Do the opposite people attract or attack? Let’s dive into explaining who your opposite partner is and what you might consider instead. First, let’s explore those partners that might be opposite, and then what can you do instead.
Who is your opposite?
Using the chart below, if you are a Nervous Nora or Nick your opposite is an Isabelle or an Ian. The opposite of a Confused type would be the Secure type.
How common is this?
Partnering with someone who is your opposite love style is actually one of the most common things that people do. In fact, opposites can have a nice way of balancing out their partners. Couples who are opposites will however need to have excellent communication skills and understand the difference between the Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule.
Under Stress: Much of what you are learning about attachment theory explains that your partner is not always going to be displaying their true attachment style, rather you are most likely to see their attachment needs when under stress. You should be most vigilant when either one or the other of you is under stress, or when the couple themselves is under stress.
‘Stress’ by definition means, pressure, hurried, the classic ‘too much to do, too little time.’ Because Independent Isabelle or Ian doesn’t think about discussing their stress, they go off on their own to process. Nervous Nora or Nick however wants to vent, to talk, and process things, they need validation, support, and acknowledgment during stress. Ian’s need for space can clash with Nora’s need for closeness. So who wins? In these circumstances neither partner— one feels their partner is not there for them, the other feels crowded and unsettled. The couple struggles because both people need things that are opposite or conflicting.
The Golden Rule:
Have you heard of the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others the way you would like them to do unto you.’ This makes perfect sense, that we tend to also expect that our partner will do to us, what we would want or desire. But this means that you will also give your partner what you might want from them. A nervous person would give their partner support, validation, and let them know they are there. But if your partner is an independent type they are going to need space, peace, and distance from you. So you can see that the golden rule philosophy will not work here.
The Platinum Rule:
Instead, think of the Platinum Rule. This implies that you should do unto your partner the way they want to be done unto not the way that you think they should or the way you would want.
Ideally there enough time and space for both partners to get their needs met. For instance, if you are a Nervous type you want to talk it out, get support, and vent, can you call a friend a family member or someone else instead to help offload the pressure on your partner? Your partner the Independent type might also think about getting quality time alone not necessarily quantity. Might they take a walk, do some yoga, meditation, or breath to quiet themselves.
Good communication is key.
There is no right or wrong way to do things, but remember you must communicate what you are doing. If you do have differences in order not to attack each other for your differences make sure you communicate your needs directly. Try this out: “Hey I know you’re busy. I’m going to go out for drinks with my friends, maybe you can have some time alone or go for a run while I’m out and then after hopefully we will both feel better? I know we both are under a lot of stress this week and each of us handles things differently.”
Summary: You fell in love with your partner because they were different than you: you are emotional, they are calm. Continue to appreciate your differences without trying to change them. Communicate what you need. Any couple can become ‘Secure in Love,’ with patience, understanding, and appreciation for differences.