Do Opposites (Really) Attract?

*Ferena Debineva


Opposites don’t attract, unless they’re magnets – Maharani Karlina

So, do opposites really attract?

The answer is simply:



Then why do many people believe that “opposites really do attract”?

Attraction is strongly influenced by similarity, and we tend to find people who has similarity with us more attractive than the one who hasn’t. But, contrary to popular belief, the opposite, in our definition about “opposite,” wasn’t that polar opposite itself.

It is the subtleties in the way similarity operates that may mislead people into thinking that opposites do sometimes, attract. Matching is a broad process. Matching involves multiple resources and traits. Fame, wealth, talent, looks – all that I’ve mentioned above are examples of commodities to attract  a desirable partner.

Educational background, for example, which is considered to be an important commodity in choosing a partner, can’t be seen – or simply been unseen so we can”t see it as a similarity, and therefore we jotted them down as something totally different – polar opposite.

People will find similarities in others. But when people see that one’s is different enough in action, all that similarities tend to be blurred out of nothing. Trading one asset for another in order to obtain partners of similar social status, similar mate values. In a long term relationship, dissimilarity can fade gradually, when couples try to obtain new found similarities to help them keep up with their partners.

Even in BDSM, opposite attract does it function properly. Dominance and submission, both has similarity to do their function and need for the partner.

After all, what connects us?



Yeah, I can recall you screaming from your heart saying that you and your partner complete each other. I can recall that you said that you and your partner came from a completely different pole, a talkative and cheerful person versus an emotionless one – and how you guys beautifully connect.

Complementary attracts, not opposite.

We have this belief that our partner is the person who we want to become. We tend to like those who are similar to our ideal images. Our desirable qualities. Figuardo et al., (2006) once said that the most appealing partners of all may be those who are similar to us in most dimensions but who fit our attainable ideas in others.

So, again, what connects us?

Similarity, and the narcissism reflected on others.


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