We are often gravitated to people who different than us but how different is too different? When can we learn from each other's differences vs. when do they get in the way? On this week's brunch talk we discuss the key to navigating differences in a partnership, the nuances of what differences matter and which don't, and how you can thrive in your relationship even when your partner doesn't think or do exactly like you.
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#brunchtalk: Do opposites attract?
00:00:01 - 00:05:01
The dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that The Huffington Post calls one of the top ten podcasts about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about everything from sex parties to sex droughts, date fails to diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host UA Shu, former dating coach turned dating sociologist. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Kraft chick as we explore this crazy dateable world. Brunch talk, Friends, welcome to this week's episode of French talk, hope y'all are eating something yummy or drinking something delicious and we're back for another rendition where we answer your burning dating questions, whatever that may be. And boy, do they keep coming in, you know? I feel like we always think that we have answered all of them, but there's always a new one. And we appreciate it. So keep sending them through at dateable podcast on Instagram, hello at dateable podcast dot com. Any method to get these brunch talk questions. We also love when we start to see themes arise. So we've started to see this one that will go into today, different variations for a bit now. So we got one that we're like, this is the trigger. This is time to do it. Yes, this is such a great question. And I think it's good to maybe give it a little disclaimer. We are able to answer all of your questions, not just based on personal experience, but also observations of the thousands of daters we've talked to and observed in the last almost 7 years. So this is kind of backed is some sort of research. It's in our heads, but we have observed it happen. And so we hope we can kind of crowdsource the answers for you. It's not just from our own personal experiences. Hope that it's a good disclaimer for this. Well, I'd be qualitative research, which I do by day job. You only really need 8 participants to start to see trends. And we've talked to way more than 8 people. Probably 8 people at a minimum that have asserted scenario. There's so many in those thousands. So I do feel like there is a pretty good grasp of what's happening. And like you said, it's not just our personal experience, the Facebook group, but yes, we've had all the people that have come on to share their experiences. I met up with a friend I haven't seen in almost ten years today for coffee. And he was kind of describing his previous relationship. And I was like, oh, she's that kind of personality, and this sort of relationship. And I don't want to go into details, but he was like, holy shit, you just diagnose my relationship in two seconds. And I said it's not magic. It's just because we hear the same evidence supporting what we've seen. So, of course, we'll tell you what those patterns are. That's what happens when you've talked to so many people. Oh my God, one of my best Friends complains about dating stuff. I'm like, are you looking to vent or do you want me to tell you what's going on? Because I know what you need to do different. Seriously. You do something that many, many other people do. And there is a huge blind spot that you do not see. That is so apparent to any one of the outside that's been thinking about this as long as we have. Julie, it is my dream to do another offshoot show called tough love where people come on just to hear the truth and we start the show with that like two big slaps. Welcome to tough love. We can drill sergeant mode. Tell me what's going on. Okay, let me tell you what's up. Did you see that show on VH1? Tough love. There was a show back in the day. I love that show. Was it good? It's so good. It was like this guy that was like a matchmaker. And he would just lay it down of what everyone was doing wrong. I don't even remember the dating coach's name, but it was like my favorite show back in the day, which I guess should have been a sign for things to come. Can we bring it back except we host it? Yeah. There would be such a good show to reboot. Oh my God. There's just things that we want to say so bad and we have to hold back because we're trying to be nice, but if you really want the truth, y'all. If anybody wants to sign up for this experiment, we can do our first pilot episode of tough love dateable edition. I love it. We'll tell you exactly what's up. So are we ready for some tough love today? I don't know if the listeners that wrote this question are ready for it, but we're here to give it. This question is, do opposites really attract and how different is too different? We've gotten of many variations of this, but I'll read the latest one that came in and also kind of riff on a few other variations we've got in. But this one said, I'm in a relationship with a great guy. He makes me feel wanted, respected, comfortable. I laugh with him, can sit in silence with him. He loves people and is so caring. Basically checks all the boxes personality wise. However, I'm a Christian and he is still exploring his faith. We've also heard variations of, I'm introverted there, extroverted, they're super active. I'm more of a couch potato. There's all different variations of this.
