In plain English You’re a quiet but ambitious career woman, fond of nights in and focused on that promotion. He’s a loudmouth ligger with few professional prospects and even fewer social graces. You’re perfect for each other! Origins Opposites attract is a fundamental law of physics but it was American sociologist Robert F Winch who, in the 1960s, first argued this is the case with humans too. It might be true Experts tend to agree most people look for a partner who will ‘balance’ them, and this often means that opposites come together. A 2013 study carried out at Columbia University, US, found just this. Researchers looked at some 700 couples and discovered the majority held different personality traits, values and even appearances.
But beware, says Jared Alden. Just because opposites do attract, this isn’t always a good thing. “In difficult times, having opposing personality traits can lead to arguments and even the breakdown of a relationship,” he says. “The key thing is to be aware of the differences and manage these.” It might not be true Plato, who knew a thing or two, said that “likes tend toward likes”, and in relationship terms there is evidence to suggest he was right. Researchers from the University of California analysed online dating trends from more than a million users in 2011 and found the vast majority contacted potential partners they believed to be similar in terms of looks, desirability and socioeconomic status.
“Individuals will assess their own self-worth and select partners whose social desirability approximately equals their own,” the study noted. The verdict Contrasting personalities do attract within certain boundaries, it seems. But be aware: if your chap is the opposite to you, it could mean a relationship requiring a lot of work.