How Important Are Common Interests in a Relationship?


Hi Evan, I’m new to your site and advice, but I’m already hooked on your refreshingly honest advice and wisdom. I’ve read “Why He Disappeared”, and searched for some answers on your blog. There’s just one big thing I can’t seem to grasp: Is there a difference between compatibility and commonalities?

I’ve recently become interested in the artistic, sensitive type men. I’ve always been an artist myself, but have NEVER appreciated men with these qualities. I feel good about this new development, as I think it means I have more self-confidence, am less competitive, and just long for someone who understands the pros and cons of being creative for a living.

However, thanks to you, I also know that men don’t want to date themselves. This makes perfect sense to me; variety is one of my favorite things. But I do want common interests with a man, and the creative connection is now pretty important to me. Would an artistic, sensitive man ever want to date an artistic, sensitive woman? Or would we be incompatible because of these shared qualities?

Wondering if I should be looking for someone MORE different than myself…Amber

Okay, let me unravel this for all the readers who haven’t read “Why He Disappeared” yet (although if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!).

You may be the best of friends, have amazing chemistry, and really “get” each other, but if both of you have the same flaws, the relationship may be untenable.

First of all, I did say that men didn’t want to date themselves, but that statement independent of its context is highly misleading.

The point was that if you want to date a smart, strong, successful man, his greatest concern isn’t necessarily whether you have a Masters’ degree, speak a second language, or have a summer home in the Hamptons. It’s how he feels around you. Most men ultimately gravitate toward women who make them feel sexy, funny and trusted.

That does not mean that men are not attracted to the female version of themselves. I spent 35 years chasing the female version of me — intellectual, liberal, passionate, opinionated; it just never WORKED, that’s all.

So do creative guys like creative women? No doubt. The problem isn’t whether such men will like you or understand you. The problem is whether your weaknesses will exacerbate each other.

Are you both highly emotional? Are you both fanciful dreamers? Are you sometimes depressed or even bipolar? Do you run from anything that seems stable because it seems boring? Do either of you have any practical skills? Will you ever be able to afford to raise children? Are either of you saving for retirement?

Because you may be the best of friends, have amazing chemistry, and really “get” each other, but if both of you have the same flaws, the relationship may be untenable. This is what I mean by compatibility.

Common interests have NOTHING TO DO with compatibility.

I will repeat: common interests have NOTHING TO DO with compatibility.

Compatibility is about respect, first and foremost. If you like running, and I don’t, we can be perfectly happy together — as long as you don’t judge me for not running and I don’t try to stop you from running.

Common interests have NOTHING TO DO with compatibility.

It’s that simple.

Runners and artists and surfers and actors and musicians and doglovers are often attracted to those who have the same hobbies. Except these hobbies are not (or at least should not be) the things upon which your marriage is based. Two doglovers that don’t know how to communicate are doomed. Two intellects that are stubborn and busy will struggle. Two skiers that can’t trust don’t stand a chance.

So don’t worry about whether you’re dating a sensitive artist or not. Worry about whether your relationship is easy and whether you’re built for the long haul. Your common interests may draw you together but they will not keep you together.

Join our conversation (87 Comments).
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  1. 21

    Dear Gabrielle (#20): I really doubt there are many women who follow Evan’s blog who would consider themselves “conventional.”   If you keep   following the posts and comments, you will see that most of Evan’s readers/followers are intelligent, mature, diverse, feisty, (even scientific!) but primarily interested in improving our relationship skills. I think it’s safe to say that not many of us fall into the psycho-nice-sweet-hot-chik category, and I’m betting even fewer can lay claim to a hotness level that attracts even members of the animal kingdom…..(Dang!). Still, I’m betting that most of us are okay with that. At least, I am.     

    1. 21.1

      LOL!   I love this!

