What To Do If You & Your Partner Don't Have The Same Sense Of Humor, According To Experts

Like everyone, I have list of deal breakers: Traits someone either has to have — or not have — in order for them to be someone I could have a long-term relationship with. Right at the very top is a sense of humor. They have to be able to make laugh. I can live without a lot of things in life, but laughter is not one of them. But also, I really need someone who laughs at my jokes. So, if we don’t have the same sense of humor, it’s a wrap.

But what do you do if you're dating someone who is basically perfect for you in every other way? Is it wrong to be like me and consider this a dealbreaker? Is there actually some way to work around it if you've found your soulmate but they just aren't that funny? To answer this question, I reached out to Connell Barrett, a NYC-based dating coach and relationship expert, and the founder of DatingTransformation.com, for his take on the sense of humor issue. I wanted to know if you and your partner don't have the same sense of humor, is the relationship is ultimately doomed, or is there was some way to salvage it? Good news, folks — there is hope. Here is what Barrett said you can do about it.

Can you be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share your sense of humor?

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First things first, is it possible for a couple who don’t share a sense of humor to stay together long-term? According to Barrett, it’s totally possible. “Because they likely do share a sense of humor — they just need to find the same comedic wavelength,” Barrett tells Elite Daily. “You see, there are actually six types of humor, and a couple only needs to connect on one of the six categories to laugh and love together.”

Barrett explains why getting on that same page is so important. “A shared sense of humor is vital in relationships,” he says. “We want to laugh with our partner. It’s human nature. Laughing together is a powerful way to affirm our romantic bond. A 2017 University of Kansas study stressed the pivotal role that a shared sense of humor plays in a satisfying relationship. It’s not about making your partner laugh, the study found. It’s about the two of you laughing at the same things.”

The different types of sense of humor.

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If laughter is so important, how can you have that in the relationship if it doesn't just seem to happen naturally? “It’s not as simple as, ‘We don’t have the same sense of humor,’” says Barrett. “What’s really happening is that a couple is not tuned to the same channel.”

The first step to getting on the shame channel, says Barrett, is understanding the differing types of humor. “A 2017 eHarmony study laid out 6 basic types of humor,” he shared:

  • Bodily Humor: Includes toilet humor, involving bodily functions, as well as humor that is sexual in nature.
  • Dark Humor: Making light of people and subjects that are generally considered serious or taboo.
  • Physical Humor: Physical acts, including scaring others, pranks, or falling.
  • Self-Deprecating Humor: A style where an individual makes fun of themselves and their shortcomings for the enjoyment of others.
  • Surreal Humor: Humor predicated on deliberate violations of causal reasoning, producing events and behaviors that are obviously illogical.
  • Wordplay Humor: Includes puns, emphasis on unexpected meanings and usage of certain words.

The key here is to find at least one crossover between the two of you. “It only takes one to make a great relationship,” assures Barrett.

How to get on the same page.

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Once you understand which types of humor you each enjoy, Barrett suggest planning activities that focus on that shared type of humor. “If you and your significant other aren’t laughing together, all is not lost,” he says. “Plan a movie night, watching, say, Monty Python flicks (surreal) or classic Jim Carrey (physical humor). Or play Cards Against Humanity and see if dark, taboo topics tickle your funny bones. Go to comedy clubs or improv shows, where in a given night you may see all six comedy types,” Barrett suggests. While it make take a bit more effort, finding that commonality and all the laugher it will create makes it all worth it.

So, if you and your partner doesn't seem to be on the same page, it’s far from the dealbreaker you once thought. As Barrett concludes: “Almost everyone has a sense of humor. You just have to flip to the right comedy channel.” Who knows, you may even learn you have more comedy channels than you ever realized before.