Dear Wendy: “My Boyfriend And I Don’t Have Anything In Common”

My boyfriend and I have had what I would describe as a happy relationship for two years now. Problem is, even though we have FABULOUS chemistry and get along great, we have nothing in common. I’m a vegan hippie-type and he’s a carnivorous couch-potato. We’re both starting to feel burnt out and frustrated at not being able to find things we both like to do. We have tried compromising (we go on a hike this weekend and next week we’ll stay in and watch movies), but that’s starting to feel old, and like we never get to go out and do the things we enjoy as often. We love each other deeply, so what can we do other than go our separate paths? Please, any ideas would be super helpful! — Vegan Hippie Type

I wonder if your problem is more about lack of creativity than lack of common interests. I mean, there’s a lot more to leisure time than hikes and movies. If you get along great, have fabulous chemistry and love each other deeply, it’s certainly worth exploring some new options. I’d recommend trying something that’s new to both of you. That way, not only do you have the shared experience of trying something for the first time, you might just discover an activity — or place — you both really enjoy, rather than simply compromising by doing something you like one weekend and something he likes the next weekend. Depending on your budget, you could take a cooking (or dance or photography or guitar) class together, join a weekly trivia team at a local bar, take a weekend getaway road trip (or plane trip, if you can afford it) to some place neither of you has been before, host a game night with your friends at one of your homes, or join a dinner club (check for local dinner groups in your area).

The point is to do something that’s a little bit out of each of your comfort zones so you kind of have to rely on each other a little bit for support and fun. Right now you’re in a real rut because each time you do something, one of you is really comfy and the other is bored. So do something that isn’t comfortable or boring for either one of you. I’m sure if you don’t like any of my ideas, readers will leave some other suggestions in the comments. And if you simply cannot agree on anything new to try together or if, despite stepping outside your normal routine, you’re still feeling at odds, then you can visit the idea of going your separate ways. But don’t give up before you even try. That’s just silly!

After several months of being in a committed relationship with my boyfriend, I still find myself not entirely comfortable with the fact that one of my boyfriend’s best friends is his ex-girlfriend. She was his high school sweetheart and first love. He swears their relationship is completely platonic and because they’ve been friends since high school, she’s one of the few who truly understands him. When my boyfriend and I first started dating and his ex found out, she immediately asked him if he would choose her over me. When he responded that he would choose me, she threw a tantrum and called him a “jerk.” She often complains on his Facebook about why they don’t hang out as much anymore, and she even still calls him by a pet name she used while they were dating. I recently found out that my ex-boyfriend’s PIN number to his credit card is her name (he claims he never changed it out of convenience).

I’ve argued with my boyfriend about his relationship with his ex and he tells me that I’m simply insecure. Out of pure exhaustion over this topic, he and I have sort of stopped talking about it. He still continues to talk to this best friend over the phone as she’s always seeking his emotional support. My boyfriend is the sweetest and most caring person I know. He’s also the best boyfriend I’ve ever had but I can’t seem to shrug this off. Am I not being understanding enough? Or is my boyfriend over-stepping relationship boundaries? Or is his best friend overstepping boundaries? — Not His PIN

You know what I don’t understand? When people say their boyfriends/significant others are the sweetest, most caring people they know and, yet, everything else they say about these people seems to indicate that they actually are not sweet, caring people. For example, I’m assuming it must have been your boyfriend who told you that his ex asked if he was going to choose you over her and that she threw a tantrum when he answered in the affirmative. And it was certainly your boyfriend who totally disregarded your (very justified) feelings regarding his ex as simply “insecure.” And it was your boyfriend who acted like it was no big deal at all that the PIN for his credit card is his ex’s name. I’m sorry, but none of those things are what a sweet, caring boyfriend would do or say, and he is absolutely over-stepping some pretty significant relationship boundaries here (as is his ex).

If your boyfriend were truly sweet and caring, he would do everything in his power to make you comfortable with his ex and their friendship, while at the same time letting you know you are top priority. He’d take five minutes to change his PIN to something more neutral, he’d tell his ex that her Facebook complaints are inappropriate (and then he’d delete them), and he’d tell her that since they are no longer a couple, he’s uncomfortable with her calling him by a pet name, especially considering how unpleasant it is for his current girlfriend. If your boyfriend truly wanted to be sweet and caring, he’d actually listen to you when you voiced frustration over his relationship with his ex and rather than blow you off, he’d ask what he could do to assuage your concerns.

If I were you, I’d be very leery of this whole situation. I’m not saying people can’t remain friendly with their exes and manage to avoid drama, but there need to be clear boundaries that are respected by all parties and that just isn’t the case here. If your boyfriend doesn’t make a few changes to keep you happy and secure, if he doesn’t shift the balance of his personal relationships so that the person who should be most important actually feels most important, you should seriously consider dumping his ass. He’s simply not showing you the respect a committed girlfriend deserves.

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