Brain Science – Why Opposites Attract and How this Attraction Benefits Your Relationship

Despite claims to the contrary, the old adage that opposites attract has been scientifically proven true. Admittedly, the adage itself is quite a generalization. After all, if two people who are complete opposites were to meet, odds are they would find little chemistry between them and if they did happen to become involved, their relationship might very well be doomed for compatibility issues later on. Therefore, the adage really should be reworded to say that those with a balance of commonalities as well as differences are bound to attract one another. Unfortunately, it just does not make for as memorable a catchphrase.

Opposites really do attract, and many people wonder why this is. It is a matter of neurobiology, for the most part. Our brains seek out that which is interesting and different, especially in other people, to satisfy our curiosity and to bring more enjoyment in to our lives.

It is great to have things in common with others, but that can get pretty boring, especially if you have no differences whatsoever. Opposites attract personalities present an exciting challenge, but they can also bring out your better side through their thought provoking and refreshingly different perspective. And, opposites do help to keep things interesting, maintaining the spark that keeps many couples together.

So, opposites attract because of:

  • Science

  • Curiosity

  • New and Different Perspectives

  • Excitement/Challenge

However, opposites also attract for another reason – to divide and conquer. This reason lends itself to neurobiology, as most people do not consciously seek a partner based on opposite attributes; it just happens naturally. Opposite personalities tend to complement one another. Each partner has his or her strengths and weaknesses, and the other partner is often the exact opposite, meaning that what one cannot do, the other can. And the same things can be said of likes and dislikes. Therefore, even though compromise will be necessary from time to time, the odds of petty squabbling over who does which chore, etc., are often diminished because what one partner does not like to do, the other might very well prefer to do, and things run smoothly because of the differences, not in spite of them.

Relationships and Compatibility 

If you had everything in common with your partner, life would become pretty dull, and you might find yourselves fighting just to keep things interesting, or because you have little to talk about. It’s great to like the same things and be able to enjoy them together, but when you both now the same things about a subject, it can become downright redundant and boring. The mind knows that a couple simply cannot have everything in common, and that is precisely why it subconsciously sees out partners that we have something in common with but who also provide us with a good deal of opposite attributes. Ideal compatibility is a matter of a fine balance of similar and different attributes, and it is that kind of compatibility that makes for solid, lasting relationships.


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