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.