Sure, Opposites Attract! But Can They Really Provide a Foundation for Happily Ever After?


Recently in a conversation about dating, my mother told me I wasn’t perfect and I should stop being so fussy (yes, she really could take a lesson in being nice from the mother’s of all those mummy’s boys I’ve dated in the past). I responded by telling her that I was ‘almost perfect’ just a little bit chubby 😛  As ‘almost perfect’ as I believe I am, I don’t think I’m the easiest chick to date. And would I want to date the ‘almost perfect’ male version of myself? Probably not! It’s probably a good thing then that they say opposites attract.

Being creatures of the OK Cupid dating age, I find that we’ve become obsessed with finding a partner that ticks all the right boxes. A certain age range, race, class, education level, address (that’s very very important in Cape Town because nobody wants to date a boy from the Northern Suburbs :P), religion, political views, hobbies…the list goes on. And tough luck if a potential suitor falls short in one of these areas! In most instances, we are looking for someone who matches up to us in each of the categories, something which I think it almost impossible to achieve.

Of course, you need to share some common ground with a potential partner. For instance, if his only topic of conversation in astrophysics and you are the kinda chick that would rather spend the date discussing the latest fashion trends you saw in the latest edition of Cosmo, well things are going to get pretty dry soon enough. If your date comes for a culture where woman are seen a subclass that only exist to be slaves to their men and you are a raging feminist (or any woman with an average upbringing) then chances it won’t be long before you guys clash in an epic way.

Even if we managed to successfully use a list of non-negotiable deal breakers to sift through the deadwood, the chances are we’d still end up encountering people who stood at the other spectrum to us on a whole of things.  But does being incredibly different to your significant other necessarily mean you’ll be incompatible?

In the short-term it’s obvious why opposites attract. Most people would find dating their shadow mind numbingly boring. While it’s nice to connect on some commonalities, it’s also pretty cool to be exposed to new things, some of which you might never have even known existed. Basically, meeting someone different from yourself and the usual suspects you hang out with can be quite refreshing and can be the source of some excellent chemistry.

I don’t have an unequivocal answer to the question of whether polar opposites can maintain a healthy relationship? But you just have to look around to see there are cases of people who couldn’t be more like chalk and cheese if they tried, but somehow together they work pretty well. I guess it depends on a number of things but most importantly what the differences are. If two people differ on somewhat more superficial things such as their taste in music or fashion, such differences are easily overcome. There are those things such as religious differences or divergent world views that might not even be worth trying to tackle.

Finally there are the types of differences which I believe have to the potential to do a lot of good. For example, people who’ve had diverse life experiences and hobbies have the ability to open our eyes to new perspectives and opportunities (who knows you might have a secret marathon running gene that you never knew about till you met the girl who made you chase after her around a field). For me, a person who is passionate about the things they do, even if these happen to be wildly divergent from my interests, is attractive (unless maybe their passion involves their mother or sitting indoors all day playing computer games all day long ) and finding out what makes them tick keeps things interesting.

Ultimately though, I think it really boils down to a person’s attitude towards the relationship. If both parties are open-minded and willing to embrace the each others’ idiosyncrasies, discuss things in a mature way (easier said than done, I know) and give things a fair chance at worst you’ll learn something new or have some exciting experiences. And maybe in the best case scenario all the stars will align, things will eventually fall into place and you’ll live happily ever after. Call me idealistic. THE END.

Alright Rinsers. I’m done pondering around in circles. It’s your turn. Do you think that beyond that initial attraction there is any hope for people who are opposites when it comes to a long-term relationship? Or do you think it’s best to continue searching for someone as ‘almost perfect’ as ourselves who ticks all the right boxes? Share your views in the comments below. 



  1. I absolutely believe opposites can work out as long as there is understanding and tolerance between the two of you. If it leads to a constant fights then no, no matter the attraction it is unhealthy, but if you can listen snd accept your partners views and not believe you will eventually change him or her then I say go for it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

      The changing people thing is a problem. I think when you get involved with someone hoping they’ll change you are taking a huge risk and even if they do change the change may not turn on the way you envisaged (I drafted a post on this – I’ll hopefully publish that soon)!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Happily ever after…”

    Marriage is 100% compromise by both people…or someone feels taken advantage of? The ego is a powerful character in our lives, and no matter what the baseline for a relationship is, the ego can make or break the formula. Too much, contempt starts to seep in, too little, you get steamrolled by your partner. Partnerships aren’t defined by the intrinsic properties of the partners…but, by their capacity to negotiate around the specifics of what each individual wants separately😎

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your point about the ego is something that hadn’t even crossed my mind but its really worth mentioning.

      I guess problems arise when one person insists everything has to be their way or alternativly becomes a doormat who is afraid to say their piece.

      Nice points 🙂


    • I agree with you on the ego part and the capacity to negotiate around the aspects of the wants of the individuals. Look at how the ego rules the relationship with ourselves, so you can well enough imagine how it works in a relationship with someone else. Like I always said before being in a relationship takes compromising in all aspects. Opposites can attract just as well as they may not. The same goes for people who share the same interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a really good question – in my opinion, in the end, for all relationships to be successful it comes down to the level of commitment between two people. If two people mutually agree to make it work, and both people know who the other is and still continue to engage, then that is the recipe of reciprocation! I do agree with you that it “boils down to a person’s attitude towards the relationship” as well.

    Of course, there is always more than hope for people who are opposites, and I do not view meeting someone ‘almost perfect’ as oneself who ticks all the right boxes as an applicable solution at all either. For me, at least, it comes down to how two people respond to each other emotionally and what the specific “deal breaker’s” are that are specific to two people. I think that there has to be some similar values. However, I do not have 50 years of experience either, but appreciate thought provoking questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m glad the post got you thinking.

      Yeah, the tick box thing is great in theory but I haven’t had much luck with it to be honest. It seems that if I have strong feelings for a person then all the lists in the world get ripped to shreds and logic gets thrown out the window. I guess that the heart (and maybe the hormones) trump the head most times.


      • While I could see your theory holding logical merit EnglishRosiee, you could also look at it as an exercise to determining your own truth to form a logical conclusion and make the best decisions possible based on the facts at hand. Suppose your list had a parameter that triggered a perceived negative reaction that you correlated may or may not be related but most likely is for the purpose of having you break such value (not important in larger scheme) OR making a potential indirect threat (is important in larger scheme)-> you may reasonably balance the reaction with the parameter in an attempt to re-balance the scales or establish a point that outweighs the parameter based on the variables of the equation that are desired for others and your own reputation.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderfu inquiry!
    I’ve seen many
    including myself
    who match well
    with those with
    other ideas & interests.
    Can’t see staying in
    an intimate, long term relationship
    with someone who has fundamentally
    opposing views on what love
    and commitment means 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I think the last line says it all – our views on love and commitment are really what matters. I guess if the two parties agree on that then there is a good chance they can make it work. Although I’ve been in relationships that have failed, not due to lack of love but because of certain practicalities which caused issues. It’s pretty grim really!


  5. Complete opposites produce, in my experience, relationships that don’t last. A substantial meeting ground, and then enough differences in outlook to make things interesting, works far better. From a romantic ideal viewpoint, the partners who share most interests, and work at also sharing the ones they didn’t previously have, are the ideal. Ticking boxes is not an issue. It should be love/infatuation to start with regardless of the ‘suitability’ of the person, then tested by whether it progresses to d deep and abiding friendship which is love even when the passion isn’t coming into things. Marriages rushed into during infatuation are often doomed.
    My wife and I went out for two years and were engaged for another two. It was a recipe for a very happy Golden Anniversary.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmm, I thought your post would be about something different due to the brief conversation we had yesterday. The best examples I have of couples who are in healthy and happy relationships are not opposites of each other – they may fill different roles within their relationship (very good so there is no competition or resentment of having to compromise and do something that you really don’t like doing… example: one person loves to cook and the other person loves to clean) – but they are interested in the same things. This allows them to explore their common interests and new interests together. For instance, both people enjoy surfing and explore new water activities.

    I think that when “opposites attract” it is purely on a physical level. They find each other hot! And sometimes, the sex can sustain relationships for a good length of time; during which each person compromises, or as geminilvr puts it, “understands and tolerates” each other.

    Relationships are so much easier to develop into sustainable connections when you are basing it off common interests, qualities, and values. I would look for that and finding each other hot as hell!


    • Pat !!!! You are hilarious!! Even if people are opposite in looks – the looks will fade. If seen hotties turn into notties in a the space of 6 months! Looks are not really a huge factor. However, I do get what you are saying about opposite looks ending up together – e.g. the bookish girl and the jock, Donald Trump and Melania ! LOL!

      Ugh, I’ve tried to do the whole tick box things it hasn’t really go me very far though.


  7. Do opposites attract, sure they do, do those relationships stand the test of time depends on the differences and whether the relationship deepens following dating. What you need are shared values which give a commonality then as long as both continue to work at the relationship any relationship can succeed. Both have to continue to grow and develop individually and as a couple. Different interests are good gives space and conversation. But there also needs to sharing to cement and maintain the bond.

