Ahh, love is in the air, can't you smell it? No? Must've been someone else then. Aaall the same, what with Halloween coming up, now is the perfect time to talk about the nuances of love, relationships, and all that come with it. (What? Were you expecting me to save this talk for Valentine's Day? Poppycock! That would make too much sense! Carrying on....)
There are several situations we have going here. You're part of the "Normal" crowd, and your significant other is delved quite deep into one Subculture or another. You're neck-deep in everything, and don't know what to do! On the other end of the spectrum, you, a Subculturist, seem to have found your heart utterly taken with someone who is part of the "Normal" crowd. Or even better yet, what if someone is of a different Subculture than yourself? What do you do then?
Well. I'm here to help you out~ (As always). Let's start simple. I'm going to assume that you're in this sort of thing looking for a life partner (or at least someone to stick around for a few years. Really, whatever you prefer.) As in not someone to have a fling for one night, and then never speak again. If you're into that? Great, I'm happy for you, but this guide will not help you much.
Let's assume you're "normal" and the S.O. is a Subculturist.
First of all, you've got pretty good taste, because most of us are pretty interesting people that never allow for dull moments~ Self-advertisement aside, you've got a unique set of things to worry about on top of normal dating woes. I'm not saying the Subculture should rule your dating life, but there are certain things you need to keep in mind. (Like refraining from giving pastel-pink carnations to your Goth-inclined girlfriend or something. Or telling your Otaku boyfriend that "Anime sucks and should have stayed in Japan". Yanno, common sense sort of things.)
Keep their interests in mind. I'm not a sports fan, so giving me a jersey won't end well. Likewise, dark and macabre things for the cupcake-sweet leaning girls just isn't using common sense. Just because it's something abnormal, or something that you'd like... doesn't mean that it's something that they'd like.
To add to this, do your research. Your average Goth is going to roll his eyes if you get something from Hot Topic, while the average Lolita will cringe at some "Lolita Costume" you picked up at the Halloween store. I'm not saying you have to research everything about the subculture, but know a bit about what you're getting into before you buy gifts. It will save a lot of trouble, and probably a lot of money as well.
Avoid generalizations. Not every Gamer is a thirty year old virgin living in his mother's basement. Not every Lolita is into seducing older men. Not every Goth is into death and destruction. Not every Steampunk thinks that they're in a 1800s Sci-Fi universe. If I tell you that I'm a Lolita, the first thing out of your mouth had better not be: "Wait... so does that mean you're into older men? Or age-play?" When you assume you make an ass out of u and me. Assumptions normally don't end well, and can often end in someone getting slapped.
Share your own interests, I will never encourage someone to keep their own interests quiet. If you're into something, let your S.O. know about it! I mean heck, we're sharing all this stuff with you, it's only fair for you to share it with us!
Let's assume you're a Subculturist, and your S.O. is "normal".
Don't think that I don't have anything to say to you! We have just as much responsibility in the relationship as our "normal" counterparts.
Make things apparant early. I have never been one to advocate secrecy, if you're a Lolita, then wear one of your frilly fineries on the first date. (Don't go over the top, mind, toned-down is best, and then gradually expose them to the fashion.) If your Subculture is part of your lifestyle, then you shouldn't hide it! (Besides that, "Coming out" sort of things don't often end well. Appearing "normal" for several weeks and then outright stating "I'm a Goth" or "I'm a Lolita" or something usually doesn't have positive consequences.) Don't go over the top on the first few dates, but slowly incorperate them into it. For the Gothier side, maybe a little black dress or suit on the first date, and then slowly add the delightfully spooky accessories on further dates. Start simple and keep going as dates progress.
Include them! I can't say this one enough: If people feel ignored, they're going to resent you. I make it a priority to include my Fiancee in things. We Roleplay together, we play Video Games together, heck, he often dresses up in a delightfully aristocratic style when I'm out in my Lolita finest. If your S.O. doesn't want to be included, then good gracious, don't force them! However, it helps to ask their opinion on things, and see if there's subtle ways you can include them into your life.
