Written by Writer’s Corps member Rebecca Martin
Opposites attract… right?
It doesn’t always feel that way. Yes, we are naturally drawn to people with similar personalities or people who have a certain “look,” but it’s not written in stone anywhere that you’re supposed to date a specific “type.”
You might view choosing your total opposite as a huge risk because you’ve never tried to make it work but what if they made you the happiest person in the world? How would you know if you didn’t give it a chance?
Sure, it may seem easier to date someone that’s more your type, but it’s totally possible to have a healthy, happy relationship with someone whom you share nothing in common. Much like peanut butter and jelly opposites can make a great pair!
Here are 7 ways to help you make it work with your total opposite:
1. Find Common Ground
An easy place to start! There may be a lot of things about you and your partner that are different, but finding some common ground can help build a steady foundation on which you can grow together.
Related: 10 Life Skills You Should Have Before You Get into a Relationship
2. Take the Relationship in Strides
Learning to appreciate your partner’s interests will take some getting used too, especially when your interests aren’t completely aligned. When you’re into The Weekend and they’re team TSwift it can feel like you’ll never find common ground. Just kidding. Of course, understanding your partner’s interests goes beyond getting acquainted with a particular music genre!
Studies suggest we resist change and in turn, resist trying new things because we’re afraid of an unknown outcome. That means you might avoid trying a new dish (even when your S.O. raves about it) if you’re unfamiliar with the ingredients and perceive that choice as somehow unsafe. Sounds familiar? When our imagination and general fear of the unknown gets the best of us, it’s difficult for your partner to get you to try anything new.
To overcome this fear just remember that trying something (anything) new requires some degree of courage. When your partner introduces you to something that’s outside of your comfort zone (or preferred musical taste) try to stay open to the possibility that you’ll enjoy it. Your openness and willingness to dip your toe into something new will keep the relationship interesting–just remember to applaud yourself when you do. Besides, letting your partner introduce you to their taste in music, recipes and weekend pastimes is half the fun of dating someone that’s your total opposite. Sit back, relax, and let your partner show you their world. And when you’re ready, have fun showing them yours, too.
Related: 4 Daily Practices to Strengthen Your Relationship
3. Challenge Each Other in a Healthy Way
You and your partner probably have different opinions on everything: your favorite holiday, political party and classic movie (Mean Girls or Jaws, anyone?). Encouraging each other to think about alternative perspectives will help you both grow in new ways. A pessimist dating an optimist will certainly learn a whole lot about their partner’s outlook on the world and how they came to that view. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to agree on everything. If you did, you wouldn’t be total opposites.
Everyone has their own opinions about things. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal-breaker in a relationship. When your partner brings up a perspective that counters your own, just acknowledge their opinion and calmly state your own. This might be an awesome opportunity to respectfully compare and contrast your opposing opinions. Who knows, you might even find common ground and learn something new about a subject. Feeling like your opinions are respected and valued (even if you and your partner agree to disagree) is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
Related: Learn More About Communicating without the Drama
4. Embrace Your Independence
Utilize time and space spent apart to do things you enjoy. Your uniqueness and personality make up who you are, and your partner probably finds those attributes attractive! Nurture yourself and focus on your own independence so you and your S.O. can appreciate each other’s different interests when you do spend time together. Also, taking time apart to do your own thing takes some of the pressure off of having to do it together. Take our word for it, your partner will 100% thank you.
5. Support Each Other
If nothing else, you and your S.O. can be each other’s biggest fans. Okay, so you think baseball is boring, but your boo loves playing for a local rec league. Go cheer them on from the sidelines anyway — it will mean a lot to them to see you out there.
Related: 19 Ways to Show Your S.O. You Love Them Without Saying a Word
6. Respect their Boundaries
When we’re passionate about a topic, whether it’s the future of social media or the environment, it’s difficult to share that enthusiasm with our S.O. without seeming like we’re pushing it onto them. Giving your partner the space to agree to disagree is just as important as sharing the things you’re passionate about. In healthy relationships, couples respect and value one another’s beliefs and opinions. If your partner constantly pushes or oversteps your boundaries, it’ll cause you to put up walls as a defense mechanism. Keep these boundaries in place so you can both continue to feel comfortable and willing to share your opinions with one another.
Related: 5 Easy Ways To Communicate Better in Your Relationship
7. Prepare For Change
Change is a natural part of life. Your partner will change and, hear me out — that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Being with someone who is the opposite of you could make transitions through life easier to navigate. Your different perspectives will create a more diverse vault of knowledge for each of you to dip into when you’re trying to figure out the best way to handle life’s twists and turns.