Attraction, but not much in common = deal breaker?

A dear friend has wanted me to date her brother for 10 years. In fact, I did go out on a date with him 10 years ago, but it was a super-awkward date- we were both super nervous and it was very “formal” and he was a super-gentleman and I just wasn’t feeling it. He asked me for a second date, and I declined. Cut forward to now: I just moved back to my hometown and the first time I saw him since I got back I admit there was a little spark when I saw him. The plan was going to be that after some time, we were going to get together again (after I had time to re-acclimate to my “old life” and after he had some time behind him after his divorce). I was OK with that idea, as I’m more mature after 10 years and feel like one awkward date does not a final ruling make. It’s now been 7 months. I decided that it was time to just do this thing and go on that date and get it over with- I asked him out and prefaced it as a casual “no pressure, friendly” date, and so we went to a movie and then got a burger and beer. We had a nice time- it was awkward, but much less awkward than the last time (and I realize now that I was taking a lot of cues from his nervousness and it made me nervous too- what can I say- the guy’s always liked me!), and I enjoyed his company. I had every intention of ending the date in a very platonic manner, but he planted a kiss on me. And, like, it was a blue ribbon prize-winning kiss! I was kind of in shock when we parted, as I was not expecting to a) be kissed and b) enjoy the kiss so much!

So a few days went by and we chatted on the phone, getting to know each other better. There’s not a whole lot that we have in common- well, that’s not true. We do have things in common, but the things we don’t have in common- we really DON’T have in common. He’s a super non-materialistic guy (he doesn’t even lock his front door because there’s nothing to steal in his house- it’s pretty barren), and I like my gadgets and nice things. He’s a little crazy, and I’m super buttoned-up and a bit of a control freak. He’s a little bit country- I’m a little bit rock’n’roll. But I think I’m the one that could probably stand to get off of my pedestal in this whole match-up, so I’m not ready to write off the possibility.

Since that first date, I invited him over for dinner with my roommates and me a few days before Christmas. It was a nice dinner and we ended up hanging out in my room and talking and eventually making out. The making out was excellent! We agreed that we like each other and that we’ll take it slow. And then last night after I got back into town from the holidays, we went out for a burger and a beer and came back to my place and REALLY made out. I told him (and he agreed) that I’m not ready to have sex with anyone at this point (I think we’re both trying to convince ourselves that we’re not going to have sex yet). There is DEFINITELY attraction between us. No-brainer. But I can’t help but worry that maybe we’re cut from really different cloth and that maybe this whole thing is doomed.

But that’s my worst-case scenario, over-worried, hyper-analytical, pre-judging opinion.

So…how different is TOO different?

Why not enjoy what’s happening for enjoyment sake without worrying whether you’re made for each other?

I hope this doesn’t come as a shock to you but, the chances are, you’re probably not. Who cares? Have a good time and maybe you’ll be plesantly surprised.

Man, truer words have not been spoken. Thanks. I don’t know why I always feel like I have to know how it’s gonna turn out (control freak in me, I guess). This has always been my problem with relationships. Probably explains why I’ve never been married!

You like him, you’re attracted to him, and you guys just happen to keep making out every time you’re alone together. Stop overthinking it and just date the guy already. Not every relationship has to turn into a lifelong marriage to be “successful” – if this ends up being a short, fun romance, your life will still be better for it. If nothing else, it’ll make your memoirs a bit more interesting.

Fuck him but don’t get all delusional that he’s relationship material (since it sounds like you’re saying he isn’t).

I had the opposite in that I met someone who was really into me, who has a very similar philosophy on life, and shares a ton of common interests, but I didn’t feel that attraction to him that you two obviously feel for one another and couldn’t make myself interested in him more than intellectually.

Common interests are important, but so is mutual attraction and in the beginning stages, probably a hell of a lot more important. Enjoy what you have and see if it continues.

The one statement I have for these things is, “When in doubt, don’t.”

If you want to have fun with it, say that up front and don’t expect any more. Both of you may be relieved. You did not state your age. Don’t get pregnant and don’t name it after me.

Mr. GilaB and I have very few interests in common, but we have many common values, including similar spending habits and levels of religious practice. We’re both pretty independent, so it’s OK with us that we tend to spend a decent chunk of our recreation time apart, as long as there’s a few things we can do together (travel has ended up being important for us, for example). Our personalities are also quite different, and neither of us is the kind of person that the other one would have expected to end up with. But we’re ultimately pretty happy.

Stop thinking so much. You can’t plan who you’ll be attracted to, and unless there are really strong practical reasons to not be with that person (they’re planning to live halfway around the world from where you want to be, they really want kids and you don’t, they seem like they might be dangerous or a bad person, etc.), you just have to go with it and see if things work out.

IMHO, part of the give-and-take in a relationship is the trading of uncommons for commons.

When my wife and I first met, she was a mousy introvert, and I was the gregarious extrovert. After nearly 30 years of marriage, I have toned down some of my more eccentric, bizarre behavior, and she has become a little more outspoken.

I am very analytical and logical, whereas she is more attuned to matters of the heart, feelings, and emotions. I’ve learned to pay attention to her feelings and to take into consideration that my logical ways may not always be the most expedient. At the same time, she has learned how to take my logic and analysis into consideration when planning things. (For example, she lays out what she wants to get done on a Saturday, and she lets me plan the route so we don’t backtrack through town.)

I like rock and classical music, and she likes soft pop. I’ve turned her on to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and in turn, I’ve picked up a liking for Roger Whittaker.

I used to never eat mustard on anything, and she hated mayonnaise. However, it got tiresome trying to remember who-eats-what, and so I’ve learned to tolerate mustard on my sandwiches if she’s making, and she’ll eat mayo on a sandwich if I make it.