  2. 22

    Shared values and mutual respect, trust, love trump common interests. My favorite tongue-in-cheek analogy to use is what good is it if we both kayak if one of us is an axe murderer? 🙂

    1. 22.1

      Haha; I like this.   But, perhaps axe murdering would become a hobby the two of you could enjoy, together…;)

      1. 22.1.1

        Thanks for the Laugh Henriette

  3. 23

    my wife is more alpha male then me. She can also be controlling at times. She was not up and front with me during our engagement about her debts. She never told me she has 20k in credit card debts. She likes operas, concerts, music at home. She says up late till 12 or 1 am. At first, she watched tv in the bedroom when I was trying to sleep and got so pissed and yelled at her after asking several times to turn it off. She now does not come in the bedroom when I am trying to sleep…which is a good thing. She still does have her credit card spending habits and will buy things like appliances, a new car when I was not working and struggling to find work. She does not allow me to eat the food she buys and requires me to eat my own.   We have gone though marriage counseling and she has backed down in some of her controlling ways.   I find that she has lots of habits like her mom “genetic possibly?”. That drove her dad nuts, and now it can drive me nuts at times.   She has a love of dogs and sheltie is her favorite and at one time, she was making jokes, the dog should sit in the front seat and me sit in the back seat. She has been asked not to bring the dog to my extended family functions and once brought it to a after church function “odd”.
    She shows no affection to me but is more like a friend. We do not have kids no sex in over two years.
    She is paranoid, like her mom and that can be a turn off factor. She is a slob but if some one comes to visit, she will clean up the entire house because she hates embarrassment.
    Once she asked me to help her clean up the entire house and put all the things away, because a smoke alarm company employee was to test our smoke alarm which took less then five minutes.
    She also hates having her picture taken. Will do anything to be in control and hates embarrassment. She does send out birthday cards and Christmas cards to relatives and makes cake or pastries to give to people at times.
    What kind of woman did I marry?

    1. 23.1

      NO SEX IN TWO YEARS ARE YOU KIDDING ME ??? I mean come on Man, Why are you still Married ? Get out of this pointless marriage when you could be with someone that enjoy and someone that enjoys being around you and doing things with you… STOP SETTLING.. You can do better. Have some Self-Worth man

    2. 23.2

      She sounds like she has borderline personality disorder to me. I’d run away. I know bpd girls need love, but I just don’t have the psychological strength to put up with their behaviors.

  4. 24

    @James – I really feel for you. You sound so heartbroken and I know in time, your heart will lead you the right way or and you will have a solution 🙂
    My former LTR and I had TONS of shared interests….except he was so competitive with everything that when we did anything together, he had to win….hence, I really didn’t feel special around him and did not like to things together because nothing was for fun, it was to “be the champion” for him. Not fun at all.
    So while I am searching for my “match” or “true love” or whatever you want to call it,   I think when it comes down to it, everyone wants that “feeling” of being valued, trusted, respected, secure, etc. I think that when people look for their “soul mate” this is what they are searching for, this feeling…and it’s out there for everyone! Men love kindness and loyalty and support. So do women. It just needs to be genuine and sincere…

  5. 25

    :Rewriting my post because it says error and I’m not sure if it uploaded. So, I apologize if it did post and it seems like I’m repeating myself…
    So, I just got dumped today because my ex said he’s not that interested in me. The reason he doesn’t fully in love with me is due to the fact that we have very different hobbies and likes. He likes to run as a work out and I like yoga, he likes white collar, anime and more serious action shows while I like to watch bobs burger, the Archer, shows that aren’t predictable like walking dead and other comedy shows. On a beautiful day I feel that I should at least walk outside especially hike somewhere so it’s not wasted while he doesn’t mind staying in and doesn’t like hiking. I have no problem running with him and watching his shows even though I hate his shows because one thing I learned from my parents, who have been married for 22 years, is that it is okay to have different interests as long as one is willing to accept them. I more than accepted his interests I wanted to embrace them because I enjoy doing anything with him that is positive and makes him happy. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stand What I like or the idea of doing what I like or me even doing things he liked if I didn’t care for it. He straight up said he wants more out of the relationship and he’s not getting it because we don’t have common interests. The funny thing is, we have similar goals, financial and religious views, morals, taste for food, appreciation for art, political views and similar ideas on how to raise children. For a while I’ve been trying to tell him that our different likes just tell us we are different people with similar views and that every individual is different. Tried to have him understand we are all different because of our own personal experience yet to have similar beliefs after it all should be the common interest that bring us together but I literally think he needs to date his twin. My point is, thank you for this post because I thought I was foolish to respect and accept his hobbies even though I didn’t care for them. I knew it was immature for someone to not be fully interested in someone just because they’re not into the same shows orsimilar interests/leisure activities.
    To make things even better, in the beginning of the relationship he didn’t cheat but started flirting with other women because he wanted someone who would open him up to different things, help him to think out the box and someone different from his norm… Is this a bad example of irony or no? Serious question. :-\  

