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Do Opposites Attract?

By Yana Berlin

The old saying, "opposites attract" is just that, old.  Many have experienced being attracted to someone completely and utterly different than ourselves; there is something to be said for trying to find someone to fill in our holes and inadequacies.  Something like the ying/yang picture—us women like to feel completed by a second half that can compensate for our shortcomings and not match us in every way.

However, finding someone who is your mirror opposite can be exiting at first, but the sparkle soon wears off as you discover that the differences that were once so attractive now irritate or bother you.  For example, a Type A personality may initially be attracted to someone less tightly wound and perfection-oriented, but after some time goes by, the once attractive laid-back qualities may morph into perceived laziness and carelessness.  Picking a mate requires some variety of personal traits, but picking a polar opposite often ends with disaster.  

other loveThe other extreme can create an equally volatile situation. Matching yourself up with someone too similar to yourself generally produces one of two outcomes: either you lose interest rapidly because there isn't enough variation between you to keep the sparks flying, or you find you clash with the person because you share too many common characteristics.  Putting two strong-willed and opinionated people in a relationship can be compared to the balsamic vinegar and olive oil pairing.  The combination is classic and delicious, but the oil and vinegar never completely mesh to create a well-mixed concoction.  

So what does the world of science have to say about traits and ideal matches?  In a number of studies, biologists have found that people match up based on self-perception.  Men who saw themselves as highly attractive rated attractiveness as a more important trait to find in a mate, and similarly women who identifying themselves as wealthy looked for a more affluent partner.  From this study it is evident that people often select mates using themselves as a model.  In a more orthodox scientific experiment, women smelled t-shirts of anonymous male subjects, saturated in natural pheromones, and asked which they found most appealing.  

The results were twofold: 1. Women were often attracted to the shirts of men who had very similar genomes to themselves, except in one part: 2.  They preferred the shirts of men whose genome affecting the immune system was very different form their own.  Scientists believe that this single distinction points to the desire for genetic variability that is hard-wired into our mating and relationship compatibility.  

Psychologists agree that attraction between opposites can underline the importance of trait variation.  For example, a classic pairing of opposites that seems to work well is an extrovert matched with an introvert.  Having an outgoing man to provide encouragement and support to be more confident and self-assured can be incredibly rewarding.  Opposites can sometimes give us a push in the right direction, leading to personal growth and betterment.
So do opposites attract or repel ultimately?  The answer is yes, no and maybe so.  There is no foolproof template for trait-matching to lead you in the "right direction," whatever that may be.  Finding someone who can balance attraction with compatibility is ultimately the right match, the number of similarities and differences can't determine either of these without error.  The best thing we can do to pair ourselves up well, is to figure out what we can't live with or live without.  The rest goes somewhere in between.    

Its your turn to share- have you ever been with a complete opposite? If you are in a relationships now, would you say he is your opposite? Details please!


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    • +3 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Aug 30, 2009
    • Good article. I agree that opposites initially excite but after awhile I find the differences grating on the nerves. Over time it may lead to the feeling of nothing in common. I’ve been there.

      Never been with someone I feel is very much like me. I’d like to give that one a go. I think as I age I may find the similarities comfortable and the home harmonious. I have no energy for conflict at this juncture in my life.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote Aug 30, 2009
    • He is my complete opposite.  I take things with a grain of salt, he gets so upset.  I like to spend money, he loves to save.  I love to go out and he loves to stay home.  

      Im a cancer and he’s an aquarious...I think that pretty much explains it all.  

