Why Do Opposites Attract?

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attempt ourselves and behave in ways that would make us blush; however, the net result is often like a train wreck when the opposite types collide in the middle.

Or think of it this way, you buy a side of beef and then stick it in your freezer thinking, “Let’s invite the neighbours and friends for supper!” Next thing you know all the steaks and roasts are all gone and you are left with only the stewing beef and hamburger for yourself. That’s all that’s left and the freezer never gets empty.

When opposites meet the relationship goes up into the air like a rocket. That’s partly because what people often do is conceal their true type and instead imitate the exact opposite style. It’s easy to do and a trap that’s hard to get out of easily. Remember the movie starring Rob Williams as Daniel Hillard, alias Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire back in 1993. It makes the point that a fun loving, spontaneous type can turn on a switch and become organized, detailed and a strict conservative. So, it’s this kind of versatility at first that catches our fancy. Later on when the true type becomes less elastic the desire to change becomes less and less and the relationship suffers.

Well there’s more to it because opposites make us want to take up the challenge and change things and make them go our way. Most people will admit to the fact that they wished that they could change a few things about someone they live with or work with just so they would become a better fit. Here’s why. Try this out for yourself. Take a blank piece of paper and write down as many things about another person as you can think of that are his or her likes and dislikes. You must be specific. Things like good sense of humour don’t count. Those things describe the person. Instead put down his favourite sports team, her favourite perfume label, shoe sizes, favourite food, and preferred drink.

Name all the specifics about the person that you can think of without including any generalities. What you will discover is this. People that are highly compatible easily and quickly exhaust their list simply because they don’t need to pay attention to all those things. Incompatible couples can write for pages and pages on seemingly every possible subject. In counselling, I’ve listened to one partner exclaim “She doesn’t even know me!” while on the other hand her list is endless with details – none of which have anything to do with the heart. And that’s the point.

We all find ourselves in one of two types of relationships. The working ones, Dr. Wright calls “cottage relationships.” We all know what a cottage is. It’s the place you relax in, eat your meals in and then get back to the beach or patio. We don’t care too much for the cottage as far as it being an investment of our time. It’s the place we launch out from to have fun and it is in the background of our lives. People who are compatible have relationships that resemble cottages in that they hardly ever use the term “relationship” in a conversation. It’s all about you or me and what’s happening and what’s going on. The focus is on learning and growing and it shows.

“Cathedral relationships” aren’t like that. They take practically all of the time to build and the energy is spent adorning them with all the extras. Cathedrals take generations to build and complete and the work is never finished. Opposite types are the ones who want counselling for the relationship. They see their relationship as the third party in the ring. Everything revolves around the satisfaction of having made the relationship into something special – like having accomplished something. Rarely do opposite types see the dilemma they are creating and the sheer energy loss trying to build a successful – dare I say it again, the “R” word.

How do you spot the real true love in a sea teaming with possibilities? Well according to Dr. Wright, you wait for the “twinge” factor rather than the “tingle” syndrome. Observe the other person and listen carefully to find out – one thing that seems to rub you the wrong way. You’re not looking for a big thing, mind you but something you notice that you are curious about or perhaps even better wouldn’t notice about yourself.

If you get a “twinge” rather than a “tingle” then it’s very likely that you have found your perfect mate. Here’s the reason why. We do better in relationships with people that we are compatible with and that means having lots of similarities. Now similarities don’t mean being identical or the same. Similarities are the connections to the way we do things or the styles we use to communicate. It’s very sexy to be attracted to someone with similarities.

Now the reason why we get those seemingly nagging “twinges” instead of delightful “tingles” is because we are actually seeing a mirrored characteristic of ourselves and the most natural reaction to seeing it in someone else is to reject it. It does sound strange but the clinical research shows that we have the slightest tendency to resist someone who shows similar tendencies to ourselves at first – then later on we begin to celebrate them with passion.

So, Dr. Wright’s advice is postpone the desire for those “tingling” sensations for a while and pay attention to those "twinges". You may just be in the right place at the right time and be taking those first steps toward a highly compatible partnership that will last for a very long time.

For those of you who need a Partnership Coach or are wanting to improve your chances for finding the perfect match contact What's My Type?

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