A Different Way of Looking at “Opposites Attract”

Posted by adrionna on Aug 19, 2012 in Wisdom and Life

A couple posts ago, I wrote about the stay Cody and I had in an Arkansas cabin two years ago. Dark surrounded us and the dead quiet seemed so unnatural to a pair of kids who had gotten used to city noise. I had mentioned Cody’s sudden protective, almost primal, reaction to the silence and our presumed openness to vulnerability. He was hyper-aware and cautious of any potential dangers, while I was feeling pretty much the complete opposite. It seemed that the more I sensed his nervousness, the more I felt I was okay – I felt stronger and more reassured than I ever would have in such a creepy situation. I guess I wanted my tranquility to seep into his anxiety. I suppose I just wanted him to know that, even though it was incredibly gentlemanly (and attractive) that he wanted to protect me, I was okay, and he would be okay, too.

Just yesterday, Cody and I decided to grab a quick dinner at Portillo’s and got our entrees before we got 2 cheese fries orders (that’s about a 30 min wait for fries; turns out they lost the receipt). Cody was understandably upset: he was really hungry, and there’s really no reason for a 30-second job to multiply into a half hour one. While I could sympathize with Cody, I could also forgive the employees – we had arrived at dinner time and there were a lot of orders to keep up with! We just happened to be the unlucky order that got lost in the sea of receipts. Cody made a valid point when I told him to mind his temper, though: “If I weren’t upset right now, you know you would be.” He was right – if he would have been calm in that situation, I probably would have felt more upset than I did. Rather, I was what he needed – the tranquility that just wasn’t happening in that moment. I balanced him out. We balance each other out.

And isn’t that what a relationship is about? “Opposites attract” might not mean what we generally take it to mean. Maybe it’s not “good girl and bad boy” or “preacher’s daughter and high school drop out.” Maybe we are attracted to the people who are acting the way we would like to act more often. The person who’s losing her patience might feel attracted to the guy who’s holding the door open for the elderly woman who’s still feet away. Maybe the homebody-girl who’d like to get out more often finds the opportunity in the club-guy who goes out all the time.

Perhaps we’re really just looking for a balance, and we find that in people who are acting differently than we normally do. Don’t get me wrong: a solid foundation built on common beliefs is necessary for a relationship to work and grow and thrive. It’s interesting to consider however, that in the beginning, when we’re trying to find our other half – the one who’ll share the weight — the one who completes the part that’s missing within ourselves.. we’re attracted to our opposites, first.

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