Jul 13, 2011  •  In Personal, Relationships

Learning to Balance (Opposites Attract)

J is finally back from his business trip, and I couldn’t be happier.  :mrgreen:

This was the first time in years that we had spent a night apart, so being away from each other for three nights was plain torture. We had promised each other that we would video chat every night via Skype, but you know what happened to my computer.  :cry:  I really wanted to cry when I first saw him this morning, and I’m not just saying this because I know he will read this.

And to show my appreciation for him, J returned home to a…

To-do list on the fridge for him.

I know! Aren’t I such a great wife?

Later in the day, when I jokingly nagged him about the list, he (very rightfully) asked, “Can’t I just get a day to rest on my day off???”

I’m pretty sure that if you ask J what one of his biggest annoyances about me is, he would tell you that I need to chill sometimes. That everything is not imperative, that non-emergency situations can wait, that I need to take things slower and enjoy life once in a while. (That to-do list on the fridge? I would’ve taken care of them myself a long time ago only if I were tall enough to do them.)

I know this, because one of my biggest annoyances about him is that I feel he needs to stop being so relaxed about everything and get things done ASAP, before everything starts piling up and/or we forget about it until it’s too late.

J and I have many, many things in common. We are both computer geeks who are obsessed with Star Wars. We both love professional basketball and football (we have rooted for the same teams — the Knicks and the Ravens — even before we met) but aren’t that into college sports. We are both musicians who play various instruments in addition to belting it out on karaoke with a good beer in our hands.

The list goes on and on.

But personality-wise, we couldn’t be more different. J is a true extrovert through and through, while I am one of the biggest introverts you will ever meet. He is very personable — the type of person who can become your new BFF in just one night — while I have the social skills of a gnat. J loves to joke around, and I am much more pensive and serious. He lives life in a carpe diem manner when I like to plan and think out everything. He sees the glass as half-full while I’m sure most of my readers are well aware that I tend to be a pessimist.

There are certain types of personalities where, if you put two people together with the same type of dispositions, they will mesh very well together. “We are so alike…it’s like I met my long-lost twin AND best friend!”

Then there are types of personalities where two people with similar characteristics may end up hating each other. (I am actually quite certain that if I were to meet someone with the same personality as me, I probably will not like him/her very much.) Or, when two people with completely different temperaments predictably do not get along.

I think that I have gotten very lucky in that J and I have many preferences in common, but our personalities are complete opposites that complement each other very well. He helps me get more out of life and see the bright side. I keep him grounded and focused. And by doing so, we make each other better people.

It’s funny, because J and his brother W are complete opposites…in fact, W’s personality is very very similar to mine. What makes this even more interesting (and perhaps a bit freudian?) is that W’s wife is very much like J. Whenever the four of us get together, it’s not unusual for J and my SIL to be joking around while W and I sit there rolling our eyes at them.

If you are in a relationship, are you in the “opposites attract” type? Or were you and your significant other drawn to each other for your similarities?

(The photos from this post were from our engagement session, shot by our wedding photographer Danny Weiss.)

17 Responses to “Learning to Balance (Opposites Attract)”

  1. Nodakademic:

    We are similar in a lot of ways, right down to both being introverted. But like you guys, we definitely are different (and in a lot of the same ways!). I am, like you, a major overthinker whose glass is half empty. And I can NOT relax when there is stuff to be done. Day off to rest? What’s that? Even when I am so sick I can barely think or breathe and have called in sick to work, I MUST tick stuff off the to do list…you might fine me regrouting the tub or something. Mr.N? He will just put it aside and relax, seemingly un worried that these things will pile up and multiply. (And they won’t..because I will do them…i can’t let them go.) Differences like that definitely take work to understand and respect, don’t they?!

  2. Your husband sounds very much like mine, and Im introverted and a planner like you. Luckily, also like you, we have many preferences in common, while our personalities are vastly different. On the Myers-Brigg test Im an INFJ, and he is an ESTP…so, yup, pretty much opposites. Im glad it is that way though- if I was living with someone too much like me we would probably self-destruct.

  3. Reading this post it’s like you were in my head. Hubby and I, like you and J have a lot of things in common, but our personalities couldn’t be more different. He’s more toilet-humor where I’m more sarcastic. Sometimes our friends wonder how it is that we work but we do. I always said that before I met my husband I went for guys who were more of a personality match with myself and obvs those relationships didn’t work out so there’s definitely something to be said about opposites attracting!

  4. Christine:

    My husband and I are total opposites. We don’t even root for the same teams (he’s a die hard Red Sox fans and I’m a hard core Yankees fanatic)! He’s super into sports (every type, college or pro, male or female) and I only like baseball… The few things we have in common are: we’re both leaders, very extroverted, and we love being with our family.

  5. I think that’s why we all get along so well. hehe I miss our 4some time!

  6. Oh goodness, I am the same way with L! He LOVES meeting new people and talking to them and can carry on a conversation effortlessly, whereas I feel so awkward in unfamiliar situations and really really need to try to be as personable (at least on the outside) as he is – I really want to be extroverted in large groups, I’m just not good at it! After a party, he will come home exhilarated whereas I’m exhausted. We are also similar in that I am super serious, and while he is not super laid-back at all, I need to sometimes step back and be able to laugh at myself. This is already an improvement from when I was little and literally painfully shy. Like you said, what we do share though is common values, aspirations and goals – and the different personalities make us stronger as a couple, rather than divide us.

