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Why Opposites Don’t Always Attract (And That’s Ok)

Oil and water doesn’t mix.

Once upon a time, I was seeing a guy. On the surface we were pretty compatible but, of course, we had our differences. In the end, we called it quits and I realised, without the rose-coloured glasses, the differences that I found fun about our ‘thing’ would never make a healthy partnership.

And while there were a few things that brought it to an end, I can see how we would never work out because of how fundamentally opposite we are. At first, I found his conservative perspective fun to ‘argue’ against (you know how those ‘cutesy’ arguments go). Countering his traditional views with my baby-gender-studies-student arguments was thrilling, I can’t lie. But it was also deeply frustrating, and I had to let him go (here are some tips for letting your current flirt go btw).

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At the end of every squabble (tbh they were debates, ugh) an uneasy feeling always bubbled in my gut. A knot twisted inside me when he refused to let his point end. Every time, I was the one who had to let it go. But that tightening discomfort wasn’t without reason. It was anger. And now, away from our fling, I can (and do) let him know.

So we’ve teamed up with our buddies at headspace to bring you our Swipe Right series on all things sex, love and dating. Because I know that opposites don’t attract, and I know that it’s okay.

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

For all the times you’ve been told to look for your hat opposites attract, and you’ve searched for your perfect counter partner to pick up your slack, you should remember the old adage: ‘birds of a feather flock together’.

Science has proven that men need not be from Mars nor women from Venus. In fact, the more similar we are to our partner, the better. Because although the initial attraction of difference is exhilarating (trust me, I know), that shooting star burns out pretty quickly.

Most of us believe that ‘opposites attract’. That’s because we’ve been fed the narrative of the ‘bad boy’ and the ‘good girl’. We’ve been told that whatever we don’t add to a relationship, our partner should. And we’ve been conditioned to fear similarity. We worry that our relationship will be boring if we date someone with too many similar interests, hobbies, goals and values.

But the thing is, our relationships (especially long-term commitments) need some kind of commonality or they would never work.


That might explain why there’s only a few long-lasting relationships I know of where the two people are polar opposites. It might also explain why chalk-and-cheese relationships rarely last beyond the honeymoon phase. The good girls chasing the bad boys (and vice versa) are left hanging. Now you know, it’s not you, it’s not them (well, it might be). It’s science.

You May Not Be Able To Empathise With Your Partner

But, if your partner has similar personality traits to you, you could probably identify how and when they need a little empathy. Getting into someone’s head when we don’t have the same key can get complicated and, often, frustrating. And it often leads to problems and communication breakdowns in the future.

It’s Easy To Get Bored When You Have Nothing In Common

How much fun have you had conversing with a stranger who you don’t find any common ground with? It’s a hoot, right?

No it’s not.

Without common interests, you’ll quickly get sick of doing their ‘things’ and they, yours. Soon you’ll be mad they bailed on you, again. And that’s not a sign of a strong relationship.

That doesn’t mean you can have some differences. But how are you meant to find a good date activity that you both like if you can’t agree on anything?

Novelty Things Will Wear Off Quickly

In the long term, if and when you choose to live together, clashes in personality and interests will come to the fore. While you may think their super particular, tidy personality is a cute contrast to your chaotic lifestyle, in the end, it’s going to cause some coexistence issues.

A Good Relo Is Like Dating Your Bestie

The best relationships you have in your life are with people who are similar to you. Whether that’s through personality, taste in food, or habits. That’s because we choose our friends based on what we have in common, not by our differences.

Having a strong friendship is the foundation of having a strong romantic relationship. And, though you may not want to admit it, passion can fade but friendship really does last forever.

It’s not you, it’s not them, it’s science. Opposites may attract, but not always – and that’s okay!

Either way, whichever way a relationship does start, it’s a heart-racing, electric time. So enjoy the ride.

Find a love interest is hard enough these days, let alone worrying about who is the perfect fit for you. But never fear young lovers, check out headspace’s relationship advice right here for more tips on finding your special guy or gal. Good luck!

Image Sources: GIPHY


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