I find a common theme in many couples counseling sessions. That is that many relationships consist of two people who are very different than one another. One might be very talkative, but the other very quiet. One might be very outgoing and straightforward, while the other timid. How does this happen? How do they find each other?

The balancing act in relationships

Fire and water can’t exist in the same place. A liquid and a solid can’t take up the same space. If those opposites don’t mesh, how can a “happy-go-lucky” type of person mesh with a person who is very serious? So is this some kind of sick joke that we play on ourselves? The truth is they don’t mesh, they compliment.

Both water and fire are necessary in life, but we never use both for the same purpose. For example: What would you tell me if I was trying to barbecue with water. You might call me crazy and have me contact a counselor to diagnose my head because you use fire and not water to grill your food. But what would you tell me if I was trying to clean my utensils with fire. You would be convinced that there was something wrong with me because you use water, not fire, to clean your utensils.

The members in a relationship are no different than the fire and water example above. You need both, but not always for the same things at the same time. If you are the serious type, then chances are that you tend to worry and stress often. If your mate is the opposite, they will compliment you by revealing the bright side of things. Opposite attraction in a relationship can create a couple that can cope better organically. When both parties in the relationship are mentally healthy, the opposite attraction becomes a balance between spontaneity and over thinking which is deathly necessary.

How do opposites even attract if they are opposites?

There are tons of theories on this phenomenon. It only makes sense to choose a mate that has similar interests and is similar to you. After all, there’s comfort in what we’re used to, right?

My theory on this:

The serious type tends to be quiet, wound up, often stressed, worried, and overthinks. When they encounter someone who doesn’t seem to have these types of burdens, it is almost awe inspiring. Perhaps sub-consciously, they are thinking, “Wow! How can they carry themselves that way? I wish I could do that.” For the serious type, it is almost amusing and an enjoyable site. Since they are not extroverts, it is an intriguing phenomenon to them. Of course, I don’t believe people are outright thinking this, but I believe if you think about it, the serious type might notice it.

The “happy skippy” type tends to be the socialite, star of the show, can put a smile on almost anyone’s face, and can easily talk to anyone. I believe that, for the most part, it may be a more  off-the-cuff type decision for them to enter a relationship with the serious type because, when thought through, it just wouldn’t make sense. But we must realize, the socialite doesn’t like quiet, so it is a bit of a challenge to get the serious one to come out of their shell. They can’t comprehend why anyone could be down, everyone has to be HAPPY! The socialite will take on the challenge on a whim to be able to still be the “star of the show”. Nothing wrong with this as long as it stays healthy and not abusive for either party.

Neither type is better than the other, they both have their strengths. The secret in couples counseling is to find ways to make it compliment and work together.

How do opposites even find each other?

There isn’t one answer to this, but more than likely it is going to be the more outgoing one who will make bolder moves. The quiet type may tend to be more reserved, so they might be more of a reactor than an actor. You can even see the chemistry in this work as complimentary to each other.

This is not to say that a reserved person can’t approach people. The point is that it’s just not there thing. Approach just tends to be the outgoing persons forte.

The fact of the matter is that we all need each other because we all compliment each other. We can’t know how to truly love unless we know what to truly hate, otherwise what is love worth? We can’t have people who are always too serious, because then life would be boring. On the other hand we can’t have people who aren’t serious, because we’d get nothing done. So you see, we need them both.

If opposites attract because we need variety, then variety truly is the spice of life.

Gary Aris

-N.C.C.A. Professional Clinical Member -Ordained Minister, Lighthouse of Faith Christian Fellowship -N.C.C.A. Certified Temperament Counselor -N.C.C.A. Licensed Pastoral Counselor


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