5 Ways To Tell If You & Your Partner’s Differences Are Good For Your Relationship

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couple walking on street, his arm around hers, both in sunglasses

There are no crystal balls that predict relationship success.

Should you and the person you want to spend the rest of your life with have a lot of interests in common? Do you need to be similar in order to stay in love and have a healthy, lasting relationship?

There are a few ways that you can find clarity about your situation and make some decisions moving forward.

Is it better to be similar or different in a relationship? 

5 Ways To Tell If You & Your Partner’s Differences Are Good For Your Relationship

This is a great place to start when looking at what it takes to create lasting love.

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Five ways to know if your differences benefit your relationship

Compatibility is not enough for romantic love to last. You need to have chemistry and attraction as well. And chemistry and attraction are not about your similarities. Rather, chemistry and attraction are created from the differences between the two of you.

Ultimately, you want to be with someone who complements your strengths and weaknesses. Nature assures not only the survival of the species but also helps us evolve by bringing us together with someone who is different from us.

There is a reason that opposites attract. If you are both so similar you will have the ingredients for a great friendship, but a friendship is not enough for a relationship to last. Chemistry creates the emotional bond and chemical high of the romance stage of a relationship.

Chemistry also gives you the fuel to navigate conflict and create a deeper connection.

The spark of attraction makes a platonic relationship different from a romantic one.

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1. Some differences create attraction

Some differences are helpful in creating attraction and others will get in the way of the two of you even connecting in the first place. For example, lifestyle differences can create a lack of compatibility and don’t add to chemistry or attraction.

Having completely different socio-economic backgrounds and relationships to money and work will make it hard for the two of you to be on the same page together.

An ambitious professional with an advanced degree is going to have very different life goals than someone whose interest in work is only about how it funds their weekend hobbies.

But if you both share a desire to spend your life traveling or gardening on the weekends, then what you do for employment won’t be an issue.

You will probably end up with someone who has a similar background and lifestyle as your own. However, there are energetic and personality differences that actually fuel chemistry and attraction.

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2. Different personality types can create connection 

Here is where you can begin to see how your differences are complementary.

Two partners who are both laid back and easygoing may get along well but they won’t have the passion needed to grow together. And two passionate people can find themselves clashing too often and ultimately exhaust the relationship.

However, when you put someone easy-going together with someone who is passionate and fiery, then you can see how these qualities complement each other. The passionate partner brings fire to the relationship while the easy-going partner tempers the conflicts.

Introverts can find extroverts exciting and can be drawn out of their shell when they are together. Extroverts find introverts fascinating and deep and want to know more about what is going on inside.

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3. Masculine energy vs feminine energy differences fuel connection & balance 

Every individual has both masculine and feminine energy, no matter their gender. You can draw on your masculine side or your feminine side depending on what is needed in a particular situation.

In a romantic relationship, there needs to be a balance of masculine and feminine energy for the spark of chemistry to be present.

Two masculine energies together create the spirit of competition. Masculine energy is active and focused and the presence of another masculine energy in a relationship will create a competitive dynamic meant to challenge each other.

Two feminine energies are reciprocal. The feminine is responsive and reactive and is also about creating community.

The presence of two feminine energies in a relationship creates a reciprocal friendship where the expectation is that each partner will share duties and responsibilities.

Attraction and chemistry come from opposing masculine and feminine energies. This dance of the masculine and feminine is an interchange between the strengths of both energies.

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4. Your values are one area where you must be similar 

For a relationship to stand the test of time it is imperative that the two of you share values. Unlike hobbies or interests that you can just ask about, discovering another person’s values only happens over time.

Couples who stay together through the inevitable challenges that show up can repair, reconnect, and strengthen their love because they can get behind a common goal and a shared vision they have created.

Getting back on the same page is possible because they both value the same things.

Many relationships end in divorce because the partners don’t share the same values about money, or career goals, or the desire to raise a family.

Through the dating process, you’ll want to take your time, even when the chemistry is strong, to figure out if the two of you share the same values before making a commitment.

The most important time to ask, “Are we compatible?” is when you are discovering each other’s values.

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5. You must be able to respect your differences 

Respect for your differences allows you to defer to one another’s strengths in the relationship.

One of you might be better at managing money and the other might be more creative and fun. Or maybe one partner is great at organizing the home while the other is more inclined to raise the children.

No matter how your differences in strategy or style manifest themselves, make an effort to respect those differences and defer to the partner who is best suited for the task.

This will create a mutual love and respect that will only deepen over time.

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Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. They're the authors of the free ebook, 7 Steps To Soulmating.

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