How important are common interests in relationships?
posted by loveoracle to Human Relations (47 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I am just ending a relationship with someone I'm admittedly still crazy about, who shares tons in common with me, but who is in other respects emotionally unavailable, addicted to drugs, and dealing with a whole host of other issues that render him totally incapable of being in a relationship with someone. For a long time prior to meeting this person, I never dreamed I'd meet someone who I could possibly have so much in common with, so he was like the answer to all my prayers. Our conversations are and always have been amazing and we could constantly connect over our common interests: philosophy, politics, avant-garde film, strange aesthetics, neofolk and postpunk music, etc. Now that the relationship has dissolved, I am really despairing over the realization that I may never find anyone like him ever again, as it feels very much like a once in a lifetime opportunity to have found him in the first place.
Prior to meeting this individual, I had used numerous online dating sites to no avail (I did finally find him on one, but like I said, it took a LONG time, and he still lived 3 hours away). Time and again, it was impossible to find anyone who was like-minded or had common interests. Keyword searches would always yield individuals who lived in Europe or on the west coast (far, far away from me being on the east coast). I am now 30 years old, and thinking that I probably need to be a bit less picky, but I really do despair at the thought of being in a relationship with someone with whom I have nothing in common. Most of the men I run into at work, in public, or even online that live in this area are into very typical, mainstream, and what is to me very mundane, banal activities and interests. I know I sound like an elitist; it isn't my intent to come off this way, I just want to meet someone I can really talk to, whose company I can really enjoy. If I see one more online profile from a guy stating that he enjoys "having brews with the guys on the weekend" and will "listen to anything but rap and country," I think I will gouge my eyes out.
I have thought about moving out of the area, but I am close to my family, and also kind of tied down to my area for financial reasons. I have tried meetup.com and numerous other avenues online in terms of meeting people with common interests, but again, no luck. My interests seem to be too bizarre/esoteric.
Has anyone else dealt with this problem, and how did you go about dealing with it? Would it be best for me to just move out of the area? Should I just settle? I don't have any problems getting dates with guys. It's just a matter of finding one that actually stimulates me mentally. Years ago, in my early 20s, I was in a long term relationship with someone with whom I had absolutely nothing in common. He was crazy about me, and I suspect really loved and cared for me (probably more so than any guy I ever dated), but I couldn't get over our lack of common interests, and I ended the relationship. He just couldn't do anything for me.
I'm not trying to be a jerk; I am just super frustrated and really despairing over this. I am not hung up on things like how much money a guy makes, whether he looks like a model or has six pack abs, if he is a doctor, lawyer, etc. I just want to meet someone with whom I can have great conversations, and really bond over the same enjoyed experiences/interests! My idea of fun is not hanging out in bars, going out to Dave Matthews concerts, extreme outdoors activities every weekend, or planning my next international trip which will entail hang-gliding off of Mt. Kilimanjaro (just to name a few cliche interests that seem to appear quite ubiquitously on online dating sites).
So, any thoughts on this? How important are common interests to the rest of you? Can anything else make up for it? Should I, at my age (and with a desire to marry and have children) just give up on this ideal, and settle on someone? Should I move out of the area as a way of having more options (even though I've had quite a few people tell me I'm going to have the same problem no matter where I live)? I know that all sounds pretty bleak, but I don't know what else to do at this point. Any thoughts or advice are much, much appreciated.