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There is a theory that we are attracted to our opposites; that we seek out those who complement us, fill in our weaknesses. While there is no scientific evidence to support this theory, there is evidence all around us that relationships built around opposite traits can, and do, survive and thrive: the disorganized who marry the organized, the messy who create a home with the neat freak, the outgoing person who finds love with a shy introvert. For adults with ADHD, do these types of differences create more problems in a relationship, or can they create a loving, long-term relationship with someone who isn't ADHD and doesn't understand how the symptoms of ADHD interfere with daily life?
Although there isn't much research on whether opposites attract, one study did find that similarities in personality did contribute to marital happiness and satisfaction. The study indicated that we are first attracted to those who share our attitudes and values, who have a similar education level, are approximately the same age, share our religious and political beliefs and are similar in intelligence level. Similarities in personality traits (such as being caring, generous or open) help couples resolve differences and deal with daily issues such as completing tasks or overcoming problems.
We are all a unique combination of different traits and certainly it is impossible to find someone who is truly like us or truly opposite. With each person we will probably share some traits, attitudes and beliefs as well as have some differences. Relationships are often a balancing act, appreciating our differences and finding ways to bridge any gaps while working together in areas we are similar. For example:
- The couple where one is outgoing, enjoying and seeking out every social opportunity while the partner prefers to spend time at home, relaxing with a glass of wine and a good book.
- The disorganized individual who has piles of clutter around the house and the partner who believes that everything should be in its proper place.
- The "do it now" type of person who is married to the chronic procrastinator.
You get the idea, there are thousands of combinations where couples seem to be polar opposites, but if you look closer, there are probably numerous ways they are similar as well. It may be their view of one another, the ability to look past the differences and their approach to solving problems that keep them together. If you are in a relationship where your "opposites" are taking over, where disagreements over how to accomplish your goals come along more frequently than your agreements or if you find yourself frequently irritated about the "weaknesses" you feel your partner has, the following tips may help: