prismakaos: (zigackly)
[personal profile] prismakaos
In the matter of relationships, which phrase indicates a couple more likely to have a positive outcome?
A) "Opposites attract."
B) "Birds of a feather flock together."
C) "You're convenient."

ETA, 450pm:

I mean positive in the sense of "long-term and lasting", but if other people have different opinions on what positive means to them or in these situations, that's awesome too.

Date: 2009-12-10 12:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Depends rather heavily on one's definition of 'positive' in such matters, I expect.

Date: 2009-12-10 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sure, that's true. I'd be interested to hear what other people defined "positive" as -- in this case, I was thinking of "long-term, lasting" relationships. I don't know that any of the above phrases actually indicate it, but I'm curious to see what other people think.

Date: 2009-12-10 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would say that "B" seems the most stable option to me.

Date: 2009-12-10 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Because I'm a pessimist, here are the three outcomes in my view:

A) Eventually they drive each other crazy and break up in a spate of anger.
B) They feed each other in a mutually self-destructive cycle.
C) It becomes inconvenient for person 1 and person 2 has secretly fallen in love.

Date: 2009-12-14 10:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wooo pessimism for the... um... hmm. It's really neither a win nor a lose, is it?

Date: 2009-12-10 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
B is most likely given your definition of positive.
C is most likely given a short-term fulfillment definition of positive.

Date: 2009-12-10 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It depends entirely on the people involved. Opposites can be good if they complement each other, rather than clash. People who are similar may be more forgiving of each others' foibles because they share them; however, two strong personalities with different ways of doing the same thing could be trouble (likewise two absent-minded personalities who forget to pay bills). The convenience argument seems more directed towards sex or short-term fulfillment, like Matt said, than anything lasting; it does not preclude growth, however.

Date: 2009-12-10 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hearkening back to my "sex class", I believe the anthropologist's current take on this question is a combination of A & B. Applying this perspective, I would state the following: My father is a chemist, my mother an English major. They share common morals and core beliefs, a comparable level of education, and a variety of other interests. Davi & I, too, have key things in common while still having many differences of interests and opinions. Differences keep a relationship interesting enough to continue; similarities keep it peaceful enough to continue. Those are my thoughts! :)

Date: 2009-12-10 09:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You can guess my answer: B. But the question is pretty broad, and B is only a first approximation :) Opposites do attract in that it's always fascinating to get to know someone very different, but the word couple seems to imply a long-term, domestic relationship. Love the Asterix icon :)

Date: 2009-12-10 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In order to answer this question, I tried to think of all the couples I know reasonably well, rank order them in terms of the level of similarity of the two members, and then see whether more couples at the "similar" end or "dissimilar" end of the scale appear to have sustained a successful relationship over the long term.

This procedure made option B appear to be the clear favorite. Option C was almost nonexistent among the couples I considered. (Most of these couples were married, and people don't choose a marriage partner out of convenience.) Option A was common but was correlated with the less-successful couples.

These results are, of course, skewed by the sorts of people I tend to know. I'd be hesitant trying to apply these results to other countries, other socio-economic classes, etc.

Date: 2009-12-11 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Most of these couples were married, and people don't choose a marriage partner out of convenience."

I strongly object to the second clause here, at least historically. Frankly, I think historically people have married because of convenience, for some definition of 'convenience', statistically almost to the exclusion of attraction or commonality. That being said, I think historically people have had a lot fewer options and usually chosen to marry more for social, economic, political, and sustenance issues. That's changed in the last hundred years or so for more and more people (greater prosperity, less social pressure / greater social acceptance, etc.) so convenience has become a less common reason.

Date: 2009-12-10 11:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I actually recall some study about this. Though romance novels idolize option A, it doesn't really seem to happen as people tend to be attracted to what they're familiar with. I'm sure there are exceptions, but option B matches my own experiences, as I've only been in a long term relationship with people whom I have mostly similar personalities with. The key word here is "mostly", being in a relationship with your clone would be rather boring, but I do suspect most successful couples tend to share some core similarities.

Though as I'm single I can't say I've been in a "lasting" relationship.

I've seen C happen, but it seems that in that case people are desperate to be in a relationship and need to work on it. Also it's worth nothing that (at least to me) this seems to be a special case with relationships. In terms of friendships I'm pretty good friends with a lot of people who in terms of personality and interest are almost my exact opposites.

Date: 2009-12-10 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How about D), all of the above?

In their extremes, I think A) and B) will eventually drive at least one of the couple nuts. If you've got no common ground to build on... Well, that pretty much says it; how do you build something stable if the two pillars don't match up? If you've got no differences, you'll get bored or tired of the other person. And for C? Well... If you've got someone who's a perfect balance of A) and B) but lives in Norway, or is already in a relationship, well...

Which I realize means I've got at least one more thing in my definition of positive than what you've state: "happy."

In short, which extreme will work best depends heavily on the two people involved, as these aphorisms always seem to work better for someone else. :)
"Even a general which works well with specifics breaks down when it becomes personal."

Date: 2009-12-11 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My own person experience seems too limited to draw much in the way of conclusions, but I'll offer what it seems to say.

I've tried (A) once and it was awesome! but shortlived. I've tried (C) twice and it was relatively long-lasting and sort of miserable. My other experiences don't fall as conveniently into those categories, although they were probably mixes of (A) and (B), and all were pretty short. That would tend to suggest that (C) is most likely to be positive in the sense of "long-term and lasting". However, I'm inclined against (C) because my most recent, and longest-lasting, relationship was of that sort of and I broke it off because it just wasn't working for me. It was mostly working for the other person, but not for me. Convenient seems to work for me in the short term and but seems to have a high potential for being unsatisfying, and therefore getting into Not Worth It territory. I'm inclined to think the other two are more volatile but more likely to be 'lasting' if they manage to not combust or fall apart. But maybe I'm deceiving myself on that score. :)

So I'd say I think (A) is most likely to have a positive outcome. It seems to be a high risk, high reward situation. I'm not sure I'd be satisfied with a lower-reward situation if I felt there was the possibility of a higher-reward situation, even if it's chancy. In theory, I can always try again. While my one brush with (A) hurt a lot, it only really made me want something like it more. Maybe I'd get tired of it if it was a regular enough occurrence, but I certain am not yet.


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