Personality differences, the glue that holds lovers together
Jasmine Atieno @sparkleMine
So many people would openly say that they cannot date people they have no similarities of character with.
In fact, it should be much safer to date someone who wants to do the same things you want to do or practice your life beliefs, right?
While this might sound safe, it might not hold much water. The universe law of attraction states that unlike poles will attract. Like poles barely (or just never).
Often, couples look to each other to fill the gaps within themselves. Many want someone who will make up for their weaknesses, enhance their strengths, and enrich their lives.
That is why a slob would look for a neat freak, or a person who goes with the flow would settle for a risk taker.
The big question then remains these differences can shape or break a relationship.
According to Mombasa-based business woman, Anita Ramadhan, she was forced to end a serious relationship simply because they were of different religious backgrounds.
“I would have accepted any other differences, as long as it is not religious. Everything else was okay.
We connected on so many levels. But he being a Christian and I, a staunch Muslim just wasn’t going to work.
So, I had to let him go knowing too well the future was not going to be easy if I stayed,” she says.
“Provided there is understanding and mutual respect, the relationship will work. But if there is no understanding and respect, then the relationship will have a lot of problems.
And I honestly think differences don’t really benefit a relationship,” argues Mombasa-based blogger, Ommy Dalla.
Belgium-based Kenyan relationship coach, Chinese Kikie, points out that differences are what impact and help shape a relationship.
In fact, it could even be the driving force of the direction that most relationships take.
“We are all individuals and that goes to say that when two people come together to form a union or what we know as relationship, we are bringing our differences already to the table just by being two opposite sex.
And that’s where it all begins. We have what we both like and what one of us may like and what the other may frown upon.
That’s almost to say it’s the beginning of our first baby steps. We begin to see what we are willing to put up or nod for a big NO!
I’d like to think that differences are just some of the things that teach you to appreciate your significant other as they broaden and allow you to see things through a new lens,” shares Kikie.
If we look at a man who likes clubbing and has a reserved partner, there are definitely reasons the two are together. That doesn’t mean that the other partner is boring or anything like that. It’s more about allowing people to be who they are.
“They say that opposites attract and if you observe relationships, you’ll realise that there’s always that one partner who is the so to say “hyped” one in the relationship.
The outgoing one, the talkative, the morning person and I could go on and on.
I’d say that people need to have mature conversations about their differences instead of sweeping things under the carpet because that is a time bomb waiting to explode.
Compatibility doesn’t necessarily mean similarities. Some people have literally nothing or little in common, others have so much in common.
Where you find these kinds of people in a relationship, just mind your own as you endeavour to work on yours. We can be in the same restaurant with the same menu and still choose to order for different food as well as drinks. Does this mean we are not compatible?” poses the expert.
People rarely change
Well yes, we have to be free to pick our meal preferences. Another relationship expert, Allan Lawrence shares that first, a relationship thrives on the foundation of the parties understanding and appreciating that their uniqueness is pegged on diversity.
The difference can be there, but what matters is the chemistry and the compatibility whereby one feels at peace and at home.
Where you embrace each other and have a room to make each other feel celebrated and not tolerated; making them have a sense of belonging.
“In a relationship, people don’t change; they always continue with who they are. The problem comes during dating, many people tend to pretend, but after some time, the mask falls off and they show the real self.
This can negatively affect the relationship. But when they are honest and secure from the word go, the relationship will be secured as the other party will know who they are dealing with...today many relationships and marriages hit the bedrock because people want their partners to change to their preferences, which cannot happen…people will only change when they really want to.
It is a matter of connecting to their world and appreciating them, then correcting them,” he says.
According to Lawrence, people need to have a window of discussion and understand that there are some things they can compromise.