They Don’t Attract? The myth.
Many people believe in theidea that opposites attract and that when looking for relationships you shouldfind someone with differing strengths and values. The myth implies that peoplelook for those who are physically and psychologically different from thembecause it complements them. An example would be that if you are a person whois an introvert, you should look for someone who has the personality of anextrovert.
An introvert is more shy and reserved so the look for an extrovertwho is confident and outgoing to balance out their personality. Why don’t they attract?Whilemany people believe that opposites attract they actually don’t. Assortativemating, which is mating due to similarities is frequent in “western societies”and is based on things like a person’s age, race, religion, ethnic background,socioeconomic status, and locality (Buss, 1985). Although a person may thinkthey would go for someone unlike them and try to, they would naturally choosesomeone similar. The Facts Research.
There are many differentstudies that support the idea that opposites actually do not attract. One ofthe studies was conducted by two researchers named Nathan Hudson and ChrisFraley investigated the contentment of partners in their relationship based onif they are “similar” or “dissimilar”. The study resulted in findings thatpartners who held similarities in “agreeableness” and “emotional stability”were more content in their relationship. The study also found that partners whobelieve themselves to be similar are more “satisfied” with their relationship(Mehta, 2014). Another study done by the Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology discovered that newly married couples had a lot in common andthe more they shared in common the more satisfied they were with their marriage(Saltz, 2014).
One study used Facebook and based “relationship similarities”off of “likes-based” and “language-based” assessments and uncovered that therelationships tested between both friends and romantic interests held a “relativelystrong similarity” and out performed self assessments (Youyou et al., 2017).Another study found that people also go for those physically similar and notjust similar in personality. The study observed things such as race, sex, ifthey person wore glasses, and a few other characteristics. In the study “it wasfound that people tend to sit closer to physically similar others thanphysically dissimilar others” (Mackinnon et al.
, 2011). Real lifeexamples. Many times in movies you see examples of opposites attracting andthis is because it makes for a better plot. An example of this is Disney’s Beautyand the Beast. Belle is a intellectual and a caring individual while thebeast is stubborn and selfish but by the end of the movie they still end up together.This kind of plot can only really be found in movies. In real life therelationship would fail over time due to conflicts in personality. Another examplerelates back to the idea of introverts and extroverts.
One researched stated”‘The extrovert is going to want to go out to parties and events, spendtime with other people and socialize a lot. The introvert isn’t going to wantto do that. It’s going to affect how they spend their time.
‘” (DiLonardo,2014). An introvert’s ideal person is another introvert while an extrovert seesanother extrovert as ideal. Where It Came From and How to Fix It Origins. There is no exactorigins to this myth. Many researchers are unsure of how exactly people came tobelieve that opposites attract but they have come up with a few theories.
Lilienfeld et al. (2009) came up with three theories as to how the myth cameabout. One theory is that two very different people falling for one anothermakes for a much better plot in movies and stories than a that of two similar peoplewhich causes others to believe in the possibility of opposites attracting.Their second theory is that everyone craves someone who they believe will makethem “whole” and compensate the areas where they fall short. Their third andfinal theory highlights the small amount of truth behind the myth that”opposites attract”, they concluded that having some differences can “spice up”a relationship and having everything in common can lead to “boredom”. A separate theory onthe origin of the myth relies heavily on the ideas created by science.
It is abasic concept that for almost everything in science opposites attract and likethings repel. For example, a negative charge will attract a positive charge andvice versa, but a negative charge will repel another negative charge and apositive charge will repel another positive charge. People could easily takethis theory and apply it to how people become attracted to one another and itwould be a very endearing concept because of the evidence provided by sciencethat could be used to justify the psychological aspect of opposites attracting. Solutions. The main solution toending this myth is to make it more public and more advertised but as of nowthere are very few solutions on how to debunk the myth. There are an ampleamount of studies and articles published like the ones mentioned previously butthat is really the extent of people’s efforts.
It is not an idea that is oftenbroadcasted but rather you have to look for the information yourself. Producersand writers, even if given all of the evidence against the idea that oppositesattract, will continue to produce stories based off of it because it is themore intriguing point of view which will keep audiences under the impressionthat opposites do attract. People also continue to use this myth to justifytheir relationship choices when going for someone completely different fromthem.