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Are You Attracted to Your Opposite?

You might scratch your head when you pass a beauty with a geek (or Paula Abdul with that cartoon cat), but genetics can help to explain the mismatched pairing.

A new study claims that people are subconsciously drawn to partners whose DNA is different from their own. Why? The diversification is most likely an evolutionary strategy; offspring tend to turn out better when there's a greater variety of DNA to choose from. In the case of a beauty and a geek, their kid would have a better chance of being hot and smart. (One can only imagine how cute Marilyn and Joe's children would have been!)

While scientists maintain that opposite genes are good for reproduction, untrained people have long claimed that two opposites can complement each other in a relationship. Everyone wins, for example, when one partner loves to cook, while the other one gets pleasure out of doing the dishes.

Are you attracted to your opposite? Have you ever been a Republican dating a Democrat, a slob dating a clean freak, a jock dating an unathletic partner, or an atheist dating a believer? Do certain "opposite" characteristics cross the line into deal-breaker territory?


Jeffrey3468014 Jeffrey3468014 4 years
I know I'm (very) late to the discussion but I'm definitely attracted to opposites. I'm the kind of person that takes all kinds of personality tests so I'm fairly up on who I am. That said, I know myself so well in many ways that I've long since become boring to myself. I tend to be a nervous person (and an introvert) so I really admire women that are performers (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, etc) because I can't imagine doing that and it adds a mystical quality to these women for me. It's like they're completely different creatures from another universe and that interests me intellectually. In terms of an actual physical relationship? I don't know. Two passing ships going in different directions will go their own ways. Maybe some of these fascinating women would love a smart, boring guy like me. Though I consider myself physically and intellectually powerful, I never get the popularity thing right. It would be very interesting if interesting women with fast lives were attracted to me. Don't know if I could take it mentally, though.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 8 years
To me somethings are important that we are on the same page, but I don't want someone exactly like me. What is the point of that? I want someone that is as ambitious as I am and who wants to be better. But he does not has to have the same points of view, or think the same things as I do, as long as there is respect, and we can always support each other even though we don't agree, its OK with. I like someone who is different but who is on the same page as I'm
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
My boyfriend of 2+ years and I have a lot in common, but we also have things we do not have in common. He is a computer programmer and is very savvy with them. I can't understand computer programming, or anything that's remotely like math. He is a terrible speller, and I am glad to say I am not. But we like the same music, have the same religious views (atheist), the same sense of humor, etc. It's important to have enough in common with the person that you are not always clashing. But it's nice to have someone who is different than you. OH...and to top it off, he is younger than me! Talk about a difference in mentality ;) It keeps it interesting, and I love him for all the ways we are different, even if I cant stand it sometimes.
almost-famous almost-famous 8 years
I believe I attract the same as me... All the guys I've dated in the past, we a bit too similar. I gotten a bit bored and it became a bit too predictable.... I guess there have to be a balance between the two.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
He is my opposite in some ways - he doesn't express emotion well and doesn't communicate as much as I do but it's fine because we have our workarounds. I wouldn't say he is my OPPOSITE though !
kulikuli kulikuli 8 years
Same as a lot of people on here, i like someone with similar characteristics and background. However, i'm an introvert and usually date men who are extroverts. They break me out of my shell and keep things interesting when you have different view points. I once dated a man like myself, and it was just too boring. We agreed on EVERYTHING, there was no banter, no intellectual conversations that taught me new things. Instead, it was like having dinner with myself in the mirror. Lol
RustyAngel73 RustyAngel73 8 years
usually opposites
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
Appearances aside, yes, I am attracted to opposites. I always go for the funny extrovert with all the great jokes, and they always go for me, the aloof introvert.
Phil Phil 8 years
Isn't anthropology and evolutionary biology effing fascinating? One interesting indicator of whether two people will be compatible indeed is gene variation, more specifically the differentiation of immune systems. The ultimate goal in mate selection after personal prosperity of the individual is the strengthening of the immune system as the family tree progresses (of course followed by bolstering the fitness of the child or children, which takes total precedence over personal prosperity). There are strong indicators of immune system compatibility in body odor and saliva, which is why first kisses are often one of the most significant events that dictate whether two people will continue to date. The anthropologist Helen Fisher is currently directing a study that measures the chemicals (as well as oestrogen and testosterone, the implication being a kiss communicates the fertility of the individuals and even whether a woman is ovulating) exchanged during a kiss. There's also the famous "sweaty t-shirt experiment" that showed that women prefer the the smell of the t-shirt worn by the guy with the most contrasting immune system. It is that immunological aspect of mate selection that the dating website, is based. Regarding behavioral/personality traits, we also tend to be attracted to those people who fill or complement the personal traits that we feel we lack--and vice versa finding attraction in people who are deficient where we are proficient. Because we're a social species, we rely on others--friends, partners, even colleagues--to make up for our personal short-comings, and find comfort in providing ultility to the person in want. It simply strengthens the relationship, the family, and even the greater community (thus fortifying the value of the insurance a community can provide to an individual and family). We're also a lazy species that often favors the conservation of calories when it comes to mate selection (and most everything else). It's for that reason why propinquity often dictates the type of person most of us will date and possibly mate with. Propinquity probably has a lot to do with why many of us end up with people of the same socio-economic background, education level even race (which likely correlates with socio-economic background, which is increasingly becoming blurred).