    1. 25.1

      this is literally the situation that I’m in to the T. I was starting to wonder if I was the one that wrote it although the interests are different. My ex-guy is so hardheaded about wanting similar interests and refuses to explore my side as well, but I should fit his mold… it doesn’t make sense to me…. literally broke up yesterday after a year and a month and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. To me, a relationship is a relationship when each individual explores and grows together and understands each other due to underlying values and respect. It goes way further than common interests only. But for him, a relationship is about the common interests that one should already have–no effort should be put in whatsoever…. it doesn’t make sense to me because you can’t meet your double. Or at least I don’t think you can. So I guess it comes down to compatibility. With his rigid-ness and my flow-y attitude, it was never going to work if he stayed rigid and I knew this months into the relationship.

      1. 25.1.1

        Wow, literally the same thing happened to me the other day. My boyfriend of 2.5 years came out of nowhere and said we aren’t compatible anymore. The reason? We have different interests and he needs someone more like his friends and parents. I’ve made an effort to find an interest in his passions, however, he hasn’t done the same for mine just because it’s not his cup of tea. Our core values had been the same, we loved and trusted each other so much and were very happy. However, now he has discovered that because we don’t have common interests that he’s not happy with me. To my defense, we do enjoy discussing similar things, however, he feels like I am not as passionate about them as he is.

    2. 25.2

      Honesty. I’m sorry you had to go through that. The guy doesn’t sound like he is in love with you. The warning sign was in the beginning, when you say he was flirting with other women. Huge red flag. Run away as fast as you can, you deserve so much better.

  6. 26

    True,   because me and the guy I been with almost 3 years we have common interest as , piano music,singing etc. but it do not keep our relationship going on and after read all books and try to understand why he were so weird all the time… why he leave me all the time and come back all the time etc now after almost 3 years   and pregnant …Evan my boyfriend is a BIPOLAR!
    I don’t know know this  disease but I know I would like to know this before and don’t thick there were something wrong with me doing things. I   am so shocked and disappointed in this life…
    So its mean that is over I move out for good!


    1. 26.1

      Make sure he doesn’t have borderline personality disorder which is a lot worse. Many ppl confuse the two.

  7. 27

    I was always a serious weightlifter and exboyfriend was Not. It’s funny that he liked the results from my workouts but didn’t want to join me. We remained friends and a year ago he decided to workout again – now he’s hooked and loves bodybuilding. We work out together and take challenging hikes in the mountains. Who’d have expected that?  

  8. 28

    It seems that men care more about shared interests of potential mates than women do and I have a few theories on why this might be.   
    1.   Almost every guy i know is worried that he’ll marry a woman who ends up heavy.   Seriously: this possibility seems to give dudes the willies.   So, many think they can “ensure” that they won’t end up with a fatty by picking a woman who will hike, ski and run with them.   If I’ve noticed that she’s started to put on weight, I’ll just make sure we go on more long bike rides, together.   
    . Female friendships tend to be based on emotional closeness, deep conversations, confiding in each other.    Male friendships tend to be based on shared activities in which good conversation and emotional closeness might come as an added bIt unnecessary benefit.   So, many men think that picking a romantic partner should be like picking a friend, which for them is someone with shared interests whom they also want to [email protected]   I agree with Evan that, in fact, men should ignore common interests and focus on finding women who give them what their guy friends do not: gentleness, feminine support, etc.   

  9. 29

    Oh, and an old-ish but interesting piece on “shared interests” from The Times:

  10. 30

    Good article.  

  11. 31
    Glory Sokari

    Now permit me to correct something, just because u are compatible doesn’t mean ur relationship will last… When the initial love dies down in a relationship, u need a lot of common interest to keep the relationship going…if u doubt me, seek.. In a relationship common interests are way more important than compatibility because sometimes what’s the best for you is not always what’s right for you #BeWise

  12. 32

    I just want to begin with saying I am officially hooked on this website – so insightful!

    Here’s the thing I’m the woman who get bypassed for the girl – as my male friends puts it ‘The Easy Option.’

