Do opposites really attract?
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase ‘opposites attract’. I know I have and while I’d love to say my mind jumps to physics and opposite poles of magnets having a strong connection to each other because of their polarity, I’d be lying. My mind, like most, lunges into the realm of relationships, specifically romantic relationships. No doubt this is because of the context in which this phrase is most often used: in films or literature to express the relationship between two characters.
The two characters are considered opposites because of their appearance, their culture, their beliefs, their habits, or any number of other reasons. The important part is that they conflict. Most often they have differing personalities that causes them to react differently in every situation. They don’t see eye-to-eye in any way. They don’t even think in the same manner. Yet, for some reason unbeknownst to us mortals, the two are drawn to each other.
But are they really?
Are the two lovers actually drawn to the each other because of how amazingly different they are? Or are we simply forcing them together because their conflict causes tantalizing, tension-filled friction and we need a satisfying ending?
Of course, we likely assume opposites attract because we have seen such things in nature. Magnets attract each other when their polarity is different. So, why shouldn’t humans be able to come together and be attracted to each other despite the fact that they have nothing in common? -.-
Well, first off, humans aren’t magnets. I’m not even sure we have polarity (but I didn’t really do well in physics), and we are
supposedly some of the most complex beings on this planet. So, how could we possibly be as simple to understand as two magnets?
More importantly, how can a relationship be summed up so simply as ‘opposites attract?’ Mustn’t there be something far more deep and complex going on here if two completely opposite people are somehow able to come together? Not to mention, if personalities vary so much that they clash at every turn, how on earth would two people be capable of cohabitation?
One wants kids, the other doesn’t.
One likes it cold, the other likes it hot.
One likes sweet foods, the other likes spicy foods.
One likes horror movies, the other likes rom-coms.
One likes sporting events, the other likes operas.
One likes staying out late, the other wants to go to bed early.
I think you get the picture: if they have nothing in common, there is nothing for them to do together other than argue. Arguing may be filled with passion and intensity and tension, but this relationship style is extremely unstable and incapable of existing long-term. Like all unstable things, it will explode at some point.
But what do you think?
Let me know in the comments!
And check out my discussion from last week:
“Are Writers more Empathetic“