Sex advice, sex tips and relationship advice

#324: How Alike do You Need to be to Have a Good Relationship

Published Sunday, July 25, 2021

My clients often wonder if they are really suited to each other. They thought they were at the start but over time the differences have become more apparent and they worry that they’re not compatible.

So how similar do we need to be to have a good relationship?

Well, it depends on what aspect of relating you are considering. In some cases yes, in others no.

In brief:

• You need to have common values.
• You need to have shared, but not the same, interests.
• You can have very different personalities.

It’s actually good to have different personalities, different ways of seeing the world, of being in the world. Different ways of thinking, different ways of feeling, different ways of expressing – these all broaden the ways you as a couple can live and experience life.

A big caveat here though is that you have to appreciate the differences, not make each other wrong for being different.

And you have to realise that the same qualities can have both good and bad aspects. Let’s take an example of a couple where one sees the other as “my rock”, solid, dependable, someone who makes them feel really safe and secure in the world. Yet, those same positive qualities also makes them a little dull, lacking in initiative, low in risk-taking and not very spontaneous… In contrast, the other partner sees the first as exciting and adventurous, bringing lots of energy and excitement into their life. Yet, those same qualities can also get overwhelming, confusing, exhausting and make them the ‘downer’ for always trying to slow their partner down….

When you can understand and appreciate your differences, it broadens possibilities. In our fictitious (but very real) couple described above, when they accept each other’s personalities, and work with the benefits, they can see the adventurous one as bringing energy and ideas into the relationship and the dependable one as bringing a sense of caution and pace to those ideas. They will welcome what each brings to the relationship. They will also reassure when needed – if the adventurous one is being too out-there and making the other feel insecure, or if the dependable one is being too cautious and causing the other to feel stifled or unexpressed.

So in terms of personality, yes you can be very different and have a very successful relationship. In terms of interests though, it helps to have an overlap. If you don’t have any interests in common, it will limit what you can do together and what you can talk about. It’s hard to feel there’s a strong ‘us’ if you have nothing in common (other than perhaps the kids and the mortgage…) It’s good to have a sport or activity that you do together – tennis, hiking, cooking, travelling, learning languages, restoring furniture, gardening, scuba diving, volunteering, dancing. Or topics of common interest, such as politics, social justice, current affairs, history, astronomy, financial investments, art, ecology – things you like to learn about, discuss and get involved in together.

On the other hand, it is also good to have different interests. If it’s an activity it gives you time apart, it gives you something that invigorates you, and you come back to your partner with fresh energy. You go and play golf for a few hours and come back with a big smile, or you go off to your yoga or French lesson and come back refreshed and ready to engage with your partner. And in these cases the other partner sees your interest and happiness and that makes them feel good, because we like to see our partner happy!

So, different personalities are good, overlapping interests are necessary. Then what about values? Well, they need to be very aligned or you are going to have problems. It’s very difficult for a very right-wing person to have a happy relationship with someone who is very left-wing. It’s possible, but not great. It’s difficult if one values health highly and the other smokes and drinks and doesn’t look after themselves. It’s possible, but not great. If one values city living and the other wants the isolation of the countryside, it’s not going to work. If one values family and children and the other doesn’t, nope, it’s not a good match. If one views ‘success’ as power, money and status, and the other sees ‘success’ as a life of creative expression, you’re going to have problems. If one has strong religious values and the other is a staunch atheist, well, that could be problematic over time. If one has a very laissez-faire approach to parenting and the other believes strict rules are good for children, that too is going to make your relationship difficult.

So, get in touch with your values early in a relationship so that you can be sure you’re aligned; focus on keeping interests in common; and appreciate and work with your personality differences.

Then, you will have a great life together!