satoriv satoriv 8 years
I used to look for my opposite but now I´m more into a guy that shares similar priorities and goals in life.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
Well this is interesting. Here we all thought we were making intellectual judgments, when science steps in with the 'ole animal instinct study. But I have to agree, this could be true. While dating I often payed very close attention to men who were dark haired, yet I am blond. And often I was attracted to the classic A-type personality while I am somewhat reserved and quiet in social situations. It was the classic opposites attract definition here. It usually worked rather well too. Often I saw blond men approaching only dark haired women. It's as if people are searching for the opposites sometimes. Very rarely do I see two dark haired or two blonds paired together. Maybe if you live in Sweden? Then again I do have some married friends who share the same career, and the same hair color. I think they may be in the minority here. Odd how they were never interested in procreation either. Too add, I was in a relationship to someone in my field and it still didn't work out in the end. Later I found someone who is more in the "opposite" definition. I should be clear that we do share a few common traits like age, religion, past dating experiences, moral values and nationality. Not to mention the more hidden agendas we met for physical attraction. I do think that a child could benefit from our union, as I rely on his strengths and he relies on mine. A child would gain more opposite strengths combined. More of an ocean coming together versus a narrowed gene pool so to speak. Those scientists could be right. I wonder if they know how much of a pain it is to be together with these opposites? Too bad they can't spend more tax dollars reasearching how to end the male obsession with sports. Oh well, maybe my future children could become soccer champions .......
juicebox07 juicebox07 8 years
My boyfriend of two and a half years is pretty different from me. He's republican. I'm democrat. He's religious. I'm an atheist. He was raised with a "traditional" family. I was raised with a dysfunctional one. He loves to hunt. I hate hunting. We do have some things in common though, and we can have the time of our lives just talking to each other. He is the easiest person I have ever been able to talk to. I love that about him.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Generally, I am attracted to opposites, and vice-versa.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I think there's a difference between true opposites and people who have varied interests, so neither option really applies to me. My boyfriend and I are certainly different in many ways, and it keeps it interesting, but we share many of the same fundamental values. For example, it's fine if we hate each other's favorite movies, but I wouldn't compromise if he wanted to have kids and I didn't.
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 8 years
My boyfriend looks nothing like me; he is short, tan, thickly muscled with very dark hair and eyes, a square face, a strong jaw, and moves like a cat. I'm tall and gangly, quite pale, blond and blue-eyed with a long oval face, and very klutzy. How is that for opposites! lol He has completely different hobbies, likes to have his room dark like a cave while I like big windows and sunlight, likes completely different music, and has a completely different temperment that is very logical in the silliest situations and emotional in ones that deserve calm analytical thought (lol). Even so, we share a lot of the same values and habits, so we can come to a place with common ground when we argue usually. It's a good balance. Though honestly, the fact we agree on anything mystifies me sometimes. :)
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
While I can't say that I tend to be attracted to polar opposites, I would be bored senseless, in no time, with a man that was the same as me in every aspect. For me, it often is the differences that make and keep things interesting and fun.
Meike Meike 8 years
No, my hubby and I share similar important qualities and characteristics. We're a good balance of interests and differences. We have some common hobbies like cooking and gardening. And, then we have some very different passions i.e. he's more logic-oriented and gravitates towards engineering and I'm more art-oriented and gravitate towards design. Although, to be fair, he's German. I'm Japanese. So, I guess our DNA there is completely opposite.
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 8 years
my comment sounds like utter nonsense. I hang my head in shame.
neonbee neonbee 8 years
^ I was going to say the same thing, leslievanhoute, regarding Marilyn and Miller. As for me, I like dating guys who are, in some ways, opposite me. I can't stand being so alike with someone. It gets boring.
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 8 years
I need an OTHER option!! I look for people who have things in common, enough so that we get along, and but NOT in common that we have things to talk about things we compromise on. otherwise there is no relationship, it's just fleeting. who wouldn't get tired of someone just like them?
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
I gotta say, mixed ethnicity guys are hot hot hot. I'm biased, because my BF is Italian/British/Chinese, but I've dated guys who were Dutch/Filipino, Egyptian/Greek and Italian/Cuban. All were just awesome. And for hot & smart, wouldn't that be more like Marilyn and Arther Miller?
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
I don't like guys that look like me. I have blonde hair/blue eyes and I always end up with guys with dark hair and eyes. I like my bf's to share the same attitude and interests as me to some extent, but obviously not be exactly the same as me.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
as far as looks, I've definitely dated my opposite. But for relationships, I've had the best luck with guys who share common values, education levels, backgrounds, etc. As for interests, there are some commonalities, but enough diversity so that we aren't the same person, and one of us can "teach" the other.
French-Kiss French-Kiss 8 years
No I prefer someone that thinks like me and likes what i like ^^ But not completely the same or it would be boring.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 8 years
we're so opposite in certain aspects and so alike in others. it works.
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