If your partner is exactly the opposite as you, I am sure you will often find yourself asking, “Why do opposites attract?”.
After all, movies and Netflix shows have all shown an introvert and an extrovert, or a bad boy and a good girl falling in love with each other. But only surface-level understanding of this “opposites attract” dynamics isn’t enough – you have to go in deeper.
Well, that’s what I’m here for!
In this think-piece, I shall tell you why and how opposites attract each other and what makes them click so well together. So come on, let’s start!
Do Opposites attract? – Why it may
We all know about a couple who are both polar opposites yet stick to each other like polar opposites. But how does that actually happen? And even if two opposites eventually start dating, will their relationship succeed in the long run?
These are a few questions that your mind must be filled with. To be honest, the answer depends on quite a few factors, starting right from whether these traits truly oppose each other or not.
So, if you want to dive in deeper, keep scrolling!
1. Opposing traits balance each other
Imagine a situation where two partners are introverts who struggle deeply with open communication. Won’t that relationship become difficult to sustain?
On the other hand, if one is an introvert and the other is an extrovert who aces in honest communication, both partners can reach a middle ground and encourage each other to strengthen their bond.
Differences often create a healthy balance in a long-term relationship. There’s nothing wrong in realizing that your partner can do certain things better than you can.
After all, a healthy commitment requires both partners to understand and work with each other.
2. You both view things differently
Another major reason why opposites attract each other is because they see the world in two different ways. Wouldn’t life get boring if both your partner and you saw everything from the same glasses and did the same things over and over?
Meeting someone who has a different approach towards life or things can be really refreshing, take it from me!
When you exchange stories with your partner, you see how much the world has to offer to you both. And this ultimately leads to lifelong learning and growth.
3. Your relationship becomes exciting!
It’s quite natural to be attracted to someone who excels in things that you lack in, or vice versa. And this attraction leads to love.
For example, say you’re someone who loves to plan things to the T and follow a disciplined routine every day. Then you meet someone who’s spontaneous and doesn’t like to plan beforehand. Won’t that make you want to be like them too?
Since you’ve not really considered the possibility of a less-orderly life, this newfound attraction will make you want to try out new things! In fact, with a bit of encouragement from your partner, you can step outside your comfort zone.
4. The sense of individualism is great
If there’s one thing you should know, it’s this- personalities should vary in a healthy relationship. If you both have unique tastes and personalities, it will only enhance your chemistry. These important aspects are crucial to any relationship that has been holding up strong for years.
If both of you cultivate your sense on individualism without always bending to the other person’s will, you will notice how beautiful your relationship is.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll only do what you feel like. The secret is to have a proper balance and to let each other pursue your passions.
5. The physical attraction is spicy
Often, you’ll hear that a person is attracted to their partner because they have the “opposites attract” chemistry, but in a physical way.
This basically means that a rebel and a gentle soul will often find themselves falling head over heels for one another because they can figure out new things about each other’s body.
Even in a conventional heterosexual relationship, a man gets attracted to a woman’s beauty and physical attributes while a woman gets charmed by a man’s muscular physique or handsome looks. This physical passion can often ignite flames in the bedroom!
6. The intensity is off the charts!
Initially, when you meet someone who’s the absolute opposite of you, the intensity gets hotter and hotter! Believe it or not, but the chemistry is simply sizzling at this point.
Even though this intensity fizzles out a bit after the honeymoon period is over, you can be sure that while the honeymoon phase lasts, nothing can be as strong as the awesome connection that you both have with each other.
As I’ve already said, this intensity leads to you both learning from each other, as well as teaching each other new fun activities.
7. You learn to compromise
If there’s one thing that’s essential in life (and in successful relationships), it’s the ability to compromise. When you date someone who has different views and values, you understand when and where to draw the line.
If you’re someone who is stubborn and wants things to be done in your way but your partner is flexible and easy-going, you’ll soon learn the importance of putting your partner’s needs first.
Similarly, your partner will also realize that they need to be more outspoken and bold. Through this learning curve, you learn to compromise and adjust.
8. You both can be your best selves
If you both have too many things in common, you’ll easily understand when your partner acts out of sorts or behaves differently. This, unfortunately, leads to one partner controlling the other way. So, either way, you become responsible for an unhealthy relationship.
But a couple where both partners are different from each other will encourage you to be your best self. When you have more differences than similarities, this problem doesn’t arise at all!
In fact, you’ll be encouraged to do the opposite because you know that they’ll act differently than you.
