3 Common Misconceptions About The 'Opposites Attract' Theory

by Iulia Cirtina

"Opposites attract" has become one of those old-fashioned sayings. But regardless, generation after generation remains intrigued with the idea.

We love to see the least-expected combination of people unfolding before our eyes.

Who doesn’t like a good piece of gossip about how two people got together, without having anything in common?

Yet, few of us really know why opposites attract. But here are a few myths about the phenomenon I'd like to dispell:

Myth 1: Opposite attraction happens in a second, striking you like mysterious love lightning.

Well, just like lightning has higher chances of hitting us when we're closer to a metal object, the attraction strikes when it finds a vulnerable spot.

By a vulnerable spot, I mean any attitude or behavior we don’t naturally own or show, but greatly desire.

Let’s say you're a shy person who desperately wants to be in the center of attention for once. You may, all of a sudden, find yourself drawn to an extrovert, who is the soul of every gathering.

But make no mistake about it: Your soft spot for extroverts did not just occur in a split second.

It was slowly built up every time you felt small and invisible, and every time you wanted to know how it felt to have all eyes on you.

For the extrovert, it's the other way around.

He wished for so long to be seen as a profound individual, and this makes him magnetically attracted to a quiet personality.

Myth 2: Opposite attraction happens when we want to experience a new type of partner.

This is a partial myth. Yes, we want to be with somebody completely different from our previous romantic choices.

But that isn't all there is to it.

What mainly drives us to the opposite type of individual is the fact that we want ourselves to feel and behave like one.

Why don’t we just change the way we act instead of starting a new relationship?

The second choice is so much easier, of course.

When you start a relationship with the opposite type of person, you instantly become “guilty by association.”

You immediately start “borrowing” personality traits from your partner.

People start to wonder, "If that shy, withdrawn girl is with that wild party animal, maybe she’s not that shy after all?"

Dating an opposite partner equals instant gratification. Your wish is fulfilled, and you are suddenly seen as a new person.

Myth 3: Opposites attract because of chemistry.

You already know this answer from busting the other two myths: It's not chemistry. It's mind-related.

Opposites attract for one reason and one reason only: People feel the need to be somebody they're not.

People may be too embarrassed to recognize they want to act in a way they have criticized their entire lives.

It’s not easy to admit you want to experience what it’s like to be a go-go dancer when you've studied to be a lawyer. So you might as well outrage the entire world by dating a male stripper.

You conveniently blame it on the mighty, undefeated force called “opposite attraction.”

But don’t forget: The main reason for this is you want to know how it feels to be in the skin of your partner.

Most of the times, it’s a win-win situation.

There is no doubt you gain a lot from being with somebody who is so unlike you.

You may grow as a person and expand your personality. You may learn how to balance some of your extreme behaviors.

When does it become dangerous?

However, when few different passions turn into completely different lifestyles, things get dangerous.

Let's think for a second about the sports fanatic outdoorsman, who starts dating a bookworm and couch potato girl.

What should be the secret of a long and beautiful relationship between these two people?

The answer is always the passions they share, whether it's their love for animals, a TV series, traveling, food or a charity.

But if they have nothing to share, they'll soon find themselves spending zero time with one another.

We all need to have a common backbone to sustain the weight of the relationship.

If that isn’t strong enough, the couple will fall apart.

Plus, when you share something important with somebody, it's always easier to respect and enjoy the differences.