Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Lists

Opposites Attract…Until They Don’t: 5 things couples NEED to have in common

So you’re the person who’s going to take that last bunch of flowers, leaving my husband to come home empty-handed! I’m married to a great guy who, I promise you, is more unromantic than your fiance. Although I never get flowers or gifts or surprise dinner reservations, my husband once revealed that he thinks he actually is very romantic. It turns out that because we have so much fun together, he thinks just talking late into the night is romance. I’ve come to accept he’s right. So buy yourself flowers, maybe some lovely irises instead of roses, and be happy with your unromantic romantic.

The quoted text is Emily Yoffe’s  — the woman who pens’s “Dear Prudence” advice column — answer to a question about Valentine’s Day and romance. The women who asked the question was concerned that her otherwise loving fiancee has never bought flowers on V-day, and I agreed with Prudence’s response that it doesn’t mean the fiancee’s not a romantic or caring person just because the woman has a different, more “traditional,” idea of romance.

This topic held special resonance because it’s an issue I’ve always had to deal with. If I’m with someone, I’m cool with going to the gym together and then watching Netflix and ordering take-out later. To me, that — that quality time spent with someone you care about — is the epitome of intra-relationship romance. But, as you probably guessed, the women I’ve been with don’t always share this sentiment, and I’ve spent countless hours trying to convince them that I genuinely consider “sharing Wendy’s fries while folding laundry” to be just as romantic as “candlelight dinner on the beach.

Anyway, while not sharing your mate’s idea of romance can prove to be annoying, it’s usually something most people can work past or learn to deal with. But, there are a few subjects that need to be completely congruent; things couples definitely need to have in common in order for a relationship to work.

Here’s 5 of them.

1. Libido.

One of two things usually happen when a couple with completely mismatched libidos gets together.

1. The person with the lower libido has to compromise and have more sex, eventually leading to frustration, emotional distance, decreased self-esteem, and, in some rare cases, thoughts of murder.

2. The person with the higher libido has to compromise and have less sex, eventually leading to frustration, emotional distance, decreased self-esteem, and, in some rare cases, accidental b*stiality.

Either way, any aspiring couple needs to know exactly where each other lands on the sex drive scale before someone (or someone’s dog) gets stabbed with a knife, fingernail, shank, or flaccid penis.

2. The idea of whether it’s cool to be friends with exes.

After listening to approximately 100,000 different arguments in the last several years about whether it’s cool for a person in a relationship to be cool with a person (or people) they used to sleep with, I’ve come to realize that there is no right answer to this riddle. Seriously, the battle of the Fexes (Friends with Exes vs Definitely NOT Friends with Exes) is just as bad as Palestinian vs Israeli, Montague vs Capulet, Michigan vs Ohio State, and T.I. vs Freedom.

No one can remember who hurt who first, but blood has been shed, wounds have been opened, lives have been lost, and visitation room hand jobs have been given.

3. The importance (or nonimportance) of personal upkeep and aesthetics.

While neither way of living is right or wrong, couples where one person doesn’t mind going downtown looking like a gotdamn f*cking fool and the other treats every outside appearance as if they’re about to shoot an Esquire spread usually end up broken up.

And, while some might attest this to other latent mismatched characteristics that cause these incongruent personal aesthetic outlooks, I think it just boils down to the fact that we just tend to want to be with people who “match” us in this regard.

4. Ideas of suitable food

Admittedly, this may just be a personal thing. But, a couple unfortunate bedroom experiences with the otherworldly nighttime farts emitting from the asses of vegan women has taught me that I need to be with a woman whose favorite foods all have parents, and I’m assuming that most people have the same food-based standards.

5. Feelings about children

Although we all have the necessary parts, not all people are meant to be mothers and fathers, and that’s perfectly ok. The world would be a much better place if more people realized this.

Actually, that part about “necessary parts” is a bit of a lie. While the majority of us have the physical capability to create children, not everyone possesses the traits needed to actually like and appreciate them. Again, this is perfectly ok, but if you’re not one of these types of people, it’s for everyone’s best sake if you avoid those who are.

Anyway, people of VSB, did I miss anything? Can you think of anything else that a couple needs to have in common for their relationship to work?

Also, do you even agree that anything needs to be congruent at all? I mean, opposites do attract, right? (Ha!)

The carpet is yours.

—The Champ

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Yeah boiiii

  • What is this trickery?!?

  • Yoles

    i totally agree with this list… i want to add but my mind can’t even work straight because that picture is killing me ever so softly… i’m trying to not fall off the bed and smash my laptop but it seems to be a losing battle…

  • Champster, this is a great list. I agree with everything.

    3. The importance of personal upkeep and aesthetic

    True Story: Like my Sophomore year in college (Dillard University you know what it is) I was home in Chicago for the summer seeing this Chef. When we met, we were both on our way home, so he was in the chef attire and I in my skirt whatever. But, every.single.time we went out, dude was dressed like a professional homeless man and I’m dressed as if we’re about to be in public! Needless to say, I quickly detoured from THAT!

