Do opposites really attract?

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I am pretty shy when it comes to the dating world, but I am venturing out into this unmarked territory with optimism as my compass. As you could probably guess, I am single—happily single that isJ. But, I do hope to be happily married one day. So, what is the secret—how do I get there? Fortunately, there is never a shortage of dating advice from family, friends, or a favorite talk show. However, at times, it is necessary to filter this massive flow of dating tips in an effort to retain only helpful advice. I decided to do a little filtering of my own by looking more closely at the popular adage: “opposites attract.”

So what happens when you have people who are polar opposites in a relationship with one another? How lasting and stable would their union be? Research on relationships indicates that drastic personality differences are problematic for intimate relationships, but minor personality differences can be complimentary and enhancing. When major differences related to belief systems and core values are involved in relationships, the outcome could be less than favorable; research shows that having similar values is very important for a stable relationship. It seems that extreme opposites that are magnetic in the beginning may end in catastrophic repulsion. And considering what researchers have found, it may be best to look for a dating partner who has similar values and complimentary personality traits.

Well, it appears that opposites may attract, but one may be cautioned against drastic personality and value differences. I am glad that I did a little filtering of the information on relationships. And while opposites may attract, they may not necessarily stay together.  It appears that “birds of a feather flock together” – and may have happier marriages!

Cassandra Kirkland, M.S., Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (ACHMI)

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