Navigating a Relationship with your Polar Opposite

Most of us have seen it before: a well-read engineering student with ample research funding meets an aspiring travel blogger who enjoys the adventure of not knowing if their academic program is going to be staffed next semester due to budget cuts, and the inevitable romantic hijinks ensue. Juxtapositions that are created when opposites attract can be great for laughs, but these scenarios are often much less attractive in everyday life.


While it’s not impossible for two seemingly incompatible individuals to exist in a perfectly healthy relationship, it’s hard to get to know one another as well. Some of us are too busy comparing caricatures of our own personalities to others, and this polarizing practice could easily be remedied if we stopped labeling every person as the embodiment of a singular personality trait and started recognizing each of them as complex, intersectional human beings.


For instance, you might still be rocking your “I’m with Her” t-shirt and find yourself interested in someone who advertises their MAGA-lomania with a trucker hat. It’s not entirely unreasonable to believe that the two of you can be as happy as the couple who votes along the same party line. Cross-political couples can share the same opinions regarding abortion, gun control, and foreign trade policies and only ever argue about marketing companies from Iowa. Remember that there is a difference between ideology and personal preference, and like any other relationship, maintain open and honest communication with your partner while working to acknowledge and respect each other’s differences.


Of course it’s going to be easier to talk with someone who shares your passion for irregular shapes. At the end of the day, superficial similarities might not hold a relationship together just like major differences might not tear it apart. If you’re an introvert that wants to cuddle up with a book after a big snowstorm, it’s okay that your latest fling is an extroverted ski bum. You two might agree that vegan diets are garbage, God might not exist and subtweeting is generally considered inappropriate, but enjoying opposing extracurriculars means that you will almost always have something to talk about.


As their fight song says, hot time is coming now to recognize that sometimes dating is more interesting when you can step back and accept individuals for the person that they are and not the labels you’ve given them. Relationships allow you to learn as much about another person as you do about yourself, and if you find yourself starting a relationship by thinking you already know everything about someone because of that label, than never was a story of more woe than that of a Bobcat and her Grizzly-o.