You’ve heard the saying “opposites attract,” but is that true? Usually, what draws you to a person are the things you share, like common goals and interests. After all, isn’t that what’s meant by being attracted to a particular type?
Can you have a successful relationship with a heavy metal fan when you’re into smooth jazz? Are you a night person, and your partner wakes up at the crack of dawn to go for a run? Can this type of relationship work?
The answer is “Yes.” Of course, you can make it work! While it may seem easier to date someone who is your type, it’s still possible to have a happy, healthy relationship with a person with whom you share nothing in common. Much like vinegar and water–wait, not a great comparison.
Dating your opposite is just as exciting, if not more so, than dating someone you have a lot in common with. For instance, you can learn about new things outside your regular scope. Think about it. Your partner can introduce you to an entirely new lifestyle.
If you are dating someone who is the exact opposite of you, keep reading to find out how to make the relationship work.
1). Find Common Ground
You and your partner may be different in many ways, but searching for common ground helps build a strong foundation from which you can grow together.
For instance, you like hip-hop, but he prefers country. What is the common ground there? Aside from Little Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, the common ground is, you guessed it, music. You both are music lovers, so it shouldn’t matter what type of tune it is.
Ways to Find Common Ground with Each Other
- Focus on similarities: Stop looking at the differences and focus on the things you have in common. If you only look at the things you disagree on, you widen the gap. Even if it’s a stretch, find your point of agreement.
- Listen more, speak less: We always want to talk about what we like and why we like it. Stop talking for a minute and let your partner tell you what they enjoy and the reasons why. Listening helps you learn more about them.
- Be positive: Instead of turning your nose up at what your partner enjoys, ask questions to discover why they like what they do.
- Be open to new ideas: Don’t be closed off from your partner’s opinions just because you don’t understand them or disagree with them. Instead, allow your partner to suggest their differing point of view.
- Agree to disagree: Sometimes you can’t find common ground on a subject. Hey, it happens. When this occurs, learn to shrug it off and keep it moving without hurt feelings.
- Take a break: Sometimes, your differences can be too much. Either let go of the topic altogether or take a break and revisit it after tensions calm.
2). Challenge Each Other but in a Healthy Manner
So what if you and your partner have different opinions on everything, including your favorite classic movie, holiday, and which is better, DC or Marvel (ahem, Marvel)? Be glad you have a partner with a different perspective because it makes debating much more fun.
It’s ok not to agree on everything. Isn’t that part of what attracted you in the first place? Just because you like Iron Man and your partner prefers Superman doesn’t mean you should dump them. However, if they liked Batman, we’d have a problem.
Even when the debates are slightly more serious, respect your partner’s viewpoint. Feeling like your opinions matter is the foundation of a strong and healthy relationship.
How to Fight Fair in a Debate
Debating with your partner can be fun, as long as you keep it easygoing, so avoid sensitive topics like politics, healthcare, or current events. However, if you see the discussion becoming heated, change the subject.
Sitting around looking for something to talk about? Here are some interesting debatable topics for couples to discuss,
- Is age important when dating?
- Are most men cheaters? (Interesting, but it can get heated, so be ready to opt out)
- Would you ever date a taller/shorter guy/girl?
- Any would you rather? question
- How important is money when dating?
These are just some questions that can spark a healthy debate. The best part is that you usually learn new things about your partner during a debate/discussion.
3). Be Supportive
If you have differences, so what? The best thing you can do is to support each other no matter what. Be each other’s biggest fans. You don’t have to agree with everything your partner believes, but you can still offer support.
For instance, you’re not the biggest sports fan. However, you can cheer your partner on from the sidelines at one of his league games. Just as you’d like his support, you should offer yours because that’s what people in a healthy relationship do.
4). Make Way for Change
Change in a relationship is natural. Your partner’s changes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. (Wait, think about it for a second.) Being in a relationship with someone your opposite may make life’s transitional changes easier to navigate because you have more understanding of an opposing view.
Additionally, having different views helps to be each other’s teachers. Life involves many perspectives, so the more you have, the more knowledgeable you are.
For example, if there’s something you don’t understand, your partner may be able to school you on the subject rather than keeping you in the dark.
Ways to Embrace Change in a Relationship
Change is good. Change is exciting. It’s also something you’ll have to deal with because it will happen. Are you ready for it? Read on for ways to embrace the inevitable modifications to your romance.
- Know when change indicates trouble: If your partner acts oddly, it might mean they’re bothered by something. No two people are the same, so they express themselves differently. If, over time, you notice your partner is acting in a manner that’s out of the ordinary, ask them about it. If they say nothing is bothering them, don’t press. Instead, continue to give your support through compassion and understanding.
