I dated so many different men — I mean, from all walks of life — when I was younger, so it’s pretty amazing that I ended up marrying someone who is so incredibly similar to me.
My husband and I are from the same area, from German-American families, secular, and fiercely progressive and passionate when it comes to politics and social issues. We’re both pretty short — I’m 5’0” and he’s 5’5”. We’re both overweight and love road trips. We the exception of a few of our different hobbies and interests, we typically do everything together.
There’s only one thing I can think of that we truly disagree on, and that’s gun control. My husband thinks assault rifles should be banned in the US, but I think gun laws should be even stricter. My husband owns a gun but it’s at his cousin’s house because I won’t let him keep it at ours.
How common is it to find someone so similar to yourself? Does it even matter?
How close do your views align with your partner’s? How do you make it work if you’re different?
Are there some issues that are deal-breakers? I’ve dated men from a few different religions, and depending on how devout they were, that always seemed to be a deal-breaker for me. I just couldn’t look beyond that.
I’ve noticed that a few people that comment on my blog have partners of a different faith. How do you make it work?
TGAP Dad says
I was raised in a secular, middle class, suburban home in the Toledo area, whereas my wife grew up in a devout catholic household in the northwest lower peninsula with 9 (!) siblings. Before age 10 or so, I had a couple of flirtations with church, and my grandparents made a point of dragging me and my siblings to church every Sunday we were with them. And we were there a LOT of weekends. My father in law made sure that his entire family was at church every Sunday, put his kids through catholic schools, and prayed at every meal.
I met my wife in college, where she was roommates with a classmate. We were immediately taken with one another. She had already been shedding her catholic faith before I met her, I simply escorted her over the secular threshold.
Secularism isn’t our only commonality. We’re both middle children – I have an older brother and a younger sister. She has six brothers – three older and three younger, and two sisters – one older, one younger. We both love movies, and have similar tastes. We were both the black sheep of our families, and like many of the same foods and activities.
So yeah, a lot in common with each other. It must be working, since she hasn’t wised up yet, and stayed with me for 32 years as of two weeks from today.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
I’m of the, “here are my dealbreakers, the rest is negotiable,” variety. The biggest problem is that it’s not always easy to define the dealbreakers in advance. You have to be “sufficiently feminist” for me, but that’s a bit fuzzy. After all, as feminists we disagree on things all the time. So most of the time it comes down to trusting someone’s perspective and process rather than the specific answer to a specific policy question. However, if you’re coming up with policy answers that aren’t just my preferred, but are actually bad (by my reckoning) then I lose trust in your perspective and process over time.
In my early adulthood, this actually caused the end of a couple relationships where I thought someone was closer to compatible with me than they actually were. I took a couple of positive answers on a couple of questions about politics/ policy/ philosophy/ ethics as indicative that we must share the same or similar perspectives and process. In the end, those were simply answers that we happened to notice about each other first, but as the relationship went on, it became more and more clear that those were mere accidents and that our underlying values were actually pretty far apart.
So… meet my minimum standards and everything else is negotiable is easy to say, but it’s not always easy to practice.
My wife’s position on politics and religion could be described as “apathagnostic”. She hardly ever reads the news, hasn’t prayed since a plane ride to Zanzibar in 2014, and votes based largely on what I tell her. She rolls her eyes when I start ranting about racism or sexism or something and cheerfully describes me as “the feminist in the house” to her friends. We don’t DISagree on much of anything, apart from how much of a shit it’s appropriate to give about this stuff. That said, since Trump was elected and particularly since lockdown I’ve adopted a strong strategy of news avoidance, so our attitudes are getting more closely aligned.
It works because she’s the kindest, funniest, most patient person I’ve ever met and the only one who’s ever really “got” my Asperger behaviour and made allowances for it.
Deal breakers? Loads. I dated a woman who believed one of the rooms in her house was haunted, among other wacky things. That was never going anywhere. I lived with a violent alcoholic. I lived with someone who couldn’t manage monogamy. I knew and was, annoyingly, enormously physically attracted to a woman whose political views were slightly to the right of Hitler, with particular regard to Jews (which baffled me because as far as I could make out the number of Jews she’d actually met could be counted on her fingers), but extending also to black people. She was an extreme example, but I couldn’t live with someone who voted Tory, even. Can’t deal with people who watch a lot of team sports or soap operas (Star Trek is NOT a soap opera, Sally!). And so on. If I sound picky, it probably explains why I was 45 before I even got engaged.