9. The tolerance increases
To reiterate the point I’ve made before, let me tell you that expectations can often lead to frustration. Dating someone who is vastly different from you is an unending test of faith and patience. Keeping up this patience won’t be easy but it will definitely be worth it.
You might get frustrated or annoyed with your partner in the early stages of your relationship but as time progresses, you will learn to embrace the differences. In fact, there might even come a time when you’ll simply adore each other’s cute quirks!
10. You can walk a mile in each other’s shoes
There’s no better way to practice this famous saying than spending time with someone who’s so different from you.
When you know that you and your partner have healthy differences, you can be much more empathetic and figure out why the other person behaves the way they do.
Over time, you both will adapt and understand each other on a deeper level. Stretching your empathy muscles will make you a wiser person, both emotionally and spiritually.
Do Opposites attract – why it may not
In any relationship, irrespective of the partners’ personalities, there are bound to be clashes. Even if a relationship with two opposites works out in the beginning, it might not work out till the very end. However, the priority in a relationship should be compatibility.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “Do opposites really attract?” then let me tell you, yes! But I shall also tell you a few reasons why two vastly different people might not be a good match in the long run.
Now, let’s see some of the big red flags that an “opposites attract” psychology can lead to.
1. You both can’t bond well
Remember I had told you that during the beginning of a relationship, you might find your partner’s differences quirky and attractive? Well, a few years down the lane, the picture might change completely. Since you both have less to bond over, you don’t know how to continue the relationship.
Even if you don’t have to imitate each other all the time, it helps to have a few similarities. If the number of things that you both like are almost zero, then it’ll be tough for you. You’ll end up struggling to talk to your significant other over small things.
2. Similarity leads to attraction
According to scientific studies, similarity breeds attraction. In a 2012 review of 240 studies, it was proven that birds of a feather do flock together.
People with similar tastes in things last longer and create a deeper bond. This is because, when you encounter someone who’s quite similar to you, you feel comfortable and secure in the knowledge that they won’t judge you.
The more you learn about each other’s shared interests, the more attraction you’ll feel. Since people generally see each other’s hobbies and passions in a positive light, having a partner who has the same hobbies as yours can be a big advantage.
3. The fights are lesser when two people are similar
As I’ve said, similarity breeds attraction. So, this ultimately leads to fewer conflicts and disputes. Since both you and your partner look at the world much in the same way, you know that you both can agree on things and work out a solution together.
On the other hand, a couple whose interests are vastly different from one another might find themselves struggling to find a balance in their relationship. This doesn’t mean you won’t have your fair share of disputes, because believe me, you will.
It just means that the fights will be fewer. And fewer fights will encourage the blossoming of love!
4. Dating apps look at similarities
This is the era of dating apps and matching with each other on virtual platforms. On almost any dating app, you’ll be asked to find a partner who will love the same genre of books as yours and will like to visit the same places as you do.
If AI-powered technology can figure out that similarities are more important than differences, then why not us humans? Even non-dating platforms will show you friends and followers based on your likes and dislikes, which is essentially just another way to find a partner who will share the same interests.
5. You feel less validated
Probably the biggest reason why an “opposites attract” relationship can’t work is because one (or both) of the partners doesn’t feel validated or heard. This can be especially true if one partner is shy and the other one is feisty and outgoing.
The introverted partner will usually feel isolated and unheard. This will lead to them believing that they’re the only ones behaving differently. But when both partners are introverted or shy, they will understand each other better and hear each other out. You have a much lesser chance of feeling validated when you date someone different from you.
History of “Opposites Attract”
The concept of “opposites attract” first emerged in 1950 in the journal of Robert Francis Winch and was later also proved in a study in 2017.
It’s quite difficult to say the phrase “opposites attract” without remembering Paula Abdul’s song with the same name. But when we come to the history of how and why opposites attract, it can be a little difficult to pinpoint the origins of such a notion.
You’ve seen a bad boy flirting with a good girl and then falling hard and fast for her, or night owls struggling to keep up with early birds. So where did it all start?
Well, the real-life version of “opposites attract” isn’t that clear or all in black and white. Even if you might know your couple friends who are complete opposites of each other, not every couple is like that.
To make things clearer, let me take you a little back in time. In the 1950s, Robert Francis Winch had first mentioned it in a journal. According to the study published in the journal, it was said that two people get attracted to each other not because they share similar traits but because they like each other’s differences.
This means that if one person is an extrovert, they will inevitably like someone who’s an introvert. If someone is a dog lover, they’ll fall for a cat lover, and so on.
