She likes wine — he likes beer. She loves movies — he likes sports. She’s hard-core vegan — he’ll fire up the BBQ at breakfast. Cis-gender stereotypes aside, you get the picture — nice people, hot for one another, TOTAL opposites.
The one thing they have in common? They are both in for a tumultuous relationship.
Or are they? Perhaps.
Like all the great mysteries of life, the most appropriate yet tragically unsatisfying answer to the question “Do opposites attract?” is “It depends.”
The human brain is designed to pay more attention to things that are novel. That’s what kept your ancient ancestors from being eaten by some newly evolved predator.
So someone who is different than you is more likely to hold your attention more intensely.
Blame your amygdala for that one — it’s responsible for fueling reactive desire – that’s the thing we think of as hotness. And if you're a naturally curious person, watch out. Don’t conflate your endless fascination with their weirdness with true and heart-felt attraction.
Instead, look out for the toxic relationship markers.
A classic, toxic ‘opposites- attract’ relationship often reflects the typical enabling scenario: one partner is the victim while the other partner is the rescuer.
For the rescuer, their partner has a giant vortex of need that can never be filled. An optimistic rescuer can spend a lifetime in this kind of soul sucking dynamic until exhaustion and disillusionment finally helps them let go.
Want LASTING love? Go for ‘sameness’ — especially in terms of your most important values.
How important is honesty in your relationship? How much time do you like to spend with your partner? These kinds of things shape the foundations of your lifestyle and point to significant personal values that affect your overall happiness. Compromise these values, and your lovin’ will turn to hatin’.
So if you want a healthy relationship that lasts, sameness is the way to go.
But wait! Won’t the lack of hotness in your relationship lead to boredom and break up? It might. And it might not. You can keep the hotness factor alive by varying your experiences with each other, not values.
For example, you both value health and fitness — stay novel and interesting by cooking new foods and eating them naked in the tub. Doing different things together will light up your newness neurology and transfer your excitement onto your partner.
Can an animal lover be with a hunter? Probably not. Can an introvert be with an extrovert? Probably — as long as they don’t mind spending time apart. Can a homebody be with a risk-taking adventurer? Almost certainly — at least until the hotness factor subsides.
Looking for relationship help? Talk to Jan.