  7. We’re very much the same – both nerdy, both love history/Disneyland, similar values, same faith. But we have different facets of the same personality traits: for example, we’re both very competitive, but he’s outgoing/in-your-face about it, and I’m subtly trying to win without you knowing it.

    When it comes to all food preferences, we are opposite. But the couple we are best friends with, the husband eats like me and the wife eats like my husband. We always say we should swap spouses for meals. :)

  8. We are exactly the same way – I’m a get-things-done introvert who needs lots of sleep, he’s a “relaxed” extrovert who can’t sit still.

  9. definitely opposites with a few core similarities. Similarities: both engineers, like nerdy science stuff, love reading and outdoorsy adventures and traveling. Opposites: like your relationship, he is the outgoing one who likes joking around all the time whereas I am more reserved and serious. However he is the pragmatic one who needs to get stuff done all the time, while I am the laid back one who wants to relax on the weekends and procrastinate on the chores :) I have more of an academic dreamer kind of personality (according to Meyers Briggs I’m an “idealist”), and am very much an optimist, while my husband is very practical, down to earth, and can be pessimistic. Interesting to see how these qualities split in different ways for different couples!

    oh and we like NFL over college football but root for opposite teams – Steelers for me and Browns for him. Ha! total division rivals, though we band together to cheer against the Ravens – sorry :)

  10. Kerry:

    If I had to characterize myself, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an introvert or extrovert since i tend to have tendencies towards both but at different times. I would probably say that I’m a “CAT-type” person versus a “DOG-type” person. Think about most cats: they tend to be very particular about affection at first but can definitely open up to let you rub their tummy. They need alone time and need a lot of independence. They’re also tend to be serious and overthink things. Dogs are the opposite, in that they’re much quicker with affection, love fun and are all around very happy go lucky.

    Interestingly, the people who my relationships have worked the best with were people who were my personality opposites (dog-types). Situations where I have dated people who are my personality similars on the other hand may not have lasted as long but always prove to be very exciting and sometimes explosive to the point of self-destruction. Sometimes I still struggle with the choice between the two. Which type of personality fit is better? Is there a person with the right blend of personality opposite and similarities that will both provide a long relationship but not lose excitement and explosiveness.

  11. It’s almost creepy how closely this applies to my husband and I. Josh is the engineer, rational, outgoing and laid back person. I on the other hand have a psychology degree, am extremely emotional and a tiny bit neurotic. Josh is always optimistic and I am extremely pessimistic.

    Our interests line up perfectly though. We love football, and are very similar when it comes to religion, politics and money.

    Also, Josh’s brother is so much like me that it’s scary. He isn’t married yet, but it will be really interesting to see what kind of girl he marries.

  12. A friend once told me in high school, and I kept this with me, that he wanted someone that just by being with them, made him a better person. I thought that was a very interesting way to put it. He didn’t say he wanted to be with someone that would make him a better person, but that just by being with them, he would automatically become better. I like that. So many women and men get with people to save or help them, and say it makes them a better person. Being with someone that is amazing in and of themselves, by being around them, you are a better person is a different concept. My husband is that for me. I just try my best to be that way for him.

  13. The hubby and I are total opposites that happened to have just enough things in common for us to connect. And when I say just enough in common I mean two things: 24 and scary movies. I think our differences are what kept me from dating him for so long. But it works because like you and your hubby, we balance each other out. Our trips get planned because I am a planner. He keeps me from being so emotional. I keep him focused. He helps me from being too stingy with our cash and reminds me that I still deserve to have fun. Etc, etc.

    The funny part is he kept things from me while we were dating
    (like how much he really does like video games). He said I would have never seen the light if he hadn’t. I disagree very strongly. I have grown to love each one of his quirks, even those he hid from me while we were dating.

  14. My guy and I are complete opposites but yet similar too. I’d more to venture to say that we are opposites of the same coin.

  15. Sara:

    My husband and I are the same way, actually. He and his brother are really close, but really different. He’s shy, quiet, really emotionally reserved and introverted. His brother is outgoing, really gregarious, and super moody. Guess what I’m like? We joke that growing up with his moody brother was good practice for him in dealing with my stormy moods. And just like the two of us, his outgoing brother tends to date women who are quiet, reserved, introverted.

    I think it makes sense that you’d want to replicate the complimentary strengths/weaknesses that you enjoyed in close family relationships in your future relationships.

  16. B and I are completely ying and yang. I am the extremely worrisome, plan everything down to the very last minute, list making control freak to B’s laid back, fly by the seat of your pants, it’ll get done eventually passive guy. However I am the extrovert in the relationship. He always likes to really think about what he is going to say before he says it, so he is usually pretty quiet.

    But it works for us. He makes me a better person and, according to his friends, I make him a better person so yay us!

    :o) I think it makes for a great relationship- you need differences otherwise [at least I think] it would get boring.

  17. Mr T and I are basically the same person. Creepily, freakishly the same person. Especially weird if you consider our differences in gender, educations, families / family dynamics, geography, hobbies, and race! But all the basic personality characteristics, reactions to things that happen, even things we say … so similar.

    Both types of relationship have their upsides and downsides. For us, it’s incredibly easy. Lowest maintenance relationship ever. But one of our similarities is a tendency not to bring up difficult conversations, which means we don’t develop as much as we could if one was more confrontational (or even if we had to work out our differences on issues). And, of course, sometimes the clash of differences is where the passion lies.

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