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Do Opposites Attract or Push Each Other Away? The Must-Know Truths

Everyone has tried to answer this common question – do opposites attract or do you need to be similar? Here’s some interesting information on that topic.

do opposites attract

At times, two people who have nothing in common may meet each other, and before the night is over, they may realize they’re madly in love with each other. And you might be asking, “do opposites attract?”

Well, they may even live happily ever after.

But at other times, two people who are completely different from each other may actually hate each other at first sight.

So do opposites attract or do they repel? Or is there something more to it?

[Read: The 80/20 rule in relationships and how it lays a big part in keeping love alive]

Do opposites attract – What does science say about this? 

Before we answer this question, we first need to define what being attracted to someone “opposite” of us actually means. If we take it literally, then it would mean that you and another person literally have zero in common with each other. But of course, that’s almost never true.

Even if it’s just the color of your skin, where you go to school, your favorite food, or where you work, you have things like that in common. Using this definition, there is no one who is completely opposite of us. 

We’re all human, and we basically want similar things – love, happiness, and things like that. So, obviously, we’re talking about deeper characteristics than the more mundane, obvious ones. [Read: Why do we fall in love? 15 reasons, some fate and a mix of science]

Studies do find that we tend to gravitate to people who have similar interests to us and have a similar background. So, according to science and several studies, opposites don’t really attract.

Some research has looked at people’s digital footprints on social media to analyze whether opposites attract. They looked at the material they “liked” as well as all the things they posted. 

What they found is that people generally interact with others that are pretty similar to them. While this is specific to online/social media, it does say something about face-to-face relationships too. [Read: 17 most important things in a relationship that hold it together]

Other studies have looked at romantic couples, friends, and acquaintances and surveyed them about their personality traits, attitudes, and values on certain topics. Most of the research concludes that most people in their lives had about an 86% similarity rating on all factors!

Regardless of these findings, you and your partner can still be different when it comes to the smaller things like food, music, and fashion sense. But in reality, just because one of you likes Indian food and the other doesn’t, you are probably a lot more alike than you realize.

Do differences cause problems in relationships?

You might think that couples who think they are opposites of each other might be more prone to disagreement or conflict than the ones that are similar. But studies have found that this is not necessarily true.

When you think you are the opposite of your partner, you are probably focusing on the obvious factors. But you have to think about things like your overall attitudes, preferences, values, beliefs, and communication styles.

And as long as those things are relatively similar, you probably won’t have as much conflict as you think you do – unless you keep fighting about your partner’s wardrobe!

So, as you can see, “opposite” can mean different things. The surface, more mundane things don’t matter if they’re different. But the deeper issues and similarities are what count when it comes to figuring out if opposites attract.

How can you make a relationship work with your “opposite?”

The first thing you should do is remove the word “opposite.” This has a negative connotation to it, and it implies that there is no agreement on anything.

Instead of using that word, it’s better to use the word “complementary.” It just gives you a much better psychological feeling toward each other. [Read: How to make a relationship last – 25 rules of love you can’t ignore]

And think about it – if you’re with someone who is too similar to you, then you won’t learn anything new. But when you’re with your “complimentary” *opposite* partner, you can be curious about who they are and explore your differences.

For example, let’s say you’re a bit shy and introverted and your partner is more social and extroverted. Neither personality style is “better” than the other. But even though you might think you’re “opposites,” maybe your outgoing partner will help push you to get out of your shell a bit more and enjoy socializing more.

In other words, you need to appreciate your differences. [Read: How to accept your differences for relationship success]

When you have a partner that is so different from you, it’s easy to be critical. But instead, you need to appreciate the differences you have. You have to make your partner feel appreciated for their uniqueness. Only then can opposites attract and complement each other positively.

You need to communicate very well with each other and find common ground. For example, if you are a night owl and your partner is an early bird, then try to compromise as much as you can. Find out what is good about being an early bird, and appreciate them for that personality trait. [Read: 18 healthy foundations of a relationship that separate the good and the bad]

Fairy tales and the attraction and repulsion of opposites

For as long as we remember, we’ve always loved the idea of opposites. From princesses and vagabonds to aristocratic girls and street bums, love always works best when we keep opposites in mind.

Does that mean opposites attract, or does it just mean we all love a story where a rich girl meets a poor, protective guy?

Even fairy tales take a biased view of how opposites work, don’t they? Just wealth doesn’t make two people opposites!

The most successful and loved stories are almost always similar. There’s a girl who’s beautiful, rich, and utterly helpless in her dilemma. And there’s a guy who’s street smart, poor, and strong and clever.

They’re opposites, true. But could opposites have worked in their favor if their traits were any different?

