Opposites can attract, but it's better if your philosophies gel when you're in it for life.
I'm impulsive, and my husband is cautious.
More than once, he's asked me to sleep on something, and in the morning, I'm grateful I did.
On the other hand, I've taken chances that have panned out, that he may have passed up.
So in that way, we're a pretty good team.
But on specific fundamental issues, we see eye to eye, and I believe that's why we've had a successful relationship.
If your approach is too far apart in certain areas, you might find being on opposite ends of the spectrum can cause problems.
Here are some areas where it's good to be on the same page:
If you're thrifty and your partner is a splurger, that can be handy if you're not too far apart on the scale.
You can have some nice things and the money to afford them if you both work your strengths.
But if you like to save money and your partner only wants to spend it, you might not like what is coming down the road.
When you merge your life with someone, how you manage money will always be a factor.
If you can't trust your partner before you get serious, you won't be able to trust them after. If they spend every last cent they have when your finances are separate, they'll do the same when you merge.
The only difference will be that they'll be spending every last cent you have as well.
Conversely, if your partner is miserly rather than cautious, this will probably translate into pinching every penny.
They may not want to pay for little luxuries or treats.
So know that however they are before you make it official is how they'll always be, and if you're not comfortable with that, it probably won't change.
Even if you don't merge your finances into one bank account, they'll still be intertwined.
When you first get together, you don't want to ruin the vibe by talking about having kids. Still, it's an essential subject to broach before getting too serious.
Do you believe children need rules and routines, but your partner thinks they should run wild?
You may feel like you'd be a cute odd couple of parenting.
However, when the children come along, you may find your different styles undermining, not to mention confusing kids.
And speaking of kids, does one of you expect to be carrying the parenting load?
That might sound great in theory, but parenting is hard, and once you get into the thick of it, you may need all hands on deck.
If you've given your partner a free pass beforehand, they might decide they don't want to revoke it, leaving you to carry the whole show.
Being too far off with parenting can cause real trouble.
Once the kids actually come along, you spend so many years in survival mode, it's hard to go back and renegotiate that contract.
Years of sleep deprivation and stress can ruin marriages when one person abandons or undermines the other.
Lifestyle is a subtle but important factor.
Do you really want to live with someone who operates totally differently from you?
You might find your partner's neediness reassuring when you're not getting it 24–7, but if they're always in your face, it might wear a little thin if you can't escape.
Maybe you like to be alone, but your partner loves to have people over. Or perhaps you're a homebody, but your partner needs to go out 5 nights a week.
If you've been going along with things you don't like to avoid conflict, you may be setting a dangerous precedent. When you move in and want to live the way you're comfortable, that might not be possible.
Lifestyle is one of those subtle things that people make compromises on in the beginning.
While some compromise is a fact of any relationship, you might end up feeling resentful if you're compromising too much.
Is your partner more loyal to their friends than you?
Do they jump whenever a particular friend calls, no matter what?
Is their mother the center of their world in a weird way? Do you feel like you're competing with her?
If your partner always puts you in second place, don't expect that to change.
Especially if it happens right in the beginning when everybody's on their best behavior.
If something passive-aggressive or disloyal is going on in the new-love phase, that's a bad sign. It'll only get worse when they get comfortable enough to really take you for granted.
I witnessed this first hand as a child.
My father put his mother ahead of his wife. It was a bone of contention all throughout their marriage.
My grandmother was mean and passive-aggressive to my mother and us kids, but my father never addressed it.
He never stuck up for us, and it was hurtful.
He emotionally abandoned my mother because he had a weird bond with his own mother that was unhealthy and intrusive.
It lasted until the day my grandmother died and wreaked havoc on our family.
So if your mate isn't loyal to you in the beginning, don't expect it to change.
I know this sounds trivial, but housework is a time-consuming, thankless job.
If your partner doesn't clean their own apartment, don't expect that to magically change once you're living together.
If you're the only one who cleans now, don't be surprised when you're still the only one cleaning five or ten years down the road.
It's tough to get someone to change their domestic habits.
The seeds of this behavior are sown in childhood. It's an internalized part of their personality.
If your partner feels entitled to you being their personal servant, that may just be how they are.
Occasionally people can change, but it takes a lot of effort and causes a lot of friction.
It may not bother you in the beginning when you're totally in love and want to do everything for them.
But, years down the road, you might find yourself bitter and resentful if you're still doing everything around the house. Especially after the kids come along.
Love is fabulous, and we all want it, but there's more to a relationship than love.
It's the foundation you build everything else on, but you need to make sure you agree on other things if you want to stay together.
You'll have a much better chance for long-term happiness when you're on the same page in these fundamental areas.