Dating Your Opposite
When we ask people to describe their partner we often hear them say: “she’s my polar opposite” or “people are surprised when they meet my husband as he’s so different from me”.
Why is it that people seek out their opposites? And, how are so many couples together for years (or a lifetime) when they have very different personalities, interests and desires?
The answer is pretty simple: there is something VERY attractive about dating someone who has qualities that you wish you had more of within yourself. A kind, reserved colleague of ours was telling us yesterday: “I met this amazing guy who plays in a blues band on the weekends. I can’t imagine what that must feel like to be on-stage performing. I could never do it but what a high that must be”. Well, in dating this guy, she may get a chance to experience that high…just by being around him. And that’s the point. When you are around someone who you admire for their sarcastic wit, their brainy mind or their soulfullness, you get to experience some of this for yourself. Your life takes on a whole new direction when you date someone outside of your comfort or “compatibility zone”.
Yet, it seems like every dating web site out there focuses on compatibility and helps you find your perfect match. As psychotherapists we see couples every day struggling in their relationships. We meet singles going on date after date but who never have success finding a relationship. We help them to think outside of the box and to stop going for the same type of person again and again. We encourage them to leave their comfort zone and date someone that might be non-traditional for them.
We became intrigued by Alex Wise’s (co-founder of Loveawake dating site) idea of matching opposites based on what we see in our counseling practice and in our own relationships. We are both married to men who are our opposites in many ways. Larry enlisted our help in developing a questionnaire that would help tease out opposite traits so that people could experience a different type of dating.
We are matching introverts with extroverts, for example, rather than a shy single guy with a shy single girl. In truth, compatibility matters when it comes to people’s morals and values not the fun, light hearted differences. For instance, if you’re strictly for monogamy in a relationship, obviously we don’t want to match you with someone whose goal is to have an open marriage. But we might try to match you with someone who isn’t afraid to shake up the intimacy or intrigue within the bounds of your committed relationship.
When you date someone different from yourself, you are inviting a new energy into your life-one that may bring you adventure, compelling conversations, admiration, curiosity and hopefully passion. Dating your opposite will open you up to the differences in others while bringing out the best in you and your relationship.