Imagine sitting in a restaurant waiting for a blind date to show up. As you sip an iced tea and look around, a guy with long black hair and a slim frame waves to you. He is wearing a red button-down shirt like your mutual friend told you he would be, except he also has one more shocking accessory you wished your friend would have mentioned: yellow leather cowboy boots.
You think he is cute, but he definitely isn’t your style. He introduces himself to you and you notice how friendly he is; nevertheless, you decide his appearance is a deal breaker. You smile, make polite conversation, and decide right then that you don’t want to pursue a romantic relationship with the guy. The boots are just too much to handle.
Almost everyone can relate to this situation either directly or indirectly. Often when people consider whether someone will make a successful lifelong match, people look at petty and ultimately unimportant aspects of their connection with that person.
Here are five aspects that should not be make-or-break characteristics.
1. Common interests
This includes favorite sports teams, music genres, and favorite restaurants. Of course, it is wonderful if you root for the same team on Super Bowl Sunday, you both listen to Halsey 24/7, and you both could live off of Chick-Fil-A; however, these are not reasons to break off a relationship. If tragedy hits your family, shared Green-Bay merchandise will not be there to help you heal.
Although, these questions shouldn’t be ignored entirely. We are justified in asking these questions and perfectly justified in basing some decisions and choices on them. You can picture how two people with no common interests would struggle to spend time together. Just remember that common interests are not the most important aspect of a relationship.
2. Political views
This is a tough issue that is often symptomatic of a deeper concern. Politics do not have to be divisive; couples can maintain successful relationships with vastly different political views. It just takes respect. You can respectfully argue by taking time to understand the other person’s point of view and then calmly conveying yours. Even if arguments become heated, couples can agree to disagree out of mutual respect. Different political views do not have to dismantle a relationship.
3. Similar hobbies
This point is similar to common interests. Playing video games, writing short stories, or watching Netflix series with your significant other can be a great bonding experience, but enjoying different hobbies isn’t a deal breaker; in fact, it can be a positive attribute. Participating in different past-times can give you both time to unwind and stimulate personal growth. Couples need varying amounts of time alone in order to feel comfortable in the relationship. Different hobbies can be an excellent avenue for alone-time.
4. Wage discrepancy
This is an aspect of relationships that people pretend not to notice, but it is often a big issue. People may feel that dating someone with more financial means makes it impossible to keep up. Also, people who make less money than their partners may feel like they have less power in the relationship.
Wage discrepancy may be a complex issue to resolve, but, just like most issues, it can be fixed with listening, understanding, and reaching a solution that satisfies both parties. Of course, this is easy to say, but hard work will yield powerful results; power dynamics do not need to be inherently tied to earnings.
5. Physical appearance
This is possibly the easiest trap to fall into because we discriminate more than we realize. If someone doesn’t like anime and they see someone wearing an “Attack on Titan” t-shirt, then these two people may never start a conversation.
People have preferences about hair, skin, height, weight, proportions, etc.; the list is endless. Many people reject potential partners purely based on appearance. This kind of shallow rejection forces you to miss out on a potentially meaningful relationship.
When you are both nearing the end of your time on earth, too aged and frail to leave your beds, the fact that you both enjoy camping or both voted for conservative political figures will be of no consequence. You will be confined to the company of who your partner truly is - unobstructed by activities, preferences, and physical appearance.
When choosing a partner, the ultimate decision should not be based upon petty, mortal concerns; look instead at traits like character, strengths, weakness, and mental characteristics.