00:05:01 - 00:10:03
Pretty much do opposites attract. Yes, so the short of it is opposites do attract just because we love novelty. So we are very interested in people who are nothing like us. They create a sense of excitement for us. We feel like we're learning from them. So for instant attraction, opposites absolutely attract. But for a long-lasting, healthy relationship, I believe opposites have to walk towards each other. So to lessen the gap of the differences and to learn from each other to, again, walk towards each other. That doesn't mean that you have to take up your partner's hobbies, but it means the willingness to learn about them and to have the curiosity about what your partner's interested in. I don't think the exact same person will ever work in a relationship, but I don't think polar opposites who only want to stay on the opposite ends will work out either. I think it depends what is the opposite. Because I don't know, in this example that came in, the faith part. In some ways, that's an opposite, someone that believes in has a high association to faith versus someone that doesn't. But I almost feel like that goes to values for. And I think as long as your values are the same and again, not saying that this person because one is religious one is different, isn't. I think there's a huge spectrum of what religion means to you. How does that play into your lifestyle? All of that, but that would be more of what I'd want to know, decide if the opposite could attract. We often see the people that are life of the party talkative, being with someone that might be a little more reserved. That seems to balance well because that's less about lifestyle. It's less about values. It's more about just how they interact with the world in that regard. It's almost like you can't have two people that sit in silence and you can't have two people that are talking over each other. So that one actually merges well in my opinion or like, for example, someone logical and someone more emotional. It can balance you out. But I think even like the lifestyle example, I think it's really hard if you're someone that wants to do extreme adventure sports and your partner never wants to do that. But again, there's a huge spectrum. Like how important is this in your life? Do you have other people to do this with? If you do it with other people, will you still feel fulfilled? Do you need this from your partner? These are all the questions to ask yourself. So I think it's less of a black and white, but what is it that's the opposite and what does this actually mean in terms of having a relationship with this person? There's this funny phenomenon that happens in early dating where we are attracted to qualities in a person that wouldn't actually work in a relationship. And I think we've given this example before it's like, I don't ski, but oh my gosh, I'm so attracted to this guy who skis all the time. He's so adventurous, that's so fun. I'm very into that. But then when you're in a relationship with this person, they're gone, three months of the year, like skiing, and I don't want to join them. That's not a sustainable relationship. I think that's when it's two different how difference two different, that was a question. I think that's just two different when you have these lifestyle choices that don't make room for a relationship. But if I were the person that said, I love this guy who loves to ski, I don't ski, but I want to learn. I want to be there with him on the slopes. I want to take up all the lessons I can. That's a different scenario, right? Because both people again are walking towards the middle and kind of compromising in that lifestyle. Also just like spending habits, that's a huge one, right? If you have someone who is a big spender, another person who's very frugal and safe. That's going to cost so much friction. How do you get around that? Maybe it works in the initial stages of a relationship, but a long term, I've just never seen anything like that work out. We'll keep with the skiing example. I find this one interesting because I think it goes more to what is your values and how do you define a relationship. There's some people when they find their partner, they want to spend every minute with them. They want to do all the things together. And in that example, I agree with you. You either need to be on the same page or you need to be compromising. Maybe you don't ski, but you're down to go to the ski lodge and hang out. That's one thing. But then there's other people that don't need to be attached at the hip. And they actually prefer having these times for independence. And in that case, maybe it works out just fine to have these different interests. So I think interests, particularly, it's more about lifestyle and values than the actual interest. I actually don't think interests really matter in a relationship. That being said, you do need to enjoy day to today life with someone. So again, that's more lifestyle. But I don't know, for instance, my partner loves live music and bands and seeing concerts. That was never something I did before, but I always liked music. It wasn't like I hated music. So I think that's been really nice because it gives you an opportunity to do things that maybe you weren't so motivated to do in the first place. But if I hated music, maybe he'd be okay going on his own because we have enough other foundational stuff that it doesn't matter.
00:10:04 - 00:15:01
Those are kind of the things that I think it's hard to say yes or no for interests. Then again, there are probably different levels to the intensity of these interests, like for example, you and your partner, your partner is not at music festivals every week. So when he does go, it's every once in a while and it doesn't hinder with your relationship. But if you are dating someone who's at a music festival every weekend and you don't want to go all the time, that is not the extreme interest, maybe that's what it is. The extreme interest almost have to be matching. Our friend Amy, who loves to run, runs like 67 miles a day. Met someone who also does the same and it was the first time they actually met someone who had the same obsession with running. Maybe these extreme interests, they can't be opposites. Well, I think it's when you're interest becomes your lifestyle. If it's just an interest, you know, when it's your lifestyle, that's your day to day. And I'm thinking about I have a friend that goes to music festivals all the time. She needs someone that likes that type of stuff. Yes. But yeah, if it's more of just a hobby than it doesn't need to. So yeah, what's the extreme here? And then personality wise, I think actually opposites do attract, dating a carbon copy of yourself. First of all, how boring is it to not learn anything new? That you're just with someone that knows all the same things you know. So for your own growth and exploration, even ways of processing and thinking about things, it might the moment you're probably like, oh, I just wish this person thought identically to me. But I actually think that's what expands us. And if we really look at relationships as a form of growth, it's actually a good thing to be with someone different. Yes. And it's all about how you go about communicating those differences and bridging that gap. So in the same conversation I have with my friend today, he was telling me his previous relationship and work out because she had worked so much on herself that she felt that he wasn't doing the same. So she was like, I'm all the way up here and you haven't read the books I've read. You haven't done the work I've done. So you're less than me. So he was doing all of this because he felt the pressure to be at her level. But in a healthy relationship, it's not pressure, there's motivation. You