Sep 132005
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

She likes Italian food; he likes Mexican. She likes watching the "O.C.," while he likes watching "Monster Garage." Although irreconcilable differences may be one of the main reasons for ending a relationship, it seems opposites have a funny way of attracting and the differences between couples may only make the relationship stronger.

"We either choose a partner that is very similar to us or completely opposite from us," said Steve Ross of the University Counseling Center (UCC). "Research has been done on why opposites attract, which has indicated that people with maladaptive personality traits may seek partners in order to balance their own traits out."

Ross said a couple's relationship seems to stand a good chance based on two things.

"Whether we choose a partner who shares our likes and dislikes or one who disagrees with them. If both partners are willing to change themselves and if each person is committed to working on the relationship, there is a good chance of them staying together," he said.

Ross is the director of the Couples Therapy Program at the UCC and helps counsel couples that are dealing with a variety of different issues and concerns. But differences do not seem to be one of the main problems couples face.

"I would say that the main issues center around poor communication, not feeling heard, feeling unappreciated and feeling misunderstood," he said.

The UCC offers couples therapy to help promote strong communication, mutual regard and expectations for one another and can help students deal with relational problems and issues in a healthy manner.

Jessica Andersen, senior landscape and architecture major, does not believe couples who are opposite from each other attract easily.

"On the surface couples who are different from each other may seem to attract, but underneath it usually doesn't work very well," she said.

Although Andersen does not have any personal experience with an opposite partner, or know anyone who has been in an "opposites attract" relationship, she said it could be difficult for the relationship to last.

Garth Beyer, senior wildlife biology major, feels the same way.

"I think initially our differences are what attract us to one another, but it's our similarities that keep us together," he said. "So even though opposites may attract, they may not necessarily stay together."

However, Beyer does not think it is difficult to maintain a relationship through differences.

"It is something that definitely requires work on both sides of the relationship," he said. "It's just difficult because people are lazy and don't want to try to make it work."

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