      He is handsome as ever though!  estatic

      PS  We are married 30 yrs this past August 26th.  That has to say something for opposites!!  

      xoxo



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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Aug 30, 2009
    • Different strokes for different folks, isn’t that the truth?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sexyt1969 wrote Sep 6, 2009
    • i’m with the total opposite and will be the first to say “it’s alot of work” i thank GOD FOR KEEPING ME STRONG!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Encee wrote Nov 14, 2009
    • Yes, I think that opposites do attract.  But I think that they don’t stay that way for long.  If you want to get up and going being around a couch potato for the rest of your life would just not be happy!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 14, 2009
    • My husband and I are as opposite as night and day. Opposite’ attract, used to be our song.
      We’ve been married for almost 23 years and it has been great.
      It’s almost like we balance each other out.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Paula Bertucci wrote Mar 8, 2010
    • I started dated someone new whom I met on Christmas Day..he’s an Aries and I’m a Libra....complete opposite on the charts and sometimes in our ways...but where it really matters we seem to match perfectly so far...and I like the differences...from time to time..I think we bring things to each other we might not get from someone who was the same as ourselves...and so for now...I believe it was a great Christmas present...and I have been having fun ever since...so I say Viva La Difference!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Msj wrote Mar 9, 2010
    • I like having stuff in common...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Mar 9, 2010
    • @Paula2

      I’m an Aries, and my hubby is a Libra, it works perfectly estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bresue wrote Mar 10, 2010
    • My husband and I are opposites, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We celebrate our 19th anniversary this May, but we’ve known each other for 33 years.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cristina Corral wrote Mar 24, 2010
    • Great article.  I do belive that opposites attract, but not alway the ideal couple!!  Who knows??

      Cristina

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      skin care advice & rockin’ products


      Ccskin, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dana Cappelletti wrote Mar 24, 2010
    • Interesting discussion- Balance is the key. You can be opposite but can you understand, relate and support the opinions and believes of your partner?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kerri1985 wrote Jul 2, 2010
    • Very interesting article, I believe it depends on the people if they make a go of it being opposites. I am an Aries and dating a Libra was a challenge, and boy did it not work. 4 years of troubles so I say for me I need a stronger man no one too weak or too passive that never works with an Aries woman we are very strong minded... Definitely need someone to balance us out. But if you can make it work, I say great!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Jul 25, 2010
    • Another great article, Bravo to you Yana!heart

      Yes I'd have to also agree that opposites do attract, my hubby and I are so totally opposite he is a junk hoarder and I am a neat kinda of person ( a place for everything, and everything in it's place). But as Term  has said we have learned to compromise and it does work.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Diane17 wrote Sep 6, 2010
    • I love this article!!

      I think my husband and I were more opposites when we first got married then now.  For instance, I enjoyed going out a lot with my friends and he was a homebody.  Now, I’m more of a homebody but it could also be that now I’m a mom and I have less free time to go out and would rather be at home anyway not to mention I live pretty far from most of my friends.

      Also, he has become a little similar to me in that now he actually goes to church with me more often than in the past which I love!!  Before he just used to go on Easter and Christmas and now he goes a couple times a month (still not every Sunday) but it’s a HUGE improvement.  I grew up going to church every Sunday and I take my kids every week whether or not he goes.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Crystal Parker wrote Sep 12, 2010
    • I have to say that opposites do attract, but when you have been with someone that is close to the same as you (for instance, homebodies), it kind of gets old after 17 years of marriage. I have grown so much in the last 7 years (going back to church and volunteering) but he hasn’t. This makes a difference in everything. I love people, but he doesn’t. So, all in all, no matter who you are attracted to, it takes work with your other half.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sandysconnected wrote Feb 7, 2011
    • As my friend put it...my husband and I are complete polar opposites. Its true...he is black and white, I’m colorful...he’s reserved, and I’m all over the map...he is calm and I’m a spitfire. Its a beautiful balance, however annoying it can be, haha. 13 years of marriage now.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda Joyner wrote Mar 30, 2011
    • heartheartheart I THINK OPPOSITES DO ATTRACT, CAUSE I HAVE DONE IT IN THE PAST, BUT ITS UP TO THE COUPLE TO MAKE IT WORK AND STAY TO TOGETHER... AS LONG AS THEY PLAY WELL TOGETHER, I THINK THEY WILL STAY TOGETHER... I JUST DIDNT PLAY WELL WITH MY OPPOSITE AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME IN MY LIFE....
      HUGS, LJ



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Nita P wrote Jan 31, 2012
    • my husband is virgo and i am pisces.  we are strikingly different.  for us its a combination that compliments each others differences.  our souls need each others teaching.



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