Can Two Very Different People Make Their Relationship Work?
It is an old saying that opposites attract, but while differences may feel like a fun challenge in the beginning of a relationship, they can end up feeling much more like incompatibilities a few years down the road, the same way quirks and certain flaws, - like being late, or a propensity to forget things - can turn into features which bothers the other, once the novelty of the relationship turns into something more routinely.
Especially when kids are involved, and the couple starts having less time just for themselves, this can trigger individuals to be less patient, having less time to solve problems efficiently and in a good time-frame. Having kids can, at the same time, make the couple more willing to save the relationship for the kids’ sake, than for themselves.
This is something very specific that is worked on at Stack Counselling: the relationship needs to be salvaged for the couple, because that will benefit the kids as well. But the couple will be the main subjects of the therapy.
Kids should not be the only reason a couple decides to stay together; a couple should work to stay together first for themselves and, of course, that will be the best for the kids.
Loving parents and a stable household is healthy for a kid’s growth. Fighting parents, even when staying together, is not.
Does this mean that completely different people are doomed when it comes to be happy in a romantic relationship together? Not quite.
Very often, those differences can work almost like pieces of a puzzle, which fit together nicely, allowing each of the individuals in the relationship to focus on what they are best at, tackling things with their own abilities and strong features.
Most of us know a couple that seem to have nothing in common, but somehow ground each other, and work like a properly oiled machine. They make what could be their weakness, into a strength.
Very often, though, this requires learning how to deal with the other, and it is a process, in many ways.
Not everyone is equipped to make a relationship with an opposite character work, and very often a couple stays unhappily in a relationship, tiptoeing around issues for far too long. The couple comes to what they believe is an end of the road, without realising that there are ways to work out the differences.
Obviously, these refer to personality differences which can be worked together; for some relationships, when one or both of the partners are unfaithful and violent, it’s a more delicate situation, which needs a different approach and, in some instances, cannot be salvaged.
One thing that isn’t talked enough, is how interesting it can be to be in a relationship with someone who brings to the table new things, and different interests. There isn’t a lot we can learn from individuals who like the same things we like, and although it is fun to share experiences with like-minded people, and we can find comfort in what we have in common, being in a relationship with someone that knows and is inclined to do different things, can make our own lives much more interesting. We’ll get to know and experience things we wouldn’t otherwise. We will see other perspectives and take what we need from it, without having to change the core of who we are, and the things we are interested in. It’s a win-win situation.
Always, the most important thing, is to find a compromise and make it work.
The role of Stack Counselling and of the therapist
At Stack Counselling, our main goal is to help couples come together and find some common ground, turning those differences into strengths and into tools the couple can use to grow together, and as individuals.
We’re doing this backed up by science: according to this research on the journal Social Cognition (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2029345), opposites fit.
With the right guidance, and good couple therapy, these relationships can become even stronger, by bringing out the best of each individual, and helping them deal with the other. This, including their own individual expectations and goals, and as a couple who cares for the other and themselves.
Furthermore, the study shows that working the way they prefer and best know, and focusing each on different ways to achieve a same goal, is a better way, not only to achieve said goal, but to do so more equally, since each individual focuses on what they’re best at.
With different approaches, therapy helps couples find a strategy, where both bring to the table the best of themselves.
Another point the therapists at Stack Counselling help with, is remembering the couple why they became a couple in the first place, how differences were a reason for mutual attraction at some point, and how they can work in the same way again, if well explored.
The role of the therapist is never to take sides, but to turn a battle against each other, into a battle to save the relationship together. To see differences as personality traits, rather than flaws, and give the couple an outside perspective which will determine the success of their relationship, and make it more intimate, and stronger.
This is made through respect, love, and kindness, after a first introductory meeting, and across several therapy sessions, created specifically for each couple, and their needs.
Stack Counselling guides couples to figure out a way to compromise, where both individuals can be heard, respected, and given the time of the day to express their emotions, expectations, and struggles. Working together for the same purpose: bring back the old flame, while finding value in knowing the other well, and in continuing to work for a good balance in the relationship, by keeping and cherishing the worth of their own individuality.