Compatability/common interests


#1

I was wondering what other people think about the importance of a lot of common interests in relationships. My boyfriend and I have been great friends for a couple of years now, and have been dating for about 10 months. I know he is starting to get more serious about where our relationship is heading, and although neither of us want to rush into anything, we've been at least talking about the possibility of an engagement once we've finished graduate work. He is a wonderful man, which I have seen time and time again since I've known him. :) No hesitations about his faith or his character, which is such a blessing!

My question, which I don't quite know how to ask without sounding shallow: how important is it that you share a lot of the same interests? We have been through college together (where we met) and could share a lot of things there, but at the same time, at a superficial level we don't really have a lot in common. He's a sports guy, I'm a nerd. He's a TV junkie, I'm a bookworm, and so forth. I guess one of my biggest hesitations is a fear that we might come to a point where we have difficulties, if we don't share similarities. (Part of this, I have to admit, comes from the fact that my prior relationships have all been with people who were a lot more like me as far as interests were concerned, whereas my current relationship developed just from a friendship. Which is so much better in a lot of ways! But at the same time, I kind of miss being able to talk about the nuances of the latest book I read and having that enthusiasm reciprocated.)

Am I worrying too much? Or is this something that could pose a problem if we decided to seriously consider taking our relationship further later on down the line?


#2

[quote="Livren, post:1, topic:206679"]
how important is it that you share a lot of the same interests? We have been through college together (where we met) and could share a lot of things there

[/quote]

What things did you "share"? To give a more informed answer, we'd need to know that vital piece of info.

[quote="Livren, post:1, topic:206679"]
He's a sports guy, I'm a nerd. He's a TV junkie, I'm a bookworm, and so forth

[/quote]

This is a red flag to me: from my own experience (I'm like you: more on the nerdy side, hate the poison box and don't even own one [can't stannnnnd the noise & stultification, for one thing!], devour books), I'd say you would indeed grow bored with him in the long run. I don't think your interest differences are on a "superficial" level at all; with all due respect for your beau, as nice as he might be, it sounds like his interests are superficial. This kind of imparity can possibly occasionally work out in the reverse (i.e. if the woman is unintellectual), but it's definitely risky the other way around. I wouldn't chance it, if I were you.

PS: That imparity would also be problematic if you guys had kids.


#3

Commonality is important, but so is diversity.

You need to decide what things are important to you (and him) in this area.

The things you mention can be quite superficial when compared to other things like the raising of children, handling money, long term goals etc. These are things that can really effect a relationship.
The fact that he is a "sports guy" and you are not, certainly would not prevent you from sitting in the stands and cheering him on (because you love him). The fact that he likes TV and you prefer books would not prevent him from keeping the volume down to not disturb you (because he loves you).

The biggest factor in something like this is respect for the other - and a willingness to bend in order to make the other happy. For instance, if you go to a ball game with him is he willing to go to a classical concert with you?

I guess you just need to talk about some of these things and decide just how important the various issues are.

Peace
James


#4

[quote="Livren, post:1, topic:206679"]
He is a wonderful man, which I have seen time and time again since I've known him. :) No hesitations about his faith or his character, which is such a blessing! I would say these things are far more important and from what I read on the forums, much harder to come by...

My question, which I don't quite know how to ask without sounding shallow: how important is it that you share a lot of the same interests? I don't think common interests as you are calling them are that important.What matters more are common values, faith and where you see your life going. Eventually, your family will be your common interest, and your home and all that goes along with both of them. And also, you may find a common interest along the way that is now unknown to you. We have been through college together (where we met) and could share a lot of things there, but at the same time, at a superficial level we don't really have a lot in common. He's a sports guy, I'm a nerd. He's a TV junkie, I'm a bookworm, and so forth. I read while my husband watches Nascar...:blush: I have even glanced up from my reading and been able to have some knowledge of what is going on. After all, I am assuming you will want to share some common ground and sometimes, you have to just learn to give a little. I guess one of my biggest hesitations is a fear that we might come to a point where we have difficulties, if we don't share similarities. (Part of this, I have to admit, comes from the fact that my prior relationships have all been with people who were a lot more like me as far as interests were concerned, whereas my current relationship developed just from a friendship. Which is so much better in a lot of ways! But at the same time, I kind of miss being able to talk about the nuances of the latest book I read and having that enthusiasm reciprocated.)

