Opposites Attract, But Similarities Bind
This blog post is inspired by a comment on my previous post “The Law Of Attraction – You Attract What You Are”. In the comment, it is mentioned that “opposites attract more than what you are or what is similar to you.”
Now, I’m a strong believer in the Law of Attraction, but I can’t deny that opposites can attract as well. However, for a relationship to stand strong through time, I do believe that people form friendships or relationships with people who hold the same core values, especially when it comes to relationships.
We date a wide variation of people in order to find the ideal partner, which can be both easy and difficult depending on the set of core values people have, such as integrity, family, or success. And often, we have unforgettable memories of people who are the exact opposite of us due to challenges we come to face. Eventually, it may prove to be unmanageable over the long-term, however, what makes these memories persistent is because of all the emotional and educational choices we made in attempting to keep a relationship going.
But why do we choose to fall in love with someone who can drive us completely insane as well as make us feel like we are in heaven?
Why Opposites Seem To Attract In Relationships
There are many benefits when you’re with someone who is similar to you. Also, the same can be true when being with someone different because they can help you grow in unexpected significant ways. You might have observed this in your own or your friends’ relationships. However, does the idea behind attraction suggest that opposites do attract, or is this a wrong idea that we relate to romance?
Here are three reasons to think we may:
1. Reflect On Each Other’s Values
Imagine you’re with someone who’s similar to you, then you live a comfortable life in which you don’t or hardly reflect on these values because there’s simply no need for it. But if someone comes into your life who is your opposite and you respect this person’s intellect and decision, chances are you re-think the values that you previously perceived as the truth.
Be aware that such confrontations can make it hard to decide how to live with one another. However, if both can manage to talk through this and understand each other’s values, you may develop more self-knowledge and an updated set of values that better represents who you are.
2. There’s More To Discover For Both
When you’re with someone who’s similar to you, there’s less need for compromise because you can enjoy lots of the same interests. However, there are shortcomings regarding repetitive habits and interests which can reach a level of boredom and stop growth.
On the other hand, the opposite people can often introduce each other to new habits and activities. This will require you to be open-minded. When you do, you’ll come to discover there’s more within you than you have initially thought.
Also, when seeking help or advice, it’s likely that you often reach out to people who intuitively understand you. So, many of these people will also be similar to you in certain ways. Though they know what you want and be able to shift into your perspective easily, they can’t offer you that much beyond your own thinking.
Seeking the advice of someone who differs from you affords you a chance to think completely differently, which is especially useful when you have used all your usual strategies and solutions. Having a partner different from you means direct access to someone who looks at your situation in a completely new way, offering thoughts and ideas that simply wouldn’t occur to you given the way you usually think and vice versa.
3. You Complement Each Other
Last but not least, let’s not forget the benefit of dating your opposite has the potential for complementary qualities. It can help you to create a sense of balance, for example, one might be shy and serious while the other is outgoing and funny. In this case, it’s easy to see how both partners view the other as ideal as in one’s strengths balancing out the other’s weaknesses.
Additionally, complementary qualities go even further. If you’re an optimist and your partner is a pessimist, you can make more accurate assessments and potential choices by putting both minds together. And let’s not leave out the possibility of having complementary skill sets.
It has been said that the happiest couples never have the same qualities, they just have the best understanding of their differences.
Are You Sure That Opposites Attract?
Unfortunately, there’s no research showing that differences in personality, interests, education, upbringing, or other traits lead to greater attraction.
On the contrary, researchers found in one study that college students preferred descriptions of mates whose written bios were similar to themselves or their ideal self over those described as complementing themselves.
Besides that, there’s evidence that small differences between spouses can become larger over time. Psychologists Andrew Christensen, Brian Doss and Neil Jacobson describe in their self-help book “Reconcilable Differences” how partners move into roles that are complementary over time.
Here’s an example you might be familiar with: When one member of a couple is slightly more humorous than the other, the couple may settle in which one claims the role of “the funny one” while the other settles into the role of “the serious one.” Research has demonstrated that partners grow more complementary over time. They may begin as quite similar, they find ways to differentiate themselves by degree.
In the end, people persist in thinking opposites attract, when in reality, relatively similar partners just become a bit more complementary as time goes by.
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