    4. Food

    This is really important to me. Like, I don’t eat a lot of stuff, but honestly, I cannot see myself in a SERIOUS relationship with someone that partakes in the swine! Just.can’t.go.

    That is all for now.

  • Agreed. I actually was just discussing this with several friends…especially the point about #4.

    You see, I had this boyfriend who would always go get takeout when it came time for me to cook. Now I know someone is going to bust out the “you can’t cook” jokes (which is not the case…I’ll cook yo momma under the table), it was just that he didn’t like this or that in his food, or this kind of dish, etc….

    Like I can’t date anybody who doesn’t eat cheese. Or cheese fries. Or seafood. They are huge components of my diet, and I’ll be damned if I stop eating my tastes for another soul. There’s no compromising there.

    But yeah. I say social level. An anti-social person and a super social person do not mesh well. Same guy. I had a few friends over, and he went off into another room and wouldn’t socialize until someone threatened to find me a new boyfriend (and actually called over the person who turned out to be an illegal Canadian immigrant who believed in Sarah Palin and the GOP). Guy still is clueless as to why I cannot bear to be with him. He won’t leave his comfort level, because my comfort level is more open than what he is used to. I can’t fault him for it, and I can’t force him to change.

  • Masiotso

    “Can you think of anything else that a couple needs to have in common for their relationship to work?”

    Sense of humor
    One may think it is hilarious, cute, and maybe even romantic to throw a snowball at their mate thinking they’ll just get hit with one back. They do…but it has a rock in it.

  • Madame Zenobia

    “in some rare cases, accidental b*stiality.” – The f*ck? Where they do that at?
    (shakes head) Anyway:

    1. Libido: Hell yes, co-sign, truth, church, tabernacle…synagogue. I can’t agree with that enough – there is nothing worse in the world than being with someone who can keep up with you in the bedroom. I take that back – someone who isn’t willing to try to keep up is the worst. And that doesn’t necessarily mean number of times the act happens, it’s also horrible when they can’t/won’t keep up with variety. (did I just share too much? looks left, looks right.)

    Other things I’d say you need to have in common:

    Faith – “That’s right. If you born-again, your woman gotta be born-again, too. If you a crackhead, your woman gotta be a crackhead, too…or the shit won’t work. You can’t be like, ”I’m going to church, where you going?” ”Hit the pipe!” That relationship ain’t going nowhere.”

    I think people can work through differing faiths, but a Christian-Atheist, Muslim-Agnostic, Jew-Crackhead – those relationships aren’t gonna work out.

    Sense of Humor – this is huge for me anyway. If you think Jay Leno’s funny or can’t get into Chris Rock or Lewis Black or can’t quote any Dave Chappelle? Or if you find them offensive and not humorous? Or can’t really get into comedy from any era? Deuces.

    Or you can’t laugh at situations or try to make the best of them? You can’t laugh at yourself or random circumstances you find yourself in? Yeah, get the brick out yo @ss and keep moving.

    Adventurism (?) – I don’t know if that’s a word, but people who love to get out, rock climb, go camping, travel or even just visit new places/restaurants in their home city don’t jive well with homebodies who like the same routine every day/week.

    Those are my thoughts…for tonight anyway. Maybe more tomorrow AM.

  • Mr. Gundam

    Nice post, Im gong to go out on a limb and say these:

    Social Politics

    Now by social politics I mean similar tastes in how society should be run. I don’t a relationship is gonna last long is homeboy and home girl has different views on abortion. You find out that bf of two years anti-gay marriage, likes to throw shade at people who don’t have low cut or silky smooth hair. After awhile dealing with their nonsense you pretty much want to dip, but not before telling them off.

    Sense of humor

    Two people who have different sense of humor is a future of Side-eyes and augments. Don’t be that dude who loves practical jokes, the girl who thinks Kevin Smith last special was weak sauce, or the jerk who make offensive jokes about your SO working as a residential aid.

    “The Wire”

    I SEEN dudes lose on the first date just because they didn’t know where “Murderland Alley” is. Don’t know the members of the The Barksdale crew. Matter of fact, I believe watching The Wire helps build relationships.

    (Mayb its because me n Ms. Gundam finish watching season three for Valentine’s Day. Which was great)

  • WeGottaDoBetter

    That picture kilt me.

  • Tes

    Sir Champ I think you hit all the ones i think are the most important. Can I just say I nearly keeled over at “T.I vs. Freedom?” And who’s neighbor is that with the bra on? I just can’t…

    Something couples need to have in common
    1. Sports teams. I was watching True Life the other day and every couple on there were diehard fans of opposing teams. None of them made it. Coincidence? Most likely.
    2. Maturity level. I’m all for a good fart joke, but not in front of my Nana, please.
    3. Religion. I’m not saying we both have to go to chu’ch every Sunday, but our religious views have to be on the same street. If I say “God bless you” and dude replies back “Allahu akbar”…I’on know about that one.
    4. Sense of humor. If you can’t make me laugh, you have to be one of the stalest people in the world, and therefore, it just couldn’t work.

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