If the old adage “opposites attract” applies to your relationship, you know how it goes. There’s that rush of initial physical and emotional attraction, those weeks, months or even years when you can tune out the things that don’t mesh with your worldview because you’re so consumed by love. But eventually, the “puppy love” days fade away, and although you may still feel in love, you’re going to find yourself butting heads a lot more often. Opposites can make long-term relationships work, but you’re going to have to work harder at it than the average more compatible couple.
Identify What You Have in Common
According to Statistics Brain, 63 percent of people in relationships met their mate through a mutual friend. There had to be a reason you both befriended the same person, whether it’s because you all are outgoing or you all enjoy the same hobbies. Look for the common ground in your relationship. One of you may be extroverted and the other introverted, but perhaps you both love dining out. One of you may be liberal and the other conservative, but maybe you’re at least both passionate about encouraging others to vote. Embrace whatever you have in common, even if the cores of your personalities are different, and plan as many activities you’ll both enjoy as possible. Focus on what you do have in common on a regular basis.
Give Each Other Space
If you love the outdoors and your partner doesn’t, go on a camping or hiking trip without him with your like-minded friends. If he enjoys spending weekends in metropolitan areas and you find them too crowded and confining, encourage him to enjoy his own day trips. Vow not to be jealous of the time the other spends with friends or on his or her own. Cultivate your own hobbies and friendships and keep yourself occupied whenever your loved one is off doing what he loves to do. It’s better than dragging the other person along and making them miserable.
Respect Each Other’s Differences
You can be committed to your own point of view without belittling the other side of the argument. You may agree never to try to convince the other person to be just like you, but that’s just the start. You also have to agree to respect the other person’s point of view. That means if you’re opposites on the political spectrum, you can’t generalize the entire other side as uneducated or “wrong.” It’ll hurt your loved one’s feelings. If you follow different faiths or one of you doesn’t adhere to a faith at all, you can’t look down on the other’s belief. Be respectful and never dismissive when your partner disagrees with you. Limit how often you discuss these differences so you have fewer opportunities to clash. If your family is likeminded to you and makes your partner feel uncomfortable, stand up for him even if you agree with your family’s point of view any time there’s a discernible lack of respect.
Accept Your Loved One As Is
You can’t change people – and that’s an especially important approach to take in an opposites-attract relationship. It’s practically a guarantee that your mate will never agree with you or be like you when it comes to any of the differences between you. You have to be willing to accept him as he is and be okay with living with and loving someone who doesn’t agree with you. If you’re uncomfortable early on in the relationship, know that it will only get worse unless you make an active effort to be respectful of each other’s differences, focus on common ground, and give each other space. It’s okay if you can’t accept something in your partner and you have to go your separate ways. If you otherwise get along and you love her enough, you’ll work hard to make it work. What you have in common is a drive to make this relationship succeed. If you need to go to therapy as a couple or solo to improve your ability to accept the differences in your partner, do so.
You don’t have to see eye-to-eye on everything to make a relationship work. Every relationship involves compromise. You do, however, have to accept your mate as he or she is. If you can agree to disagree and you at least agree on some of the more major issues in life, you can look forward to decades of happiness with each other – even if you always cancel out each other’s vote every election or one of you goes out to socialize while the other one usually stays home.