Likewise, don't exclude them from your friend group, if they want to meet your friends, then go for it! If they don't...? Well, then don't make them. It's simple, really.
Learn their interests. You're not the only one who gets to do all the sharing here! If they're into something, at least try to get into it as well, it makes things a lot less painful when people have shared interests. I understand if there are things that some people just can't stand. I personally detest sports and everything to do with them, which means going out with a sports fanatic is not in my future. It doesn't hurt to try new things, but if something really just doesn't work, then don't force it.
Let's assume you're both Subculturists... but part of different Subcultures!
Can a over-the-top, super-sweet Lolita really work out with a delightfully macabre Gothy type who wants nothing more than a nice catnap in the coffin? Sure they can! Many people can learn to be agreeable, and sometimes "Staying within the Subculture" just doesn't work. Take the Lolitas for example. They're about 98% women before you figure in the few Dandies, Oujis, and Aristocrats that lurk around every now and then. (And most of them are already S.O.s to the Lolitas.) So unless the majority of these girls are lesbian, they'll have to look outside of the Subculture for partners. Same with Gamers, the majority are men (although that number is starting to decrease, little by little.) Truly passionate Gamer-Girls are pretty rare, so the guys need to look elsewhere.
I know, it sounds totally painful to think about something new, strange, nay, even foreign to yourself... but it's really not so bad when you get used to it.
Take my Fiancee. He's a major Otaku, a Cosplayer, and a Steampunk. Myself? A Costumer, Gamer, Lolita, Roleplayer, so on and so forth. You get the picture, right? We're thick as thieves, and never run out of things to talk about.
So what can you do? You two seem so different at first, but the truth is we're not so different after all. Because of my gaming experience, I can keep a relatively intelligent Anime discussion, Cosplay and Costuming aren't really that different (except I prefer OCs to Canon Characters. It works out in the end~) Even the Gothiest of the Goths can find some pretty common ground with the most sugary Sweet Lolitas. Especially if our Subculture carries into our daily lifestyles. You're passionate about your life, and so am I, oh the fun we could have with this!
As always, share your interests. Heck, even try getting the other person into it! My Fiancee and I are nearly always Roleplaying with one-another. Likewise, where I get him into games, he'll get me into Anime, where I got him to partner Aristocrat and Dandy for my Lolita, he has a Steampunk Aristocratic Lady to aid him in his adventures. Not everyone is going to want to mesh as well as we did, but you'll find some common ground. Trust me.
Give and take is important here, give a little and take a little, Anime isn't always my thing, but I'm willing to give a new one a try when JJ comes knocking at my door about it. Likewise, he puts up with my incessant need for Live-Action Roleplaying. Heck, sometimes we even enjoy the Anime and Roleplaying. (Gnade knows I sure enjoyed watching Rozen Maiden with him.)
How to know to cut it off?
Sometimes things are just too much to bear. Sometimes your interests get in the way. I've had it happen before, one of my ex-boyfriends would mock me incessantly for my adoration of Roleplaying. A little gentle teasing was okay, but he was malicious about it.
Sometimes people will tease, JJ and myself joking about how I look "Young enough to be his daughter" when I'm in my Lolita finery comes to mind. We're both laughing, we're both amused, we both know it's probably true. However, were he making fun of me for my frills every day... we'd have a problem. Laughing with you is good, laughing at you is not.
Heck, even sometimes people's interests will get in the way. I mentioned earlier how I am not a fan of sports. At all. This is to the point that I try to avoid all conversation about it. It wouldn't be very fair for either of us if I were dating a man who was passionate about his team, right? Assess how important these things are to you, if it's something that invokes such a strong knee-jerk reaction in you, you might want to rethink the relationship. Conversely, if it's just a minor annoyance when compared to the big picture, then it's something you can probably live with. If it genuinely bothers you so much, then it's probably not worth it.
Overall, communication is necessary. Talk with your S.O. about things, and see if there isn't something that can be done, but if things are getting to the point where you're tearing your hair out and dreading the next time you see the person... things just aren't in good shape.
All the same, hope my little talk of lovey-dovey ness helped a bit~ Until next time~