Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Opposites Attract?

Opposites Attract

They say opposites attract, and as an example, I mentioned in yesterday's post that compulsives often pair up with free spirits. The reason is, each one represents something lacking in the other.

Deep down, compulsives yearn for freedom while free spirits desire discipline. We discover this by asking about their fantasies. Mr. Cast My Fate to the Wind would like to be a military commander while Ms. CPA in Spades wants to live on a beach and surf all day.

But these are fantasies, and they'd never really allow themselves to do either one. "The military's too confining for my taste," says he, and "Oh, I couldn't be that irresponsible," says she. So, by finding one another, they bring both discipline and freedom to the relationship. In an ideal world, that is.

Eventually, one thing wears on another. She grows weary of his lack of ambition and he of her constant nagging. If they don't kill each other first (figuratively speaking), maybe in thirty years or so they'll figure out how to accept each other. Then again, maybe not.

Not all relationships are meant to last and some even have a natural time line. For whatever reasons a couple come together, they arrive at a point where the lessons are learned, and all the king's horses and all the king's men can't put back into the relationship what may never have been there to begin with. Accepting that is often just as difficult as accepting a person for who they are.

"But, but, but...aren't we supposed to work at relationships?" s/he asks. Work, yes, force, no. It's a fine line sometimes, and tricky to walk. Mr. I Have to Have Everything in Order may love Ms. Leaves Her Socks on the Floor, but he needs to be able to articulate why, and "she needs fixing" isn't the answer. It's reasonable to ask whether loving for the sake of repair is love at all.

A friend of mine in graduate school once told me, "Beggar, you need a woman who loves you when your poop stinks." He used another word for "poop" that I won't print here, but you get the idea. If we can love and be loved when our faults, failures, and foul-ups are stinking to high heaven (as mine have on more than one occasion), then maybe, just maybe, we're finally starting to get it right.

(Image by deep shot via Flickr)

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