We are drawn to others out of needs and desires that are unfulfilled in our lives, such as a desire to experience greater connection, security, love, support, and comfort. On the other hand some of those unfulfilled longings have to do with their polar opposites, such as adventure, freedom, risk, challenge, and intensity. While these needs and desires may appear to be mutually exclusive, they not only can co-exist with each other, but in the process, generate a “tension of the opposites” that produces the passion that sustains, deepens and enlivens relationships.
Here are a few truths that will prove that you and your lover can be completely unlike and entirely in love.
You expand each other’s horizons.
Most of us are stubborn by nature. When you have a strong belief or opinion about something, it’s really hard to change. If you truly love the other person though, you will put your pride aside and listen to their opinion no matter how strongly you disagree. Choosing to love someone who has different opinions encourages you to see the world a little bit differently. Respecting and openly listening to your partner’s worldview and opinions will build a foundation of mutual respect, which is key to a happy relationship.
You’ll learn to walk a mile in each other’s shoes.
There’s no better way to practice this age-old saying than spending time with someone who’s much different than you. In regards to relationships, this will expose you to a different thinking process and a new way of doing things. When you know you and your partner have these differences, over time you’ll establish a higher range of patience for both your lover and other people in your life.
They will encourage you to be your best self.
If you have too many things in common you may begin to worry or stress when your partner acts out of character to those similarities. This, sadly, invites partners to try and control one another because they aren’t meeting expectations. When you have more differences than similarities, you’re encouraged to do the opposite because you’re already expecting them to act differently than you. The resulting acceptance will allow your lover to be an unfiltered, honest version of themselves.
You’ll learn and adapt practices you always wish you had.
The largest fallacy of mankind is feeling like what we have is permanent. No one stays the same over time, in relationships or otherwise. When you’re in a relationship, chances are high that your partner possesses a trait or characteristic that you wish you had. Perhaps your lover’s opposite habit is something you want to learn and practice. There’s no better way to implement new practices than by mimicking someone you love. They will often have more patience with you than you’ll have with yourself.
You’ll learn to embrace spontaneity.
Boredom is bred from knowing what to expect. Expecting a certain result happens more frequently when you’re dating a carbon copy of yourself. On the flip side, when you’re dating your “antonym”, if you will, you learn to expect the unexpected, or leave expectations out entirely. Arguments and bickering occur when expectations aren’t met in relationships. Having no expectations, or expecting the unexpected, will add unpredictability to your life and extra spice to your relationship.
You build higher tolerance for your lover and for others.
To echo the previous point, expectations can easily lead to frustration. Dating someone who’s very different from is a never ending test of patience. This patience won’t always be easy, particularly early in the relationship and in times involving ultra-sensitive topics. But tolerance and patience build quickly when you spend a large amount of time around someone who’s different. You learn to understand and adore their differences, resulting in higher tolerance, compassion, and love in and out of your relationship.
You will be complements to one another.
Really, you shouldn’t need another person to feel complete. You, and you alone, are all you need to feel fulfillment. But the saying “they complete me” is the most true for those who share multiple differences. You may be eccentric and your partner is a homebody. He’s not the best driver and you've never been in an accident. He’s emotionally intelligent and you're terrible at reading people. He’s a fantastic cook and you burn water making ramen. The list of opposites and complements are endless.
We may not know exactly why opposites attract, but there’s no denying that opposites who date each other can have extremely fulfilling relationships. Because a successful relationship isn’t about dating the same character, but learning to love what makes you different.