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Friday, July 6, 2012

Dealing with differences in relationships: We don't have a lot in common, can our relationship still work?

Do we need to have everything / a lot in common for our relationship to work? Should I have a lot in common with my boyfriend / girlfriend? My boyfriend / girlfriend and I have nothing in common can our relationship still work?

cute couple pictures

We all dream of the feeling of being with someone that you have absolutely everything in common with. He shares your love for gossip girl and watching that Twilight DVD over and over again and she's crazy about that soccer team and will skip any other TV program just to catch the game with you; but how realistic is this really?
That's exactly what you'd be expecting if you were waiting for someone who had EVERYTHING in common with you to come around. Everything should cover EVERYTHING and not just the little things.
There are limits to how much 'in common' is acceptable and how little isn't.

How much should we have in common?
watching the game with your girlfriend
Taking into consideration the fact that he's a guy and you're a girl or the other way around; there should be many differences in your likes and dislikes (unlike the twilight and gossip girl / sport example above). You / she should be able to like and do girly things and he / you should be able to like or do guy-ish kind of things. You should both be free to have your own likes and dislikes seeing as you're two different people.

Neither of you should feel like you have to change your likes or dislikes, or the things you enjoy doing in order to 'have more in common' with the other. There is always compromising but compromising and changing who you are are two completely different things.

What should we have in common?
There should be a few basics with regards to what you need to have in common in order for the relationship to function at its best. Please not that these are merely suggestions for an easier to handle relationship and not make or break characteristics for a relationship.

These basic factors in common make having a relationship easier
  • Value the same things in life: family, spirituality / religion, love, your relationship, etc
  • You live in the same town or city (or close to each other)
  • You want the same thing from a relationship
  • You have similar long term goals

What if we don't agree on the important factors in a relationship?
The basic common factors in a relationship can be worked around by understanding and compromising.
mixed race couple
  • You have different values with regards to family / religion - this might result in confusion with regards to raising children but if you're willing to compromise or come up with a solution together this can be sorted out.
  • You don't live in the same town or city - depending on how far apart you do live you might need to get into a long distance relationship. If you have enough trust in each other, are willing to make sacrifices to spend as much time as possible together and are ultimately both willing to do everything you can to make the relationship work it still can become a successful one.
  • You don't want the same things from the relationship - this can be rather tricky with regards to the fact that one of you might want to be in a 'friends with benefits' kind of relationship while the other might want something more serious. The out come of confusion with regards to getting into a relationship where one of the parties is not looking for something serious and the other is can be highly heart breaking and painful so it is always best that this is discussed before hand and a compromise or a solution is reached with regards to what kind of relationship you will be entering in to.
  • You don't have similar long term goals - similar to the above mentioned difference is one where one of the parties might have a long term goal of settling down or starting a family and the other might be  more career orientated or not looking to settle down any time soon. This is also something that needs to be discussed and compromised on.

    Can our relationship last despite the differences?
    wedding on the beach

    Relationships are what you make of them. If you love someone enough and he /she loves you just as much the relationship can work no matter what. Just like with anything else, relationships take hard work, dedication and commitment in order to be successful. 

    As mentioned above, even the bigger challenges or differences in relationships can be worked around by consideration, communication and compromising. You need to figure out what your differences are,which of these might affect your relationship and how you will solve them or work around them.

    If you feel that your differences are too great or that your relationship isn't important enough (maybe you don't feel that much of a connection to each other or feel that there are other people better suited for you and / or your partner) then be sure to move on, if that's what you really want.

    If you feel that you're not well suited for each other then don't waste each others time staying in a relationship that you feel isn't worth it. 
    If however, you feel that you really love each other and want to make things work then do just that. Don't let racial, cultural, likes / dislikes or any other differences stand in the way of a seemingly good relationship because we're all different after all.

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