The Truth About Why Opposites Attract In Relationships

Photo: getty
Man making moustache out of woman's hair

What is relationship compatibility and is it contradictory to the idea that opposites attract?

When searching for your soulmate, should you focus on compatibility or on differences? What truly makes for a happy relationship?

When it comes to lasting love, there's something more powerful going on when you look at how attraction and relationship compatibility work together.

RELATED: The Scientific Reason We Fall In Love With Our Polar Opposite

What's the truth about why opposites attract in relationships?

Similar interests and backgrounds can be helpful in feeling a sense of comfort with your partner, but don’t really help determine if the relationship can last.

Having similar interests with someone — or even a similar temperament — is a recipe for friendship. Relationship compatibility requires an understanding of how opposing energies work together to create a satisfying whole.

Healthy relationships are balanced

A healthy relationship has a balance of masculine and feminine energies that are responsive to each other, not in opposition.

Two masculine energies together create a competitive relationship.

Two feminine energies create a reciprocal relationship. Only with masculine energy and feminine energy do you experience romance and intimacy together.

This is true, even for same-sex couples. It doesn’t matter which person in the couple has more masculine energy and which person has more feminine energy for this dynamic to work.

A more masculine woman who takes control can be very happy with a more feminine male who is comfortable being the receptive one in the relationship.

A more masculine female with a more masculine male will create too much competition. A more feminine female with a more feminine male will not create any sexual energy.

When these energies are balanced, the dance can feel effortless between the two of you.

Relationship compatibility and your personality

Are you introverted or extroverted? While relationships between two extroverts or two introverts can work for a while, lasting love comes when these opposite energies come together.

The extrovert provides energy and a desire to connect, while the introvert grounds that energy and creates a home base for the couple.

It's important to understand and value the benefits each partner brings to the energetic exchange in order for harmony to exist.

Two extroverts can end up competing for attention and drive a wedge between the couple. Two introverts may lack the energy to address issues between the couple and allow them to drift apart.

When the introvert appreciates the energy and excitement that the extrovert brings, and the extrovert appreciates the peace and quiet that the introvert covets, then there's a harmonious dance between the two.

Relationship compatibility and your "Heart Archetype."

Scientific, non-predictive palmistry looks at how your mental and emotional patterns affect the quality of the lines in your palms. Your heart lines don’t predict how many times you’re going to be married or for how long.

Instead, Your Heart Archetype™ is an indication of your requirements in an intimate relationship, as well as other behaviors where your heart is invested.

Some heart-line types indicate that you have a "you first" orientation with your romantic partner. Some indicate a "me first" orientation.

The "you first" people tend to think of their partner first, while the "me first" types tend to think of their own needs before their partner's.

This doesn’t mean that one type is more altruistic and the other more selfish.

Instead, it shows how a person is wired and where their focus and attention goes first — whether you put your focus on your partner’s needs before your own or you understand that you have to take care of yourself before you can be of service to your partner.

Two "you first" people in a relationship can work, but it's hard to make decisions as a couple because you'll both be deferring to the other. Two "me first" people will likely struggle as a couple because they value their freedom over the connection to make it last.

When there's a balance of "you first" and "me first," the couple can be in harmony with each other.

The key to relationship compatibility is to understand how your heart is oriented in relationships and to communicate your needs to your partner.

Mutual respect is key to navigating your differences.

Most people like discovering the differences early on in the relationship, but when the chemical high wears off, they become annoyed by those same differences.

Each partner in a relationship has specific strengths and weaknesses. Putting your focus on discovering and understanding your differences allows you to create a solid foundation where you can each contribute to the life you create together.

Learn to appreciate how your partner handles certain tasks or situations more effectively than you do.

Relationship compatibility comes together when those differences are actually complementary strengths. The complementary parts create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Deferring to one another’s strengths allows you to make magic together, ultimately creating harmony in your home that will last for decades.

This mutual respect combined with allowing your partner the freedom to be who they are without needing to change creates a synergistic love.

The two of you are truly capable of taking on the world by making it a better place, and by being able to navigate through the challenging times together.

Are the two of you truly committed to creating a healthy, lasting, loving partnership?

RELATED: How To Save Your Marriage When You & Your Partner Have Opposite Personality Types

Part of the journey is understanding the 5 stages of a relationship and how they affect your interactions over time. 

1. The romance stage

The two of you are falling in love and your brains are literally being flooded with feel-good chemicals. Most people are on their best behavior during this stage and haven’t yet revealed all of their personalities.

The longer this stage goes on, the better chance a relationship has of surviving. The romance stage puts gas in the tank of the relationship.

2. The "power struggle" stage

This occurs when the chemicals have begun to wear off and what was initially exciting about that other person becomes annoying. This is also when people begin revealing more of their true selves, having relaxed into the relationship.

Most relationships end because the couple is unable to navigate through this stage, which is why the fantasy of a relationship with zero conflict is an unrealistic expectation.

3. The stability stage

You can overcome the power struggle when you stop fighting for your way and instead fight for the relationship.

Healthy couples put aside ego desires and learn to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of their partner when in this stage.

4. The commitment stage.

This is when a couple is truly ready to make a lifelong commitment to one another, and you decide to accept your partner as is without needing them to change.

This stage comes long after exclusivity and much later than most couples wait as they rush toward engagements and weddings while still in the earlier relationship stages.

5. The "bliss" or co-creation stage

This stage is when the couple is ready to create something larger and more meaningful in the world than just the two of them.

This is when most younger couples decide to create a family together. In older couples, they decide to create something that affects the world around them, like a business, charity work, or some other philanthropic cause they both believe in.

Having shared values is the similarity you really need in a relationship.

People with different energies, interests, or strategies can navigate the pitfalls of relationships when they share the same values.

Sharing what's truly important in life is the glue that will get you through any difficulties.

Whether you're raising children together, working in a business, or just creating a shared life, if you don’t have the same values, conflicts will reveal deeper rifts between the two of you.

This doesn’t mean that you share the same strategies for handling difficulties. It means that when it comes down to it, you value the same things.

Opposites do attract, but true relationship compatibility happens when you understand and appreciate what is different between you and your partner, and you defer to one another’s strengths.

This dance of relationship may not always be smooth, but it's beautiful in its complexity.

Deep intimacy and connection develop over time as you gain mutual respect and admiration for your partner, and how they can enhance your life.

RELATED: How My Perspective On Relationships Completely Changed After I Started Dating The Opposite Of My Type

Orna and Matthew Walters have been soulmate coaches for over a decade and helped thousands of readers create long-lasting love. Download a complimentary copy of their ebook, "Recognizing Mr. Right," along with a guided program on self-acceptance from their website.

This article was originally published at Creating Love On Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.