Think back to your teenage years: remember how cliques formed and alliances were made? It was usually some commonality: clothing style, musical taste, sports, etc.—things I’d call “surface” interests.
Certainly these interests are still a factor when we start dating; as our CatholicMatch—and most online dating sites’ profiles—indicate. As a newbie to online dating, I mistakenly relied on those “surface” interests as the only—or at least main—criteria for clicking on a profile. The problem? I was hardly a teenager! The result? Dating disasters!
In the past, I’ve written about how it isn’t a requirement to have these types of interests in common when searching for a mate. Janice Lieberman and other dating advisors would agree with me. However, I’m starting to come back around to my original way of thinking; albeit with many caveats.
The term “opposites attract” can point to a myriad of ways in which two people are opposed: temperaments, politics, climate and other preferences … you get the idea. All these “surface interests” can be worked around, of course; as can what I’d call “deeper commonalities.” These are areas like political affiliation or education level. Lieberman’s idea of listing non-negotiables (living arrangements, children and income) are subjective, and I encourage active members to come up with their own list of non-negotiables.
Patti Stanger believes that list should be fairly short and simple; and I tend to think that Lieberman’s three are excellent ones. But what they both say—and I agree—is that anything beyond the non-negotiables is fair game and can work with effort and compromise. That includes the “deeper commonalities” and instances of “opposites attract.”
But in finding someone with many common interests, both surface and deeper, as well as compatible non-negotiables, I find my current relationship so much more effortless, satisfying and profound. Being introverts, we have similar temperaments. Because we both “forgive and forget,” we have the same approach to resolving conflicts. We both live, as a friend so beautifully put it, “in the world of ideas,” and love living there!
Teaching is our chosen profession, and we have similar education levels. Our incomes are not hugely disparate, both being in the teaching industry; and although we are both under-employed at the moment, we have similar ideas about how to manage money. We agree on spiritual parenthood over biological children.
Interesting, too, that our initial bond was over a surface interest: similar taste in music, art and authors. I’d so often used that as the initial barometer by which I chose who to date, and long story short, it often didn’t work out. We’ve had hours and hours of lively conversations revolving around music; in fact, we’d had specific conversations that I’d desperately yearned to have since I was a teenager.
So what’s my point? Certainly, opposites do attract. Absolutely, relationships where there are vast differences can work. For me personally, though, after years of experience, I don’t think it works. I was relieved, quite frankly, and quickly felt comfortable within my own skin around him. And the very best part of all? I hear very little noise from the Relationship X-Ray Machine. If that’s not saying something, I don’t know what would!
What is your experience? Do you prefer to date someone who has an opposite personality?