Struck by the way his dark mocha skin complimented her porcelain complexion,
Her conservative image creatively disturbed by his sinuous dreadlocks and loose-fitting jeans,
Struck by their contagious smiles, magnetised by their togetherness,
I come to a halt, caught myself staring and wondered.
Most of us can summon up a time when we have sighted a couple and stopped in amazement due to the randomness of their pairing. Whilst the little angel perched on your shoulder might have invoked a smile; that mischievous devil probably challenged you to do a double take to satisfy either your inquisitiveness, or sheer ignorance. The celebrity world is beleaguered with examples of what the world may consider to be inequitable couples, ranging from Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson, to Beyonce and Jay Z. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley shocked the world with their partnership, whilst Paula Abdul aptly used her song to emphasise the fact that ‘opposites attract.’ The success of any such partnership is testament to the fact that whilst outwardly they may appear incompatible, there is clearly a secret ingredient, spiritual connection, or trait that they both share to make their relationship work.
Ticking the Perfect Box
We all have a surreptitious idealistic checklist of the characteristics that we would like in a partner; whether it be smouldering eyes, the innate ability to communicate, or an incredible sense of humour. Most dream of the ‘butterfly-in-the belly moment’ when they meet that individual with whom they share mutual physical attraction, core values and an undeniable connection on a spiritual level. However, whilst we seem humanly programmed to flock towards those who share similarities, often enough it is the qualities we do not possess that provide the magnetism. But what keeps you together when you are poles apart?
Opening the Pandora box
We may be conditioned to live by the rules of compatibility, but even the media throws unexpected curveballs when the popular school boy falls for his geeky counterpart, or an unpredictable casual relationship turns into more. The reason to take the leap into the unknown varies for each individual and their situation. Some may take the plunge simply out of curiosity, whilst for others, (despite that fact that the physical attraction has always existed), the fear of disapproval or rejection has prevented them from pursuing the object of their desire.
Opposite characteristics may fuel initial attraction, but it is debateable as to whether they can provide the solid grounding needed for a long term relationship. Magnetism to someone different can contribute to the chemistry, invoke fascination and introduce one to a whole new perspective. The unanticipated arrival of a tactile and spontaneous partner can fill a new relationship with allure and enthralment to the organised individual who lives by routine. The highly-strung person may seek solace in the passive individual and the party girl may hang up her high heels to spend a quiet evening with her more reserved counterpart. However, it can also increase the likelihood of a tumultuous relationship, if you have two different people who are pulled in two different directions.
Weighing up the scales
This scenario is even addressed in literature by authors such as Shakespeare with his witty characters Benedict and Beatrice, notwithstanding the notorious rollercoaster that brought Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele together in E.L James’s saucy novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ However, in reality, what do you do when your opinions and values differ so much that you cannot even agree on your choice of a TV programme, let alone decide on what religion your child should follow? It is easy to lose sight of the reasons you fell in love with your partner, as they might later become the very things that infuriate and frustrate you. For instance, whilst you may initially have found his respectful and cherished relationship with his mother endearing, the fact that he is a classic ‘mummy’s boy’ may be the source of many arguments.
The Secret Ingredient?
In order to ensure longevity in any relationship, it is important to communicate and learn to compromise. When you are different, it is important to be open to possibilities, focus on surmounting difficulties together and refrain from trying to change the other person. Counsellors, psychotherapist and psychologist all have their theories of what constitutes the perfect relationship, but as every individual is unique, it is impossible to provide one set recipe to success. Accept that you are attracted to your partner for their flaws, as well as their attributes and that you are with that person through personal choice. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but life would be extremely mundane if everyone dated themselves, so with that in mind embrace the unknown and celebrate your differences.
“Our greatest strength as a human race is our ability to acknowledge our differences, our greatest weakness is our failure to embrace them” (Judith Henderson)
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About the Author: Sarah James-Cyrus is a Civil Servant and a fervent freelance, willing to tackle a wide range of subject matter, her past articles have explored political debates to poignant teen issues. Past and current clients include Teen Caribbean online, Kush magazine, The South London Press, New Black Magazine, Precious Magazine and Flavour. She has also hosted her own show Brent Youth Radio and the UK Unsigned finals. Professionally, she would say she is a visionary, quite opinionated and not afraid to push boundaries. Follow Sarah on Twitter @illusionSJC