In Relationships: Opposites Attract – But Do They Stick Together?

Yeah, it’s complicated.

For example, a quick Google search of the phrase “relationships opposites attract” brings up consecutive articles at the Psychology Today website which argue both sides of the issue, offering “proof” that people are happier in relationships with their opposite – and that they’re not.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Pro opposites attract: “While security, safety, closeness, and comfort are certainly qualities that characterize all fulfilling relationships, without a balance of excitement, passion, adventure, risk, and yes, even a certain degree of separateness, security becomes boredom, dependability becomes indifference, intimacy becomes claustrophobia, and comfort becomes stagnation.” (com)
  • Con opposites attract: “Studies have found that people are more likely to be attracted to and pursue romantic relationships with individuals who are more like themselves across a broad range of personal characteristics, including age, religion, political orientation, and certain aspects of intelligence.” (com)

What’s a layperson to do when the “experts” can’t agree?

Why You Choose Who You Choose

Unlike the authors of the first article, I advocate for neither but, instead, try to discover what works. Having grown tired of trial-and-error, my goal is to discover the characteristics and personality traits that will blend to become a secure, supportive, long-term relationship. Of course, if a long-term commitment is not a value for you, then the point becomes moot.

  • First, it must be said that the “pro” argument is being made by a pair of Licensed Social Workers while the “con” argument is coming from a clinical psychologist and is research and science-based.
  • Next, while there may be “more excitement” in a relationship between opposites, there can also be a great deal of turmoil, requiring far more emotional energy to sustain it.
  • Finally, the relationships from which you modeled your beliefs about the type of person who would be best for you will have a lasting effect on your choice. Whether you choose an opposite personality or one more in line with your own will largely be determined by experiences long forgotten and deeply subconscious.

Attach to Successful People to Attract Success

For me, the most telling information in the articles was the exploration of attachment style, something we develop early in life and which has a powerful influence on us all our lives. From the “con” article:

“Attachment develops from the relationship between infants and their caregiver, with particular respect to responsiveness and availability. The effects of early attachment are far-reaching, establishing how we perceive ourselves and others as we grow into adults. In broad terms, individuals who experience loving and consistent early caregiving develop secure attachment, while those who receive harsh and/or inconsistent treatment from their early caregivers develop insecure attachment.

Insecure attachment breaks down into two types:

  • Those who are high on attachment avoidance believe that others will not respond to their needs, and correspondingly have a negative view of others. They tend to avoid intimacy, and are ill at ease when they feel their partner is too close.
  • Those who are high on attachment anxiety are preoccupied with how available others are, and have a negative view of themselves. They seek out intimacy and contact with others, and can often be “needy” in their relationships.

Securely attached people are low on attachment avoidance and anxiety, and demonstrate higher levels of adjustment in their relationships.”

When it comes to relationships, whether friendships, professional, and/or romantic, it seems to me that attracting people who think much like you, or whom you would like to model, makes more sense than seeking opposites.

After all, if your goal is to attract wealth into your life, all types of wealth including success, health, and happiness, then you should be in relationships that enable and empower you to do so more easily and comfortably.

If you find yourself struggling to develop positive relationships, or to develop a positive wealth mindset, Send me a note to explore how I can help with overcoming your relationship struggles.

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