You don’t listen to the same music or like the same movies. You’re an introvert, he’s an extrovert, or vice versa. One of you is religious, the other is, for all intents and purposes, an atheist. How do you keep a relationship going when it seems like the differences between you stack up higher than the similarities? Yes, it’s true that opposites attract, but a sparseness of common ground can make it more difficult for a couple to stay together. Keep reading for a few tips on making it work with a guy whose personality and interests are completely different from your own.
1. Don’t have common ground? Build it.
So what if you don’t have much in common when you start out? That gives you the perfect opportunity to introduce your significant other to your passions and allow him to do the same. You probably won’t like everything you share with each other, but keep trying and you’ll hit up on a few things you like to do together. My husband and I have played multiple video games together, for example. And while I don’t play as many types or title as he does, whenever a game comes out that excites the both of us, we make sure to put aside time to play together.
2. Good communication is all the more important.
When you and your guy aren’t naturally on the same page, it forces you to be better communicators. So you eventually end up making the effort to work out things, like how you each should act when upset or mad so as not to worsen the situation, you tell each other if things are going to be a problem before the problem has a chance to develop, and you make it a point to show your love in a way your partner will understand. Or at least you should. And you know what? Your relationship sometimes ends up all the stronger for it, perhaps even more so than the couples who have an easier time of it, just because you’ve been through the wars and forged a way to be with each other over shouted words and hurtful actions.
3. Establish rules around your together-time.
When the things you are interested in, the people you like hanging out with, and more threaten to pull you a part, it’s all the more important to make the time you do have together count. Your alone time as a couple should be sacred. Spend it doing things that make you long to be with each other once again; this could be anything from getting hot and heavy to having a laugh fest over your dog’s antics to talking about the your dreams for the future to just enjoying a little quiet time and a snuggle.
4. Allow it to broaden your worldview.
Remember that what makes you different also makes you interesting, and all these different experiences contribute not only to who you are as a person, but how you view the world. So maybe let him see through your eyes and allow him the chance to show you the world through his. It can be disorienting, yes. But it can also be life-changing. Use those differences in viewpoints to debate topics and form a better understanding of everything from life to love to politics and even finances or history!
5. Determine if the differences are deep or superficial.
When the things you do every day are vastly different, it’s easy to believe that you and your guy are different down to your bones. But is this really the case? Try delving a little deeper to be more conscious of the reason you’re together and want to stay together in the first place. Don’t talk about hobbies or past experiences; talk about values and what you want out of life. If those things align, that’s more important than whether or not you guys share the same fandoms. My husband and I don’t listen to the same music, watch the same shows, enjoy the same movies, or even read the same books. But when it comes to our ideas about family, about love, about how we want our lives as individuals and as a couple to be? We’re definitely in sync.
6. Use your differences help each other grow.
Almost all of the couples whose love stories have inspired me as I’ve grown up have been what you’d call odd couples. My mom has always been a spitfire, while my dad was more mild-mannered and Clark Kentish—and their love story has inspired my entire generation as a clan. I have a godmother whose laugh fills a room married to a professor you sometimes have to lean in closer to talk to, but who still blushes when he talks about the girl he wed decades ago. One of my aunts is bossy and sassy and a total go-getter, while my uncle is all about chilling out and enjoying life. But you know what? I’ve known these couples all my life, and they have all let those differences temper the edges in each other so that they become a cohesive unit. I’ve seen it in my own marriage: how my fun-loving husband curbs the workaholic in me, and how I, often called a witch-with-a-B, push him to achieve more and grab onto what he wants in life with both hands.
At the end of the day, there’s no set formula for what makes a couple’s love endure. And while many might think you need to start with shared interests, I’ve found that hasn’t been the case for me. But my husband and I have been together 11 years, married for seven, and we’re still going strong—stronger than ever, in fact. So throw out the rulebook and remember: it’s not that love finds a way; it’s that when you love someone and he loves you back, you’ll forge your own way together.
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Liana Smith Bautista is an article writer, web content manager, manuscript copy editor, and blogger—and she thinks it's awesome that she earns her living marketing on her love for the written word.