Do Opposites Attract? It’s Not That Simple

Intimacy & Sex
27 Jul 2023
11 min read
Do Opposites Attract, and Who Are True Opposites? 7 Tips for You

Do opposites attract, or is that misconception? The short answer is that it is complicated.

On one side of the issue are those who believe that romantic partners tend to have the most relationship success when they have more in common. There’s something to be said for compatibility! But on the other side are those who assume that opposites complement each other and create “power couples.” And they are also right.

Anyways, being the same doesn’t guarantee that you will have a healthy relationship. Sometimes, those similarities can lead to a relationship imbalance, especially if you are two type A personalities constantly competing with one another.

So, there are cases when opposites attract and may truly complement one another. And before you can answer the question, let’s identify what we mean by “opposite” and then explore your chances of having a great relationship with your polar opposite.

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Are You Attracted to Your True Opposite? Maybe Not

Imagine you love horror movies, and your partner prefers comedies. Are you true opposites in this case, or have different tastes by being the same in fancying movies? It depends.

Do opposites attract, or is it simply human nature to see and point out differences? You might point out in the above example that’s a cute difference between you. But once you scratch below the surface of that superficial difference, something more striking comes up – or not.

In the end, you both enjoy movies. Your opposite would be someone whose interests don’t even include the movies. But how often do we perceive people with different tastes as our true opposites?

In reality, the fact that opposites attract isn’t necessarily true if you dig deep enough. At least, it isn’t when we’re talking about important aspects of a relationship, such as your core values, common interests, education, and plans for the future. Solid scientific evidence shows people are more attracted to similar traits than the opposite in this dimension – especially the study published by Donn Byrne and Nelson Don.

This makes sense if you think about whether opposites attract. A couple is more likely to achieve relationship success if both people are on the same page about important things. If they can spend quality time pursuing the same interests or support one another’s life goals, that’s even better.

Related reading: Quality Time – It’s a Love Language

Opposites Can Complement and Irritate One Another

Most of us do know couples who seemingly have very little in common. This may validate the notion of opposite attraction at first. But, if you dig deeper, you may not find they have truly opposite values.

For example, a straight-laced accountant who loves reading may seem to be the polar opposite of their social butterfly partner, who is an artist. However, they may both want children, feel that their faith is very important, and value education. Additionally, both partners might support one another in their goals, such as supporting the household while the other pursues a master’s degree.

Relationship experts also caution against mistaking complementary personalities for opposites attracting. A “good girl, bad boy” couple will likely experience plenty of conflict within their relationship as polar opposites do. However, a couple where one is a free-spirited extrovert and the other is a reflective introvert might be a great example of two people who complement one another. The introvert might be a calming and centering influence on their partner, while the extrovert encourages them to pursue their interests and enjoy life.

Which differences still make you a compatible partner

Which Differences Between Romantic Partners Cause Issues?

So, according to scientific studies, simple differences may not cause issues. People with slightly different interests but similar beliefs can make a relationship work. As long as there is some common ground, one partner doesn’t disrespect or ridicule the other’s differences.

Opposites repel one another when they find no sense of common purpose. A lack of shared beliefs virtually guarantees that couples will face major issues. Here are some examples of opposite traits that people tend to find they cannot get past:

  • Wanting children vs. not wanting children
  • Views on gender roles
  • Contradicting beliefs on financial planning
  • Opinions on the role of extended family

Among these examples, political beliefs and faith are the major factors that pose unique challenges. If you and the person you are with have slight political differences, that may not be a problem. However, politics frequently reflect morals and world views, which can be relationship dealbreakers.

Likewise, there’s a wide range of faith differences. For example, you may make things work if your partner respects your religious beliefs. However, no matter how much a partner loves you, building a future with that person will be difficult if they believe your faith is evil or worthy of ridicule.

7 Tips on How to Maintain Relationship Satisfaction When Opposites Attract

People interact and connect with others through shared interests and thought processes. But keeping up a romantic relationship with someone can be hard when you have separate interests.

Of course, this does not mean that it is impossible to have long-term relationship success with someone who is your polar opposite. All you need is to dedicate a little more effort and attention to acknowledge your differences. Let’s look at the 7 ways you can act to keep the passion alive, allow yourselves some personal growth, and deal with a seemingly incompatible partner.

1. Always Maintain Respect

Opposites attract phenomenon is surrounded by both truth and fiction. When you and your partner have separate interests, you may be told how it will just work out, but never how you do it. But figuring things out is simple: you only need to acknowledge things you don’t fully understand and agree with.

When dating someone who is your total opposite, you need to show them respect. Don’t try to change them, and don’t fight or argue about minor differences in opinion. Just let these opposite traits be without attempting to change them.

2. Set Reasonable and Healthy Boundaries

People who are opposites may have different interests, goals, and affiliations to them. This, in turn, can affect their relationships, including those they have outside of romantic interests. Pay attention to setting personal boundaries to make things work with the different people who surround you.

