Dear Dr. Love:Hi, I’m very interested in this guy I know, I’ve had a crush on him for about a year. The problem is, we are both shy and although we are great together, our lifes don’t coincide very well. He has a strong christian background and is a stay at home type. I’m athiest and love to party. I don’t know if we can make it work because we aren’t together yet. Do you have advice on how I can get over any shyness, and maybe some advice on how to make our lives easier to mesh together? Thanks for your time.
Your letter speaks of two separate issues. As for shyness, please search my Advice Archives, where I have discussed how to overcome shyness and low self-esteem issues at length. If you are still stuck on this question, please write me back.As for the second question, can you make your lives mesh better, this is a complex issue. It appears that you and your boyfriend do not share similar values on several different topics (religion, leisure pursuits). I want you to know that research shows that couples who are the most homogamous (similar) in tastes and values are the most maritally satisfied, and if couples are too different in too many areas, great friction occurs. When couples are in conflict over differing values, the problem is complicated by the fact that negotiation is not possible where values are concerned.For example, how can we ask a partner to negotiate on religious values? Values are the person, and asking a person to modify values that are central to him or herself is like asking the leopard to change its spots. It doesn’t work and the leopard will fight like hell if you try. So, I think you need to honestly examine whether you two are right for each other. The examination can be a painful process, but it can save you years of unnecessary heartache, and a possible union that won’t work.