Is the saying true? Do opposites attract? 14



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They say opposites attract. They also say one should find a partner who has the same values and interests as one’s self. However, if this were true, my man and I would have either gone our separate ways or killed one another many years ago.

Recently we had our anniversary. We don’t really celebrate anniversaries. As a matter of fact, I usually have trouble remembering the date. He put it in capitals on the calendar this year: “32 YEARS”. No “anniversary”; no circling the date. It stood out like it was saying “32 BLOODY years” or “how did I get this sentence? I’d get less for murder”.

My partner is a quiet man. He only talks when he has something to say. He never asks how my day has been, even though I always ask him. I know it won’t take long for him to tell me about his day. His answer is usually “OK” or “good”. I asked him once why he never asks about my day. He said that he knows I’m going to tell him without him asking. Early in our marriage, I realised that if it was going to work I needed him not to change me. So instead of sticking with him at parties, I circulate. He plonks himself in front of the TV and I get on with socialising. I love interacting with other people. He doesn’t need human company to feel complete.

Then there is the matter of tardiness. I can’t stand being late. It spoils my day. He is always late. He was even late (and therefore made me late) for my father’s funeral. If I have an appointment and he says he’ll drive me, I usually say no – I’ll take the bus. I know that even with the best intentions he will make me late. It could also be a product of my organisational skills from when the children were little and I had to have them ready for school before work. He is never organised.

My man loves shopping. He can take a whole day just browsing. I run in, pick what I want and leave. My life is too busy to browse. Before mobile phones, I was forever getting him paged to the front of stores. I mean to say: two hours in Kmart is the limit.

He was a country boy. He moves slowly and with purpose. I dart around him. He starts a project and keeps focused until he completes it. I start many things, all at once. Most get completed eventually.

The range of social, volunteering and special interest groups I attend could be beyond many people’s imagination. He is not particularly interested in these groups, so he doesn’t join in. He answers the phone and if someone wants to speak to me he says “she’s not home, she’s never home”. But he never complains to me, even though I sometimes feel like I’m neglecting him.

It’s possible I’m more proactive than he is. If we need to complain about something, he gets me to do it, as I’m better with people (or so he says). However, if there is ever any really stressful event in our lives, he clams up and lets me do all the organising, complaining or whatever. I am then considered by others to be the ball breaker and he is the poor downtrodden man. He can’t cope with stress. I just bottle it up. He sleeps it off and is fine the next day whereas I stress for days, internally.

There is one thing we do share. Bathing and walking the dogs. They are a handful so both of us need to help. I guess many readers will think it is sad that the only common interest we have is our pets.

In about two years he will retire from work. I took early retirement several years ago. I ask him what he wants to do when he retires, as I went to a seminar where they said to make sure both are on the same page. He doesn’t want to travel overseas. Aren’t I lucky that I spent my early 20s travelling the world? There is no way he would come with me now. He would like to see more of Australia so we will do that.

I asked him about hobbies he would like to take up. Nothing really. I asked him about any groups he’d like to join. Same result. I know he has a natural ability for music, so I will get him a guitar and lessons. I might be able to get him to join a men’s shed. But then again, I might not.

Even our children used to ask why we ended up married to one another. When small children notice that their parents march to the beat of a different drum, it must be pretty obvious.

When two people are so different, I guess each one has certain strengths. Together they make a whole.

Have you found love with somebody so different? Or do you prefer the company of people similar to yourself?

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Jeanette Southam

  1. yes

    1 REPLY
    • You could have almost been writing about my husband and I. He was Virgo and very quiet and I am saggi and very verbal and impulsive. We had almost 34 beautiful years together until he died and I’d do it again tomorrow without a qualm..

  2. I can understand this as my husband and I are different as chalk and cheese. The only thing we have in common is holidays to same place for last 25 years and fishing otherwise I go most places by myself. He is happy staying at home and doing his thing and I am happy doing mine. We have been married for 47 years so yes opposites do attract

  3. My absolute, best friend in the whole world, is a man! We are ‘totally’ opposite in every possible way imaginable. Yet throughout all the trials and tribulations of our individual lives, we remain the closest of friends.

  4. We are total opposites but have made it work for 44 years. My hubby thinks it’s bad that we are opposites but I believe that’s why it works.

  5. My hubby and I are very similar to Jeannette and her hubby. We seem to have little in common about the big things. I like to socialise in different circles or when we go to a part he will usually sit and watch while I mingle. Its all good and I have come to terms with it many years ago, he is a watcher and takes enjoyment from seeing others have a good time, I am a socialiser.

    Having said all this we do have a lot in common and I am sure Jeannette would find this too: in recent years I have had a chronic illness – I like to rely on someone and have them care for me if required, hubby is there for me; we both love music, any kind; we are both a bit lazy; we both like to follow a creative path in our hobbies – hubby’s is usually musical, gardening, or a quiet drink. On the other hand I will listen to music, just cant be bothered picking something, we both love to cook (but after nearly 34 yrs together we have worked out that we like to do that at separate times – we have different styles).

    these are just some of the things we do together, most importantly we have two wonderful sons….ours together.

  6. Age difference of 21 years and life experiences so very different and yet we get along so well even after a rocky start 6.5 years ago

  7. Nope married total opposite in fact have little in common but we just love hearing about each other’s day. Oh we both love camping that it and we’ve been married 34 years very affectionate to each other his my soul mate

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