Once you get past the hump of just being friends (see what I did there?), the rest of it is pretty small potatoes. So, he’s a minimalist and you like your stuff. Compromise. He might learn to lock the front door, or you might learn that the best things in life aren’t things. If you like each other as friends and that initial like grows into love, the rest of it will fall into place.

Good luck, have fun, post an update.

If you like him, you like him. I’m with those who say just have fun and see where it goes. Chemistry doesn’t have to stem from having a lot of things in common. Sometimes it’s good to offset each other.

Ms. Attack is the love of my life, but on paper we wouldn’t be an obvious match-up. See where it goes. Who knows?

Just enjoy it and see where it goes. Just because you can’t see yourself marrying him right now, doesn’t mean your relationship doesn’t evolve in the future. I don’t think the “fuck him now but don’t delude yourself into thinking he’s relationship material” is the right mentality to take, maybe more like “you just reunited, you don’t have to map out your future right now, enjoy yourself until you don’t enjoy it anymore”.

There are some things that are true deal-breakers, and you’ll basically be wasting your time if you try to have a relationship with them present - wanting children, religion, where to live, those are some prime examples. The things you’ve listed don’t sound like make-or-break dealbreakers; more like lifestyle choices. I too say have fun and see where it goes - you don’t meet someone who curls up your toes every day. :slight_smile:

Us too. My boyfriend and I couldn’t be more different in terms of interests and hobbies. I’m a total fantasy/literature geek - he’s into things that go vroom vroom. That hasn’t stopped us from having a long-term relationship. I got him to read A Game of Thrones; he dragged me to an F1 race. Sometimes it’s nice to be with a person with completely different interests, if you’re willing to broaden your own.

Yeah, when Mrs. Sailboat first got my attention, she said “I’m not the kind of girl you would date, anyway.”

Oh yeah?

Our 13th anniversary will be soon (in February).

GilaB nailed it when she mentioned that she lacked common interests but had similiar values to her hubby. This is a crucial difference that gets us in trouble (i.e. confusing the two).

I’m 41. He’s 45. And it seems like we have similar values. Family is totally important to us. I don’t want kids, his kids are grown. We both had shitty upbringings- he reacted to his by being married several times, I reacted to mine by not trusting in the long term. We both think our respective reactions haven’t served us well in our lives! He’s funny, I’m funny—I dunno, maybe we’re not all that different. And probably the best possible thing for both of us is to take things nice…and…slow. He probably needs time to not jump right into something. I need time to trust that not everything that isn’t tied up with a bow is a huge red flag.

The couple in the OP sounds a lot like my bro and his wife: they’ve been together for 17 and a half years.

He: would be happy living in a cardboard box, so long as he could change it after heavy rains. Does not even practice the most popular sport in Spain, “panching” (i.e., watching sports while consuming beer and working on growing your paunch). B-type, laid back except for a few subjects he cares a lot about. A bit rock’n’roll. Likes Fantasy stuff; history and old-stuff buff. Judging by some material found while helping them move, likes his pr0n with no dudes and lots of chicks. Morning person. Likes pasta, rice and meat; doesn’t like sweets and can’t stand most fruit.

She: reads decoration magazines like they’re going out of fashion. Has practiced sports at competitive levels since childhood, used to be a gym teacher while in medical school. A-type and then some. Very much pop. History, who cares. Likes romance novels with no sex in them. Needed my mother and me to explain doggy and cowgirl styles to her and we had to go over “it’s still PiV, just in a different position” several times before she could stop freaking out that it would be a sin. Night owl. Would be happy on a fruit and cakes diet.

But they have similar values, similar goals, and love each other. And there are things they both like, it’s only that those end up taken for granted.

Attraction and *compatible values *are what is important to me. I couldn’t care less if we don’t have a shared background, interests, hobbies, even lifestyle to a point. My BF and I have been very happy for 6 years now and while we have a couple things we both like and do together (gardening, spending time with his family) we’re wildly divergent in what we enjoy doing generally and in how we live our lives. I love to get rid of things that don’t get used - he’s a bit of a hoarder. I’m laid-back about ‘germs’ and contamination - he’s often germphobic (IMO). He’s very private (and doesn’t gossip), I’m an open book (and love talking about other people). Etc. And yet, we agree on more big and important issues that the vast majority of people I know. Neither of us is religious (I’m atheist, he’s agnostic). Our political values are very similar - totally out there. We agree in large part how children should be raised, and how we should treat other people. We’re both highly moral in our own way.

We compromise because we love each other, and it’s not a struggle. I don’t like watching movies or sports and never do it on my own, but I will do it with him just to spend some quality time on the couch together (and for the first time in my life, I understand the rules of a sport and even get a little bit into it!). He doesn’t care for my dogs (or any dogs), but he walks them with me every night. I don’t care how things are cleaned as long as they are clean in the end, but I use his methods for dishwashing etc because I know he will do it over to make it right if I don’t.

We each have our own place still, I think it will be more challenging once we’re fully living together, but we get along better than most couples and I don’t think that will change.

^^This. When my husband and I met online a little over ten years ago, nobody could have predicted that we’d end up married, and if you’d suggested as much to those who knew us both, they’d probably have laughed their heads off. It seemed at first that we were polar opposites in some respects, and even when our acquaintance grew into attraction, there seemed (to me at least) to be too many differences in our interests and preferences for us to be truly compatible. But the emotional connection that formed between us was undeniable, and astounding. It became obvious over time that even if minor details of our personalities and preferences differed, our core values are very similar (though they express themselves in somewhat different ways), and the attraction and emotional connection have persisted to the point where it just didn’t make sense to stay apart any longer. We’re still working out the finer details of how our personalities mesh, but I’d say our hearts are firmly interlocked, and that makes everything else seem relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things.