Do Opposites Really Attract?

Do Opposites Really Attract?
"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." - Mignon McLaughlin

But does 'falling in love many times' mean that you and your partner need to be polar opposites?


One study found that almost 80% of people believe that opposites attract. This means that people who are very different from each other are attracted to each other.

Although psychologists and sociologists believe that opposites attract is a myth, Robert Francis Winch, author of "Mate-selection: A Study of Complementary Needs", believes that individuals would be attracted to those who possess personality traits that they themselves lack. For example, the good girl falling for the bad boy. In this way, they appear to complement one another.

So why are we naturally more attracted to someone different from ourselves? Psychologist and Professor at Stony Brook University, Arthur Aron, believes that people have a need to grow and expand themselves, thus we form relationships with people that are our 'polar opposites'. So we can assimilate some of the qualities of our partners, which promote the growth that we are aspiring toward.

When two opposites function as a couple, they become a more well-rounded, functioning unit. It can make for a fun and interesting relationship and this might even make you a stronger couple in the long run. It can keep your relationship stable as you complement one another, your personalities vary so there could be a superior balance that help keeps the relationship stable. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, your partner can swoop in with their calm state of mind and help you see things from a different perspective, leading to a sense of overall stability.

It can also help you find balance when you combine your opposite traits. You'll naturally help each other move closer and meet in the middle. 

Being in a relationship with someone who has a different mindset encourages you to to grow and navigate life through different lenses. You will teach each other new ways of doing things. It will also stretch your "compromise muscle", because being in a relationship with your opposite will require continuous compromising to satisfy both your needs and preferences. Not only will this benefit your relationship, it's a skill that can seep on to other areas of your life, making you a more empathetic person overall.

You'll keep the spark alive. You will continuously be on a journey to learn the person and appreciate the new ideas they bring to the table. Opposites tend to attract due to the mystery and intrigue, and that can keep things light and fun.

But there is essentially no evidence that differences in personality lead to greater attraction. Most of us have a need for a logical and consistent view of the world, we tend to favor ideas and beliefs that reinforce this consistency and people who agree with us satisfy this need. Although we are attracted to people who are different from us, we are most attracted to someone whose principle values are consistent with ours and whose focus for their life trajectory molds to ours.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you are in a relationship with your "polar opposite" or with your "twinsie", as long as they are your biggest supporter and you make each other better and feel empowered by your relationship, knowing that you are stronger together than when you are apart. Remember to always respect and embrace your differences.

After all, "Love involves a peculiar unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding." - Diane Arbus.
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