both love to spend a lot of free time out and about. A relationship can still work if this difference exists, but it is going to be much more challenging with a difference in this department.
One of you loves parties or going out in groups, while the other prefers one-on-one conversation.
If one of you loves to go out, it usually means that this person is an extrovert; if the other loves one-on-one conversations, it usually means that person is an introvert. Relationships can survive this difference as long as each member of the couple is independent, because a lot of the time, each person is going to want to do different things.
You don’t watch any of the same television shows or like the same types of films.
This difference, especially, isn’t a deal breaker unless the two people dating don’t have other major things in common.
One of you loves to read, while the other might read a book or two per year – if that.
On its face, this issue doesn’t seem like a big difference. However, if two people are different in this respect, it usually means that the reader is more introspective or intellectual than the other. For the relationship to work, the one who is more introspective and intellectual will need to make sure to have a lot of outside friendships that meet that person’s needs for substantive reflection and dialogue.
Practicing a religion is important to one of you but not the other.
This is one of those differences that is workable for a long-term relationship, but only if neither member of the couple is codependent or needs the other to share the same primary interests. Otherwise, this difference becomes a major one and causes problems later.
One of you is a political junkie and enjoys reading or talking about politics, while the other couldn’t be less interested.
If you are a political junkie, you don’t need your partner to be a political junkie, too, as long as you have friends or coworkers who meet your needs for substantive political talk. If you don’t have friends to share your political interests with, you will end up looking at your partner and wishing they had the same interest as you.
One of you is a sports fan, while the other is not.
Thousands – or probably hundreds of thousands of couples – manage to have a decent relationship even if one is a sports fan and the other is not. But wouldn’t it be nice if you found someone who loves the same things you do?
One of you has many friends they see or talk to during their free time, while the other does not.
Yes, everyone has friends, but some people get together with those friends often. For others, they may have friends, but they don’t necessarily get together that often or have frequent text dialogues or phone calls.
The overall point…
You can see how many different areas have been covered in this list. If two people don’t have the same things in common in a few areas – say, politics, sports, or preferring one-on-one conversations as opposed to group activities – a relationship can work well and last for years. But if two people don’t have anything common in many different areas, each member of that couple should really ask themselves what the glue is that binds the two together. No two people in a couple should ever be similar in every way, but having things in common in many different areas means that they have a much greater chance of lasting than those with fewer similarities. Choose carefully, ladies and gentlemen!
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.