He’s old, she’s half his age; she’s rich, he’s from the wrong side of the tracks; she’s got a college degree, he’s a high school drop out. You see or hear of these opposites forming relationships all the time and yet what many people don’t realize is that these relationships generally are long lasting. We won’t go into the psychology behind opposites attracting like this, but it does raise the question as to why these relationships are stronger and longer lasting than others.
The answer often is not by looking at what is working in these relationships. The answer is more often found in what is not working in failed relationships. If we ignore the more extreme factors like substance abuse and violence, we arrive at factors such as poor communication and feelings of being taken for granted.
Communication levels are different in every relationship and when those ‘opposites’ relationships fail, communication is at the very top. The one complaint you rarely hear of in these relationships is ‘being taken for granted’. Opposites tend to have more respect for one another and this respect drives other factors in that relationship. Rather than one partner being taken for granted, the focus is more on an inclusive approach to life where roles, tasks, and life in general is shared.
Opposites do attract, and they do tend to stick together for long periods. However, even opposites run into difficulties and require external assistance. Counseling can help any relationship that is running into difficulties. We can learn one thing from those opposites involved in long-term relationships – and that is to have a little respect for each other.