I was wondering if you have to have stuff in common with the person you're dating? I was told that it doesn't matter how different you are, as long as you're happy when you're with the other person.

I'm 18 and I recently dated a guy who only cared about finding stuff we have in common. We got along really well and I really liked him, but he didn't do anything except ask me what my interests are and what my hobbies are. It was obvious that we're 2 completely different people and he said he wants to find common ground.

As time went on, he didn't want to spend a minute of his time with me because we had nothing in common, but he claims he was "busy." So I broke up with him.

I just want to know if liking each other is enough, or if we have to have the same interests? He seemed to base the whole relationship on that one aspect and I don't think that was the right thing to do because we're pretty similar, besides the fact that we have different interests and hobbies.



Yes, I understand the confusion. That's because the answer is sometimes "yes" and sometimes "no".

The problem with you and this guy is that he heard somewhere that you had to have everything in common (frankly, by a totally misguided communicator - I certainly hope it wasn't some "expert" telling him this!) when in fact, you need some things, but others have to be opposite.

In fact, there are many things on both sides of the argument:

For instance, if you're heterosexual, you should probably be of opposite sexes, right? Likewise, you should probably have gender-related communication systems (yes, men and women DO speak differently for the most part).

I teach four different "communication systems" (or "models") that deal with how we communicate. Interestingly, of the four, two of them are "match models" (meaning they should be the same or similar) and the other two are "counter models" - meaning they should be opposite.

Interests are like this too! Isn't it fun to learn a new interest that someone else can teach you? Isn't it fun to teach someone else the things you like to do as well? Of course! Being totally the same in this way puts you in competition with each other. It doesn't make you "the same" since there will always be someone better at something that someone else.

This is about growth. You grow when you bring on new interests and new ways of looking at things. You stagnate when you try to stay exactly the same.

Best regards…
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Dr. Neder is known around the world as a tough, but fair relationship expert, dealing with all sorts of dating, sex and relationship issues from a man's perspective. He has written 14 books ("Being a Man in a Woman's World™" series) and is working on 2 others. He's also written hundreds of articles, answered over 30,000 reader/viewer questions and has been on over a thousand radio and TV shows. "Dr. Dennis" is funny, direct and intuitive and has a unique ability to get right to the heart of the issue.

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