Emotional Opposites Attract

It’s something we hear over and over again, “Opposites attract.”  Nothing can be more frustrating than when an emotionally giving types pairs up with a reserved type. Psychologists say we look for our opposites in partners to fill in the experiences we lack in our lives.

communicate your needs

In the psychology field, these different ways of relating are called “attachment style,” and they are partly learned and partly genetic. Amir Levine, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia University in New York, identifies three types of attachment styles: Secure, Anxious and Avoidant. Secure people make up over half the population and are typically comfortable with intimacy.

Those with an Anxious attachment style, about 20% of the population, often worry about their relationship and whether their partner loves them. They typically are emotionally giving and love to show and receive affection. Those with an Avoidant attachment style, about 25% of the population, may love deeply, but they are uncomfortable showing it. Often, they rely on their partner to initiate a display of affection. Sometimes, they don’t even enjoy receiving expressions of love and may tend to minimize closeness with others.

So giving types are initially attracted to reserved types and vice versa because they are so different.  Givers find reserved partners intriguing and want to draw affection from someone who doesn’t show it easily and reserved types often want to be drawn out of their shells.  Over time though these two types can develop relationship problems.  The giver can start to seem needy so the reserved partner reacts by distancing themselves which makes the giver give more in an effort to gain back the affection.

The good news is that attachment style can change. Whether you and your partner are opposites or not as long as you both can communicate your needs and wants the relationship can flourish. Experts say couples need to tell each other what they want and be specific!

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