Posted in Columns

Opposites attract…then drive each other crazy

After 23 years, three kids, seven homes and an assortment of dogs, cats, hamsters and fish, my husband and I had a revelation:

Opposites attract.

Then they drive each other crazy – or so it would seem if our feelings weren’t buffered by stronger feelings of love and commitment.

Most of the time we laugh about our opposite-ness. Example: while taking a romantic stroll along a moonlit river, we pause.

He turns to go left.

I go right.

Then we look at each other, shake our heads, and continue forward.

The engineers who designed those expensive dual-heating systems for cars were probably thinking of us. I’m cold, then hot in a matter of seconds, and generally crank the heat up or down accordingly. Hubbie’s body temperature is apparently less sensitive to outside forces. I’ve seen fear in his eyes as he anticipates the joys and wonders of the menopause I have yet to experience. Or perhaps, he’s thinking of a desert island where he can hide for several years, until it’s all over.

For a long time, our musical tastes ranged from loud long-hair-bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s (him) to mellower, albeit snore-inducing folk (me). Fortunately, we’ve gained an appreciation for the other’s musical preferences. It’s funny – while we lived apart this past summer (I started my job here; he stayed in Minnesota getting our house ready for sale), I found myself listening to the stuff I thought of as “his” music. It gave me a sense of his presence, though he was 500 miles away.

If we let them, our differences can become an irritation – perhaps the catalyst for irreconcilable differences. This is true in any relationship that goes deeper than the surface level. It’s how we deal with the differences that make us better people as we become open to new thoughts and experiences and allow ourselves to walk in another person’s shoes.

Sometimes it’s hard. I’m hot; he’s cold. He’s hungry; I’m full. I’m tired; he’s ready for a night on the town. We have to be willing to give something up to get something in return.

I believe opposites attract because we need other people to balance our lives – to be strong when we’re weak, to bring joy when we’re sad, to be good at numbers when we’re better using words. Our differences are something to celebrate.

Even when I want the window open.

And he wants it closed.




I'm a writer, editor, photographer and artist living in rural Southeastern Wisconsin. I grew up in Chicago, made my way to the deep woods of Northern Minnesota and then landed here among the cornfields and cows. It's quite simply my happy place.

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