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If Opposites Attract, Why Do They Retract?

If Opposites Attract, Why Do They Retract?

Falling in love is easy. But maintaining it can be hard. Let’s take a look at Tim and Lily’s story to see how the sweet love at the beginning becomes frustrating for them.

Tim and Lily are colleagues. They had no trouble falling for one another after meeting in their workplace.

    It all went very well at first but soon they found that they were quite different from each other.

    Opposites retract

    Opposites attract and that’s what helped them get together. But now it’s setting them apart. Little things like booking a table for dinner begin to be an issue.

    Lily wants to book the table just to have peace of mind and not worry about having to wait in line. Tim on the other hand doesn’t see it as such a big deal. If there is a line, they have plenty of other options. Besides, spontaneity can be fun!

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      Punctuality, organization;  these are both grounds for disagreement if they can’t manage to see eye to eye. They love each other, but they are frustrated. Lily can’t understand why Tim doesn’t appreciate the convenience of planning ahead. Tim can’t understand why Lily can’t just go with the flow.

        What they don’t realize is that they are evaluating each other’s behavior based on their own standards and upbringing.

        We are products of our upbringing

        Tim grew up in a loosely disciplined family. As the youngest of three siblings, he had a lot of leniency. He was a smart kid, but he wasn’t exactly the model student nor the best behaved. Regardless, he was very passionate about computer programming. His motivation landed him his dream job as an engineer within a startup company.

        Tim is a free spirit. He goes where his heart leads him and isn’t bound by rules and plans. He is satisfied with his life and a job he likes. He doesn’t see anything wrong with his standards because he is happy with where he is.

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          Lily on the other hand grew up in a strict household. The eldest of her siblings, the pressure to lead by example was always on her. She likes for everything to be planned ahead of time and is very, very organized. She was a straight A student who got into a great university. Eventually she became a product manager in the same startup company as Tim.

          As a very disciplined person, she works hard to ensure that everything goes as planned. She has a good job and is living well, so she is very happy with her life and standards of living.

            Our standards are formed by how we are raised. All families function differently. We are all a product of the environment that we were raised in. How we are raised absolutely defines our standards, so it makes sense that people with different upbringing would have different standards. They are so ingrained in us that we don’t realize that we may judge others for not having the same standards as ourselves.

            What works for you doesn’t works for your partner

            You may not even realize that you’re doing it, but if you are put off by your partners standards, they can pick up on it in your behavior.

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            Since Tim is not punctual, it obviously annoys Lily. Her standoffish behavior is obvious to Tim and he may get offended that she does not vibe with his lifestyle.

              You cannot assume that what works for you is what works for your partner. Your expectations for them to acclimate to your lifestyle puts a burden on them. They will feel pressured to change and perhaps feel that they are not good enough for you as they are.

              Accept, respect, appreciate

              Your life experience is unique to yourself. No one else has had your upbringing, so everyone else has developed differently. What works for you may not work at all for others. It’s important to keep an open mind. Consider how other people may feel and how they may react. If something works better for them, try not to judge. Understand that there are reasons for why they are the way that they are.

                Refrain from judgment, explain instead

                When you see that your partner does things differently than you, ask why. Explain why you do it differently. This way you will have a better understanding of each other.

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                Lily should explain to Tim why is it important for her to plan ahead. In the same respect, Tim should explain why he doesn’t like to micromanage his life. Finding understanding for each other is the key. Respecting each other’s differences will help to lock it down.

                Accept differences, be open to change

                When dealing with different personalities, those differences need to be respected. Lily needs to respect Tim’s spontaneity, while Tim needs to respect Lily’s persistence. These are personality traits that can’t be changed.

                But, they can be adjusted. Compromises need to be made to ensure that the differences don’t take a toll on the relationship. Making these adjustments shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice. A loving partner should be willing to make these changes in order to strengthen their relationship.

                No one is exactly the same as another one, but this is what makes every relationship interesting. Embrace the differences between you and your partner and you will be less frustrated and have a happier and lasting relationship.

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                Anna Chui

                Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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                Last Updated on September 12, 2019

                12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

                While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

                What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

                Here are 12 things to remember:

                1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

                The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

                However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

                We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

                Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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                2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

                You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

                Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

                Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

                3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

                Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

                Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

                4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

                Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

                No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

                5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

                Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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                Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

                6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

                Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

                Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

                Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

                7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

                Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

                Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

                And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

                8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

                When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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                Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

                9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

                Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

                Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

                Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

                10. Journal During This Time

                Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

                This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

                11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

                It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

                The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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                Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

                12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

                The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

                Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

                When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

                Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

                Final Thoughts

                Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

                Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

                More About Finding Yourself

                Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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