    The woman who has the shared interests, the same friends, the same background – basically the mirror of the guy and ergo everything is…’easier’ there’s no challenge with these women, I know a guy who chose this life and the day before his wedding day realised his error, but by then it was too late (yep six years later, he’s still there.)

    My (other) married male friend explaind:
    For some men when they see everything in him that he likes on someone else, he doesn’t have to discover her. I asked is it better? he replied debatable but it’s easy.  
    Then it happened again, the same problem me being a great catch, but then easy came along and he realised he could slip into that without the discovery…

    I started to think maybe i should do the same – look for friends within my circle, within my field and within my interests….

    Then my friend said something similar to what you wrote:
    Common interests have NOTHING TO DO with compatibility.
    I will repeat: common interests have NOTHING TO DO with compatibility

    My male friend told me these men know you’re compatible, they know they can have the life they want with you, but they also know it won’t be handed to them on the plate and that’s their problem…
    so thank you, I will continue to search for passion, fulfilment and love, not my mirror image!

  13. 33
    The Big A

    Common interests are absolutely necessary, but ultimately they are not sufficient.

    If you have different interests then when you’re not in bed together what will you have to talk about? And if you don’t enjoy doing things together then that’s going to create a lot of tension and distance.

    1. 33.1
      Karmic Equation

      Common interests helps you both spend time together, particularly at the beginning of any relationship. However, if she’s a bitch and you’re a jerk, it both of you being ski bunnies won’t make the relationship last. Neither really will common interests.


      Assuming the relationship takes off, eventually, you both should be living together. You’ll spend a lot of time together, whether or not you have common interests. Family events, social events with friends, work events, vacations, etc.


      Common interests definitely help kick start a relationship, but both people need to be compatible in other ways for the relationship to last.


      So no, common interests are NOT absolutely for a couple to build a relationship.

      1. 33.1.1
        The Big A

        First off, common interests does not mean identical interests.

        Secondly, I said that it’s necessary but not sufficient. No disrespect but do you know what the bold phrase means? It means that it is essential but is ultimately not enough.

        If you are living together and spending time together, then when you both are not around other people(like family gatherings, social functions, etc. etc.)but you’re both interest in different things then what will you have to talk about?

        Shared interests, at least for me, help sustain a relationship because it means we have stuff to talk about and we also like to do the same leisurely activities as a couple where there is mutual enjoyment. My parents have been married for 40 years and are still going strong and they both have a lot of common interests even though their interests aren’t identical.

        I never said that 2 people with common interests are automatically compatible.

        1. Karmic Equation

          What you wrote was “Common interests are absolutely  necessary, but ultimately they are not sufficient.”

          I disagreed with the ABSOLUTELY part. And you put the emphasis on NECESSARY not “not ultimately sufficient”.

          So please explain why you emphatically wrote “absolutely necessary”.

          If both people like the ocean, one to tan on the beach, the other to waterski  in it, they have  a common interest in oceans. But how is the ocean”absolutely necessary”  to a relationship?

          If one person likes to jog and the other  likes to go to spin class, they have a common interest in exercising, and this will help them be better parents together somehow? If one likes to play guitar and sing folk songs and the other likes to listen to heavy metal, they both have a common interest in music. And this is absolutely necessary how?

          Not sure about you, but I can converse about  jogging, swimming, oceans, spin classes, and music because I can ask questions to  engage with the other person. If I care about the other person, I also try to appreciate what the other person cares about, and ask more insightful questions and learn to enjoy what they enjoy (like I did learning to fish with my current bf). And I would hope the other person would do the same for me.

          Do you need a common interest to have a conversation once you’ve been together for 50 years? Or do you just have conversations about your integrated lives or just about life in general?

          “Common interests” help strangers break the ice. But once the ice is broken, common interests, as I stated help the couple spend time together. But once a relationship begins, you’ll build common interests together or simply appreciate the other for their interest in other things.

          So, no, common interests are not “absolutely” necessary. I would care for my bf and he me whether or not I enjoyed fishing.

          Common interests are helpful  to start a relationship, but if you choose a good partner, you will end up building common interests together. But the building of common interests are the result of compatibility, not that common interests contributes to  compatibility, which is what you’ve implied.

          So no, common interests are NOT “absolutely necessary” in a relationship. Compatibility is what is “absolutely necessary”.

