Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Do Couples NEED To Have Something In Common? – Denise Li

It helps, especially if you’re a long-distance relationship. Denise Li explains why.


I may have been a relationship columnist for three years now, and I find that some of my richest material comes not from things I’ve learnt about my own relationship (although that provides plenty), but from observing couples around me.

And while I dole out love advice on a regular basis, I’m still hard-pressed to give an answer about what makes relationships tick. Sometimes, the law that “opposites attract” holds true. Some couples that seem to have diametrically opposing personalities somehow find a way to make it work. And I’ve also seen couples who have dated forever and seem completely right for each other file for divorce after just a year of marriage.

My conclusion is that each and every relationship has its unique dynamic, and there are just way too many hidden variables for anyone to give a definitive answer about what exactly ensures it’s a happily-ever-after.

Related: What Is Your Language Of Love?

Recently, I’ve been particularly curious about what makes MY long-distance relationship work and in an effort to figure it out, I’ve been keeping track of what we talk about over our daily Skype sessions. Here are some of my observations:

1. We can talk for a REALLY long time

Our Skype sessions span anything from 10 minutes to 4 hours. They average about an hour. I honestly can’t think of anyone I can spend that long on the phone with, and our conversations are always effortless.

2. There is ONE thing we always talk about.

And that’s fight sports. We talk about training, techniques we learnt, workouts we logged, UFC fights we’ve watched, nutrition … this can go on for hours at a stretch, especially on weekends.

From observation number 2, I can draw a further two conclusions:

1. Having something in common has proved to be extremely vital for maintaining our relationship, and;

2. It’s a good sign to spend a lot of time talking about our interests, because it means our relationship is healthy in all other aspects.

While it’s probably not necessary for all couples to have common interests, a long-distance relationship is one of those instances where sharing similiar hobbies certainly helps the course.

In the first place, having a dedicated hobby gives your life structure and purpose, which you will need when you know you’ll be away from your partner for months at a stretch. And of course, sharing the same passion as your man means endless fodder for conversation.

Having something in common – especially one that requires as much dedication and commitment as martial arts – also means that your partner will be particularly understanding when you invest time and effort into it. Some of my training friends have mentioned to me that their girlfriends hate it when they spend so much time at the gym, at the expense of spending time with them. And I get it, really. My ex was a huge gamer and while I respected that he had the right to pursue his own interests, I – as a non-gamer – could never truly understand what exactly was so engaging about fighting fake wars online using fake armies. We used to have huge fights as there were occasions when he was late to meet me because he lost track of time while gaming, and I eventually found myself growing resentful of his hobby.

Now, personally, having found my life’s passion, I can’t imagine dating someone who isn’t into martial arts. I love training and talking about training, and I don’t think I can find it in myself to face a future with someone who just doesn’t “get it”.

Anyway, I’m curious to hear about what you think about this topic. Do you think it’s important to have overlapping interests as your partner? And what’s the dynamic like if the two of you have few things in common? I’d love to hear from you.

Related: Dealing With Differences In Opinion

Related: To Thine Own Self Be True

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Denise Li talks about the trials and tribulations of being in a long-distance relationship. Stay tuned for more!

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.


One thought on “[Love In Lines] Do Couples NEED To Have Something In Common? – Denise Li

  1. I think it’s essential for a relationship. Sure you can go along to your partner’s hobby events, but you’ll never quite get it, and they’ll always worry that you’re bored and will end up not enjoying themselves as much. Similar hobbies means, like you said, something to talk about, and something to do when you’re together.


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