As much as we love opposites and believe that it attracts two people, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, it does. But almost always, it doesn’t. [Read: Top 30 reasons for divorce most couples always overlook]

When do opposites attract? The real truth

The attraction or repulsion between opposites always works when some opposite traits enter the picture.

If you see a trait in a person that you wish you had, it’ll draw you helplessly towards them. If you met a great guy who’s extremely charming and you’re a shy girl, you’d be awestruck by the way he speaks and may even helplessly fall for him.

In a relationship, opposites always attract two people when two opposites come together and complement each other to create a better twosome. 

But at the same time, if two lovers are opposites, but don’t really compensate for each other’s flaws, the relationship may be doomed to failure right from the start. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to watch out for]

Do we prefer to date an opposite personality in real life?

As much as we may love the idea of opposites in our personal love stories, it’s so much easier to date someone who’s more similar to us. 

The differences in an opposite relationship may keep the relationship exciting and crackling with romantic electricity for the first few months. But over time, the same differences may start to piss both lovers off.

Let’s face it, it’s easier to share fun conversations with someone who shares our interests, be it about work or things to do that evening. 

If one of you likes clubbing every night, while another loves staying at home, there’s no easy way to come to a compromise unless one of the two lovers changes their preferences for the other partner. [Read: 50 relationship questions to test your true compatibility instantly]

What makes similarity a better dating experience?

In the evolved world that we live in today, when it comes to figuring out whether opposites attract, you need to know that a relationship doesn’t just bring two people together. It brings in two lifestyles, two sets of families and two huge groups of friends together. 

If both of you are very different from each other, both of you have to sacrifice parts of your previous lifestyle for the other. And that means sacrificing things that are close to your heart.

How much can you actually give up for the sake of your partner’s happiness without hating yourself for it? And once the infatuation period is over, would you ever regret changing your entire life just to be with this one person? Is it really worth it? [Read: 9 relationship stages all couples go through in their lifetime]

For most of us who date opposites, these are the questions that trouble our thoughts all the time, especially after an argument. And these thoughts never go away.

So unless both of your likes and dislikes, and your characters complement each other, it’s always better to date someone who’s more similar to you than different.

The balance of power and when opposites actually attract and work

When two people who are fundamentally opposites attract each other and they start dating, the success of the relationship depends on the balance of power and how both lovers give each other the chance to become better individuals and become a better couple.

In any relationship, success depends on how the two lovers interact with each other. The guy may have a few traits that he’s proud of and performs better than his girl. On the other hand, the girl may have a few other traits that she’s proud of and performs better than her guy.

When two lovers who are opposites learn to accept the other person’s dominant traits and don’t oppose them in any way, their relationship will get stronger and better. And as individuals, they’ll become much better people by learning from their partner. [Read: 36 life lessons to instantly transform yourself and draw happiness from within]

On the other hand, if both or one of you don’t acknowledge the positive traits of the other partner, and instead tries to subdue that trait by trying to take a dominant position, it will definitely lead to a breakup or implosive frustrations.

Accepting each other’s strengths instead of looking at them as opposites

A relationship is all about the transfer of traits and energies. In a successful romance, both lovers learn to accept that one partner is better than the other partner in some traits, and vice versa.

By doing that, both of you look up to the other partner for some qualities and learn from each other, and become much better lovers and individuals.

If you don’t ever accept that your partner has a few capabilities where they’re better than you, the transfer of positive energy between both of you stops because you’d never be willing to give your partner a dominant role in the relationship.

You want all the power and control in the relationship, and that’ll leave your partner feeling weak, angry, and frustrated.

And in turn, that will create ego battles and both of you would just want to prove each other wrong instead of living together in perfect harmony and balance of powers. In such instances, opposites don’t attract and instead repel each other away. [Read: Affairs in a marriage and how egos affect its outcome]

The last word on opposites and attraction

This is very simple to comprehend if you have understood how the balance of traits and power in a relationship works.

The attraction of opposites will work in your favor if you and your partner accept each other’s positive traits. It’ll also make both of you better individuals and the relationship gets better with time. [Read: How to be a happy couple that’s envied by other couples]

On the other hand, opposite personalities repel each other when one partner’s traits make the other partner weaker or when one person pushes down the other.

[Read: 15 honest truths about being in love with an exact polar opposite of yourself]

So, do opposites attract, and are lovers in these relationships happier? Yes, just as long as both partners learn to share the balance of power. In fact, couples with opposite personalities can even enjoy their difference better and become better lovers and individuals too!

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Natalia Avdeeva
Natalia Avdeeva sometimes feels like she’s an 80-year-old woman trapped in a 29-year-old body. She loves buying makeup and ends up not wearing them most of th...
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