Do Opposites REALLY Attract?

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It’s a mantra you’ve probably been hearing since you were old enough to understand that boys don’t actually have cooties: “Opposites attract.” But does this myth truly have merit? Or is it simply a floundering, far-reaching allegation asserted by the masses in an attempt to simplify something as complicated as love?

We talked to the experts, and we found that, in short, the answer is both yes and no. In some aspects, opposites are great together… but in others, they aren’t.  Check out what the experts had to say!

Yes, opposites do attract…

1. …In personality.  

Possessing the exact same personality traits as a potential partner is bound to cause serious conflict somewhere down the road (which, in this case, would be rocky).

“There are some people that love the limelight and attention, so they could never be in a relationship with someone who is exactly the same,” says Suzanne Oshima, matchmaker at Dream Bachelor & Bachelorette. “Otherwise, they would be competing with each other for attention.”

Think about it: You’re the life of the party, and so is he. You may be envisioning yourself as one half of a future beloved power couple, but in actuality, your dreams would be short-lived — it would never work out. It works equally amongst the introverted as well, Oshima says.

“Two passive, shy people may not work together, because then no one would ever talk or take the lead,” she explains. “So in this case, she or he would need someone who is more proactive and outgoing because they're going to complement each other.”

All of you stubborn ladies, listen up: If you meet a potential suitor with the same type of vigorous resolution, red flags should raise. Imagine the power struggles that could (and most likely would) ensue. Therefore, take note: Finding someone different is awesome! As Oshima says, it’ll work out if you’re with someone who complements your personality — someone who inspires you and brings out the best in you.

2. …In looks.

This one may come as a bit of a surprise — not all blondes go for blondes, brunettes for brunettes and redheads for redheads. In fact, people tend to gravitate toward the opposite.

“In my experience of over a decade as a matchmaker, I have found that people seek opposites in looks,” says matchmaker, author and speaker Marla Martenson. “I have had countless black, Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin men that are wild about blond-haired, blue-eyed ladies, and blonde women seeking a smoldering, dark-haired man. Humans seem to be attracted to the opposite of what we look like.”

Have you ever seen a couple and remarked what a strange pair they made? It’s not uncommon to go for someone who’s your opposite in looks — and it can work out fabulously! According to a study by Columbia University, couples that are too alike in both personality and appearance have a decreased chance of a long-lasting relationship. So going for that cutie who’s totally not your doppelganger? Great idea.

3. …In interests.

While having common ground is always essential, having all matching interests is not actually a good thing.

“[Singles] look for people with similar values, similar backgrounds, similar goals and passions for the same activities, such as golf, skiing, travel and more,” says Julie Spira, dating/relationship expert and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. “They find someone that fits what they’re looking for, [and] often they find that there’s absolutely no chemistry.”

So, what should you look for? It’s not so much focusing on specific attributes in a potential partner as allowing yourself to go beyond your comfort zone, which Spira recommends. Don’t be afraid to go for someone who isn’t your type! Think about it: If you go for someone with different interests than you, chances are you’ll both always have a lot to share with each other.

However, EXACT opposites don’t attract.  

Some opposites can be good, but if both parties are totally opposite in every aspect, it means imminent destruction.

“Where it gets tricky is when their lifetime goals, such as work priorities or how you save and spend money, come into play,” Spira says. “It’s these areas that I believe couples need to be on the same page. If one is a workaholic, the other might get resentful of being left alone too often. If both couples are career-oriented, they can share their work challenges and goals with each other to have a support system in place.”

Oshima also believes that being on the same page in some regards is necessary.

“There still needs to be some common ground, such as common values,” Oshima says. “Otherwise, it will never work.”

If you’re a girl who’s into lengthy relationships and you plan on engaging in something serious with your college’s biggest player, you might want to rethink the idea. Keep in mind religious values, too. If you’re extremely spiritual and you’re falling for somebody who isn’t, or vice versa, there could be some serious issues.

The final verdict is this, collegiettes: Attempting a romantic endeavor with someone who’s your opposite in every regard is just a bad idea. However, we are attracted to people who have somewhat differing personalities, interests and physical appearances. So don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone!

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About The Author

Ashley McDonald is a sophomore at Central Michigan University, majoring in journalism and minoring in English. She is a contributing writer for HerCampus.com, and a columnist for Grand Central Magazine.

If she's not doing all of the basic stuff that life requires (school, homework, extracurricular obligations . . . you know how it goes), she's probably writing, or flipping through a glossy women's magazine. Or YouTubing (is that a recognized verb yet?) videos of French Bulldog puppies. Or maybe even shoveling mint chocolate chip ice cream into her mouth while watching reruns of Sex and the City. She leads a glamorous life.

If you'd like to know more (believe me, you totally do), follow her on Twitter @ashley_pmcd.