Same or additional? D at the question many people ask themselves when looking for a partner. While some are convinced that opposites attract, others prefer to avoid the conflicts that differences between partners can create.
In fact, both have their pros and cons. People who think it is better to have a relationship with someone who is different, and thus complementary, give the example that two people who get irritated in the same way will always clash with each other.
People who are inclined to look for a partner who is similar to them point out that sooner or later differences will arise and cracks will appear.
Other people stay in the middle. According to them, it does not matter whether their partner is the same or complementary. The most important thing, according to them, is a good balance: the same in some things and complementary in others. What does psychology tell us about this?
The beauty of opposites
When a person does not have a positive opinion of himself, he will often be attracted to someone who is different from himself. You will see in the other an opportunity to project the person you would actually like to be.
For example, someone who feels that he or she always goes unnoticed will try to make his or her partner a very popular person.
There are also cases of people looking for someone to depend on, rather than someone to build a real relationship with. They are basically insecure and fearful people, who need someone else’s strength to protect them or give them the support they need.
In principle, this is not necessarily a negative, if it helps the person to grow and mature. However, if it produces dependence, then it will lead to a very unhealthy relationship.
Many people who think about whether they need someone who is the same or complementary end up choosing the latter because they view their relationship as a team.
Sometimes it can even be compared to a business. That is why they think (and we emphasize the word “thinking”) that it is better to combine strengths and weaknesses to achieve common achievements.
Same or additional?
Science has also questioned whether it is better for lovers to be the same or complementary. The University of Kansas conducted a survey of 1,523 couples. They found that in 86% of cases, couples whose partners were the same had longer-lasting relationships.
Another study from the University of Michigan came to a similar conclusion. What apparently makes the difference here is that there is agreement on aspects such as:
- alcohol consumption
- use of technology
Everything seems to indicate that people are sometimes attracted to what is different. This sparks a certain curiosity in them and they see it as an opportunity to explore new emotional areas. Over time, however, what was once a novelty begins to become a barrier. The differences then create negative feelings in the relationship.
Openness and flexibility
The debate about whether a same partner or a complementary partner is best is actually a bit artificial. We will never find a partner exactly like us. Nor will we find someone who perfectly matches what is missing in our world. The reality is that every human being reaffirms and contrasts us at the same time.
It should also be noted that all research in this area indicates that similarities in basic preferences and attitudes are very important. However, there will always be aspects where certain compromises will be made. The most stable couples are those who are able to relax with each other.
However, differences between partners can also be healthy. They are a contributing factor to mutual growth. Much of our love life has to do with how we deal with those differences.
When these differences are few and small, there is a good chance that the couple can achieve this satisfactorily. However, if the differences are very deep, they are more likely to be difficult to resolve.
the same or additional: our conclusion
What then is our answer to the question of what is best, the same or complementary? Actually, we should say “both”. We should be essentially the same, but additionally on the basis of voluntary and conscious agreement.
That’s what love is all about: finding a balance between self-affirmation and helping the other person reaffirm.