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#344: When It Gets Awkward in Bed
#343: It's Normal to Find Other People Attractive
#342: The Dance of Initiation
#341: We All Need A Phone Policy!
#340: What Comes Before Consent
#339: More than Sex-Positive, We Need to be Sex-Comfortable
#338: Get Off the Hedonistic Treadmill!
#337: You Can't Search for Love. It's Already There. You Can Only Remove the Barriers to Let It In
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#332: Be Conscious Not Complacent
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#329: Gateways to the Erotic Shift
#328: Safety is Sexy
#327: Pace Your Sexual Interactions
#326: Fly on the Wall Friday - my new Video Series
#325: When Things Get Wobbly Assume the Best and Get Curious
#324: How Alike do You Need to be to Have a Good Relationship
#323: Be "At Home" in Your Body
#322: Don't Ever Stop Kissing
#321: Consent From the Inside
#320: How to Say No Without It Feeling Like Rejection
#319: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 3: Sexual Transformation
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#308: How To Give (and Receive) An Erotic Spanking
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#305: Lazy Sex
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#303: The Art of the Thrust
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#298: Teenage Love-Making
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#283: Q&A: We Want to Try a Threesome - how do we do it safely?
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#251: Make Your Bedroom A Sanctuary
#250: Sexy Debriefing
#249: Getting "Love Drunk"
#248: Make-Over Your Sex Life
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#244: Gigglegasms
#243: Evolve with the Seven Elements of Sexuality
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#241: Intensity Repels, Enticement Attracts. Like Chocolate Cake.
#240: Turn Yourself On and the World Turns On To You
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#238: Are You Flat-lining or Surfing in Life?
#237: How to Avoid Spiritual Bypassing in Sex & Relationships
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#233: Are You Relationship-Oriented?
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#341: We All Need A Phone Policy!
#340: What Comes Before Consent
#339: More than Sex-Positive, We Need to be Sex-Comfortable
#338: Get Off the Hedonistic Treadmill!
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#334: How to Express Your Emotions Without Being "Emotional"
#333: Q&A: We're Time Poor - How Do We Add Some Zing?
#332: Be Conscious Not Complacent
#331: It's Ok to Disappoint Your Partner
#330: Moans & Groans – why sound is good in sex and how to make more
#329: Gateways to the Erotic Shift
#328: Safety is Sexy
#327: Pace Your Sexual Interactions
#326: Fly on the Wall Friday - my new Video Series
#325: When Things Get Wobbly Assume the Best and Get Curious
#324: How Alike do you Need to be to Have a Good Relationship
#323: Be "At Home" in Your Body
#322: Don't Ever Stop Kissing
#321: Consent From the Inside
#320: How To Say No Without It Feeling Like Rejection
#319: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 3: Sexual Transformation
#318: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 2: Relational Transformation
#317: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 1: Personal Transformation
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#315: Finesse Your Expertise on Each Other
#314: A Lingering Sense of Each Other
#313: How Do You Know When You're Having Good Sex?
#312: Conflict is Inevitable So Learn to Prevent, Manage and Repair
#311: The Bridgerton Effect
#310: Cuddle plus – an essential phase of the affection-sex continuum
#309: Moment-by-Moment Consent
#308: How To Give (and Receive) An Erotic Spanking
#307: Three Types of Sexual Communication: Chit-chat, In-the-moment and the Debrief
#306: What I Desire
#305: Lazy Sex
#304: It's Not "Needy" to Connect - It's Human!
#303: The Art of the Thrust
#302: Transformational Erotica
#301: Sex As Embodied Mindfulness Practice
#300: So Many Ways to Eat, So Many Ways to…
#299: Date Night or Date Day?
#298: Teenage Love-Making
#297: Turning Sex Lives Upside-Down - It's My Life's Work!
#296: The Sex Store in Your Pantry
#295: Do You PIV or VEP When You Have Sex?
#294: Take Your Penis for a Walk!
#293: It's Time to Let Our Souls Catch-Up
#292: Become a Sensual Explorer
#291: Q&A: My Wife Won't Pleasure Herself in Front of Me
#290: Subtle Shifts to Great Sex
#289: Q&A: My Husband Can't Keep an Erection, and He Smokes Lots of Marajuana
#288: Love in the Time of COVID-19
#287: Q&A: My Partner Doesn't Climax from Oral Sex and I'm Worried
#286: Meditate Your Way to Great Sex
#285: Q&A: My Partner Doesn't Like Kissing - what to do?
#284: Communing - deep intimate connection
#283: Q&A: We Want to Try a Threesome - how do we do it safely?
#282: On Being A Human in a Female Body
#281: Q&A: How Do We Connect After So Much Stress?
#280: Get A Life! Your Sex Drive Needs the Dopamine
#279: Q&A: My Husband Is Having An Affair and I'm Relieved
#278: Stocking Up Your Love Larder - the key to spontaneous sex
#277: Q&A: How Do I Flex My New Found Interest in Sex?
#276: Intercourse as Foreplay
#275: Q&A: Fun in the Sun - How to Have Safe Holiday Sex
#274: Bake Your Cake Before You Ice It - the foundation of great sex
#273: Q&A: Is It Normal to Want Sex Twice A Day?
#272: How Has Sex Helped You Grow - Research Participants Wanted!
#271: Q&A: How Do I Meet My Sexual Needs in a Sexless Marriage
#270: Optimal Sexuality - Reaching Your Sexual Potential
#269: Q&A: How Do I Get My Mojo Back?
#268: It's the Sum of the Small Things
#267: Q&A: How Do We Reignite Our Love Life
#266: Relationship Vitamins
#265: I See You as Lover - the importance of attention in loving well
#264: The Pleasure of A Soft Cock
#263: Make Every Stroke Count
#262: You Can Make Love With Just A Kiss
#261: Finding the 'More' - the Spiritual Dimensions of Sex
#260: How to Stay In Love
#259: Expanding Your Sexual Play Part 2: How
#258: Expanding Your Sexual Play Part 1: What
#257: Simple Sex is Good Sex
#256: Solo Sex: Mindful Masturbation
#255: Own the Crone
#254: Porn Star versus Prude
#253: “When One is Pretending, the Whole Body Revolts”
#252: Non-Linear Love-Making: the "Picnic" Approach to Sex
#251: Make Your Bedroom A Sanctuary
#250: Sexy Debriefing
#249: Getting "Love Drunk"
#248: Make-Over Your Sex Life
#247: Be Real, Express Freely
#246: The Fairy Tales Got It Wrong
#245: Are Humans Naturally Monogamous - and if not, what does that mean?
#244: Gigglegasms
#243: Evolve with the Seven Elements of Sexuality
#242: Getting to Sex can be Like Getting to the Gym
#241: Intensity Repels, Enticement Attracts. Like Chocolate Cake.
#240: Turn Yourself On and the World Turns On To You
#239: Therapy is Composting Your Sh*t
#238: Are You Flat-lining or Surfing in Life?
#237: How to Avoid Spiritual Bypassing in Sex & Relationships
#236: The Clitoris is Not an On-Off Button
#235: The Three Phases of Conscious Relationship Evolution
#234: Allow Self-Indulgence
#233: Are You Relationship-Oriented?
#232: Tantra: Sex Through Non-Sex
#231: A Multitude of Orgasmic Possibilities
#230: Sink In to Sync In
#229: Penises - does size really matter?
#228: What To Do When He Can't Come
#227: The Adolescent Male Masturbatory Model of Sex
#226: Merge Sex & Love Energies for Potent Connection
#225: Sex is a Normal Part of Life
#224: We Judge ‘Normal’ Sex Based on Our Own Experiences
#223: How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways...
#222: Project 'Great Sex'
#221: Beforeplay Suggestions
#220: Foreplay and Beforeplay
#219: How to Heighten Sensory Pleasure
#218: The Bedroom is for Expression, Not Suppression
#217: The Three Types of Sex All Couples Need
#216: Things that make you go 'mmm' and things that make you go 'ngh'
#215: Libido - the Interplay of Desire and Arousal
#214: The Good and Bad of Porn
#213: Bad Communication Styles - The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
#212: My Journey to Becoming A Transpersonal Sexologist
#211: Seven Sex Tips for Busy People
#210: Penises Love A Soft Touch
#209: Share Before You Fix
#208: The Best Thing A Father Can Do
#207: The Exquisiteness of a Relaxed Vagina
#206: The Look of Love - Eye-Gazing
#205: Quanta of Deliciousness
#204: How to Maintain the “Mmm-Factor”
#203: How to Have 'Dirty' Sex With Someone You Love
#202: Seven Benefits of Attending A LoveLife Couples Tantra Retreat
#201: Make Sex Your Hobby