        2. The Big A

          To answer your questions(s), @Karmic Equation,


          I would say that even after 50 years we should still be able to have intellectual conversations about common interests! A lover to me is a best friend that you also sleep with. I want a mind mate as well as a soul mate. Because having many common interests is a strong indicator to me that this person is likely to think the same way that I do and even experience thins the same way(the latter is actually more important that shared interests). Reacting and experiencing life the same way…even if our pasts are not similar, is the heart of compatibility combined with common interests and similar tastes.

          Or to say the least, that’s what I personally am looking for.

  14. 34

    my girlfriend has more in common with one of my friend than she does with me. Therefore, when he is around, she talks a lot. However, she and I can spend 15hours together without talking, unless I make her talk. I love her, but I can’t handle that she never talks to me since we have nothing in common, but has everything in common with my guy friend.

  15. 35

    Evan, 100% agree with your statements. Although, after 13 years and some together, I’ve heard from my partner that he listens to me more “out of respect”, telling me that ” he listens to my core related ideas to not offend me”. I was feeling like wow, I was arguing with myself all those years… Then I asked him which subjects he’d like to talk about, so that we’d find a common ground for our conversation. He couldn’t state a single topic. We knew from day one that we have very different personalities, and I being the mouth blabber, extrovert, and so on. I always loved the way he’s “what you see is what you get”, not pretending to be something he’s not. I guess I asked for it, since he is really blunt. And he loves me for being what I am (at least is what he says). But it didn’t stopped the nasty feeling of me being really hurt by his comment. Now I keep my mouth shut cos everything I say seems so inappropriate. He’s still unaffected by what he told me. But I am pretty much messed up.

  16. 36

    After reading this article, I wish I can send it to my now ex-boyfriend if only he’d listen to me. Breaking up just 4 days ago, telling me that we had nothing in common that mattered. He wanted to go around the world, dance in the rain and do all the little things he wanted to do with me. I did want to do that with him but he still insisted on his own points…He told me that I liked sports, he didn’t. Although, he did respect me, we could speak properly to each other; this kept us happy for the entire time before being official..

    I just don’t get where and how the common interests (and other reasons) made him lose all feelings for me… We liked each other for 4 years and got together September this year… It still hurts remembering how happy we were at the time. I must confess that I took the break up way too bad and apparently rushing the stages of grief. After hurting myself and avoiding him I think I’ve stopped. I still dont understand how he stopped loving me completely after 4 years.

    I guess my final word for this is that the compatibility does rely on the mutual trust, respect and happiness. Not just the common interests, these do matter on some level but people can’t just rely on it to make them happy and content with their relationship/romance.

    1. 36.1

      When people first get into relationships, they overlook things and focus on the fact they have steady sex. Once they get past that point, they realize that’s not enough and want someone who shares similar tastes. It’s pretty simple.

