In my work with singles and couples, the subject of commonalities comes up often. Singles have a list of things they are looking for in a partner. Couples argue because they do not see eye- to- eye. Some people believe that in order to be compatible you have to have a lot in common. Others believe that opposites attract and that makes a good relationship.
Personally, I do not believe that compatibility is all that important in a relationship. Yes, you do need to have the important things in common. Similar life goals, values, and mutual respect are the building blocks of a good relationship and are essential. Where people get in trouble, I believe, is thinking they need to have a certain amount in common for the relationship work.
I have had the opposite experience in my relationships. My husband and I are different in many ways! We have different interests and ways of doing things. We also have different personalities; but we get along very well. I also do not believe our success is based on our differences. I think we get along because we have the same basic relationship goals and values. We respect each other’s differences and enjoy finding things to do together.
Some of the online dating sites base their suggested matches on commonalities. My personal belief is that you are better off looking beyond those commonalities. There is little evidence that sharing interests with someone makes for a better relationship. Differences can spice up, add excitement to, or add balance in a relationship.
At some point, you and your partner will disagree. You will have different viewpoints, ideas, and ways of doing things. What is important is to feel loved and to love each other. As long as you connect on enough levels and can accept each other’s differences, you have the basis for a great relationship. Focus more on the ways you are compatible, appreciate each other, support each other, and stay committed to the relationship.
We are each unique individuals and need to be responsible for our own happiness. When you have a life you love, then you are able to share that with your partner. You might share a lot of things or a few special ones. Each couple should create a bond that is right for their relationship.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist