I lied to my boyfriend to get him to Finding Neverland. Or, I suppose, I withheld truth—I knew how it ended, and I didn’t tell him. I knew he wouldn’t go see it if I did, and I wanted to see it. I was even pretty sure he’d like it, but he has this hatred of anything he dubs “melodrama,” which is pretty much anything serious. And I mean, we’re talking about a man who unironically enjoys Waterworld.
This is more common than people think. I’ve known people who have said things along the lines of, “Oh, I couldn’t be in a relationship with someone who didn’t like all the same things I do.” And goodness knows they need to like at least something you do, or else what do you do on a Saturday night? However, I know people who expect a complete match, almost unto having the same favourite Indiana Jones movie or Harry Potter book; it isn’t even just enough to like Indiana Jones and Harry Potter. It is perhaps unsurprising that these people are still single.
So I admit that it would be nice to have a few more common interests with my boyfriend as far as pop culture is concerned, but it is possible to get by. My uncle went to see action movies without my aunt for their entire marriage, and the only reason he doesn’t anymore is that he died fifteen years ago. My aunt misses him terribly still, but if you asked her, she’d tell you that she still doesn’t regret not going to those movies with him, because it’s better to remember the good times with him then sitting next to him, hating him for dragging her to that.
That, if you’re curious, is the secret. You don’t force each other. When you talk significant moments in our relationship, you can talk the day we met, the day we moved in together, the day our son was born. Up there is probably the day he realized he could plug his headphones into his computer and watch whatever the hell he wanted to while I watched whatever the hell I wanted to, not to mention the day he stopped trying to talk me into seeing movies I knew I didn’t want to see. We’re much happier for both of those days.
Being in a relationship does change you, I’ll admit. As I write this, he’s watching The Daily Show with me. This was my doing. He’s not interested in politics, particularly; he didn’t register to vote until we had been together for some time. Frequently, he’ll start out watching and then put his headphones in halfway through because he just can’t take it anymore, but he’ll sit through some of it, anyway. Likewise, I probably watch a lot more anime than I did before, because he seeks it out, which I don’t. I’ll watch it, and I’m always up for Ghibli, but there’s a reason I’ve seen every episode of Detective Conan.
You choose what matters. I’ll admit I don’t think I could be in a relationship with someone who didn’t like fantasy, sci-fi, or superheroes. If we didn’t like anything the other liked, that would be bad, and I’m not interested in it. However, you can’t expect to find someone exactly like you. My mom used to say that the two things she never talked about with my dad were politics and smoking, because he was never going to change his mind on politics, and he was never going to quit smoking. I have to say, I’d rather put up with someone who likes Chevy Chase movies than someone who smokes.
I go to movies without him, especially around Oscar season, and he goes to movies alone—he’s not a very social person, and I’m the only person he sees movies with other than his mom, now and again. But I go to the movies with her more often. Tonight, I’ll be going to see RiffTrax in the theatre without him, because it’s fun for me and not for him. He saw Prince of Persia without me, because he wanted to see it and I didn’t. Not since The Medallion has he forced the issue.
You may notice that I mostly mention some pretty terrible movies when it comes to things he watches that I don’t, and that’s true. The joke around here is that he has no taste, even in his mouth. And the movies I don’t force him to watch are things like, you know, 12 Years a Slave and Inside Llewyn Davis. (He might like the latter, I’ll admit.) On the other hand, he enjoys Galaxy Quest, and I don’t like Ghostbusters. So it’s not all one-sided, though it is mostly one-sided. And there are some movies like Fargo, where he’ll say, “I don’t like it, but I admit it’s a quality film.” It’s not completely just that he has bad taste, though it is a lot that he just has bad taste. It is also that we have different taste, and that’s okay.
We’ll even agree to skip most of the same superhero movies. Now, that’s true love.