I received this great question from one of my followers: “I’m partnered with someone who is my opposite love style. Are we doomed?” “Do opposite love styles attract or attack?”
I want to break this question into two parts:
PART 1: What does it mean to be with your opposite love style?
PART 2: What you should do about it?
who is your Opposite love style?
Using the chart below, I will explain. As an example, if you are an Expressive Giver, your opposite is the Renaissance Lover or the Hesitant Romantic. If you are Wounded Warrior, your opposite is Confident Hero or Reserved Playmate.
Partnering with someone who is your opposite love style is actually one of the most common things that people do.
ATTACK OR ATTRACT?
You’ve heard the phrase ‘Opposite’s attract!’ For the most part, this is true! In fact, opposites can have a nice way of balancing out their partners.
When it comes to LOVE STYLES, the Expressive Giver is the more communicative partner which brings joy and light to their skeptical quiet partner the Hesitant Romantic. One other thing to note: you are likely selecting your opposite love style based upon the type of family members you had growing up.
What does it mean if you are opposites? Are we doomed?
NO, of course not. For the most part, having an opposite love style from that of your partner shouldn’t be a big issue, however, you should be most vigilant when either one or the other of you is under stress, or when the couple themselves is under stress.
‘Stress’ by definition means, pressure, hurried, the classic ‘too much to do, too little time.’ Because the Hesitant Romantic doesn’t think to discuss or talk about their stress, they often go off on their own to process and need time by themselves to calm down, think through or to merely ‘veg out.’ The Expressive Giver, however, is ‘expressive’—they love to talk and process things, they need validation, support, and acknowledgment during stress. The Hesitant Romantic’s need for space can clash with the Expressive Giver’s need for closeness. So who wins? In these circumstances neither partner— one feels their partner is not there for them, the other feels crowded and unsettled. The couple struggles because both people need things that are opposite or conflicting.
There is hope. In a secure functioning relationship, the goal is to recognize that your partner is not you.
- They love you, right? They are not intentionally trying to be difficult or to make you upset.
- Ultimately they are trying to soothe themselves the way they learned how to in their family of origin.
You must understand your own and your partner’s love style. These patterns were established long ago, don’t take it personally.
The question is, is there enough time and space for both partners to get their needs met? That depends on you two, but hopefully, the answer is ‘YES”. For instance, if you are the Expressive Giver, maybe you can talk it out, get support, and vent, can you call a friend a family member or someone else instead to help offload the pressure on your partner? Your partner the Hesitant Romantic might also think about getting quality time alone not necessarily quantity. Often the Hesitant Romantic squanders their time alone but doesn’t make it productive. Might they take a walk, do some yoga, meditation or breathing to quiet them instead of binge watching their favorite show for 6 hours really help them distress?
Ultimately the glue that keeps any couple together is good communication. There is no right or wrong way to do things, but remember you must communicate what you are doing. If you do have differences in order not to attack each other for your differences make sure you communicate your needs directly.
Try this out:“Hey I know you’re busy. I’m going to go out for drinks with my friends, maybe you can have some time alone or go for a run while I’m out and then after hopefully we will both feel better? I know we both are under a lot of stress this week and each of us handles things differently.”
SECURE NOTE: You fell in love with your partner because they were different than you: you are emotional, they are calm. Continue to appreciate your differences without trying to change them. Communicate what you need. Any couple can become ‘Secure in Love,’ with patience, understanding, and appreciation for differences.