Having things in common with your partner can be really fun — but having too much in common would just be downright boring. Differences are important, but they can also be points of friction when your partner doesn’t understand your love for your activities and interests. Maybe they can’t quite wrap their head around your obsession with makeup, or maybe you don’t share their love for travel. No matter what differences you two have in terms of interests, Dr. Venessa Perry, founder of thelovewrite.com, has four tips to help you navigate them.

1. Accept that opposites attract. You didn’t decide to date this person because they’re exactly like you, right? Dr. Perry explains, “We are often drawn to people with different interests and values because they are interesting and exciting.” If you start by appreciating the fact that you and your partner are different (and they do the same), you’ll have more success at helping each other appreciate those differences.

 2. Explore new things together. Just because you both have hobbies and interests that you love doesn’t mean you can’t find new ones to bond over together. For example, if neither of you are particularly outdoorsy, try hiking or biking together. By taking the time to find something you both love, you’ll have a common bonding point. Dr. Perry says that if you’re both open to trying new things together, you’ll be able to be that much more understanding when each of you puts time and energy into the things you love individually.

3. Tell them why you love your interests. “Communicate with your partner why you enjoy the things you enjoy,” Dr. Perry said. “But understand that they might not enjoy these things.” For example, if your partner thinks that your love of makeup is frivolous, you might say that you love it because it allows you to explore different versions of yourself. By articulating the underlying reasons behind your love of sports, baking, canoeing — whatever it is that you love — you’ll allow your partner to gain a new level of understanding for it.

4. Compromise. “Compromise is necessary in all relationships, and participating in an activity that your mate enjoys (that you may not) shows them that you care for them and respect their interests,” Perry said. It might sound simple, but if you extend your compromise beyond just talking about it and take the time to participate in activities your partner likes, you’ll show them that you support their interests. If your partner loves reading but you never have time to crack open a book, listen to an audiobook on your way to work so you guys can talk about it together.

How do you and your partner navigate your different interests? Let us know @BritandCo!

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