When it comes to dating, you’ve probably witnessed your close friends and family unanimously agree that finding a partner exactly like you will bring long-term happiness and success in the relationship. While having a few common interests and basic outlook on life is important, dating someone too similar to yourself could lead to stagnancy, boredom, and dissatisfaction down the road.
Well, think about dating a clone of yourself. Having the same likes and dislikes, the same quirks, same hobbies, exact same personality, taste in food…you would eventually feel trapped and complacent, and would likely seek someone who complemented you rather than mirrored you.
Biologically speaking, we are hardwired to be attracted to people that are different than us. Take the famous 1995 experiment, for example: a group of women smelled the sweaty T-shirts of men, claiming to be more attracted to the scent of men who were genetically dissimilar to them. This is cited as one of the most important modern scientific studies, because it lends truth to the saying that opposites do, indeed, attract. In the end, our bodies just want to prevent inbreeding, so we look for a mate with diverse genes in comparison to ours.
So, besides the chance at having offspring much better equipped for living a healthy life, why else should you date your opposite?
Here are 5 reasons to date someone that is vastly different than you:
1. You complement one another.
Like we talked about before, dating someone too much like yourself would become stifling, boring, and wouldn’t stimulate your personal growth after a while. The most striking difference between opposites is undoubtedly their personalities, and dating someone with a personality unlike yours can accent your strengths and help improve your weaknesses.
Maybe one of you is a shy introvert who just likes to spend time at home and not socialize with people too often. Your partner might have a more extroverted, loud personality, encouraging you to get out more and connect with others. Furthermore, the shy partner might teach the outgoing one to mellow out a bit, listen more, and take time to relax. Over time, both of you would find that you encourage each other to grow in the areas where you would have otherwise remained the same had you dated a clone of yourself.
2. You can teach each other new things about life.
Dating someone with the exact same hobbies and interests won’t facilitate much growth in the relationship, because you will never be able to share new things with your partner. However, dating someone with stark differences in hobbies will make you a more well-rounded, interesting person in the long run since you will learn so much from your partner. Maybe he or she is an avid skier who can show you the ropes of the slopes. On the other hand, maybe you enjoy more quiet, calm pastimes like drawing or knitting, and you can teach him or her all about it.
The relationship will thrive more because you will constantly have new things to share, which will give you a fuller experience of life in general.
3. The relationship will seem more exciting and fulfilling.
Your partner will likely come from a different background, therefore having very different experiences in life than you. You may have opposite tastes in food, differences in spiritual beliefs, varying desires of places you want to travel to, and the list goes on.
All of these dissimilarities means that you will constantly be showing each other new places to go, new foods to try, different facts about your heritage and background, and more. This will enable you to keep the spark alive and really enjoy getting to know the person you’re with. It will feel like a never-ending adventure, with both of you taking one another to uncharted territory. You will push the envelope with your partner, and not tire as easily of their company.
4. You will always have more to discover about each other.
When you date someone exactly like you, you don’t allow much room to explore the person. After you share all your hobbies, childhood stories, and deeply-held beliefs and passions, what else will keep the fire alive? Any relationship needs some diversity and excitement in order to keep the ball rolling, and dating your opposite will breathe new life into the relationship.
Because of your many differences, you will always have something new to uncover, keeping you both on your toes constantly. This way, you won’t grow bored of one another’s company, and will have a more broadened experience of life.
5. Disagreements can be easier to smooth over.
As opposites, you probably have very different personalities, which means varying ways of handling arguments. Maybe one of you likes to lay it all out on the table in a fiery display of emotions, while the other wants to talk things out in a calm, rational manner. You can work things out more quickly if you have opposite styles of arguing, because while one of you might blow things out of proportion, the other can maintain their cool and rationalize the situation.
Someone with a short fuse will do better with a person who can remain calm and collected, because one person’s weakness is the other’s strength. Any arguments will turn into a logical discussion since one partner excels at listening, while the other does better with talking through their emotions.