And, if you ask me, why does that happen, the answer is simple- it’s because we like to be with people who complement us and have the traits that we lack.
If you want references from pop culture, there are numerous ones. Take the very famous Rose and Jack from Titanic, for example. Not only did they come from different socio-economic backgrounds but were also different from each other when it came to personality traits.
Rose is an upper-class, sheltered young girl, while Jack believes in living life to the fullest. Even though their romance is short-lived in the ill-fated ship, theirs is a classic example of two opposites falling for each other.
In reality, however, couples who are similar to each other last in life due to shared traits and attributes. A 2017 study concluded that spouses and friends who liked and disliked the same things had a stronger bond.
This can also be because people who look at the world in the same way have similar incomes or ways of leading life. And that’s not all! More than 300 similar studies have also shown the same results, dismissing the notion of opposites attract.
So why all this fuss if opposites don’t actually attract each other? Simple, it’s because opposites aren’t really that different from each other!
Another big reason might also be that we don’t really understand what “opposite” means. Say you and your significant other have been dating for a long time.
You both have different interests and views. If you’re a bookworm, they’re a gaming freak. If you love rom coms, they love action thrillers. Even your friends might keep joking about how well you both click together because “opposites attract”!
But if you look beyond these superficial differences, you’ll find that you both are quite similar to each other. Even if you both like different kinds of music, you both look at the world in the same way, or you might have been brought up with similar values. You share the same political and spiritual views, which is why you both go together so well.
That said, a bit of romance can actually go a long, long way. After all, variety adds spice in life. A pinch of excitement and a dash of differences can really do wonders to your relationship! So should you seek a partner who’s very different from you or go for a safer option?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any conclusive answer here. Most healthy relationships, whether romantic or platonic, work best when there’s a healthy balance of similarities and differences. It’s good to spend some time apart and do things that interest both of you, but it’s also necessary to spend time together and do fun activities with each other.
As humans, we are constantly on the path toward self-improvement and self-realization. This can only come when we step out of our comfort zones, and who better than our partners to make us understand that?
Even if you’re struggling to make sense of your relationship’s chemistry, it’s always best to talk to a professional or therapist. Even individual therapy can prove to be quite effective. In addition, you must talk openly and honestly with your significant other.
If you’re worried about a particular difference, you can always move forward or lay it out in the open! Come up with a proper action plan and discuss it with the person concerned for a better understanding between you both.
Pros and Cons of dating your opposite
Before I explain to you the pros and cons of dating an opposite (in detail), let me walk you through a summary!
|You both learn to compromise||Once the excitement wears off, things aren’t the same|
|You understand the importance of patience and empathy||Disagreements are more frequent|
|There are greater chances of learning new things||Requires better communication|
|The excitement is intense||Both partners may have very different goals in the future|
1. You both learn to compromise
Sure, being in a relationship with an opposite person teaches you a lot of qualities, such as the art of compromising. Compromising, or adjusting with each other, not only makes you love your partner a little more but also makes you more mature.
When you date an opposite, you automatically learn to understand their preferences and ways of living. You try to adjust to their needs accordingly and make them happy because their happiness makes you beam with joy, isn’t it?
And this compromise goes both ways; even your partner learns to adjust to your likes and dislikes!
2. You understand the importance of patience and empathy
Along with learning how to compromise, it’s equally important to know how to be patient and empathetic with your partner. Dating an opposite will also teach you how to patiently handle their wishes (or tantrums!) and empathize with them.
For example, if you’re an extrovert and your partner is an introvert, you might not understand why they have social anxiety. But as you spend more and more time together, you’ll put yourself in your partner’s shoes and feel the fears that they feel while meeting new people.
You will learn to care about their mental health and personality traits. Similarly, even your partner will open up and step out of their comfort zone to make you happy.
3. There are greater chances of learning new things
As mentioned before, living with someone who looks at things differently can be refreshing and give you fun opportunities to learn new things. Take the introvert-extrovert example again.
If you’re an introvert, you’ll learn to meet your partner’s social circle without feeling awkward and communicate more easily with them. Likewise, your partner will also find out ways to spend some quality time with you indoors and cuddle with you after a quiet candlelight dinner!
This constant activity of learning new experiences from each other will make your relationship so much more fun!
4. The excitement is intense
If there’s no intensity in the relationship, is it even worth staying in? Nope, definitely not! To keep the flame of love alive, an “opposites attract” scenario is ideal! I don’t mean going off for a bungee-jumping session every week but come on, a bit of excitement is necessary, right?