    There are so many myths about fairy tale falling in love and happily ever after perpetuated by films and books that expectations get skewed I think. Opposites or alike the same stages apply.
    Also the issues are different when first dating, to an ongoing relationship.
    When one is first dating its all about the needs of the self , sure we compromise and we give but only because we want to and it benefits us. Its new and exciting as we discover different layers about the person. However honest we think we are being initially we present a sanitised version of ourselves we maybe bury some if our less salubrious thoughts and habits we show our best side or the side of our personality we think will most appeal to the person dating us. So like that ice berg there are hidden depths both good and bad.
    As dating continues we get to find out more about the person we begin to care and instead of doing things because it has benefits for ourselves predominantly we do things for the us. Then we value the person for themselves and not just for the benefits they bring to us, we value their strengths and live with their frailties. If you get to that point you have a solid relationship. If things irritate the hell out of you, if it causes major dissruption maybe you haven’t!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well even with requirements and lists there is never going to be somebody that ticks all the boxes human beings are born and develop with flaws and quirks and habits some of them truly annoying. To my mind dating is about going out with somebody having lots of fun, having your ego stroked, and other things too and discovering who is hiding behind the new date façade. That’s when you decide yes I am going to risk letting this person deeper into my life or not. When you might change gear from early dating ‘us’ more serious ‘us’ . Hopefully at this point you will decide if squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle, leaving dirty stuff around or whatever the irritations are are things you can live with or not, because if they are really an issue and the mission is to change the other person then it’s not going to work. And one needs to make the decision then before becoming deeply involved.
      With some mutual respect, good communication and lots of hard work, most relationships can be fulfilling for both. I am firmly if the opinion that soul mates are possible with opposites or clones but nit without a degree of hard work. The dating bit is the easy bit….yeh I know if you can find someone nice to date.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In an instant, I fell in love with my ex-husband, thought it was God moving my heart, and married him. My kids and I moved in with him (in a different state) in June. Since then, my life’s been a living hell. We have, absolutely, nothing in common.

    I love God, worship, the bible; he doesn’t. I love to meet people and know them; he doesn’t. I love conversation, a bright house, conversation; he doesn’t. etc… I have this way, if I feel God telling me to do something, I jump. Well, I feel I’ve jumped into a pit of doom, but good things “have” come out of it, so…

    You described my husband in one line: …(unless maybe their passion involves their mother or sitting indoors all day playing computer games all day long )…
    There’s so much I didn’t realize, but now, it feels too late. Had I gone about it the “normal” way and dated him, I never would’ve gone on a second date.

    I appreciate your article. It’ll prompt people to think. Honestly, I think people who have things in common should pursue relationships. It’d be way more fulfilling. Through all this, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of “life,” and I’m not sure I can get it back.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I enjoyed this post because unlike mine you brought in topics of culture. You live in South Africa and I live in the USA, so that alone brings up differences and that’s the best part! Where there’s ddifference there’s opportunities for learning and growth ALWAYS! I tried to like this but I couldn’t… I’m on my phone, that’s probably why. I love this and thank you for sharing this with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you’ll keep following our posts.

      Yep, the culture thing is quite a problematic difference I find. It’s a lot more entrenched than most of us believe and it transcends lots of different areas like religion, class, education, etc, etc. It’s easy enough to say keeping an open mind will sort everything out but I guess there are just sometimes where you end up feeling out of place…and we all have insecurities so it can end up causing issues.

      Oh yeah…the whole culture thing is a big issue in SA where it sometimes feels that people will never move on from the divisions created by Apartheid. I find that because I am from the UK and grew up in a more integrated society where I could date whoever its less of a problem but I find there are lots of people here who only date within their own class/racial circle! I often hear comments that stereotype a whole race with a certain characteristic. Yes, it’s a bit grim but I hope in time these attitudes will change and people won’t make assumptions on cultural differences based on race/class, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ok having read some of the comments I have to ask why if you say you and another person are polar opposites why are you trying to change someone else ? Do you want a exact replica of you ? or do you wish you learn and grown from someone with a slightly different point of view? I spent 30 years in a marriage with someone who was opposite of me , there were times it had it’s strong points once we made a commitment to blend both worlds but once one changes to pleases the other and the other doesn’t change…then it became toxic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not trying to change anyone but just posing the question of whether a long term relationship can be successful if two people are polar opposites.

      Changing people to fit your mould or tick all the right boxes won’t work…firstly it’ll just because you should love the person just as they are and also because by trying to change them you might actually end up with someone you don’t actually like much.


  11. It’s one thing to have standards which you should have but it is more important to be balanced with those standards. We all are imperfect so it’s always going to be impossible to expect perfection in selecting someone for a relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

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