Why Do Opposites Attract

Have you ever wondered why opposites attract?

When it comes to relationships, finding the ideal partner could be easy for some and difficult for others because it’s heavily dependent on the characteristics we value most in people.

Have you ever thought that it is quite a cruel joke of nature that so many of us find ourselves attracted to people who are very much unlike us – those who are totally different? Why does this happen? Why is it that we often choose to fall in love with people who can drive us completely insane as well as make us feel like we are in heaven? ‘If only we were similar, our relationship would have been perfect’, we think. Well, no, not necessarily.

We are naturally attracted to people who are different from ourselves and therefore, somewhat exciting. If we were practically the same, we would be bored out of our minds! While security, safety, closeness, and comfort are certainly some of the qualities that characterize all fulfilling relationships, without a balance of excitement, passion, adventure, risk, and even a certain degree of separateness, security becomes boredom, dependability becomes indifference, intimacy becomes claustrophobia, and comfort becomes stagnation.

What is this Myers-Briggs Test?

The Myers-Briggs personality test (also known as MBTI) is the most widely taken personality test in the world with more than 2 million people taking it each year. Over the last 50 years, MBTI researchers have gathered a LOT of data about people in relationships. In a study of couples who have taken the MBTI test, it turns out that the people who are most attracted to each other seem to be opposite in most of their personality traits. For example, the research shows that Extroverts are attracted to Introverts (and vice versa)!

However, it’s not just the exciting differences which attract us to our opposites, it is also a natural quest for completion. We are naturally drawn towards people who have strengths which we are missing. Sometimes, opposites attract because we are subconsciously looking for someone who has the qualities that we admire and would like to have ourselves.

When two opposites function as a couple, they become a more well-rounded, functioning unit. There is also a theory that our natural attraction to our opposites is a subconscious way of forcing us to deal with the weaker aspects of our own nature. While we are highly attracted to our opposites, the two opposites involved in an intimate relationship often have significant issues and communication barriers to overcome.



So, though opposites attract, can they be happy with each other and sustain a relationship?

During the ‘romance stage’ of your relationship, the differences make your chosen one attractive, but as soon as your relationship hits the ‘power struggle stage’,  their opposite nature will be the very thing that makes you want to tear your hair out in frustration and move on to find an another (more compatible) partner. Until you can understand and appreciate how your partner is different from you, you’ll wind up thinking that your differences are the problem, and not your greatest growth opportunity.

When two opposites attract each other and come together as a couple, the combination can form a well-rounded and higher functioning unit than each might be individually. Choosing to love someone who has different opinions encourages you to see the world a bit differently. Respecting and openly listening to your partner’s worldview and opinions will build a foundation of mutual respect, which is key to a happy relationship. When you have more differences than similarities, you’re encouraged to do the opposite because you’re already expecting your partner to act differently than you. The resulting acceptance will allow your partner to be an unfiltered, honest version of themselves.

A relationship expert April Masini believes the trick to finding compatible partners is to first and foremost, know yourself.

The biggest problem I see in relationship queries that are sent to me for expert advice, are from people who’ve gotten invested in relationships without knowing what they want in a relationship — or even if they want one at all. Sometimes these people get involved with people who aren’t compatible, and not accept the fact, they try to desperately change the other person, which ends up going nowhere”.

Masini also believes that although chemistry is great, it’s not enough to make a relationship go the distance.

Dating your opposite might be a challenge, sure, but the best things in life don’t come easy. The best relationships are those that achieve the ideal balance between comfort/familiarity and newness/spontaneity. However, there are three sets of needs in any relationship. The needs of each person as well as the needs of the relationship itself. If any of these needs are neglected or unmet, an imbalance or disequilibrium will occur, causing both partners distress. Successful relationships need a willingness on the part of both partners to at times forego their personal preferences in favor of the well-being of the other or of the relationship.

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By Anastasia T.