Just imagine, your partner takes out time to experiment new things with you in the bedroom and shows off their sexy moves because they’re fun! Even if you’re the quiet type who likes to stick to conventional sex positions, you’ll be inclined to indulge in a bit of naughtiness!
5. Once the excitement wears off, things aren’t the same
Believe me, excitement is important. But after a while, the excitement will wear off, no matter how much you wish otherwise. And this is the most crucial phase of your relationship.
Once the lovey-dovey phase is over, then comes the real test of your love. This is one reason why so many couples with dissimilar beliefs tend to break up because they don’t find each other as exciting as they thought they would.
When the honeymoon phase is over, you start noticing the flaws that your partner has and they become big issues over time.
6. Disagreements are more frequent
To continue my previous point, let me also tell you that as the honeymoon phase wears off, disagreements start.
In the beginning, you, a clean-freak, found your partner’s messy habits cute and adorable. But now they keep throwing dirty clothes on the bed and don’t wash the dishes.
These little things start piling up and one of the partners tends to bottle these irritations within them. This is why many relationship coaches and therapists often tell people to not date others who are pole opposites because the conflicts can get very loud and messy.
7. Requires better communication
When I mention communication, I don’t just mean verbal communication, even though that’s extremely important).
When two opposites stay together, communication becomes a big issue, primarily in couples where one partner is outspoken and bold, while the other one is quiet and timid.
So, when there’s a disagreement, the quiet partner feels that they are being dominated over, while the outspoken one tends to speak harshly. Even other forms of communication, such as physical or emotional ones, become worn out and old when two different people stay with each other for many months or years.
8. Both partners may have different goals in the future
Another major problem is when two people in a relationship have different goals. For example, you wish to travel the world and explore as many countries as possible. Your beloved, on the other and, prefers to stay at home and keep to themselves.
While this might not seem like a big deal in the beginning, it can get progressively bigger later when you both talk about settling down.
Without a healthy amount of similarities, most couples fall apart and break up. If you feel that you’re facing a similar problem in your love life currently, you must talk to your partner about it.
How to make opposites work in a relationship?
When it comes to romantic compatibility, everyone seeks similarity. But similar traits can also backfire and cause problems.
If you’re with someone who is very different from you and you both wish to make things work, then I have just the tips to help you out. I’ll give you some tips on how to solve problems in different types of relationships, particularly ones with starkly-different people!
1. Respect each other’s differences
The first step towards creating a harmonious relationship is to understand and respect your differences. Even if you don’t agree with their way of living at times, don’t make it obvious.
Respecting the fact that you and your partner have different ways of doing something is crucial, even if you’re not dating someone who’s completely opposite of what you are.
For example, if you want to go for a night out but your partner wishes to stay in and watch a movie, you can keep aside your plans for that night and spend some time indoors with them, isn’t it?
2. Reach a middle ground during conflicts
Say you both have been fighting over something for many days now and there’s no solution within either of your sight. What do you do? Do you simply give up? Definitely not!
You need to find a middle ground buddy. Figure out a solution that will partly cater to your needs and partly to your partner’s.
Remember, a healthy relationship is like the two opposite poles of a magnet pulled towards each other. Even though the poles are opposite, they will stick to each other and not let go. You both have to compromise a little and see a way out that will make both of you happy.
3. Take some time off after a fight
That being said, there might be times when even reaching a middle ground isn’t feasible. In this situation, it’s best to take some time off after a fight.
If you both keep repeating why you’re angry or upset with the other, things will only get worse. You can only make a relationship work when both your minds are calm and composed. So, take some time off after a fight.
Go out for a quiet walk in your neighborhood or watch a movie. When your mind is cool enough, approach the situation again (but don’t be overbearing!).
4. Do things that make you happy individually…
This golden rule is important no matter what kind of personality traits you and your partner have. A relationship can only be great if both partners have individual identities outside of their romantic life.
Yes, you both are romantic partners but you’re individual human beings first. I’m not asking you to not do things together, that’s important too. But don’t always stick to each other and do the same kind of things every day.
To make things easier, you can plan a schedule where you spend 2 days of the week pursuing your individual hobbies and interests.
5. But also do fun activities together!
Once again, let me remind you that doing fun things together is as important as indulging in your respective hobbies alone. If you don’t spend enough quality time with your partner, you won’t cherish the special bond that you have with them.
Plan cute date nights for them (and don’t forget to dress up dashingly!), send them cute gifts, and go out with them when they don’t want to be alone.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of time or money planning these activities; just something as simple as watching a movie together will be special enough!
6. Experiment with new things (especially in the bedroom!)
Want to keep the spice up in your relationship? Then explore new things! Unless you experiment with different things, you won’t understand what you both like.
And trust me, this amazing rule works best with your sex lives. Even if you both like having conventional sex in the same old way, there’s no harm in trying out kinky things.
Go out and buy a sex toy for both of you! Or dress up as your partner’s favorite fantasy and shake the bed all night! Even outside of your sex lives, trying out new activities can help you both to bond well.
7. Go to a therapist for help
If your mind is constantly plagued with questions such as, “Is it true that opposites attract?” While evaluating your chemistry with your partner, it’s probably best to seek the help of a licensed therapist. You can either attend the sessions alone or go for couple’s therapy with your partner.
A therapist or relationship coach will be able to solve all your doubts and tell you whether you and your significant other are truly a great match or not. The best thing? Therapy is often very affordable and provides a gateway into self-introspection!
8. Ask questions to each other
If you feel that you don’t know your boyfriend or girlfriend at all in spite of dating them for quite some time, you can try out this trick. Ask them questions (meaningful ones)!
When you both first started going out, you must have asked each other so many basic things, such as education, family values, and favorite restaurants. Now it’s time to dial up the knob and ask more meaningful questions.
For example, if your partner comes back home from work looking tired and upset, ask them, “Honey, you look down today. Has something happened at work?”. Or ask them what life goals they have in the future.
9. Fight for each other
One golden rule I will always tell everyone is to fight for each other, not with. Whenever you’re on the verge of giving up, ask yourself if you truly wish to live without your partner or not. Chances are, the answer will always be no. Fighting for your partner and their happiness is very important.
Remember, love may happen accidentally but staying together is a choice. You have to “choose” to be with them and accept them despite their flaws and problems. When you fight for your significant other and they do the same for you, you know that things will work out!
10. Forgive each other
Another useful tip that I will share with you is to recognize when and where to draw the line. By this, I mean, to recognize your flaws and to own up to them.
If you’ve been fighting with each other and then you realize that your partner was right all along, don’t feel embarrassed. Apologize to them and tell them you were wrong.
Most partners often tend to become egoistic and refuse to apologize. Consequently, if your partner has apologized to you, you must forgive them and move on. Don’t hold on to grudges because that will only worsen things.
What really matters in healthy relationships?
Ah, this is one of the most exciting parts of this article! So what really matters in a relationship? Have you ever asked yourself this question? If you have, then you must have come up with some terms such as love, honesty, communication, etc.
In any healthy relationship, these traits are important, even if you both are really different from each other. As I’ve already said, two people who might look or behave very differently from each other do share many similarities at their core.
Ultimately, what matters the most in a proper relationship is your ability to understand each other and communicate your needs. This doesn’t mean things will always be easy because believe me, the path toward a healthy relationship is rocky. But in the end, you’ll realize that it was all worth it.
Here are some of the foundations required for any healthy relationship.
You both understand the phrase “No means No”. And this isn’t just limited to sex; in a healthy relationship, two people respect each other’s boundaries and private space and never try to barge in. Both of you are comfortable doing the things that you love.
No relationship can be healthy if one of the partners keeps doubting or suspecting the other of cheating or doing something wrong. If you’re constantly checking your boyfriend or girlfriend’s phone and looking into their social media profiles or call history, it’s time to quit that now! Building trust takes time but it’s definitely essential.
This is probably the most important ingredient here. In a healthy relationship, two partners are lovers but they’re also each other’s best friends. They laugh with each other, share their deepest desires, and support each other throughout. if your partner is your best friend (and vice versa), then nobody is as lucky as you!
A word from ThePleasantRelationship
So dear reader, now you must have had a fair idea of how and why opposites attract and what you can do to make your relationship last forever!
The bottom line is, science isn’t able to understand or explain fully what fuels attraction toward someone who’s so different from you. But that doesn’t mean you both can’t live happily with each other.
Clones or polar opposites, a healthy relationship is built with empathy, commitment and lots of love.
Surabhi wakes up every day with a drive to craft words that can create a soulful impact. Creatively adventurous, she is always seeking to learn new skills and acquire new experiences. With a hidden soft corner for languages (especially Urdu), she writes poetry occasionally, binges on romantic shows, and LOVES to talk. A hustler, admirer, chaser, Surabhi is just another-someone who refused to give up on her dreams. She says, she is just somebody who’s trying to make herself a writer and for now, she’s just writing...