Related reading: How To Maintain Your Individuality While In a Relationship

Determine reasonable and healthy boundaries for you and your partner. Your rules can be as simple as who cooks the food, to slightly more complicated matters, such as who is allowed in your home simultaneously.

3. Find Things That You Actually Have in Common

Long-term relationship success depends on you and your partner having some common ground, so you should find it for your relationship success.

For example, you may want children, and your partner may state that they don’t want children or vice versa. However, after some discussion, you may find that the one who is opposed to having children may only be opposed to their own biological children and may be open to the idea of adoption.

This example may sound a bit extreme for you. However, we added it here to show how you may find that you and your opposite are more similar partners than you realized. Finding that common ground can lead to you both feeling appreciated more by each other.

Related reading: A Guide to Growing an Exclusive Relationship

4. Take Certain Aspects with a Grain of Salt

No matter what attracts you to each other and how much you believe things will work, your personalities will always have a difference. Therefore, it is important to take things with a grain of salt when you are dating someone who is your opposite. It’s not a fairytale, so the effortless harmony between two people is simply impossible.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Challenge Each Other

When you attract partners who are completely different from you, it can be nerve-racking at times. However, it also opens up the grounds for a healthy debate between partners.

When you are with people who only think like you and act like you, you close yourself off to other thought processes. When you and your partner’s intimate thoughts don’t seem to align, challenge and debate each other about it. You may not change the minds of each other, but you may open up a world of reasoning you both have never thought of before.

6. Enjoy Your Independence

Research shows that dating a person who is different from you makes you more independent and well-thought-out. You may find that even if you and your partner attract each other, you can still enjoy your own lives and interests.

Many people in relationships don’t have this luxury – so enjoy it as much as you can.

7. Prepare Yourself for Changes

Having partners who are completely different from you leads to some changes in your life. You may encounter them here and there – while having the occasional game on your television, having new political conversations, and accepting things you don’t necessarily agree with. By being ready for these changes, you open yourself more to the ideas of others.

Mental health effects when your answer to the question, "Do opposites attract?" is "Yes."

4 Mental Healthy Changes While Dating Someone Who Is My Opposite

When you find a potential match who is your opposite, your mental health experiences new influences. So yes, there will most definitely be an effect on your mental health when you date someone who is your opposite.

But much like a magnet, two opposites have the ability to stick together in a very strong bond and it takes a force to pull them apart. Let’s see how you can navigate your relationship with a partner who is completely different from you

1. Changes in Personality

This is a more extreme one but it does happen. Some individuals tend to take on the personality traits of those they are around a lot. Therefore, when you date someone different from you, even if your thoughts and opinions do not change the way you act and feel may change significantly.

2. Changes in Attraction

When opposites attract, you may become attracted to different types of people. That is because you’ve opened your world, and new types of people come into it, bringing different perspectives and ideas.

3. Changes in Opinions

By dating people who have different ideas and thought processes from you, you open yourself to different ideas. Also, you become exposed to new ideas that lead to opinion changes.

For example, you may have identified as a vegan your entire adult life and have been completely anti-meat. However, dating someone who eats meat may introduce a healthy discussion and reasoning about the meat industry that may make you see it in better terms.

4. Changes in Interests

When you hang out with different people, you open your world to new experiences. This way, you may even find things you enjoy that you may never have an interest in.

At one point you may have been completely opposed to camping out in the woods – but after dating a person who loves camping, you may find yourself going every week or so.

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How to Meet My Opposite as a Potential Partner Online?

Dating apps have become a common part of many people finding their relationships. When you date people from online apps, you are likely part of the same feather flock enough to be a part of the same grouping in dating apps.

Most online dating works because the algorithm finds people with similar interests and digital footprints. These digital footprints people left allow for the algorithm to set up potential relationships. Thus, if you met someone very different from you, there is a high chance you still share similarities even if a person seems to be your complete opposite.

Final Thoughts: Happiness Comes From Cherishing Each Other’s Personality Traits

Most people are critical of the ability of opposites to attract, believing that a good relationship is built around shared values and goals. However, developmental psychology suggests that couples should be able to celebrate their personality differences to build healthy relationships. Thus, “Do opposites attract?” remains an open question still.

If dating a personality completely different bothers you, all you need to know is your dealbreaker and be able to articulate it clearly. But also, always remain willing to extend grace and acceptance about others’ dealbreakers. That will lead to happiness and contentment – as with such healthy rules established, you will never be afraid about opposites attract and build a stable relationship together with your beloved person.

Love&Sex Expert
Cherie Hamilton
I’ve always been inspired by women who are outgoing, very sure of themselves, and not afraid to be who they were, including their sex lives. Under their tutelage, I gradually shed my old self, hung out and socialized with them, and, over time, became the empowered, self-confident, and sexual woman I am today. Happy to share my insights with other women today!
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