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Opposites Can Complement or Clash

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I wanted to offer a little encouragement to "Opposites" about his relationship. You were correct in saying that sometimes relationships between opposite personality types can be the best. I've been in one for 28 years.

My husband and I were definite opposites when we were married. I'm an extroverted introvert, and he was definitely an extrovert, though he's developed some introvert traits over the years. We also had vastly differing tastes in music, movies and much more. But rather than letting ourselves be limited by what we saw as differences, we used them to help each other grow.

He's seen concerts, musicals, plays and movies he never would have seen if I hadn't been in his life, and I've grown to enjoy his musical tastes and most of the television shows and movies he enjoys.

None of us (thankfully) stays the same person throughout our lives. We grow and change as time passes, and his club and party-loving girlfriend of today may change a lot over the years, as he likely will as well. If they communicate well and focus on building a solid foundation for their relationship, those differences will seemingly disappear. -- Opposites Attract for a Reason

Dear Opposites: Thank you for your letter. It demonstrates that compromise is one of the most important qualities of a happy relationship. You and your husband developed the ability to see things from the other's perspective, and you were both willing to try new things.

Below is a letter from someone whose marriage to an "opposite" did not work out.

Dear Annie: Your advice to "Opposites," who worries about his relationship with his extroverted girlfriend, was too rosy. These relationships are very difficult, and he is wise to look long-term.

 

Based on my long marriage (which ended in divorce after 26 years) to an introvert, I'd tell him not to do this to her or to himself. My husband hated going to movies, dinners, weddings, concerts, community events -- you name it. He was bored at my dinner parties, disliked and shunned my friends, and eventually quit interacting with people who stopped by for a visit. I ended up either alone with him at home or doing everything by myself. My spirit was completely destroyed.

In my experience, the extrovert does most of the compromising, and as people grow older and set in their ways, introverts just stop trying. They cannot have fun at parties or events that involve social interaction, so both the extrovert and the introvert are miserable. Typically, she's chronically worried about his "discomfort" around other people. Too often, the extrovert ends up going it alone.

His keeping her isolated from the things she loves can be cruel. Her trying to get him to be around other people can also be cruel. These relationships are best terminated early, before both sides waste valuable time and just give up. -- Won't Do That Again

Dear Won't Do That Again: I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience. It sounds like your ex-husband was extremely rigid. No compromise, no communication and no attempt to understand how you were feeling. Flexibility and empathy for each other are two of the most important qualities found in a lasting marriage.

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"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

 

 

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