By Laura Snyder
In the early stages of your romance, all that mattered was that you could agree on what movie to see or where to go for dinner. But if things are getting serious, it's time to find out if you're on the same page on these big issues.
Gotta-Have-It Common Ground #1: Level of Wanderlust
Some live for the escapism of travel, love to explore foreign cultures, and long for a partner in their quest to rack up even more air miles. Others would rather stick to their familiar stomping grounds. It's destination heartbreak when this homebody and the frequent flyer make a connection.
Gotta-Have-It Common Ground #2: Hobbies and Interests
Obviously you're not going to find someone who shares your exact combination of interest in Japanese food, rock climbing, and musical theater. And even if you did, you'd get bored. Ideally, you'll have enough shared hobbies to have things to do, but enough separate pursuits to have something interesting to talk about.
Gotta-Have-It Common Ground #3: Career Trajectory
Are you heading in the same direction, career-wise? A laid-back lover may be resentful of their ambitious partner's desire to keep those long hours, while the corporate-ladder climber may find a more relaxed partner to be lazy. If things get serious, will you agree about how your union will fit into your work lives? Will you wait to start a family until you've reached the corner office? Is it important to you to stay home with the kids?
Gotta-Have-It Common Ground #4: Family Matters
How important are your families to you? When things get share-the-holidays serious, whose family will you spend them with? Are you going to be expected to see them regularly or just show up on major feast days? While we're talking about family - will you be having one? For most folks, the baby issue is pretty non-negotiable...do you want kids? How many? And how will you be raising them?
Gotta-Have-It Common Ground #5: It's All About the Benjamins
More than any other issue, couples fight about money. And that's probably going to be true regardless of how compatible you are otherwise. That said, though, you can minimize those clashes by making sure early that you're on the same - or at least similar - pages when it comes to how, where, and why your money is spent.
Gotta-Have-It Common Ground #6: Let's Talk About Sex
Right after money as a fight issue, there's sex. Hopefully, you both agree that you should be having it. And agree that what you are having is pretty darn good. But do you agree on the frequency with which you're having it (or not)? Are your needs, or tolerances, for kink compatible?
Gotta-Have-It Common Ground #7: Can You Compromise?
So those are the kind of things you need to be thinking about. Basically, if it's important to you, it's important to your union. All those other issues might not matter...as long as you're on the same page when it comes to compromise. Know what issues are deal-breakers for you and which ones you'd be willing to cut some slack on.