Portland Relationship Counseling: Do We Need Shared Interests?

May 7, 2014 by

You’ve most likely heard the expression “opposites attract,” but how true is that idea? Do couples need to have common interests, or can a diverse set of interests actually strengthen their relationship?

The answer won’t be very satisfying for people who like things to be straightforward. There are benefits to having both similar and dissimilar interests, but most couples find they need a balance of the two in order to have a close relationship.

The Advantages of Shared Interests

When you and your partner share interests, you’re better able to enjoy certain activities together. For example, if you’re both film buffs, you might bond over watching classic movies together on the weekend. If you both love to be outdoors, you might choose to spend some quality time together on a camping trip. Shared interests allow you to have enjoyable face-to-face time with your partner, which can make you feel closer.

The Advantages of Dissimilar Interests

No two people are exactly alike, which is definitely for the best – you wouldn’t want to date another version of yourself, would you?

This means that your partner is bound to have some interests that you don’t share, and that’s all right. One of the major advantages of being with someone who has different interests than you is that the two of you have the opportunity to be open to new things and to go outside of your comfort zone. Getting outside of your comfort zone adds excitement to your relationship, bringing back some of the same “butterflies” that you may have experienced when you first started dating.

Celebrating Shared Interests and Making Room for Individualism

Ideally, you and your partner should take your shared interests into account when planning quality time together but also make room to try the new things that you’re individually interested in. Try this activity: make two lists, one of activities that you’ve done before but would like to do more often and another of new activities you’d like to try, while your partner does the same. Look at each other’s lists and make a goal to try at least one of each other’s new things each month while also making time for the things you know you both enjoy. If there are a few interests that you just don’t see eye to eye on, make sure that you both have some time set aside to pursue them individually.

And if you’re worrying that you and your partner have become too different, or that you’ve become so similar that you’ve fallen into a rut, consider turning to Portland relationship counseling. I’d be glad to help you find ways to celebrate both your similarities and differences.