Do Opposites Attract?

Do Opposites Attract?

My experience and personality profile data lore holds that when it comes to relationships, opposite profiles do attract.  Outgoing, Creative, Emotional, Flexible (ENFAs) are matched with Reflective, Practical, Rational Organizers (ISTZs).  My father always quoted that 75% of all relationships formed couples with at least 3 of four opposite Global Scales.

Interestingly,  a 2004 article by Bridget Murray, Mixing Oil and Water, in the APA Monitor found a parallel finding among couples with clinical Personality Disorders (PDs).  While couple’s with PDs describe extreme examples of normal profiles, they nonetheless support the notion that people are attracted to relationships with people who have opposite tendencies to their own.

Murray shared the insights Florida clinical psychologist Florence Kaslow, PhD, who had “seen the pattern so often among some couples that she labeled it practically a clinical archetype: Both parties have personality disorders (PD)—but on opposite ends of the spectrum. 

The fastidious, stoic spouse with obsessive-compulsive PD clashes with the often messy, flamboyant spouse with histrionic PD. Or, likewise, the self-absorbed, self-important person with narcissistic PD spars with the needy, clingy partner with dependent PD”.

Kaslow says: “These people often literally see the other person as ‘their other half.’ But that half is one they have cut off in themselves, so they’re essentially attracted to the thing they’ve rejected or have a negative attitude toward.”

What does your experience with couples and profile support?  Do opposites attract?

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