Please Help Me Not Kill My Boyfriend, Wii and iPod Edition

Dear Ellyn,

Bryan and I don’t listen to the same music at all. I listen to She & Him and mainly songs I hear on Grey’s Anatomy and then download on iTunes. He listens to some angry punk stuff… actually I’m not really sure what he listens to at all just that I like it about as much as he likes what I like which is not at all. And he hates the Beatles. Basically, we never listen to music together in the car, at home, or at concerts. Somehow I don’t think that is going to fly the rest of our lives. How can we discover some common taste?

If only I were rockin’ out,
Miriam

Dear Miriam,

Shaun got me a Wii controller for Christmas, which means that he discovered my intense competitive streak. Since we’re snowed in, we’ve been playing Wii Tennis, so my arms hurt and I have a bruise on my knee. He’s says it’s just a game, but I play like it’s Wimbledon. Help me not beat him with my fake racket.

Love is nothing,
Ellyn

Dear Ellyn,

Dude, be glad it’s not Wii MMA. And that it’s a fake racket.

Frankly, I think it’s great you have a fun, playful way to take out all your aggression – on Shaun or otherwise. The only healthier way I can think for you to take out your aggression would be by having sex, but then again, Wii tennis takes way less energy and has a lower disappointment factor. Plus you get to tell yourself you worked out without even leaving the house. How sweet is that?

And if you really feel bad about beating his sorry Wii ass – which you shouldn’t – you guys can play teams. And then you can go to bars that have Wii games and play against other teams. And kick other people’s asses.

So I say capitalize on your competitive streak and channel everything you hate into your game. It’s a win-win: you’ll feel better for playing and Shaun will feel better for knowing you have no energy left to get mad at him. Maybe that was even his secret strategy when he bought it for you.

Just watch out for that Wii tennis elbow.

Love is teamwork,
Miriam

Dear Miriam,

You probably do have some common tastes already, you just haven’t discovered them yet. There is so much music out there, it’s good to branch out and explore. Maybe go to a bar one night with a live band you’ve never heard or attend a music festival together. It’s hit or miss but maybe you’ll find some common ground. I said before that I can’t stand rap or techno, the two types of music Shaun listens to the most. But we found a few bands we can both get behind, for example old school blink-182, Boyz II Men, or some local bands we know. Both of you could make a random playlist of songs you think the other person might be able to tolerate, go on a road trip, and start narrowing the list down. There’s bound to be something you both like. Ask him what it is about the angry punk stuff that he likes. The explanation could help you get it a bit better.

It’s also okay that music isn’t the thing that brings you together. I’m pretty sure my sister took herself to an Ingrid Michaelson concert last year, because her boyfriend refused to go. You don’t have to drag each other, but if you try, you might not mind it as much as you think. For example, last February I really wanted to see John Mayer at Madison Square Garden. He played the night of my birthday and I told Shaun it was all I wanted. He would never admit this to the entire blogosphere, but he actually didn’t mind it at all. The opening act was even a hip hop/reggae band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, right up his alley.

If both of you take a few chances, whether it’s going to a concert, listening to a new playlist, or letting each other be the DJ one night at home, you’ll definitely discover something neutral. If not, silence is golden, and the world (and your relationship) will play on.

Happy listening,
Ellyn

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