Am I worrying too much? I think you are. You have not been dating all that long. Don't start worrying so early about the rest of your life! :) Enjoy his company now. Perhaps you will both want to take a class together or volunteer at church and you will be together doing something you share an interest in. Or is this something that could pose a problem if we decided to seriously consider taking our relationship further later on down the line?

[/quote]

Don't overthink it! Enjoy each other for who you are now. :D
May God bless you and guide you!


#5

My parents actually share very few common interests. Mom's very musical. Dad likes his sports and model airplanes. But they are more interested in each other than any of those things.


#6

[quote="Kit15, post:5, topic:206679"]
My parents actually share very few common interests. Mom's very musical. Dad likes his sports and model airplanes. But they are more interested in each other than any of those things.

[/quote]

This is interesting.

My parnets didn't really have a lot of "common interests" either. He was a country boy who loved his garden and, while he worked in a factory all his life, would have prefered to have been a full time farmer.
My mother was a city girl, better educated than dad and who really didn't know or care much about the out-of-doors. She'd read some, work crossword puzzles etc. Dad would watch a bit of TV, read his garden magazines etc.
Yet, as you say above, they were more interested in each other and worked well as a team. Whether it was on housework, canning the produce from the garden, disicplining (and loving) us kids or whatever. And when Dad was stricken with Alzheimer's Mom cared for him till the day he died.

Peace
James


#7

I think it depends.

I know many married couples who do not share interests. The wife has her circle and the husband has his.

But, if that is not YOUR vision of marriage, then this is an important issue.

Personally, I cannot imagine a home where my husband and I did not discuss politics, religion, and deep thought. We both read, we both watch TV, we are both informed about the world, we both are involved in Church. We don't always read the same things, we don't always want to watch the same programs, but we are BOTH sports nuts when it comes to football (season tickets!) and we are both interested in expanding ourselves intellectually.

So, if your boyfriend is wathing TV, is it Discovery Channel or E! TV? Is it a news channel or is it Comedy Central? I mean, there's a huge difference. If you are reading, is it a romance novel or the latest literary fiction? Is it a political book or science fiction or gardening? I mean, is there any common ground? Would he read a book so you can discuss it and would you watch the show he's watching so you can be in the know on what his show is about? Does he just watch TV sometimes, or is it on 24/7. Do you just read in your spare time, or is it all day on Saturday?

No one can answer whether or not this is important, only you can. Because if it's important** to you**, it's important.

To me, it does matter in the long term. But, that's me.


#8

It really depends. Personally, I think it would be boring and even stifling if my boyfriend shared every single one of my interests. He's a mechanical engineer who loves computer games, and I'm an English major who adores classic literature. Sometimes it's hard for me to understand exactly what he is working on, but I really enjoy being exposed to things that I never would have seen or learned about on my own. And it's healthy for each of us to have our own hobbies - I think that our separate activities help us to recharge and work more strongly together as a couple.

That said, there are plenty of things we enjoy doing together, and we love to just sit and talk and "do nothing." I would say that if you can carry on good conversations, enjoy each other's company, and work well as team, then you have nothing to really worry about. But if you really struggle to find things to do together or you find yourself getting tired of spending time with him, then perhaps you should reconsider. I suspect, however, that your strong friendship makes that very unlikely!

I hope this helps, and God bless.


#9

My wife and I have very few shared interests. I could list the differences, but they're numerous and it just gets into a silly litany, anyway. We also have some similarities- we're nice to each other, we love our children, and we're committed to growing together. That's worked for almost ten years now, despite our completely out of sync hobby time.


