Thursday, November 10, 2005

Birds or Opposites?

Here’s something I have been pondering:

Do you believe in “opposites attract” or “birds of a feather flock together” when it comes to significant others?

I think I was always a strong proponent of “birds”, but because of my current relationship, I am finding that differences are not always something that will doom your relationships to failure, as I had the tendency to believe.

For example: my darling and I have sent each other several CDs (yes, the newest version of a Mixed Tape). I put on his some of my most favorite and meaningful songs, as well as incorporated a few that I thought would suit his musical palate, based on what I knew about him. He sent me some really entertaining songs that were completely new and foreign to me, and then again sent me CDs of meaningful songs, random songs, and songs appropriate for driving. I can’t get enough of the distinct sounds from Over There, which is a good indication for me that occasionally stepping out of my comfort zone is beneficial.

We have contrasting opinions on religious issues, television, reading (as in, he likes to and I find it hard to finish one book in 9 months), and several other things. This frightened me at first. Could I really be compatible with someone so divergent from myself? Could I really accept the fact that he’s different from me on Point A, B, and C? Would that mean that I was sacrificing my values or standards and giving into his? Yes, yes, and no. What I have found is that our differences make me happy. Although, yes, sometimes I feel like a fool for him having more knowledge of US history than I, it gives me the desire to learn more and understand why he’s so interested in certain things. I think oftentimes I snub something merely because I was too lazy to learn about it (hellooo ignorance!), or it doesn’t strike my fancy. But when someone sheds light on a subject, spins it in a new and interesting way that makes me want to inquire more, I start to value the diverse aspects of that person.

Furthermore, if you are with someone who’s quite similar to you, sure, you might be able to decide on a movie quicker, but does it afford you the opportunity to express and investigate anything different? Well, that’s not fair to say, actually. As you move and grow and mature into a relationship, you have to experience new issues together, from which varying opinions may
surface. But are you able to open each other’s eyes to new and interesting experiences, subjects, and ideas? I used to think I wanted to be with someone who paralleled me. When that exact relationship presented itself and I entered into it, I found that it was a complete disaster. The experience was like dating myself, which I KNOW I couldn’t do! Now, being with someone who mirrors me on several important issues but still has dissimilar interests and opinion than me, I can fully appreciate the other side of the coin, so to speak.

I think you need someone who balances you out. I’m a worrier, he’s composed. I’m impatient, he’s more serene. I tend to act on my emotions, he shows me a way to handle a situation which won’t have my regretting my actions a day later. Balance. Gotta have it.

It’s crazy what you continually learn if you periodically step outside that warm, comfy bubble of self-protection. Says I.

Insignificance Conveyed @ 12:22 PM   11 GabbyGabbers

11 "Sure was sweet of you to drop in":

At 1:09 PM, Blogger AnonymousCoworker "told me"

I lthink you described it best at the end of your post. People who are complimentary seem to work best. Not exact opposites or people who are very similar.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Me Over Here "told me"

Hey AnonCo--Dumb question but...how do I post a comment on your blog?

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger Rob West "told me"

I am of two minds on this particular topic.

I think someone who shares my most fundamental values is absolutely necessary. My reasons for this are complex, but I know that it simply won't work otherwise.

Beyond that, I can think of several areas in which I am personally lacking, wher I'd like to have someone who helps me in those ways. I am impatient and disorganized. I need someone who knwos how to keep me patient and organized.

I tend to be lazy. I dislike this about myself more than I can tell you, but I am at a loss as to how to fix it. I would love to be with someone who is willing to kick my ass when I'm not willing to kick my own, but also who inspires me to do the things I am not willing to do but that I know I need to.

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger kate "told me"

Yep yep - that's why Adam and I have lasted as long as we have - he's this where I'm that, and so forth. Never a dull moment in Apt. 407 (as you will soon see!!!)

 
At 2:26 PM, Blogger trishy "told me"

I'm with Rob on this. My other half and I share the same set of values and basic beliefs about life, love, and relationships, but our interests vary greatly. We tend to really delight in each other's interests, because they bring us new experiences and we get to see the other excel at something we've never even attempted.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger Chris "told me"

I think it goes without saying that fundamental values are key-ssential. A relationship is more than trading favorite music, movies and books, and it's more than just someone to make out with...or what have you. With good communication, which is a must, stories are told, secrets are revealed, and a new truths are uncovered -- and if you and your partner don't share the same values, many of these "truths" may not seem so great after all -- even though he/she really has a nice bum!

Ahem, sorry.

I think opposites do attract because there are always certain qualities in others we kind of wish for ourselves. The last girl I "dated" was very wild and spontaneous where I tend to be more routine and predictable. And I fell in love with her because we had the time of our life together. However, we didn't last because, going back to my first point, we didn't share the same views and values.

 
At 7:21 AM, Blogger Lauren "told me"

I agree with Rob, Trish, and Chris. When it comes to religion, my man and I just gotta be "right there." And even politics (even though I don't get into politics) are important in a relationship. Because I'm so unsure of what exactly I think on certain issues, I want someone who will explore with me rather than 1) explain what I SHOULD think, or 2) make me feel dumb for not caring or not having a set opinion. Like Rob, there are certain values that I have decided (through failed relationships and some years of experience) must be agreed upon between me and my significant other. If not, it doesn't matter how much we're drawn to each other at the beginning or even how much fun we have when we "avoid" the key issues--it just won't work. Which sucks sometimes. But I've come to a point where I'm pretty picky and I trust that there's someone out there who fits me as perfectly as is humanly possible. . .

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger Curly "told me"

I'm seriously going to have to stop reading your blog on a Friday afternoon - you pose such thought-provoking questions!

I agree with Rob West in many respects, in that you need someone else to encourage you to engage in other activities and to broaden your horizons. BUT, it's no good if they're fundamentaly so different that you argue about everything you do together.

How can you find someone that thinks exactly as you do? Besides, that would make them just like yourself (as you point out) and therefore neither of you would have anything to discuss. On the flip side though, you could have a great laugh as you share the same sense of humour, and taste in Men/Women (delete as appropriate).

To be honest, I could go on for ages, it's something to discuss over a cherry flavoured beer.

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Me Over Here "told me"

So...all in all...

Sharing the same important (to you personally) values with your Significant Other is essential to a healthy relationship.

However, differences between the two of you may be critical as well to promote healthy communication and form an understanding between the two of you that spawns a great respect for the other person. It also provides great converstation topics.

Yeah?

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Lauren "told me"

Yep!

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Jona "told me"

The BH and I had NOTHING in common when we met, and I won't deny the first few years were very vocal between us. But a balance was reached and we perceive ours differences as complimenting each other now. Seventeen years on and we still don't like the same music, TV, books or people, but our realtionship is still fun and varied because of it. And at least we have the kids in common now ;o)

 

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