Can a Relationship Work if You Have Nothing in Common

It would be impossible to know if anyone’s relationship will ever “work” or not because there are too many factors to consider without knowing the relationship in question.  But it is common knowledge that one of the things which makes relationships successful is often having a lot in common, so it makes sense that not having much in common would be a major obstacle.


There are a few ways to think about having nothing in common.  Obviously, we are all human, and if two people are dating, they clearly have at least have their mutual attraction in common.  For a short-term relationship, maybe that would be enough for people to have a good time together then go on with their lives in different directions.  But for a relationship to work long-term, there needs to be much more than that.


If a long-term relationship is what you are looking for, the person you are dating needs to also be interested in going down that road with you: that is something you should have in common.  Where you want to end up in terms of your careers, children, families and living situations need to align.  Most fundamentally, in my opinion, is your values.  You need to think the same things are important: how do you treat other people?  What are your thoughts about money and finances?  Do you live for the moment, or plan for the future?  How important is family to you?  These are just some of the sorts of questions you must ask each other.   The sorts of things that are important to have in common in a long-term relationship are discussed in the 101 Practical Questions’ article on


Smaller things can also be really important. It might not seem important if you don’t love the same types of movies, or one of you is more interested in a healthy lifestyle than the other.  And these things aren’t very important, not if there are only a few of them.  Maybe one of you is an early riser, and the other a late-riser: that alone is not going to be a deal-breaker.  But if you are only available and awake at different times, then it will be tricky for you to spend quality time together.  If you root for different sports teams, that probably won’t be an issue!  But if one of you is passionate about sports, and the other person thinks it is a waste of time, that might be more troubling.  So, it is important to assess what is really important to you and whether the things you can compromise on will cause you upset or harm later on in life.

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