Everyday Romance: When Opposites Attract?

I was contemplating this (again) as I plot out my second novel in the Fantasy Ranch series – why do opposites attract? In my own life, I don’t like interpersonal conflict. Some people seem to thrive on it, but I prefer an even keel whenever possible. While my husband and I have our differences, we generally get along well and share the same basic philosophy on a myriad of topics. My characters thus far seem to follow the same path. They have their differences (sometimes big ones), but they aren’t normally truly opposites in personality.

Enter my characters for The Minister’s Maid (which you can read more about in my NaNo-themed interview over at Musings from the Slush Pile today). Betsy is…well, she’s the salt of the earth. And crass. And she’s got issues with authority, not to mention having the hots for her exact opposite, an honest-to-God minister named Pete (or Ian…I’m really thinking his name’s going to change – Ian is better than Pete, sorry TBW readers). But I digress (the dangers of being on vacation).

Anyway – Pete/Ian is everything Betsy is not. He’s straight-laced and proper, always has been and is not all that happy that someone like her has set sights on him. Because you know, good boys aren’t supposed to like bad girls…although he may well not be as good as he seems. It is a novel, right? (Or will be.)

Naturally, since it’s a romance novel, there has to be some reason they get together – a good, believable one. Which means they have to find some kind of common ground strong enough to overcome all the uncommon ground between them. And that got me to wondering (see how my brain works? Tiring, isn’t it?) when opposites attract in “real life”, how do they make a long-term relationship work?

If you’ve made it this far (I’d apologize for the abundant parenthetical remarks, but I’m on vacation, remember?), and you are or have ever been in an “opposites attract” sort of relationship, wanna share some of your secrets? If you’re merely attracted to people with opposite personalities from yours, why? And if you’re more like me and prefer to agree more than you don’t…what do you think would be a plausible explanation for two opposites to hook up (and stay hooked up)?

3 comments on “Everyday Romance: When Opposites Attract?

  1. Carol

    My hubby and I are opposites in a lot of ways – from tastes in music and movies down to views on child-rearing – but I’ve never given much thought to how we’ve made it work.

    I think the key is compromise – you have to find a middle ground. The solution to a problem may not be perfect, but it’s one you both can live with.

    And my apologies to Petes everywhere, but I have to agree, Ian is a better name than Pete. 😉

  2. Erica Chapman

    My hubs and I are extremely different, we vote different, we have total opposite vocations in life. We do like the same tv, love to watch football, golf, he’s a little bit country and I’m a little bit rock n roll… okay, he’s not country at all, but he likes the music, and I like rock n roll. I spend money, he saves it.

    It works, cause if we were the same, it would be totally boring and we’d either be in the poor house (cause of me) or we’d never do anything fun (beacuse of him) Gotta love the differences ;o)

    Great post and great interview!

  3. Brooklyn Ann

    My husband and I are opposite in many ways. He hates reading, books are my crack. He gardens, I have a brown thumb, he loves TV, I loathe the quacking box. He’s a morning person and I’m nocturnal.

    However we both love cats, movies, and fishing. We share a similar sense of humor and we’re both great cooks. I’ve gained 5 pounds for every year I’ve been with him, while he stays skinny. GRRRR!

    Anyway, I believe that opposites can work in a relationship as long as they have stuff in common.

    On another note? A minister, Jamie? Seriously? You naughty girl. I can’t wait to read the sex scenes.