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Do Opposites Attract?

Two couples share how being different makes them stronger.

By April Zara Chua

The theory that opposites attract may be true when it comes to magnets, but does it apply to relationships too? Studies have shown conflicting results, and some have even debunked this idea with evidence suggesting relationships where two people are opposites are destined to fizzle out. But as our couples here show, the secret to making it work depends on their ability to understand just what makes them so different and to find ways to work around it.

Polar opposites

Jin Yian Choo met Juliet Chow in 2014 through a mobile dating app. The attraction was almost immediate, and it did not cross their minds that they would turn out to be polar opposites.

But as their relationship progressed, they began to discover just how different they were from each other. “We are almost direct opposites. Jin Yian has ‘rubber timing’ and loves the outdoors, while I prefer to plan and schedule and I dislike the outdoors!” says Juliet.

Their differences don’t stop there. Jin Yian, now 32, is the messier one who has a more laid-back attitude, while Juliet, 31, is very neat and hates procrastinating.

This occasionally became a problem in their day-to-day interactions. “The messy one and the neat one will always clash. (Coupled with) procrastination versus wanting to get things done, and we are on a collision course!” says Jin Yian. “For example, Juliet would always ask me to put things back where I found them or put things away neatly, but I will always put it off.”

Left brain, right brain

Christopher Hamzah, 32, and his wife Monica Winny, 26, met in 2014. Christopher thought they were quite alike, but Monica picked up on the differences in their personalities very quickly.

It was only after dating a few months that Christopher saw that they were opposites. They describe themselves as the two halves of the human brain. Christopher is the left, in charge of numbers and logic, while Monica, who is more creative and artsy, is the right.

“I get energy by being around and talking to lots of people, while Monica loses energy in social situations. I am rash at decisions, while she takes time to think,” shares Christopher.

With their opposing personality traits and preferences, it is no surprise that they hit their fair share of roadblocks along the way. Things came to a head when they were planning for their wedding and house hunting, both big life events that required major decisions to be made, and the different ways in which they approached problems triggered numerous arguments.

“Being a straight shooter, I tried to solve every single issue ASAP, (which) put unnecessary pressure on Monica to agree on decisions. It turned out she preferred (to have) more time to think about things and explore other alternatives,” recounts Christopher.

Not a bad thing

For Jin Yian and Juliet, they believe there is no one definite solution to their differences, and instead put value in their ability to compromise. “Someone has to give in, and we take turns on that,” says Juliet. She also admits that being opposites works for them. “Can you imagine if both of us were neat freaks? Life would be miserable!”

The couple believe that it is precisely their differences that makes their attraction stronger. “I guess we just complement each other. I make up for what he lacks, and vice versa,” says Juliet.

Christopher and Monica concur: “We see differing perspectives on issues and we also keep each other in check.”

Being your partner’s opposite isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and both couples agree that this shouldn’t get in the way of a relationship.

For Monica and Christopher, it’s their shared values and goals that are important and are what draws them closer to each other. “At heart, we are loyal, honest and hardworking and we place great value on our family … Our end goals have always stayed the same, no matter how much we argue because of our differences.”

She added: “I think it’s more important for couples to align their values and life principles. Don’t get too caught up trying to look for similarities! Instead, try to get comfortable with each other and get to know your partner on a deeper level.”

Jin Yian and Juliet have this to say: “You may find an imperfect person, but it’s more important to work together to achieve a good, strong relationship. Cherish and appreciate one another, find ways and means to compromise, accept and tolerate, and always give unconditional love.”