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Ask April: How Couples Find Common Ground

"Ask April" Author of the best selling, "Date Out Of Your League" AskApril.com
Read chapters from April Masini's books here

Q: Dear April,
My partner and I couldn't be more different…which I think is why I was so attracted to them in the first place.

But when it comes to the relationship part, our differences are really showing up, and making things hard.

Is there a way for us to come to some common ground, or are we just doomed?

Hope you can help,
Oil and Water

A: Dear Oil and Water,
You've heard the expression, "opposites attract", right? And it always makes for a great story—the Harley rider and the straight-laced librarian; the cheerleader and the computer geek. But the truth is that once the novelty of the opposite wears off, what's left in its wake can just be a whole lot of differences. Differences that can seem and feel insurmountable.

But bridging the gap between those differences for opposites—and the gap that will inevitably occur in any relationship, even for two people who have more in common—is possible with deliberate effort…and a few helpful hints.

* Search for shared interests—Though you may think of you and your partner as oil and vinegar (and to some degree, what man and woman aren't!), the truth is that you probably have more in common than you think. Finding what those commonalties are may just require a little digging.

* And if you simply cannot fathom what they might be—create them for yourself:

  • Sign up for a class or two that appeals to both of you

  • Learn to dance the tango

  • Join the gym together

  • Become members of the same club (poker, book, etc.)

  • Read the same book at the same time

  • Learn to each play an instrument and make music together

  • Whatever it is you choose to do, be passionate about it and keep each other committed. That alone can give you a common goal!

* Meet in the middle—So you're a bleeding heart liberal and they're a card-carrying member of the NRA. No need to change your political beliefs…like that could ever happen. Instead, look hard for the places where you can both meet (you're each passionate about politics) and agree (maybe you each love the outdoors and want to rally your support around fighting for environmental issues, albeit in different parties). Your common ground is out there. If it's worth it to you, you'll find it.
* Remember what initially attracted you—If you've been in your relationship for a while, you've probably experienced the transition from adoring them to abhorring them—usually for the exact same reasons. When this happens, it's time to take a moment for some pure, unadulterated reflection. Try to remember how whatever is bothering you now used to appeal to you way back when, and most importantly, why.
* Learn from each other's differences—Ask many a time-tested couple what the secret to their success was, and more often than not, you'll hear that they always kept learning from one another. Here, if you're couple who are opposites, you actually might have the advantage, if you can come—and most importantly, remind yourself—to appreciate what it is your partner brings to the table. That thing that you would never have known or experienced or felt were it not for them.

Sincerely,
April


Ready for even more bold, brutally honest, and always helpful dating advice? Visit my Web site, www.Ask April.com There, you'll find informative articles, expert columnists, interactive quizzes, and free giveaways! And don't forget to also check out my workshops, designed to help you find you real "soul mate"!

© 2003-2007 April Masini

Making it happen for you
If you’re ready to get serious about finding a relationship that will really work for you—but aren’t quite ready to sign up for an arranged marriage—then my workshops on dating, love, and all around success might be just what the doctor ordered. Please visit www.AskApril.com, and click on “Workshops” for more information. You’ll also find a ton of other articles, fun, interactive quizzes, and FREE giveaways! See you there…

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