#200: Partnered Sex is Not Solo Sex for Two
#199: Melting Moments
#198: Your Partner Can't Be Everything To You
#197: Sex is Good, Sleep is Better!
#196: Savour Sex
#195: How To Live A Tantric Life
#194: Be Kind - It Works
#193: How to Push Your Sexual Boundaries
#192: Good Rest=Good Sex
#191: We Need Bliss
#190: Being Sexually Receptive is Not Being Sexually Passive
#189: So Much Love
#188: A High-Quality Relationship is a High-Maintenance Relationship
#187: Sex as Spiritual Practice
#186: Playing with the Yin and Yang of Sex
#185: The Yin and Yang of Sex
#184: Third Level Love-Making
#183: Vive La Difference!
#182: What Is a Marriage Sabbatical and Why Take One?
#181: The Basic Sexual Unit is One
#180: A Penis is for Connection, not Penetration
#179: Men Have Not Evolved to 'Sow Their Seed Widely'
#178: Big Sex is Beautiful Sex
#177: Women Are Not 'Naturally' Monogamous
#176: Sex Therapy and Couples Retreats - What to do if you have a Reluctant Partner
#175: The Chilled Build - How to Get in the Mood for Sex
#174: Mums and Dads Need "Cuddle Time"
#173: Giving Good Head Does Not Mean Simulating A Vacuum Cleaner
#172: Is Porn Making Women Less Feminine?
#171: Is Porn Making Men Less Masculine?
#170: Rough Sex
#169: The Three Pillars of Love
#168: Seven Benefits of Attending My Couples Retreats
#167: Ban Penetration - the word, not the act!
#166: Solo Cultivation - Mindful Masturbation for Men
#165: Our Bodies Thrive on Pleasure
#164: Leela: Cosmic Play, Sexual Play
#163: Toys for Grown-Ups
#162: Backdoor Pleasures - how to enjoy anal sex
#161: The Sexual Glutton vs The Sexual Gourmet
#160: Erotic Wickedness - How to Play with Power Exchange
#159: Practice Expressing Your Feelings For Greater Connection and Better Sex
#158: Let’s Talk About Our Sex
#157: Love Your Breasts
#156: Ditch the Sex Myths
#155: Relax Into Orgasm
#154: When A Woman Is Free To Be Herself Sex Takes On A Spiritual Dimension
#153: It All Starts With A Kiss…
#152: The Ecstasy is in the Spaces In-Between
#151: Radical Honesty
#150: Strength in Softness, Softness in Strength
#149: Your New Year's Resolution - Have Better Sex
#148: Peace, Pleasure and Goodwill to All
#147: A Beautiful Vulva is Like A Luscious Hamburger
#146: Come From a Place of "Yes"!
#145: Finger Finesse
#144: Reluctance is Not frigidity, It’s Body Intelligence - She’s Not Ready!
#143: Tantra: The Art of Mindful Sex
#142: Love Thy Partner
#141: ‘Invitation’ not ‘Penetration’
#140: Female Bodies Are Sexual Pleasure Machines
#139: Sex is the Base of Being Human
#138: Awaken Your Vagina for the Kind of Sex All Women (and their Partners) Deserve
#137: Bonking on the Right Side of the Brain
#136: Have Sex with God…
#135: So Many Boxes - So Little Freedom
#134: How to Move Forward When Your Partner Has Betrayed You
#133: The Reason Why Humans Are So Sexual
#132: Partnered Yoga - Erotic Connection
#131: Make Love Like You’re Playing An Instrument For Ultimate Sensual Pleasure
#130: How to Talk to Kids About Sex - and why you need to
#129: Inviting A Third (or fourth or more…) - the right way to play
#128: Does Size Really Matter?
#127: The Way of the Householder - how to make the everyday sublime
#126: Our Bodies Are the Best Sex Toy Ever
#125: Honour Your Genitals for Exquisite Sex - the Why and How
#124: Tango Tantra - Make Your Love Life Blissfully Connected
#123: The Yin & Yang of Sex Chemistry
#122: DIY Porn - It’s A Fun Way to Add Spice to Your Love Life
#121: Move Beyond Sleaze and Shame and Discover The Third Wave of Sexuality
#120: Don’t Fake It Till You Make It - ‘Cause You Won’t Make It
#119: Give Your Man Absolute Pleasure...Try Prostate Massage
#118: We’re All Individuals! There are Spectra of Sexuality
#117: My Book "Seven Sex Goddesses" Released!
#116: Can Fisting Be Fabulous?
#115: Ten Reasons Why Married Women Have Affairs, and What To Do When She Does
#114: Mutual Pleasure Requires Mutual Responsibility - how to expand your sex play safely
#113: Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down - how to add restraint to your sex life
#111: 10 Tips For Your Vagina
#112: What’s Your Eroticism - Intimate, Wild, Fun?
#110: When the Man Leads, the Woman Embellishes
#109: Unblock Sexual Energy for Greater Love
#108: The Sensual Dom(me)
#107: Explore Your Fantasies
#106: Dress-Ups! How to have fun with role-play.
#105: Consensual Non-Monotony
#104: Consensual Non-Monogamy
#103: Languid 69
#102: Sensual Non-Monogamy
#101: Make Love to Yourself - Mindful Masturbation for Women
#100: Celibacy, Sexuality and Spirituality
#99: Spice Alone Tastes Terrible...
#98: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
#97: Plugging In - Sex Without Movement
#96: Growing Better With Age
#95: Teaching Tantra in Paradise
#94: Time Apart Can Be Erotic
#93: When He's Lost Interest
#92: Q&A: Why Doesn’t Porn Do It for Me?
#91: If Sex Hurts, Change What You're Doing
#90: Some Words for the Lower Desire Partner
#89: Trust Your Body
#88: Chill Out in Your Sanctuary
#87: Planning for Pleasure
#86: Make the Lead-Up Erotic
#85: Advice from Japanese Grandmothers on How to be Beautiful
#84: If You Want A Mature Relationship You Have To Be Mature
#83: How Often Should We Have Sex?
#82: Slay the Pink Elephants!
#81: The Tantric Lounge Radio Show - Talking Sex, Science and Spirituality
#80: What Do Men Love Best About Sex?
#79: Fetishes are Fine
#78: The Awesomeness of Men Who Are Present
#77: Sex Doesn't Have to Involve the Genitals
#76: Winter's a Time for Sexual Growth
#75: An Erection Does Not Have To Be Serviced
#74: "My Ejaculation Opens the Door to Deeper Orgasm"
#73: To Come or Not To Come
#72: Know Your Sexual Rhythm
#71: Fill Up Your Self-Love Tank
#70: The Cup-of-Tea Approach to Sexual Self-Coaching
#69: Trust Means Being OK with Not Knowing
#68: Renegotiate Your Contract
#67: Breathe Together - It's Tantric Foreplay
#66: The Number One Secret to Good Sex
#65: An Orgasm a Day Keeps the Doctor Away - why sex is so good for you
#64: Teaching Sex Therapists Tantra
#63: Is “Good Enough” Sex Good Enough?
#62: Observing Love
#61: There Is Always A Lower Desire Partner
#60: You Can't Find Balance, You Have To Craft It
#59: Sexual, Spiritual Business Leaders
#58: Positive Messages in 50 Shades of Grey
#57: Playing with Pleasure and Pain
#56: Pelvic Floor Pleasures - Advanced
#55: Pelvic Floor Pleasures - The Basics
#54: Three Good Reasons To Read Erotica
#53: Tantric Kink
#52: Tools for Self-Validation from a Luscious Woman
#51: How to Master the Art of Vaginal Stimulation
#50: Discover the G, A and Ohhhh-Spots
#49: The Tantric Quickie
#48: We All Need To Be Balanced in Our Masculine and Feminine Sides
#47: One Couple's "Kilimanjaro Walk" to Sexual Reconnection
#46: Feminine Receptivity and the Go-Getter Kind of Gal
#45: The Etiquette of Observing Breasts
#44: The World is Waking to Conscious Sex
#43: Try A Little Tenderness
#42: Erotica or Sleaze
#41: A Sensual Man Makes A Great Lover
#40: Sensuality Feeds Sexuality
#39: What is Sex Therapy, Sex Coaching and Tantra Teaching?
#38: The Beauty of Conflict
#37: A Woman's Body Opens In Stages
#36: Breathe Well: Live & Love Well
#35: Phone Sex
#34: Do Your Research - It's Fun!
#33: Unconditional Love Requires Self-validation
#32: Men Need a Muse Not Just A Vagina
#31: Teaching Tantra in Thailand
#30: Being Real
#29: Twelve Benefits of Sex
#28: Communicate - Human's Can't Read Minds!
#27: True Intimacy
#26: The Core of Tantra: Real Sex
#25: Sex as Entree not Dessert
#24: Fire and Water: The Masculine and Feminine Sexual Energies
#23: High Libido Women Keep Themselves Simmering
#22: The Breadth of Sexuality & the Importance of Fun
#21: Prioritising Sex
#20: Obligation Sex is Self-Imposed Low-Level Sexual Trauma
#19: Not-So-Secret Men's Business
#18: Could We Have A Festival of Sexuality?
#17: Three Things a Whole Man Needs
#16: Valuing the Masculine
#15: Valuing the Feminine
#14: Face the Darkness to Find the Light
#13: Grow Up and Open Up Australia
#12: How Men Can Circulate Sexual Energy
#11: The Great G-Spot & Female Ejaculation Debate!
#10: Sexual Pleasure is the Great Equalizer
#9: Become a Black Belt in the Bedroom!
#8: Neuroplasticity - Moulding Your Brain for Better Sex
#7: Raise Your Sexual Energy
#6: How To Consume An Ice-Cream - Lose Yourself in Pleasure Pt 2
#5: How To Eat A Peach - Lose Yourself in Pleasure Pt 1
#4: Love in the Time of Chaos
#3: A History of Sexual Misinformation
#2: Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth
#1: The Birth of the LoveLife Blog - with some underlying philosophical ramblings

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