Does Your Potential Romantic Partner Need To Love Books?

For all the lovers of books, is it important to you that your partner loves reading? Could you form a relationship with someone who never read? Or is the reading hobby more of a ‘nice to have, but not a deal breaker’?

Of course it’s important to have mutual interests; if you’re more of a stay-at-home kind of person, it would help substantially if they were not a party-till-3am hard drinker. So on the face of it, if you like hiking every weekend, your partner should have some interest in the outdoors. And if you like getting sucked into fiction, it would be good for conversation if the person you’re ranting to is actually listening.

But I’ve always wondered whether it might be a little boring to meet another you. Isn’t there the age old adage “Opposites Attract”? Surely there must be some truth to the matter. Because I don’t know if I could be in constant agreement with myself since I’d never see the error of my ways. And we’d always be doing the same things.

All the Buzzfeed quizzes tell me my soulmate is geeky, curious or values me for my intelligence. And when I was younger, I thought reading was synonymous with brains, like a university degree was synonymous for studious. But I saw that there were some readers who digested the words, but never learnt anything beyond the page. And I’ve seen too many students study for the prestige of the degree, not the knowledge.

It would be amazing if the Future Partner loved reading as much as I do. Because I don’t just enjoy the escapism side, but I enjoy all aspects of this hobby: the book buying, the book hunting, the discussions. This has been a lifelong hobby for me. So if we have that hobby in common it’d give us a greater chance to bond and develop our interest together. But fundamentally, it remains unimportant to me.

All I ask, is that the Future Partner doesn’t just tolerate my love of books but appreciates it. They may not have to enjoy reading or books, they just have to understand why I indulge in it the way I do, why one day I want a room just for reading, why I’ll use my time to go to bargain sales and why I don’t want to borrow novels. I don’t want them to see this hobby as a waste of time or money.

To me, the hobby of reading acts more as a proxy for all the characteristics that I value and want my partner will have. And I hope that they’ll have the characteristics that I hope all bibliophiles have.

I value intellectual curiousity rather than just intelligence. I don’t care what marks you got or what university you went to. I want to know, are you capable of learning something that wasn’t in a syllabus. Do you care what’s going on around the world?

One of the most attractive traits in someone is their passion in something and I’m not fussed about their topic of choice. I was watching a reality TV show the other day and one of the contestants was really into flowers and I found myself head over heels for him since I found it so endearing. When he was talking about botany, his whole face just lit up. I love seeing in that in someone, it makes them feel more 3-dimensional.

So I hope they love to learn, not just from their studies but someone who considers themselves (if I am to borrow the current buzzword), a ‘life-long learner’. I know it’s a very Millennial expectation but I have always loved to learn for the sake of learning and I want my partner to be as curious about living as I am.

I hope my partner is a thinker; that they like to mull ideas in their mind so we can have healthy debates. They don’t have to be someone who stews in their own thoughts and is introverted as I am, because I think if there were two of us like this in a relationship, nothing would get done.

A recent study showed that readers of Harry Potter were more likely to be open-minded and show liberal tendencies. Well I hope that my partner is compassionate, and you don’t need to be a reader to show empathy.

And I hope they embody some of the traits of my favourite stories too. I hope they love people and love life. I don’t want the streak of cynicism and anger darkening my relationship. I want them to have a zest for life beyond the daily routine. We all have to work, do the housework and pay the bills but I like learning about things that may not be of use to me, just because I can.

Therefore, to me, I just want my partner to have depth. I want him to have interests beyond work and I don’t mind if it consists of hobbies that weren’t reading. I just hope we’ll be able to find some common ground to connect and that we can learn more about each other’s worlds.


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