are so motivated to grow with each other that you want to bring each other up instead of creating that distance of better than you or your interests are not that interesting to me. So if we can be more cognizant in a relationship of the differences and how we communicate that, it does make it a lot less conflict ridden. Let's hold that thought for a quick message. Have you ever thought about how much better dating would be if you had a whole army of people supporting you along the way? We know that dating can be frustrating and lonely, but it can also feel fulfilling and fun. Have you recently decided you want to make some changes to your love life? Maybe you've recently reentered the dating scene. Maybe you've gone on one too many dates that went nowhere, or maybe you're just ready to take your current relationship to the next level. That is exactly why we created the sounding board, a true extension of our podcast that delivers a personalized experience, which includes monthly office hours where you can drop in and chat with us about anything. Weekly sound offs with guided discussions and regular virtual happy hours, allow Julie and I to become your dating sherpas to provide real-time guidance and wisdom in a more intimate way so we can all navigate dating and relationships together. Join the sounding board today by going to dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. Again, that's dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. I do want to kind of go back to what else the listener wrote in. They list off a ton of great stuff. He makes me feel wanted, respected, comfortable. I laugh with him. Sit in silence. He loves people and is so caring. I think with differences, we're often so fixated on what's not the same that we're bypassing all the qualities that we actually do share with this person. So I would say instead of looking at it as opposites, how can we look at it like what is similar about us, what is just a difference in hobby or interest that doesn't ultimately matter in a relationship. And then what are the core differences and can we get past those core differences? There's always going to be some difference, no matter who you're with because you're not with yourself, but the question is, is that someone that you can still have a relationship that you want to have that you're both on the same page of what you want out of life, your lifestyle, how you view each other, what a relationship means, all the stuff that ultimately matters. And know that it's constantly evolving, you don't just get in a relationship with someone and that's it. Your differences are out on the table and it never changes. It changes so much. And I think about my partner and I, when we first started dating, we were like, wow, we have the same level of interest in partying and going out. And that was fun. But now we have varying interests.
00:15:01 - 00:20:00
I'd rather stay home or hang out with one or two friends. A lot of the night, but it's nice because when he goes out, I get that free time to myself or with my Friends. Yes. Exactly. It's a difference that actually works in our favor when it was a commonality when we started. That's why I think these interests don't matter because they change so much. The lifestyle, that is tricky because your thing was kind of a lifestyle piece too. And it's like, are we going to evolve together? Are we going to be different? But it's still works, like the example you gave. The reality is we're not going to know any of that. That's all the future of how two people grow together. So I think instead of focusing, is it bad that we're opposite? Can you make your differences work? That's all you really need to know. Maybe it's understanding that we're always going to be opposite, even if it's not the super apparent things. There's always going to be something that makes it feel different and do we have enough good stuff, good foundations in our relationship that we can work through those differences or make those differences be beneficial. Celebrate the differences, if we can put that in a more positive light, then we will be more encouraged to be our own selves to have our own identities. I think when you are different in a relationship, it means that you are very strong in your own individuality. So that's a good thing, but in the initial attraction. And this is what we hear with all y'all date or who are doing the first couple dates is you say, oh, I feel chemistry or butterflies in my stomach because I've never dated anybody like this before. There's so different from the previous people. I think that's more of a fact rather than a judgment of how the relationship will be. It's just a fact you're different. It doesn't mean that you're relationship is going to be any better or worse. It's just stating the facts, okay? And we can only take it at face value. Yeah, I think it's such an important point that you just said, and that's why I want to reiterate it is if you are feeling differences, that means that you have an identity. If there's no differences, then you've just merged with someone else. And that's just probably lack of understanding who you are, ultimately. So there's that piece, but I want to also say that just being different, I think the kiss of death of differences and this is kind of like what you are giving the example of with your friend is treating someone like they're less than because they're different than you. I'm just going to use this example. I don't know if it's accurate, but I'm someone that is Christian. The example of the person that not me. But my partner is not someone that practices religion. It can't be that they're wrong for doing that. And I'm not saying this person feels that way, but that's kind of the kiss of death of having differences when we judge someone when they're different than us. Yeah, that's never a good thing. And I've definitely done that before, but you're only judging each other on something that you had no control over. But you had so many years of being strangers and all of a sudden you think you have the right to judge someone for the way they live their life and what their values are, how impossible does that sound, right? So I'm glad you brought that up because it's a common tendency for us to make these judgments when we do meet someone different. Celebrate the differences, know how to bridge the gap and also know that in a relationship, it doesn't matter what the differences were similarities are. It's all about two people in a partnership and walking towards each other as opposed to walking away. Love that. Everyone's going to have differences just embrace them. It doesn't matter what they are. They're going to be there. We just want to also embrace you all for sending in the questions. We say this time and time again, but we love getting these questions. It's also a way for us to work our brains around the topics we've been talking about for so long. So again, you can send in those questions to hello, add data podcast dot com or DM us at data podcast on social media. So like Instagram or TikTok if you want. Keep them coming, okay? Well, thanks again and we'll see you next week. Bye. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network. Find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media, slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tag us in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those pose. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos, and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect, analyze, and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitcher radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. And most importantly, remember to stay dateable.
00:20:06 - 00:20:51
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