Think back to the last few people you were attracted to. Picture them in your mind — how they looked, acted, and behaved. What was it that drew you to them? Was it all the similarities you shared, or was it because they were so unlike you? Depending on how you answer, you may believe the idea that opposites attract is real. Or maybe you're the type to consider it a made-up phenomenon by big rom-coms trying to trick you into buying movie tickets. But is there actually some truth to it? Do opposites really attract?
In an effort to answer this question and finally settle the debate, I reached out to experts — bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter and Pricilla Martinez, an online life coach at Blush — to get their take on whether or not people really are attracted to their opposites, and if so, why? Winter cut right to the chase saying, "Yes, it’s true that opposites attract." But as for the why, well... that's where things get interesting. Here are all the reasons we're drawn to our opposites — and whether or not a relationship between opposites has any chance of working out.
1It’s different and new.
One of the main reasons we're drawn to people who are totally unlike us is simply because we’re attracted to things that are new and mysterious. “We know ourselves and we know people of the same disposition and makeup,” Winter tells Elite Daily. She adds, “Having a replica of ourselves can quickly become a bore. There’s no expansion, and certainly no surprises.” Since a component of attraction is that sense of excitement and discovery, dating someone different keeps things interesting and fresh. “An opposite allows you to function way outside your norm and discover things you wouldn’t have experienced before,” says Winter.
2Your opposite has qualities you admire.
I'm a fairly shy person, so I tend to find myself drawn to people who are outgoing and gregarious. It's partly because they're easier to talk to when I want to clam up, but also because I just really admire that quality in people — and I'm a little envious. Martinez tells Elite Daily that's actually one of the reasons why people tend to be attracted to their opposites, because, as she says, “people are attracted to qualities they admire in the other person. A lot of times, those are qualities that we don’t actually have ourselves.” Martinez adds, “We like the things in our partner that we either wish we had or need in our lives.”
Winter agrees, saying, “We find ourselves drawn to those individuals who exhibit the parts of ourselves that we repress, or leave unexpressed. Somehow, they have the courage to live the life we dare not live. Or, they have the discipline and focus to achieve the goals we’d like to conquer as well.”
3They create balance in the relationship.
While it's true that we are attracted to people who have personality traits we admire, Martinez says there's actually even more to it than that. “Whether we are aware of it or not, we seek balance,” she says. She offers this example: “If I’m an anxious person, I want to be with someone who calms me rather than adding to my anxiety.” In this case, having someone to counterbalance that anxiety is better than having someone who shares that same disposition. It really is all about finding someone who can balance you out, and that person can easily be your total opposite.
4It keeps things exciting.
But balance shouldn’t have to mean boring right? Circling back to the idea that someone who's different from you can keep things interesting, Winter says one of the main reasons opposites tend to attract is simply because “It’s exciting.” She adds, “Our opposite will respond to situations differently. Our opposite will have a different viewpoint. This difference creates a different outcome. Now, our life has unpredictable and exciting possibilities.” Hot.
But, should you really date your opposite?
While pursuing a relationship with your opposite may seem exciting, is it actually a good idea? Or is a relationship with your opposite destined to fail? Winter says “pursuing an opposite personality type is actually a good idea.” However, she explains there are some caveats. “The issue at hand is that of extremity. Ideally, your partner should be different enough that they challenge and excite you. However, there has to be enough similarity to keep the two of you bonded and connected. This is a delicate balance. Your perfect partner should be just different enough to be exciting, yet familiar enough to be grounding.”
Martinez agrees, saying, “In the end, pursuing someone who is like you or your opposite is not as important as a shared philosophy around compromise.” Exactly. No matter how alike or different you are, there are going to be moments where you disagree, or have some friction in the relationship. It's how you deal with those situations that ultimately decides whether or not your relationship was meant to last.
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