The Secret to Tenacious Relationships

The Secret to Tenacious Relationships

Most people believe that a healthy relationship is all about sharing similarities and accepting differences. However, this oversimplified perception is what leads to so many unsuccessful relationships deeply rooted from a common belief that in a romantic relationship, all similarities are positive, and that all differences are negative. Unfortunately, these weak standards usually lead to brittle relationships at best. Complementing each other and creating synergy in a relationship is what leads to a powerful, lasting and life-changing relationship filled with love.

Similarities

Negative Similarities

Most people would not normally see sharing similarities as a potentially harmful thing in a relationship. You might be able to share negative similarities with your friends without damaging the relationship, but when it comes to love, it can be an entirely different story.

But what is a negative similarity? It can be both partners desiring the same thing or outcome, or simply both reacting in a negative fashion towards each other about the same thing.

Examples:

  • Both partners love playing against each other in video games, but both also hate losing. As one is bound to lose, the chance of a fight breaking out also drastically increases.
  • Both partners desire to manage the couple’s finances their own way, leading to friction when it comes to purchases and investments
  • Both partners have anger issues and thus are in a poor position to improve their behaviour, constantly starting fights

Positive Similarities

You should (hopefully) be very familiar with those. They allow you to positively share experiences with your partner that you both enjoy.

Examples:

  • Both partners enjoy a night at the movies once in a while
  • Both partners love the same music genres
  • Both partners love having dogs as pets

Differences

Negative Differences

Conflict. These differences can be tedious or even impossible to work around for some couples. They usually involve a strong difference in core values leading to disagreements or even fights if neither party is willing to accomodate the other’s feelings to try to reach a compromise. Sometimes they can become extremely toxic to the relationship if one partner decides that it has to be their way, and no other way.

Examples:

  • One insists on watching a football game on TV while the other hates football and would rather watch a romantic movie that is playing at the same time on another channel
  • One wants an outdoor pool while the other considers its maintenance to be a huge, undesirable time sink
  • One enjoys going on camping trips while the other has no interest in all the bugs, a lack of proper hygiene, and a lack of a comfortable mattress

Positive Differences

It is sad to see how many people are completely oblivious to this one extremely important aspect of their relationships. Positive differences are what makes it so that you and your partner complement each other. Once you become aware of them, you become so grateful that your partner seeks the ‘opposite’ of what you desire, as you then both get exactly what you want.

Examples:

  • One always enjoys driving while the other always prefers being the passenger
  • When snuggling, one prefers to be the small spoon while the other prefers being the big spoon
  • One is an excellent cook, cooking with love while the other greatly appreciates homemade meals

Neutral Similarities and Differences

They really don’t affect your relationship in any shape or form. It doesn’t matter if those similarities or differences were to vanish; in fact, you might not even notice and you certainly wouldn’t care. There is no conflict nor love — they are simply part of our individual personalities.

Examples:

  • One prefers to start the day with a morning coffee while the other one doesn’t
  • When going out, one dresses far quicker than the other, but doesn’t mind occupying themselves as the other finishes getting ready
  • One prefers more salt in their dishes and doesn’t mind adding more to their own plate once the meal is fully prepared

Synergy

The holy grail of relationship bonding. Synergy simply means that together, you can deliver more value, results and happiness than if you were separate, thanks to each partner positively reinforcing the other’s mood, pride, and sense of companionship/teamwork. A synergistic relationship is far more resilient than what your typical couple could ever hope to reach. Because it is self-reinforcing, the relationship will keep growing stronger, just as each partner’s love and appreciation for the other will.

Two of the categories we discussed earlier can create synergy within your relationship:

  • Positive Similarities
  • Positive Differences

Examples:

  • If both partners believe in each other, their self-esteem and confidence will grow, and so will their belief in each other
  • In video games, both partners prefer playing different characters that have a strong synergistic advantage together
  • A task that is more enjoyable to work on together. The happier you are, the more productive you are!
  • Both partners enjoy giving and receiving acts of love/romance

Do opposites attract?

Short answer: Yes, but no. Yes, it is theoretically possible to have a successful relationship where we could consider that opposites do indeed ‘attract’, but let’s not get hasty with our conclusions. Too many people will use the expression “opposites attract” to justify their own toxic relationship they got themselves into, or any relationship that simply has no foundation which will eventually crumble at the slightest breeze.

If a couple’s partners are different enough for you could consider the possibility that opposites attract, then they would likely share many more differences than the average romantic relationship. Is this an issue? Well…

The first question to ask yourself would be: Do they share any positive differences? Meaning: do they complement each other? However, answering this question alone would not yield a satisfactory answer… thus we need to dig deeper.

The danger with the idea that ‘opposites attract’ is that most of the differences these couples share might not necessarily be neutral differences. What I mean is that infatuation can make you completely forget, blinding you about the potential negative aspect of the differences you and your partner ‘share’, because you are in ‘love’. Their own judgment is likely skewed, believing that the relationship is far stronger than it actually is. When the infatuation dies down, reality settles in. And this is when they realize that… several things, over time, have grown to irritate them about this person they believed they loved. They might have thought that their ‘love’ was so strong that it didn’t matter if their partner was a reckless driver, who would not lend and ear to their concerns of safety, and once a car accident happens, or even before that, they snap. And it’s not going to be pretty.

So, if you see a couple where each partner is very different from the other while seemingly being madly in love, you might not necessarily be observing passionate romance. It is almost certainly infatuation or lust at play. In this case, it is reasonable to believe that the relationship will fail. Do be mindful and let them analyze their own relationship so they can come to their own conclusion instead of forcing your point of view, which would almost certainly be considered highly offensive, placing them on the defensive and harming your bond with them.

Categories: Compatibility, Dating Advice, True Love

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