Having things in common is often seen as a prerequisite to a relationship. But is having common ground really that important? By Danielle Anne Suleik
One of the things most people look at when looking for a partner is common ground. When you start dating someone, you go through the motions of getting to know them better. You communicate constantly. You go out on dates. You try to get as much information as possible, before you decide to commit.
What do people look for in a partner?
Each person carries a specific checklist of their ideal mate in their mind. Whenever they meet someone, they start by ticking off the physical attributes that they like. Once that’s over and done with, you proceed to study how a person treats you and the other people around you.
But a person can’t rely on those superficial things alone when looking for a partner. They need to dig deeper and they usually do this by talking – not Facebook stalking. You usually ask the basic questions first about your jobs, your current living conditions, your hobbies and other topics as well.
These are the little things that show us if the person in front of us is someone we would like to spend time with. Some traits of our date can make more of an impact than others. We don’t all adhere to the same sets of standards, but we do want the same thing – someone to connect with.
How do we know if the relationship is going to work?
There’s no way to know whether a relationship is going to succeed or not. Different things can happen within the time you see each other. Even if you get married, no one can assure you that you and your partner will stay together until death do you part.
Promising each other isn’t even enough these days. You and your partner need to make an effort to keep it going. You can’t just agree to commit, without actually understanding its repercussions. A romantic relationship is just as important as a marriage. If you want to be with the person you love, you need to work hard at it.
There are different factors that help us decide whether the person we’re seeing is a prime candidate for a relationship. These are:
#1 Communication. A good relationship starts off with two people exchanging bits of information about themselves. As the relationship progresses, your job as a couple is to process everything through the way you communicate. That is why your relationship can only succeed if you and your partner know how to express yourselves openly and honestly.
#2 Instinct. Are we clicking? Do we feel any sparks? Are there butterflies in our stomachs? Those are the instinctual signs that we look for whenever we start seeing someone. If there’s nothing there, people can sometimes lie to themselves, just so they can be in a relationship. But that’s obviously not healthy.
#3 Affection. This is a basic necessity when you decide to be in a relationship. Even if you don’t start out that way, a good relationship will require both of you to slowly express yourselves through intimacy and human contact.
If you can’t achieve at least one of these, I doubt that your relationship could ever reach a deeper level. These are pretty basic, but they characterize almost every aspect of a romantic relationship. By getting to know each other better, you can assess whether the person is a right fit for you by checking these standards.
What if we don’t like the same things?
Without needing to delve deeper on a first date, you can find out a lot of things, before you even get to the personal stuff. Even without realizing what you’re doing, you will probably end up comparing everything that you and your partner shared about each other’s lives.
When you hear something familiar or similar about yourselves, you immediately feel positive about your future. When you realize that you have nothing at all in common, you start to get demoralized. This is probably the reason why studies show that people who are alike tend to have successful relationships.
I could disagree with the facts, but that’s a moot point. What I can tell you is that you can remedy that problem of not having enough in common. How? By doing these things:
#1 Have a little faith. Just because it looks like you don’t share the same passion about similar things, it doesn’t mean that there’s no chance of it ever happening. It could be because you and your partner haven’t had the chance to talk more about each other’s lives.
#2 Dig deeper. Not everything you have in common is related to your career, hobbies and interests. People can change. You have a chance to explore new things with your partner. As you grow and experience new things together, you may soon find common ground in unexpected thoughts and places.
#3 Be open-minded. Even if you and your partner don’t like the same things, you can still try them to see if you’ll change your mind. Obviously, your partner has to extend the same courtesy to you and your interests.
#4 Ignore it. If you can’t find anything similar between the things that you like, stop worrying so much about it. Even if your interests aren’t in line with each other’s, you can still support one another. As long as you care about them, no amount of common interests can make up for the fact that you care a lot about your partner.
Will this affect our relationship in the long run?
Any relationship can work, as long as the two people involved are willing to do their part to make it work. You can ask all the questions you want on how to keep a relationship stable, but there’s no guarantee that every piece of advice can work for you and your partner.
Ultimately, you and your partner don’t have to like the same things in order to make the relationship work, but you have to at least try to know why your partner likes the things they do, and vice versa. In the end, you have to live with your partner and you’ll have to put up with the things that they do like.
It all depends on whether or not it’s a big deal for you. If you need someone who likes the same things you do such as your preferences in movies, hobbies, music, career choices and all those other things, then find someone like that. If you can live with the things your partner likes, then it would only be a small concession for you to humor them about it. Just don’t judge them or make fun of them for it.
If you want to consider your common interests when choosing a partner, no one’s going to judge you for it. Just know that it’s possible to get along with someone, even if you don’t like the same things they do. The important thing is that the thing you have in common is your attraction towards each other.