Opposites can attract, but will they last?

I met this couple a while ago: she is an artist – passionate, talented, fun, spontaneous. He’s a businessman – driven, organised, reliable, focused. When they met they were fascinated by each other’s qualities – he could not get enough of her creative spirit and sparkling personality, she was drawn to his stability and down-to-earth approach to life.

They both thought the other one had something they could use more of in their own life. She wanted an anchor, someone to give her life structure and stability, while he was looking to her to add a bit of spark and lightness to his. They both found what they were looking for, and after a year or two of dating decided to get married. Unfortunately, their good times did not last very long.

The very thing that brought them together became the biggest obstacle to their happiness. They were so different that when it came to living together, raising kids, making real life decisions – they just could never agree on anything. The things they loved about each other in the beginning started to look more and more like horrible flaws: her spontaneity was in his eyes now irritating and whimsical, his reliability became dull and unimaginative to her. They fought non-stop, and finally, divorced.

I think they are both wonderful people capable of building a truly happy union with someone – but they just did not know at the time, that being with a person who is so different from you is just such very very hard work. All relationships are hard work and need constant nurturing – but when your core views and ways clash on daily basis, that is a huge problem. It’s not just about trying harder – it actually becomes a daily struggle just to keep the peace, let alone enjoy things together.

Sometimes we admire and desire some personal qualities we don’t have, and we can get attracted to people who posses them. For instance, if you are shy and introverted and you’d like to change that, you could be drawn to the idea of being with someone very sociable and outgoing. But once the initial “crazy in love” period ends, you might find it really frustrating that your partner wants to party five nights a week, while you actually prefer to spend your evenings curled in a sofa in front of the TV with a cup of cocoa.

It is not necessary that we think the same, or like all the same things as our partner, or do everything together – that is actually quite impossible – but it is important that we share the same values and have similar views on things that are important to either of us. If we have opposite preferences in matters we feel strongly about – even if we want to compromise and accommodate the other person’s wishes – we will find it very hard to do consistently. It will become a source of dissatisfaction – we’ll feel we are either betraying ourself, or our partner. There will always be something we won’t agree on, but it is much easier to build and sustain a happy relationship if those things are fewer and less significant.


Did you ever get attracted by someone who was your complete opposite (in terms of personality, character, values, beliefs)? How did that go?

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