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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Theory # 13 Relationships: Opposites Attract

Opposites attract. Everyone says so, so it must be true, right?

I'm not so sure.

What is it you're referring to as opposites? Athletes attracted to couch potatoes? Mensa members attracted to illiterates? I'm afraid I don't see it.

Oh, there is the stereotypical preacher's daughter attracted to the town bad boy. But are they truly opposites? Isn't it more likely that what's attracting these two to each other is the recognition of parts of themselves that they've had to hide away for whatever reason?

In fact, I think that in general true opposites would have a very difficult time relating to each other. Not something like physical appearance--I've known plenty of short women with tall men and vice versa, or blondes with brunettes, whites with blacks, etc.--but those who are opposite from each other in their selves, their personalities.

I'd venture to say that for a successful relationship, it's important to have your strongly held values in common. Someone who's seriously, devoutly religious would not be comfortable with an avowed atheist. But that's strongly held values. A casual Baptist could no doubt do quite well with an agnostic.

Rather than opposites, I think it's complementary traits that cause the attraction, and even strengthen relationships. An outgoing partner may bring the shy partner out of his shell. A laid-back partner might keep the ambitious partner from being consumed by her work.

In my little world, love and respect go hand in hand, and it seems that it would be awfully hard to love someone who's the antithesis of all you hold most important.


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Comments:
I am proud that I have a brilliant mommy!!!
-Dagny :)
 
hah. You're just saying that because you think it's hereditary. ;-)

You could call, you know.... hint, hint.
 
I agree with you. I also think that 'for a successful relationship, it's important to have your strongly held values in common'. I can see how opposites might attract (think of the heated discussions there would be if a couple had very different political views, or the glamour of the different) but I'm not so sure about how long the relationship would last.
 
Exactly. If there's something that's very important to you, and your significant other feels just as strongly, but in the opposite way about it, it seems that you'd have to keep that part of yourself out of the relationship to make it work.

And if you're keeping part of yourself back, how intimate are you?
 
I suppose they could talk about it/argue about it constantly. But I think it would be very wearing and discouraging. For example, if one half of the couple worked for an environmental organisation, and the other thought it was more important for their business to make a profit, regardless of the fact that it was doing so while pouring waste into the local river, then I just don't see how they could get on. Each would be rejecting the other's life work. And when something's that important to you, then if someone rejects it, are they not rejecting you too? Hmm. I think it's a bit similar to that line some people have about homosexuality: they say that they 'hate the sin, but love the sinner'. I doubt the out and proud homosexual person who's told this is really going to feel loved (or very loving of the person who tells them that their sexuality is sinful). Or if one was a 'only people from my religion/sect will go to Heaven' sort of person and the other was an atheist, I'm not sure how much respect that couple would have for each other's life-choices/beliefs.
 
Sorry, I was just skimming back through the comments and didn't re-read the blog post. You'd already given that last example.
 
Don't be sorry--that just means I'm not alone in my thinking. :-)
 
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