Different viewpoints do not affect compatibility

The idea of entering into a new relationship can be exciting. But after awhile, situations may occur that aren’t so fun to handle.

Being in a new relationships is already confusing enough without having issues with compatibility. A few friends and I worry that being in a relationship with someone with different values or ideas – on, say, religion, politics, or morals – means you may run into some problems farther down the line.

That raises the question of whether incompatible relationships can work. While it is true that having  opposite opinions on big subjects can create friction, it’s by no means a sign that it cannot be worked out as a couple.

One problem is that people often think of compatibility as similarity. But too much sameness in a relationship can be boring. The differences between two people are important. Most of us who are looking to be in a relationship want someone who will make up for our own failings, enhance our strengths and enrich our lives. So the saying may be true, that opposites attract, even though some differences may drive you crazy.

No matter who you are with, you will run into some conflict. That is simply part of being in a relationship. Common struggles that come up are conflicts about families, finances and even different friend groups. This can disrupt a relationship, which sometimes ends with more serious consequences.

Thoughtful conversations are more meaningful than just an exchange of ideas. Conversations about issues that matter can help strengthen a relationship to gain understanding and insight into the beliefs of others.

As far as successful relationships go, everyone still has to deal with conflicts that emerge as a result of these differences. It can be helpful to lay out a few basic guidelines that help manage disagreements and move forward.

Recognizing the conflict is a major part of every relationship. Whether the difference is something simple or more complex, people need to understand that it is not the differences that are the problem, but instead how they are handled.

Talk things over. If you are having a disagreement, it is important to talk it out. Listen to what each other has to say. That means really listen – instead of just waiting for your turn to speak. When it does come to your turn to explain your position, speak calmly and honestly. It may be that, after talking things through, you realize you aren’t quite as different as you may have thought.

Another key aspect is to find common ground, or at least try to see where someone is coming from. It can help to  better understand your partner’s opinion by trying to understand their reasons behind it. Even if your ideas are different, it’s likely that you both agree on key things.

Also, know your boundaries. That being said, remember that some things simply can’t be changed. Some differences may be deal breakers, but many are simply part of the package of someone who is not the same as you. That may be the parts that are enriching your life and the relationship.

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