When it came time to start thinking about what to write in a new blog for some reason I was reminded of an article I read a couple of years ago while waiting in a doctor’s office—Do Opposites Attract? At the time I recall thinking, of course, we romance writers put them in stories every day.
But now I wonder if it isn’t the deep-down similarities our heroes and heroines share that make them fall in love and settle down for a happily ever after.
My thoughts—in some areas what’s good about being different is that one or the other in the relationship makes up for whatever character trait is lacking in the other. Will it work if your heroine is very shy and your hero outgoing—life-of-the-party type. I’ve known couples who think and act so much alike they finish each other’s sentences. Would they seem boring as book characters?
What if one character, say the heroine is headstrong and independent and you pair her with an obstinate man who declares himself always right? Would an aggressive man (in real life) even be attracted to an equally aggressive woman? I remember once when my nephews were teens saying to my very competitive younger daughter—“you need to back-off sometimes, guys won’t want to date a girl who always wants to win.”
Have you ever had a sweet girlfriend who ended up marrying someone you think is a real jerk? If so, what makes the relationship work? Are they truly happy, or does she always give in for the sake of simply not liking confrontation of any kind? Are emotional differences easier to navigate than real differences? In life does “the odd couple” really work? If you’re a neat-nik, could you ever be happy living with a slob? Or say a home-body paired with someone who loves to party. Realistically how long might one person put up with quirks and habits totally out of sync with the attitudes or beliefs of a partner?
In our books we rarely pen couples past the point of time the “honeymoon phase” might wear off. Some authors of on-going serials have on-going characters, but I’ve noticed the marriages are always happy and solid in subsequent books.
I admit to being intrigued by couples who meet via the Internet and fall in love and marry in relatively short amount of time. Are they honest about likes, dislikes, beliefs, and deeply held convictions? How many men or women see little irritations in someone they seriously think they love, and go into marriage assuming they can “change” the other person? I do remember the article I read saying that if you’re not willing to change, don’t think you can change another. And yet debate is healthy. And compromise is a character building strength.
Since I chose this topic I did some online research and found an article where experts say having more of the right similarities is more helpful in a relationship. Then I had to read on to see what “right” similarities are. I gathered it’s a matter of sharing more likes than not. One professor of psychology said he didn’t really think true opposites attract. For instance The Beast looks for Beauty not the other way around. Perhaps he never saw Shrek.
That particular article listed areas where a couple’s similarities are probably significant. Money, physical attractiveness, desire to have children, religion, and education to name a few. Also if long-held values, or how one half of a couple wants to spend their time is vastly different from the other, it will likely lead to a troubled future they say.
But, boy, another group studying the issue of opposites attracting think it’s true. They say people are naturally attracted to individuals who are different – it creates excitement. They conclude that when two opposites operate as a couple, they become a more well-rounded, better functioning unit.
I’m sure opposites do attract. The question that keeps running around in my head is: can a couple be too different, or too alike to insure a successful long-term relationship? To answer this I need you all to jump in and give your thoughts on this subject.