We’ve all seen the movies and read the books where the multi-millionaire falls in love with the working-class woman. Where two people who can’t get along realize they’re meant for each other. And where the couple who have completely opposite views on absolutely everything manage to make it work despite their differences. Maybe opposites attract in Hollywood and in pop culture, but what about in real life? Is it better to be different? Or to be similar?
I got to thinking about this as a result of a friend’s relationship. She and her boyfriend couldn’t be more different. She has the New York City skyline as her computer’s screen saver. He wants to live in a cabin in the woods. She’s all about corporate finance. He’d happily give his worldly possessions to the poor. I’ll admit I’ve wondered if their bliss will last. Can they really make it work long-term when they’re total opposites?
Most relationship experts believe it’s better to be with someone similar to you; and that partnerships comprised of vastly different people have a low probability of success. These experts point to a few main areas where similarities are crucial: physical attractiveness, education level, financial success, religious views, and the desire for children.
Key Aspects of Compatibility
I get what they are saying, but I think two key points are overlooked when we simplify compatibility down to whether it’s better to be with a mate who is similar to you or one who is your opposite.
First off, there’s a lot more to a compatible relationship than both having college degrees and wanting three kids. There’s a less tangible compatibility and it’s much more difficult to describe. It’s formed when you and your partner process the world in the same way. You have similar reactions to things and don’t find yourself having to explain or justify why you think the way you do. When you have this kind of compatibility, you’ll be in agreement more than you will be at odds.
Enjoying Differences and Respecting Boundaries
Second, you don’t have to be similar to be truly compatible. In fact, whether or not you can be successful with your opposite has to do with both of you enjoying your differences. Many people find it exciting and dynamic to be with someone who doesn’t believe everything they do and see their relationship as an opportunity to learn.
As long as you aren’t trying to change each other – and you are able to respect your differences – two vastly dissimilar people can be completely compatible. However, if you’re constantly trying to change each other’s viewpoints and argue frequently as a result, you’re probably better off sticking to people who are more like you.
Complexities of Compatibility
When it comes to compatibility, it’s not as simple as whether opposites attract or repel. Like most things in love, there are no easy rules or magic formulas to follow. And sometimes you have to try on a bunch of different relationships before you find one that works. But – much like that perfect LBD – there’s no denying it when it fits you exactly right.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, the dynamics of relationships, whether between similar or opposite people, are complex and multifaceted. While some experts emphasize the importance of similarities in key areas, the less tangible aspects of compatibility, such as shared reactions and a mutual understanding of the world, play a crucial role.
Additionally, enjoying differences and respecting each other’s viewpoints can lead to successful relationships even when partners are vastly dissimilar. In matters of love, there are no strict rules, and finding the perfect fit might require exploration and understanding.