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You Say PotAto, I Say Potato…Do opposites really attract?

You Say PotAto, I Say Potato…Do opposites really attract?
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Running on empty

Imagine a 40-something woman running through Grand Central Station to catch a train that was departing in 2 minutes. Does that sound like a stressful scenario to you? Sounds stressful to me. I should know. I was that woman a few years ago.

The guy I was dating at the time (super nice guy) did not see time through the same lense that I did, i.e. he preferred being late TO EVERYTHING. Friends and family know that I like to be early (yes, I’m the person at the train station who arrives before her train is posted on the board) so you can imagine how unsettling this was re: our time differences.

He was late for our first date (red flag anyone?) but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t a good idea. Months into our relationship, I found myself at the doors of the Beacon Theater, with 200 people frantically jamming through the front door of the venue before the band was due to come on stage in 5 minutes.

I’m getting anxious just reliving that memory.

Let’s call the whole thing off

Our time differences were just too great and the lateness was giving me way too much stress. It became the norm rather than the exception. After a few months of heart palpitations, sweaty palms and running for trains and concerts, I decided that I had to part ways with this guy. We are, however, still good friends today. Go figure!

Thinking back on that relationship, I was wondering whether opposites not only attract but do those relationships have long-term possibilities given the differences of the two partners? In a perfect world, I think the answer is yes, opposites do attract, but where do you draw the line when the differences bring too much stress into your relationship?

I’ve heard from friends and family who are in good, solid relationships and they are complete opposites in many ways: one partner likes the house kept at balmy temperatures in the winter, while the other partner likes the house cool. Some other ‘mixed couples’ I know are one part social butterfly, one part loner. Another couple whose relationship is working fine tells me one of them is a night owl and one is a morning person. Yet, they all seem to make it work despite their differences.

Our love is here to stay

I know a couple who just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The man still has tons of energy, his wife likes a little r&r mixed into her days. He can work a room like nobody’s business, while she prefers one-on-one conversations. He’s a cockeyed optimist, she’s a little more cynical. Nobody is more amazed than I am that this couple has stayed together over the years. I know them quite well—they’re my parents!

So in the end, I guess you could say that there is some truth to opposites attracting and love enduring. What I’ve learned and observed from my parents is that a shared set of values, a lot of compromising and mutual respect for one another seems to melt away their differences. And they both are always on time!

Thinking about your relationship with your partner, how do you make it work? Where do you draw the line (if you’re single) when choosing mates who might not completely align with your lifestyle and preferences? What if you differ on major topics like politics and religion? If you’re a punctual person like I am, could you have a long-term relationship with someone who was always late? We love hearing your success stories so please share them with us.

And for the Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger fans out there, enjoy!

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