You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘opposites attract’ used to refer to how two people with different personalities can find each other attractive. For example, the slob who finds that the neat freak balances things out. Or the introvert who finds her partner’s outgoing personality fascinating.
We probably know many couples like this who have managed to make things work. But do opposites always attract? And can two people who are so different sustain a long-term relationship?
The laws of attraction
Sometimes, it’s the qualities that are most different from us that draw us most intensely to a partner. So if you’re the type to plan out every single day to the hour, you may find yourself intrigued by someone who is a bit more spontaneous and impulsive. From different spending styles to different social lives and careers, the novelty of seeing life from another perspective is appealing. This is typically not a bad thing. Being this open-minded is great for you as it provides you with more exposure.
The problem usually arises when the novelty wears off. You stop finding his laid-back and easygoing nature cool and you start seeing him as lazy and unserious. Or the 9-5 career woman who fell for the unemployed ‘upcoming’ musician because he reminds her of what it means to be a dreamer, becomes annoyed with him as she begins to view him as childish and naive.
As time goes on and as our own habits remain what we’re most comfortable with, we will start clashing more often with our partner’s opposite styles. And there’s a high chance that what used to be enticing will become annoying. So while it’s one thing for opposites to attract, it’s another for things to actually stay that way.
How to make it work
You’re not doomed if you’re dating someone who’s very different from you. But as with any relationship, you need to foresee some of the challenges you might have and try to work things out.
For example, if you both have different hobbies, you can have one day a week (or whatever frequency works) where each partner is free to pursue their own favorite activities. It is also crucial that you both have some things in common. This is what keeps you grounded and connected.
Empathy is another important trait to have when dating someone who doesn’t necessarily see life the same way you do. So when you find yourself feeling irritated by bae, put yourself in his shoes for a minute. This can help take your anger down a notch and compassionately resolve your conflicts.
At the end of the day, the best way to make it work is to appreciate your differences while also reminding yourselves of why you fell in love in the first place.
You can also learn more about other ways to strengthen your relationship.
Featured Image via BET