Can Opposites Attract and Go The Distance?
Tips for How to Find Common Ground When Opposites Attract
Dear April Masini,
My partner and I couldn't be more different - which I think is why I was so attracted to him in the first place. But when it comes to the relationship part, our differences are really coming to the surface and making things difficult. Do you have any tips for how we can come to some common ground, or is our relationship doomed?"
Oil and Water
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Oil and Water,
You've heard the expression, "opposites attract," right? And it always makes for a great story - the Harley rider and the straight-laced librarian. Or the cheerleader and the computer geek. But the truth is that once the novelty of the opposite wears off, what's left in its wake can just be a whole lot of differences -- differences that can seem and feel insurmountable.
But bridging the gap between those differences, as well as the gap that will inevitably occur in any relationship, even for two people who have more in common - is possible with deliberate effort and a few helpful hints.
Search for Shared Interests: Though you may think of you and your partner as oil and vinegar (and to some degree, what man and woman aren't!), the truth is that you probably have more in common than you think. Finding what those commonalties are may just require a little digging.
And if you simply cannot fathom what they might be - create them for yourself:
Sign up for a class or two that appeals to both of you
Learn to dance the tango
Join the gym together
Become members of the same club (poker, book, etc.)
Read the same book at the same time
Learn to each play an instrument and make music together.
Whatever it is you choose to do, be passionate about it and keep each other committed. That alone can give you a common goal!
Meet in the Middle: So you're a bleeding heart liberal and they're a card-carrying member of the NRA. No need to change your political beliefs - like that could ever happen. Instead, look hard for the places where you can both meet (you're each passionate about politics) and agree (maybe you each love the outdoors and want to rally your support around fighting for environmental issues, albeit in different parties). Your common ground is out there. If it's worth it to you, you'll find it.
Remember What Initially Attracted You: If you've been in your relationship for a while, you've probably experienced the transition from adoring them to abhorring them - usually for the exact same reasons. When this happens, it's time to take a moment to buy my book Romantic Date Ideas (which was written for situations just like yours) and then while following the book, engage in some pure, unadulterated reflection. Try to remember how whatever is bothering you now used to appeal to you way back when, and most importantly, why.
Learn from Your Differences: Ask many time-tested couples what the secret to their success was, and more often than not, you'll hear that they always kept learning from one another. If you're couple who are opposites, you actually might have the advantage, if you can remind yourself to appreciate what it is your partner brings to the table. That special thing that you would never have known or experienced or felt were it not for them.
And while we're on the subject... if you want to keep your relationship smoking, get a copy of Romantic Date Ideas!