#10

I think respect for the other person's interests and hobbies is way more important than actually sharing the same interest or hobby. If you resent him being a sports junkie, or any of his hobbies, and vice versa, that will be a problem done the road. You can not expect the other person to give up their interests just because you are married. I'd be more concerned if your boyfriend doesn't understand your differences, teases you about them, makes you feel uncomfortable in any way about not having the same interests that he does and vice versa. Anything you can not tolerate about his interests now, before you get real serious or married, is only going to intensify and will lead to problems later on.

I would also advise you to at least participate or show some interest on an occasion in each others interests/hobbies. It doesn't have to be all the time, but occasionally an attempt to be intrigued goes a long way.


#11

I believe its important for there to be some common interests but its fine to have different interests as well. My husband and I have very similar views on the faith and politics but we differ on other issues but that is fine. I don't like basketball. He does. I love music but I am not a music nerd like he is. I like sci-fi and fantasy. He doesn't very much although I have exposed him to some good stuff lately. He isn't well read in classic literature. I am. So, what we do is teach each other. The key is to respect his interests and take an interest in them because you love him. Its a good thing to do because it shows that you are interested in him and not just the idea of being in love, etc.


#12

[quote="1ke, post:7, topic:206679"]
I think it depends.

I know many married couples who do not share interests. The wife has her circle and the husband has his.

But, if that is not YOUR vision of marriage, then this is an important issue.

Personally, I cannot imagine a home where my husband and I did not discuss politics, religion, and deep thought. We both read, we both watch TV, we are both informed about the world, we both are involved in Church. We don't always read the same things, we don't always want to watch the same programs, but we are BOTH sports nuts when it comes to football (season tickets!) and we are both interested in expanding ourselves intellectually.

So, if your boyfriend is wathing TV, is it Discovery Channel or E! TV? Is it a news channel or is it Comedy Central? I mean, there's a huge difference. If you are reading, is it a romance novel or the latest literary fiction? Is it a political book or science fiction or gardening? I mean, is there any common ground? Would he read a book so you can discuss it and would you watch the show he's watching so you can be in the know on what his show is about? Does he just watch TV sometimes, or is it on 24/7. Do you just read in your spare time, or is it all day on Saturday?

No one can answer whether or not this is important, only you can. Because if it's important** to you**, it's important.

To me, it does matter in the long term. But, that's me.

[/quote]

This about sums it up.

Dh and I have many different interests, its been said by others that we "have nothing in common".

But, on a deeper level, we have lots in common and can talk to each other about anything for hours.

One thing though, are you willing to try to like or at least appreciate each others hobbies? Dh has no interest in gardening, but in the summer he dutifully walks around my gardens with me on a "flower walk" and lets me babble on about them.....and I hand him wrenches and let him prattle on about engines while he is working on the cars...

I don't know how I would feel if he had hobbies I found unacceptable, or that he seemed to be a little too into. Family must come first. I don't think I personally would be into someone who went to the casino on a regular basis, or who had to play golf every weekend. But really it's about what each individual wants.


#13

As others have said, a lot of this depends on how much the two of you value common interests. Obviously common interests in the areas of religion and morals are important. But we also value our more "frivolous" interests.

Here are a few things I've observed over the years. (Some of these are also true about the relationships of same sex relatives and friends as well.)

If one or both of you thrives on attention/interaction from the other then common interests are probably more important. If you are often content to be physically near each other without directly interacting then common interests are less important.

If an important interest involves interaction with other people (for example playing sports or music) then you have to figure out if either of you would resent the time the spouse spends with 'activity buddies'. If so, then it would be better if that is a shared interest. All couples have to allow each other separate time with friends. But some people want a LOT of space and others can barely tolerate the thought of a spouse being with other people.

If one of you likes an activity that is often a "date" activity (going to shows, dancing, riding roller coasters...) then it's probably a good idea if the other will at least be a willing participant in that activity.


#14

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