  17. 37

    Evan I love your blog and your insight on dating and relationships but on this one, sorry Evan, I don’t agree. Some people preach the message of communication and as the most important attributes in a relatiionship. Ok, fine, but don’t complain when you split when one day for example, in the case of if you have a boring friend, when another guy totally makes you tick, you can do some stuff together with him that you can’t do with your boyfriend, and then you move torwards that guy that makes you tick more than your boyfriend does. Why do people complicate relationships. Yes, its true, you can have a relationship with some who does not get involved in some of the things you like doing, but, being in a relationship with a person you have many things in common with is a dream relationship. It is better. Some times I think people just overcomplicate relationships. As a guy, your with a very attractive woman who guys love staring at, but you say nobody must hit on your girlfriend. That’s unrealistic. I hear a similar message hear that ignores some common sense in relationships. You say the are more important things than common interest. Don’t complain when you can’t talk about your favourite TV show with your partner because he/she doesn’t fancy. COMMON INTERESTS MATTER. THEY ALSO GET YOU A STEP CLOSER TO COMPATIBILITY. So Evan, sorry but common interests matter a lot. Without common interests, conversation is restricted. Yes, go marry that guy who doesn’t enjoy that activity you like a lot, but don’t complain when one day he asks to sacrifice that activity to make you do something that he wants you to do. When he does that, it shows he doesn’t value your activity. Guys don’t fool yourself, common interests matter. Ladies, you want to be successful when dating men, know their most treasured interests. To men, those treasured interests are huge. Never……..ever……..ever……….ever make a guy choose between you and his most treasured interests. Common interests matter again because you can do a lot of things together as a couple. My advice to you guys, make sure you are well packaged. As person, for self growth, make sure you get involved that maybe you might not do first if you had a list of things you wanted to do. You must have a lot about you. This will help you in every relationship you are in (friendships, relationships with parents, romantic relationships). REMEMBER, HEALTHY RELATIONSIPS COME FROM HEALTHY PEOPLE. Not having a lot of common interests with your partner and one of you, you or your partner, is not doing his/her part in the relationship (realizing what is important to your partner and making sure if he/she likes it, you put an effort to be involved in it as well), is unhealthy. Its not the lack of common interests thats unhealthy, its the actions that come because of a lack of interest in something. You guys, who know you don’t react well to things your not interested in (you ignore them or don’t bother getting involved in them), you know yourselfs. Don’t fool yourself, have a relationship with someone who you relate to, and can do many things with. Remember, romantic relationships are not relationships that are formed things we don’t know. What you you’ve done all your life, you will do it in a relationship. If you talk a lot, you will talk a lot as well in a relationship. If your a neat freak, you will emphasise neatness in a relationship. So don’t full yourselfs. If your not into Baseball, as you’ve shown it all your life, through the friendships you have build and your social circles, you will not start liking it when you have a relationships. So for you, you will be safe if you have a relationships with someone who Baseball is not that big in his/her life. Well, someone might say that they like their boyfriend but say their not into his love for sport or history. If you don’t wantt to let him go, then too bad, you have to somehow find a way of including tsport or history in your life. Find a way to like it. I don’t how you will do it, but you must find a way. Guys, we don’t get into relationships with Prince charming or a Princess. We are dating each other. You know how people are. So don’t base your romantic relationships on fairytale foundations. You love who are right? Now, you have to know that you must now expect your romantic interest to be like you. Learn to love the person in front of you, not like the person based on what you like in them (I don’t know if that makes sense). You must do smart compromise. Take me as an example. I’m a guy. I read girl magazines (I also love them). I know things about makeup, fashion wear for females, I also have an interest in fashion. I can actually sit down at a table filled with women where I’m the only guy, and have an awesome conversation with the women. I’m still a guy, but I do other things besides my main interest. Now I have more things in common with women. I can actually go shopping with them and have a blast. I can talk about different hairstyles and many products (for men and women) with women. So for women, you know that you don’t get involved with things that don’t interest you (Women don’t do things that don’t interest them. This is why, lol, if a woman is not into you, forget it, move on), so don’t marry a man who does some things you don’t like. To summarise, COMMON INTERESTS ARE A BIG DEAL. WITH COMMON INERESTS COMES BETTER CONVERSATIONS. WITH COMMON INTERESTS COMES MANY STUFF YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR PARTNER. So don’t make a simple dating mistake. Common interests matter so much that we even choose our romantic interests because we identify with who we are with. WE HAVE THINGS IN COMMON. So common interests are very important. Ladies, you want a relationship with men to fail? Let’s co-habit for 6 months and then you ignoring something that you don’t fancy watching but I like watching, and then you come and tell me to change the channel or you clearly show it that you’d rather do other things with your time than what we are watching (which I like by the way), YOU WILL BE BACK IN THE DATING AREA IN SEARCH OF ANOTHER PARTNER IN NO TIME). NOT TAKING COMMON INTERESTS SERIOUSLY IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST DATING MISTAKES YOU CAN MAKE. Let us co-habit for 6 months (live together) and you ignore the fact that I love Soccer and that you value dates and us spending quality time together more than Soccer and say you can deal with it, and then tell me in the day of title decider (Soccer match) that you want a date at the time that the match begins, and even say I must choose between spending time with you and watching the game, YOU WILL BE OUT BEFORE YOU COULD EVEN KNOW IT. So common interests matter. Its not the lack of common interests that’s the problem, is what we as humans usually because of lack of interest. Its not the lack of interest in something that’s the problem, is you now doing things which won’t help your relationship because you don’t get why your partner loves something you don’t like. So guys, don’t fool yourself, common interests matter and are part of compatibility. They don’t decide whether your compatible or not, but they surely help you in terms of compatibility. If you and your romantic interest have many in things in common, that’s good, but if you don’t, its not a decider if you will be together or not. One thing you must know, don’t ever think common interests don’t matter. They do. Their the main reasons we decide whether we want each other or not.

  18. 38

    Personally I think people are being a bit narcissistic and missing the point if they want to date a carbon copy of themselves. I love to date guys who have interests in doing things I would never have thought of doing. There are few interests which are big to me so I only seek to find guys who have the big three in common for me – traveling, reading/learning and the outdoors. I like history a lot and I’d ideally like to meet a fellow history nerd but I’d equally appreciate anyone with an interest in learning about the world who has an inquisitive mind and likes to read. The traveling and outdoors interests are important because they reflect lifestyle – I travel abroad at least once a year and want to do that if I get married and have a family. I also enjoy going outdoors and walking in beautiful scenery and want a companion to do this with. I have other interests of course but these are the ones I consider most important and I try to frame them generically rather than seek someone who likes the same specific things I do.

    I once dated a triathlete who dumped me because I wasn’t into doing the same amount of exercise as him. He goes out a lot on long runs and bike rides. The truth is I do exercise and go out jogging but I don’t train for things and it’s more for maintaining health. This is when I think it gets too particular but I’m not annoyed at him for not being what he wanted.   Still I think that he could get a lot out of dating another woman who was into sports or exercise, maybe not the same stuff as he is. I should have seen the clues in his profile really: “I am looking for a woman who can keep up with me” is one of the phrases it used.

    1. 38.1

      For me, I am so glad that I found someone who is willing to slow down for me, rather than demand that I be able to keep with him.   We both enjoy athletic activities among other things, but we do have differing abilities in this area.   I can’t bike as far and fast as he can, but he is willing to go on shorter rides with me, and wait up for me when he gets ahead.   He doesn’t have the balance and flexibility to join me in my yoga classes, so he works out at the gym while I take my class, then we go sit in the jacuzzi afterwards.

      Because my ex husband held me in such contempt over my inability to “keep up with him”   athletically, that phrase has become a screaming red flag for me.   I appreciate a man who is strong and athletic, but I don’t want to be shamed for being less athletically able than he is.   (I’m no couch potato, but I’m not an Olympian athlete either, I enjoy MODERATE amounts of physical activity, and plenty of non-athletic activities as well)

      In my case, I am so glad I didn’t have to find a man that I could “keep up with”, but instead found a man who COULD leave me behind in trail of dust, but instead, happily chooses to wait up for me.


  19. 39

    I have been married to a man that I am compatible with for the past 3 years, but we have hardly anything in common. I am a very dedicated mother and 2 of my children have disabilities and one has Khrons disease. He refuses to develop a relationship with them because of some problems he had with them in the beginning of our marriage. ( How can you live in a house with someone for 3 years and not even say hi to them when they walk in the door?)   I am very deep spiritual person and he cant relate to my Christian faith either. After 3 years I am finding that our compatibility is wearing off and the core things that matter to me are causing a big problem in my marriage.

  20. 40

    Common interests have NOTHING to do with compatibility?

    What? Whomever wrote that clearly is suffering from a black & white cognitive distortion.

    While it is true that,  “Two doglovers that don’t know how to communicate are doomed. Two intellects that are stubborn and busy will struggle. Two skiers that can’t trust don’t stand a chance.,” it does not follow logically from that argument that compatibility is not influenced by common interests.

    What happens when a couple does not have any common interests, or a low degree of enjoyment  derived from where interests overlap? Once the passion and sex fade, there is no longer common relationship glue holding people together. That means some, not all, interests need to be shared and enjoyed by both parties in order to have a relationship that will survive in the long term. In other words, long term compatibility.

    If one person highly enjoys solitary intellectual activities like reading/writing and television and the other person enjoys being surrounded constantly by noise, people, and activity,  assuming that they very much dislike or merely tolerate their partner’s favored activities, then there will be some friction in the relationship. The couple will then take turns being miserable or tolerating the other’s interests. Some overlap and mutual enjoyment of shared interests is essential.


    1. 40.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re simply going to the OTHER extreme, which is well represented. My primary point is that common interests cannot save an unhealthy relationship, not that people should have nothing in common.

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