Dear Dating Coach,
I am going out with someone who seems to be different from me in many ways. He is adventurous, while I am a homebody, he is outgoing, while I tend to be quieter, and he is spontaneous, while I like to plan. So many of his differences appeal to me, and offer me an excitement I never thought I would enjoy. My family however, worries that we are too dissimilar and that our differences may cause friction down the road. I always counter with the adage that “opposites attract.” Who is right?
My oldest son loves ketchup. Not merely as a dip, or a condiment that we all enjoy alongside a serving (or bucket) of fries. He considers ketchup to be a vital food group that deserves its rightful position alongside any dinner, lunch, or breakfast. He will dip potato chips into ketchup, hard-boiled eggs into ketchup, and fish into ketchup. He will smother his morning bagel in ketchup, and I worry about the day that he begins to drink coffee – with a dollop of ketchup of course. Some of his ketchup creations make sense to us, we appreciate them too, and some leave us speechless (and nauseous) baffled by his insistence that this dip has enhanced his dish. Now, while the general consensus seems to agree – and most would never dream of dipping anything other than a French fry into ketchup, our culinary genius enjoys pairing his Heinz with the unconventional. As our young master chef reminds us – it’s really all a matter of taste.
It’s always exciting to date someone new and to discover who they are and how you feel when you are with them. You are now dating someone who seems to be different then you. While you may approach life with caution, they leap and explore – intriguing you and offering a new daily perspective. Different can be exhilarating, especially if you have a tendency to be more circumspect and careful. Different suddenly allows you to enjoy the fun that spontaneity and a sense of adventure often offers.
“Opposites attract” is a phrase we’ve all heard. One that implies that we may best get along with those that are not like us. In contrast, I tend to believe that we connect best with those that represent our similarities, those who see the world the way we do, and approach life with the same degree of caution or impulsivity. For me, the adage, “opposites attract, then opposites attack” more often rings true. In the beginning it may be fun to throw caution to the wind and allow the day to take you where it may. However, you will still be the same person you have always been, and living life by the seat of your pants may soon lose its luster. It can become exhausting and frustrating to constantly view every circumstance differently than your spouse. Suddenly, finding yourself living through the lens of a metaphoric journey; one where you want to carefully map out every trip, and he wants to simply jump into the car and drive.
On My Ketchup…
That being said; opposites attract can certainly work long term for some. Some may find that their differences compliment each other, offering a peaceful balance where adventure coexists amidst a plan. This seems to work when the “opposite” is not in the extreme. Perhaps he is prone to spontaneity, while she envisions their future with more care. It is when the opposites that you both represent seem to directly contrast with one another, that I would suggest caution and careful thought toward the long term. But if you can see the beauty in his dissimilarities without contest, if your differences seem to complement each other without a struggle, then enjoy your dinner as you see fit with all the ketchup you want. I know my son would agree: finding your perfect pairing is all a matter of taste.