When it comes right down to it, my boyfriend Awesome and I have pretty different hobbies and interests. I read novels, he reads Reddit. I watch pretty much anything that Bravo or the Food Network produces, he watches Big Bang Theory and rock climbing documentaries. He likes to play computer games and I would rather have my eyelashes pulled out one by one before I would want to play a game about space travel. His primary workout preference is rock climbing, while mine would be either running or dance.
We do share the same sense of humor, a love for movies, music and traveling, and the same family values, but sometimes when you are fighting over the remote control those things kind of slip your mind. If you also date someone whom you love with all your heart but you just can’t get on the same page when it comes to common interests, here’s what I have found that has helped me.
Always try it once before writing it off completely.
When Awesome and I met, he was deeply in love with something else – rock climbing. He still is deeply in love, but it was super important to him that I at least LIKE climbing on occasion. We joke all the time now about how if I had hated it, we probably wouldn’t be together. I am deathly afraid of heights and I have seen the movie “Vertical Limit” about three times too many so I was apprehensive at first but I did it and now I climb with him about twice a week. My ass doesn’t jiggle as much, and my pants fit better so it ended up being a positive change in my life. My point is, even if you think your partner’s hobby (scuba diving, tennis, Civil Way reenactment) is not for you, you owe it to them to try it at least once. And hey, you might even end up liking it.
If you think their activity is “stupid” or “boring,” don’t be cruel about it.
Yesterday Awesome tried to explain to me about this game he plays, Eve Online. If I were to go off of just his explanation and rewrite it, it would be this: an online game where you make spaceships and fly around checking out planets and studying them. Occasionally you may take off a chunk of the moon, study it and turn it into some weird space tool.
Sometimes you can interact with another game on PlayStation where people request your spaceship to come and bomb a planet or send them food/supplies. I am sure this is only like 10 percent of what you can actually do, but I tried to listen patiently and ask questions, attempting to be interested because I love him and also I want to make sure he isn’t looking at porn at the time when he says he is playing this. I haven’t actually played this game, because it sounds awful to me, but I support that he likes it and if he really wanted me to get into it I would at least try it. And then fall asleep at the computer.
When you can, do separate activities in the same room.
When Awesome moved in, we turned one of my bedrooms into an all-purpose room where he can use his computer while I read my books or do crafts or just bother him in general while he is trying to work. Most commonly you will find him on the computer playing music while I read a book on the couch. Occasionally I will tell him about a crazy part of the book I am reading, or he will show me a funny picture he found on Reddit. The point is, even though we aren’t participating in the activities together, we are still in the same room and it still counts as us spending time together.
If you absolutely hate their activity, accept that they will never stop doing it.
This goes along with my belief that you can’t change anyone and if you enter into a relationship thinking that you will change a significant other’s behavior, then you are headed for only D-words (Dumping, Divorce, Death by Homicide). Chances are that your SO had this hobby way before they met you, and chances are that they will continue to participate in said hobby after you are gone. The sooner you accept that your partner loves to [insert activity here], the better off your relationship will be. I wouldn’t stop reading if Awesome told me he hates books, just like he wouldn’t stop climbing if I said I loathed climbing. We would just find a way around it.
Try to find activities that you both enjoy together.
Just because Awesome and I don’t share a love of all the same things doesn’t mean we are doomed. You have to be interested in different things because you don’t want to lose yourself in your relationship. But that also doesn’t mean that we can’t find things to do that we both really enjoy. We love watching movies (currently going through the Harry Potters), TV (watching Breaking Bad now), dining out and bar hopping, hanging out with friends, and just sitting down and having a conversation without distraction.
We just booked two road-trip vacations for the summer, so it’s safe to say we both like traveling as well. Try to do this if you have a partner who you might not have a ton in common with. Pick something that is new to you both – a cooking class, pottery throwing, or even just checking out a beer festival. I guarantee you can find something you both will enjoy with which you can make others feel uncomfortable by making inside jokes.
Emily Little (nee Campbell) was a perpetually single girl who recently met and married her Mr. Right. Her blog, Dating Emily, has been a two-year diary of her adventures in relationships. Her life of bar-hopping and casual dating has turned into one of dog-walking, craft-making and budgeting for eventual home ownership. But just because she can make a mean casserole doesn’t mean her adventures are over. As she prepares to become a first-time homeowner and eventually, a mom, she is discovering that the adventure may just be beginning.