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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.
The 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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