- Modify how you handle conflict: Couples have conflict because each person continues to do the “same old song and dance” by repeating arguments. The next time you argue over the same topic, take a step back to observe the pattern. For example, ask yourself what prompted this same argument this time. See where you could’ve squashed the heated discussion and how you can keep from making this same mistake again.
- Accept that it’s ok for people to change: People change throughout the course of a relationship. This is when it’s vital to support your significant other’s modifications rather than expecting them to remain the same. Foster and appreciate their evolving needs, even if it’s a temporary change (a recent adjustment in the work schedule). Whatever the reason, your support will help strengthen the relationship.
5). Keep Your Independence
Even though you love your partner to the moon and back, you’re not going to be hanging out with them all the time. The best part about spending time with yourself is that you can do whatever you like without having to consider your partner because they can do the same when you’re not around.
Utilize your alone time by focusing on your interests. Do those activities you used to do before you became one-half of a couple. Practice a little self-care so that you and your partner will be refreshed and relaxed when you hang out again.
Additionally, taking time apart for a little “me-time” takes the pressure off having to do an activity together that one of you may not enjoy.
Ways to Keep Your Independence in a Relationship
- Reflect on core values and remember what matters to you most outside of your relationship
- Make self-care a priority and spend the day relaxing and doing what you enjoy
- Set and keep boundaries, so your partner understands your needs
- Try new hobbies like dancing or painting
6). Talk about Your Differences
One way to navigate through a relationship with your polar opposite is to be upfront about your differences. If you have a particular view on a subject, now is not the time to be embarrassed or shy about it. Instead, own it. You have just as much of a right to have your views as they do, so be proud of it.
Ways to Discuss Differences in a Relationship
How do you handle those times when your partner is not so agreeable? Read on to find out the best tips to deal with conflict in the relationship.
- Always create a welcoming environment: This helps open up communication when one person is uncomfortable discussing a specific subject.
- Be wary of arguments that come from a need to control: Do you notice a pattern of your partner arguing with you to get you to change something about yourself? (Dress, texting other people.)
- Get to the root of the issue: Often, when we argue, it’s because our partner is not meeting our needs or expectations. Stay focused on this issue and make that the forefront of the discussion. Don’t get sidetracked by other inconsequential matters.
- Be calm: Sometimes, the tension comes not from what you’re arguing about. It’s how you argue. So be calm and maintain a respectful demeanor in a heated conversation. Fight the urge to go low.
- Pick your battles: Not everything needs to be an issue. First, consider whether what you’re arguing about is important. If not, toss it aside. Relationships are challenging enough. You don’t need the extra confrontation.
- Agree to disagree: Although sometimes it feels like it, your relationship is not a TV show that wraps up perfectly in a half hour. So, stop wasting your time and energy if you see the argument going nowhere. Instead, agree to disagree and move on.
7). Bond over Other Activities on a Deeper Level
You have opposing views. That’s fine. Put that aside, and take a deeper look at common interests you’ve never tried together. They may be harder to find, but you do have some. Search for things you can bond over, like learning a new skill or going on a thrilling new adventure.
Doing so opens new doors for your relationship to help you learn more about each other on a deeper, more emotional level. What is your partner willing to try? What activities are a hard pass? When you’re eager to try new things as a couple, it builds deeper trust within the relationship.
8). Learn to Compromise
If you’re used to getting your way, learning to compromise may be a tough pill to swallow. However, it’s no longer only you. You have to think of your partner’s feelings. If you can’t come to an agreement, figure out how to meet them halfway.
On the other hand, set limitations on what you refuse to budge on and make it clear. Then, hopefully, they can meet you somewhere in the middle. When you compromise with your partner, understand that:
- The sacrifice is mutual and not one side
- There’s always good intent
- Communication is critical in every compromise
9). Keep Your Emotional Connection
You may be opposites, but something drew you to your partner in the first place, and that’s your emotional connection. This link is also what’s keeping you together.
Being polar opposites is on the surface of your relationship. What lies deeper down should be your focus. So what, they like dogs, and you’re a cat person? You make each other feel emotionally fulfilled with love, which should trump all differences.
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a difference between being loved and feeling loved. Feeling love makes you feel valued and appreciated by your partner. It’s as if someone gets you and loves every bit of you.
Some people might say to make a relationship work, you need to share common interests. Sure, that can help, but there are other ways to share a long-lasting healthy relationship. It doesn’t matter how different you both are. If they make you happy, go for it.