“Opposites attract” is an expression that’s commonly used in connection with relationships and refers not only to couples who are opposites in terms of their physical traits, but also to those who are opposites in terms of their personality traits.
For example, it’s not uncommon to see a couple who appear to be at opposite ends of the height spectrum, but if you take a moment to think about it, you probably also know of couples who are at opposite ends of the personality scale too – an introverted woman with an extroverted boyfriend for example.
You might also see a really nice guy with a bitchy, manipulative woman. Clearly, opposites do attract, but does the attraction last beyond the early stages of a relationship or do differences eventually become annoyances?
Do You Have Everything In Common For it to Last?
It’s a common relationship myth that you and your girlfriend must have virtually everything in common if your relationship is to stand any chance of lasting a lifetime.
It’s true that in the early stages of a relationship, the focus is entirely on shared interests and commonalities and you may even discover that you and your girlfriend have so much in common that you both feel like you could almost be the same person.
However, it’s not being the same that makes a relationship last, it is being two individuals who complement each other that makes a relationship endure through the good times and bad.
A relationship in which two people enrich each others lives rather than simply reflecting them is always going to be a more interesting and enjoyable one. Being able to appreciate the differences between you and enjoy that about each other also helps to makes a relationship work.
Are You the Ideal Couple?
Extensive research into the qualities of a happy marriage has concluded that the most important element of a long-lasting, loving relationship is a shared attitude to life.
For example: You both want to raise your own family and build on the families you’ve come from, by staying close with your parents, siblings and cousins. Or, you both want to avoid marriage and children for life and just go on outdoorsy adventures around the world.
Other than have a shared attitude to life, there really are no clearly defined prerequisites that must be met to qualify you as an ‘ideal couple’. In terms of personality differences between couples, it seems that just about anything goes these days.
Interestingly, the couples (in all the studies we’ve seen) who were continuing to enjoy their relationships after decades all had shared core values in common with their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife and were essentially working towards the same end goal together.
This doesn’t mean having to see eye-to-eye on every little thing in life, it simply means sharing the same attitude to the things that really matter to them in life. In a strong relationship, the things that really matter will be one and the same for both parties.
You and your girlfriend may not share the same taste in movies or the same taste in music, but in the grand scale of things, they’re not differences that really matter. What really matters is sharing a common vision of your future together or, depending on the stage of your relationship, having shared views on roles within a marriage or on parenting.
According to research carried out by the American Psychological Association, small differences and petty annoyances such as how someone eats or how they brush their teeth can cause conflict in a relationship.
Couples who are emotionally intelligent enough to actively look for ways to work through their differences are able to focus on what they love about each other and to accept each other for who they are.
In other words, if you get irritated by the way your girlfriend brushes her teeth, don’t watch her or don’t worry about it – it’s unimportant compared to the love and relationship you share!
Celebrity ‘Odd Couples’
A great many celebrity couples over the years have provided classic examples of opposites attracting, but not lasting. Back in the early 90s, a young, squeaky-clean Kylie Minogue paired up with Michael Hutchence of INXS who was a notorious bad boy of rock at the time.
Kylie has since said of the relationship, “He wasn’t as bad as everyone thought and I wasn’t as good. We met in the middle.” They were arguably opposites who attracted, but it wasn’t a relationship that lasted. It’s difficult to speculate why because celebrities live in a different world to us normal people!
When Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones got together in 1999, there was a 25 year age difference between them and it wasn’t a relationship that celebrity watchers considered would last. Within a year they were married and are still married today – a remarkably long marriage by celebrity standards.
Interestingly, they both share the same birthday but their successful relationship despite a significant age difference highlights that being of a similar age is not nearly as important as sharing a similar outlook on life, which they both seem to share.
Another ’odd couple’ who have stood the test of time are Heidi Klum and Seal. They were both enjoying highly-successful careers when they met; Klum as one of the world’s best known fashion models and Seal as a singer, but also a singer with a face visibly scarred by skin disease.
To onlookers, they appeared as opposites but they prove that it’s not a match in outward appearances that makes a relationship last, it’s a match in who the inner people are and what their core values are that matters.
Studies have concluded that opposites really do attract and they can stay attracted despite having obvious differences.
However, the bottom line is that the small differences are insignificant because there will always be more similarities on a deeper level with a successful couple than there will be differences.
Being different and having two perspectives in a relationship makes it interesting but, ultimately it is the man’s ability to deepen a woman’s love, respect and attraction over time in a relationship that really counts.
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