Dating and Relationship Advice

If you've ever looked for dating and relationship advice, you'll often see phrases like, "just be yourself" or "talk about things you have in common."

There’s a lot of emphasis on having shared interests in a relationship, but can this make or break a couple? According to a study conducted in 2015, 64% of Americans believed that having shared interests is one of the most important aspects of a successful marriage. Second to that was having a good sexual relationship.

The results of this study are not surprising. After all, when people sign up for dating apps, they often disclose personal hobbies and interests in order to find their ideal match.

People think that finding commonalities is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. They believe that engaging in the same activities helps to keep the relationship healthy and exciting.

In reality, it’s not important at all.

Having shared interests only becomes important if you make it important. I learned this lesson with my partner who I have little in common with. He loves gaming, I love reading. He enjoys sports, I enjoy arts and crafts. He loves junk food, I prefer healthy eating. Some people would say that our relationship shouldn’t work. But it does.

So, how does it work?

Communication trumps everything

There’s no secret to a good, healthy relationship. It varies from couple to couple and it heavily relies on their circumstances. But one thing that most of us can agree on is how communication makes all the difference. Communication and trust are the foundations of a successful relationship; if you want to connect with each other, then that is where you need to begin.

Embrace your differences

Instead of allowing your differences to drive a wedge, you should start to embrace them. While it’s not essential to have shared interests, it is important to have an interest in your partner's life. Allow yourself to see these differences as a talking point. Ask them questions about their hobbies, and discover why they're interested in them. Learning more about your partner and sharing stories can help to bring you closer together and strengthen the relationship.

Give them space to enjoy their interests

A sign of a healthy relationship is being able to enjoy your own interests while simultaneously letting your partner enjoy theirs. You don't have to participate or force yourself to like the things they do. All you need to do is encourage them and show your support.

Focus on what you do have

It's easy to get swept away in the notion that having shared interests can make or break a relationship. But if you focus only on your differences, then it makes it harder to see the positives. Think about the values that you do have — trust, honesty, communication. These are the values that keep a relationship strong and healthy.