Two people could hardly be more different and yet they have fallen in love. Is that going to be good in the long run and does the saying that opposites attract, really?
We find them to be attractive, but in physics, only different magnetic poles can attract each other. But is this theory transferable to human relationships? Is there a spark of truth in the saying “opposites attract” – or is that all nonsense?
Opposites attract or not?
A Cornell University study has dealt with this question. 978 heterosexual persons between 18 and 24 were interviewed. First, it was about how much value they put on their personality traits when choosing their partner.
They were given the choice of a list of ten characteristics that they should rank in terms of mate choice. Then they should also assign these properties to themselves.
The ten features chosen by study authors Peter M. Buston and Stephen T. Emlen were divided into four categories. It was about financial and social position, family awareness, appearance, and sexual loyalty.
It turned out that the people who considered themselves to be attractive and successful were also much more picky in their choice of a partner than those who had a lower opinion of themselves.
Men and women also did not have the same ideas and desires for mate choice: for women, qualities such as ambition, social status, and a certain ability were more important than men. Also, the desire for family and children was more pronounced among women – they want a partner who is not afraid of attachment and responsibility.
For the men surveyed, however, the physical appearance of her partner was more important. In addition, they put a lot of emphasis on sexual loyalty.
When it works!
Whether very different couples can be happy together, of course, depends on how they deal with each other. If both appreciate the different properties, it can be super in the relationship. Then it’s an enrichment to get to know the other and thereby broaden your horizons. It is also important that no one tries to become like the other and nobody wants to change his treasure extremely.
Such couples must not forget that they have felt exactly attracted to the opposite. If both remain curious, the differences bring great energy or pleasant tension into the relationship.
What about the opposites?
The professors analyzed the self-assessment of the person in terms of the characteristics that were crucial to them in mate choice. Their analysis showed that, at least in Western society, it is not the opposites that attract. Even the pure desire for family and children is not crucial, but: It is the similarities that draw us to another person.
Behind this is the desire for a stable partnership, which, according to the professors, we automatically consider possible with a person who is both characteristically and externally similar to us.
The saying of attractive opposites is therefore out of place in love. Man does not want a completely opposite partner at his side. Above all, out of a need for security, since character differences ultimately cause too much unrest in a relationship.