I’ve recently started dating a lovely new boyfriend, and he’s a lot of fun and very nice to me. But he’s quite a bit different from me, and so I’ve begun to wonder if we’re really compatible.
Might that be a problem as time goes on?
It’s definitely easier to team up with someone who shares your attitudes, values and interests. Where you both enjoy doing the same things and share similar views on politics, religion and money. And agree on issues like how close a romantic couple should be, compared to much independence each of you should have.
But that doesn’t mean that you should only go out with total clones. Because differences can also be helpful, which is why we often choose partners who’s strengths complement our weaknesses. Like someone who prefers staying home, but who also likes being hooked up with a party animal.
Though as time passes, differences can become a problem. Especially around issues like a couple’s attitudes to their work, sex, starting a family, money management and household chores.
Though there’s no reason why couples with big differences can’t be just as happy as couples who are more similar. They just need a different relationship style. Like those couples who bicker endlessly over almost everything, but where the conflicts just seem to offer more opportunities to kiss and make up.
So what matters is not the differences themselves. It’s how a couple manages them. It’s especially important that you always stay positive about one another, and don’t spend your entire lives trying to change each other’s viewpoint into your own.
Because conflicts over differences can be an opportunity to learn more about each other. And that helps, because as you grow to understand yourselves better, you’ll know when to compromise with your partner, and when you must stand your ground.
So compatibility’s important, but that doesn’t mean searching for someone exactly like yourself. Because it’s also about the way you handle your differences. Learn to do that skilfully, and your relationship will go really well.
All the best,