When it comes to understanding women in relationships, one of the oldest debates (even older that those ancient beer commercials arguing between “less filling” and “tastes great”) is the debate about whether opposites attract.
Many people recommend that you find a mate who has a lot in common with you … the buzzword here is “compatibility”. You may have even seen quizzes in magazines or on the internet that purport to evaluate this: “How compatible are you and your mate?”
Why might that be a plus? One reason is that you’re likely to have fewer things to fight over. And if you’re a guy who has been in relationships, you’ll quickly decide that this is the preferred outcome. Most of us guys hate to fight, especially with women.
On the other hand, many people instead advise that “Opposites attract.” The buzzword there is that “complementary” relationships work best. That is, the two of you have sets of traits which differ from but complement (rather that match) each other’s traits.
Perhaps you’re introverted and she’s extroverted? Perhaps you’re very well organized and she’s much more prone to just “winging it”? Perhaps you’re very good at managing money and she isn’t?
At first glance, at least, that sounds logical. It’s the same way football teams approach the college draft each year: they look for strengths that will cover their existing areas of weakness. That’s the way to build a stronger football team, after all. And aren’t couples also supposed to be “a team”?
So, which is the better relationship philosophy? Each approach has some merits: it is easier to get along with people who are similar to us but we also need some differences to keep boredom from setting in too easily.
However, “Mother Nature” has already taken care of this: if you’re heterosexual, almost any woman out there will be very different from you in so many ways. Of course, most women try to hide some of those differences in the earlier stages of a relationship in an effort to get you to like them more and to stay with them. But once you’re married and the honeymoon phase has ended, you’re unlikely to conclude that your wife’s traits are just too similar to your own.
Just the reverse is the more common result: you’ll probably lament that your wife isn’t a lot more similar in her perspectives and outlook to your own.
So, opposites do attract. But if you’re a man and she’s a woman, that problem is largely solved by the way we and they have been designed. Therefore, the most fruitful strategy for most guys is to focus on finding a woman with whom you’re exceptionally compatible.
If you’re looking for a one-stand, then compatibility is not nearly as much of a concern. But if you do hope to be happily married, then compatibility becomes absolutely crucial. Staying together with one woman “until death do you part” will seem an eternity to you if you don’t get along extremely well with her.
Therefore, understanding women in relationships well enough to “go the distance” with one – and enjoy the ride – means understanding the need to make compatibility your highest priority.
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