Plenty of us automatically believes, that having hobbies in common with our partner is a key to a successful relationship. Are they? Or is it just one of many relationship myths we would be better off without?
I plead guilty. I thought the same hobbies are essential to a long-lasting relationship. My Italian ex-partner was a great example. We both loved travelling, books, international cuisine, and hiking, but it was not enough to keep the relationship going. On the other hand, my husband travels only when he has to, prefers YouTube to books, can eat rice with milk and sugar for dinner and walking is not for fun, but part of his daily work.
What is really important in the relationship? Why do we tend to give too much importance and emphasis on hobbies in common? What is my advice if lack of shared interests is something which has been bothering you?
Are our hobbies really more valuable than his?
Does it happen to you that you consider some ways of spending free time more valuable? I am pretty sure you are not alone, I dare to say most of us can relate. Reading is better than watching TV series. Nature walks are better than sitting at home. Trying new foods or experiencing new cultures is more valuable than staying in your hometown your whole life.
This is the number 1 challenge that can create problems in your relationship. Did you ever try to convert your partner to your hobby, simply for his own good? Because your hobby is more valuable?
If you are doing this, please pause for a minute.
Our role as a partner is not to judge which hobby is better, more beneficial, or noble. The curious thing is that it always seems that our hobbies are those on the value end, isn’t it? Nor it is our job to determine what our partner should enjoy doing. He is an adult, he knows what he is doing. He is independent, as we are. Imagine that your partner keeps persuading you that soccer is really fun or that reading is just a waste of time. Not a pleasant thought. Let’s respect the hobbies of our partners.
Let’s not evaluate the hobbies of our partners. Our hobbies are not better than his.
Why do we love what we love?
Why do we prefer other hobbies as compared to others? Why do we think that some interests are more valuable? One of the answers is in our culture.
Why do so many Czech people love hiking? Why do Italians love long dinners with family and friends? Why do Indians love cricket? Why do half of Zambians living in cities head straight to the mall during the weekends?
It is too simplistic to judge and conclude that some interests truly have more value. If you grew up in a block of flats, you want to get out to the forest. If you live in a village and are surrounded by nature, you want to experience modernity. Personally, I love nature, hiking, and strolls, but after twelve years in Africa having lived in very remote areas, I am not going to spend my holidays in a camp without electricity, water, or good food. Everything is relative.
Ask yourself: why my partner loves this?
Why does he prefer to watch sports on TV rather than actually playing them? Why does he watch YouTube instead of reading? Why does he spend time in the middle of a busy square chatting to friends? Try to avoid judgments and look for the real reasons.
Perhaps he watches YouTube because he learns better from videos, meanwhile you learn better from books. Maybe he doesn’t go hiking because his job includes lots of running up and down. What if he eats simple foods and does not travel because he is saving money for his kids’ school fees?
We all have a plausible reason why we love our hobbies. Once we find out what it is, a completely new door will open toward more empathy and understanding in the relationship.
What is really important?
Did you hear this before? “He is amazing, I feel so great with him, he makes me laugh. But we don’t have any common interests, so I think it will not work long-term.” Why should we even care about the interests in common? Did we choose our partner because he loves soccer, competes in ice skating or paints?
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I doubt. We fall in love because he makes us laugh, he cares or supports us. We select our men based on values. Hobbies can change, but values are trickier to change. What we do in our free time can be discussed and compromised, but if our values don’t coincide, we might have a problem.
Values are what truly matters in the relationship. We can always find alternatives to how to spend more time together, learn to love each other’s hobbies, or begin to understand why our hobbies are different.
Why sabotage your happiness and feel that the relationship has no future prospects just because he is the best dance ever and you don’t hear a beat? (That is my own case by the way!)
Let me leave you with one philosophical question.
Where does the belief that we need common interests for a successful relationship come from?
I cannot think of one thing, can you? So why make it so important and create unnecessary problems in the relationship? Let’s be able to question our own beliefs, just like this one.
Ps. Lack of hobbies in common does not mean you don’t spend your free time together. Lets talk about this next time!