People are often drawn to romantic partners that balance their own qualities in some way. For example, if you are a spontaneous person, you may be attracted to someone who is especially structured. If you are a chronic worrier, you may be attracted to someone who is especially calm. In this sense, opposites often attract.
It’s easy to see how various issues could emerge from a relationship of “opposites.” Although you value your partner’s structured nature, for example, this same quality might be highly frustrating in certain situations. In other words, you don’t necessarily get to pick and choose when — or to what degree — your partner’s “balancing” qualities manifest. Moreover, you may become overly dependent on your partner as a balancing agent. If your partner always picks up after you, for instance, you may over time become less and less tidy on your own initiative.
So how do you make the most of your partner’s opposing qualities?
Rather than merely borrowing these characteristics from time to time, it’s more advantageous to learn from your partner’s example.
Suppose your partner is assertive, whereas you tend toward timidity. You can ask your partner to stand up for you again and again. You can lean on your partner to help you set and maintain personal boundaries with demanding friends and family members. While helpful, this nonetheless allows you to remain essentially timid. Better that you empower yourself. Ask for your partner’s guidance in helping you learn to be more assertive. Study his or her patterns of thinking, feeling and doing when it comes to setting boundaries. Integrate these qualities into your own life rather than relying so heavily on your partner in this way.