When it comes to the age-old relationship adage “Opposites attract,” jury’s still out. Some researchers have found that similar people seek each other out, others have found that partners who are too similar are less satisfied over time, and still others have found that personality match may not matter at all.
But research aside, we all know those couples who seem as different from each other as night and day, yet surprise everyone—including themselves—by going the distance. You know the type: He’s a loud jock and she’s a quiet bookworm, or he’s a geeky homebody and she’s a social butterfly, yet they’ve been staring heart-eyed at each other for 10 years and onto infinity.
Here, seven of those couples tell us how different they are, how they make their relationship work anyway, and how their seemingly clashing characteristics have not only made them a better couple—they’ve made them better individuals, too.
Anya and Aeus
Anya: extroverted—recharges when with a group; loves to go out; a morning person; fueled by coffee; lives on gray, black, navy, and a little bit of white; a fire sign
Aeus: introverted—recharges when he is alone (usually playing PS4); a homebody; a night person; non-coffee drinker; will wear neon-colored shoes and floral polos (not together, though); a water sign
Together for: Almost 3 years (engaged for 4 months)
Anya: What made us click as friends was our common interest in music. Little did I know that it was one of the few things we liked in common—in everything else, personalities included, we were polar opposites.
When I found out that he doesn’t like coffee, I bid goodbye to the idea of coffee dates/crawls and started to think of where we could spend our time together and what we could do. And when we do discover a new thing we have in common, we really cherish the time we spend on it because we feel like it was “customized” for us as a couple.
What makes us a great couple is that one’s weakness is the other’s strength. We balance each other out, so it’s a win-win for me. Despite our differences, we get to discover more because we’re both open to trying out new things when adjusting to the other. Our differences make us grow both as individuals and as a couple.
Aeus: I feel like being in a relationship with someone exactly like you would be boring. With Anya, I think we’re different enough to keep things interesting (like how we have lengthy discussions about where we should eat) and yet we’re similar enough in terms of the things that really matter to us (like how we value our families).
It’s easy to dismiss differing opinions as points of argument—I won’t lie, I’m guilty of this, too. But I’ve come to realize that the more I learn about her interests and the more I’m exposed to her points of view that are different from my own, the more I learn about the world and myself. By looking at it that way, I think we’re able to overcome most, if not all, of our differences.
After years of being together, I know that by being different, there are things I can do better, there are things she can do better, and there are things we can do best when we’re together.
Carlet and Joboy
Carlet: a planner—plans everything to the letter and takes time to adjust if plans change, a homebody, a picky eater, goes on an intense fact-finding mission when making decisions
Joboy: super spontaneous—can hop on any bus and get off at any stop and call that an adventure, batang gala, eats literally EVERYTHING, driven by emotions when making decisions
Together for: 5 years (married for 3 years)
Carlet: It was honestly a bit of a challenge when we first got together because the smallest things annoyed me. I couldn’t take the way his spontaneity would derail my plans, and I didn’t get why he couldn’t appreciate the beauty of spreadsheets. But it’s been a fun journey of discovering, understanding, and adjusting to each other’s differences.
We have many things in common that make our relationship easy. But we believe that it’s the differences that challenge us to become better persons every day—it’s the differences that make our relationship great.
Joboy: I was the type who always had so much energy to go out and talk to people; meanwhile, all she wanted to do was stay at home, watch TV, or write in her journal. She has a plan for anything and everything; I, on the other hand, just go wherever my feet take me.
Communication really played an important role in helping us understand our differences. And as we got to know each other more, we learned to appreciate each other’s strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses.
Now, there are even times when we feel as if our personalities have switched—that’s how much we’ve influenced each other. We are now so much better at seeing things from the other’s perspective.
Florence and Kieran
Florence: an extrovert, a perfectionist, loves to be out of the house, does not routinely watch TV or movies
Kieran: an introvert; relaxed; a huge homebody; is a TV, movie, technology, and video game aficionado
Together for: almost 3 years (married for 1 year)
Florence: If there’s one thing I like about my relationship with Kieran, it’s that we are opposites of each other.
In everything that I do, I try my best to deliver the best possible result even if I end up compromising my personal time to renew and recover. Being with him has taught me that it’s equally important to relax and renew oneself. He has taught me that achieving your goals is good, but it’s no good if you’re not having fun. And, while he’s the chillax one in our relationship, I’m able to help him explore and defy his perceived limits.
We are equally committed to our relationship as we have the same faith, values, and outlook towards self-improvement and continuous learning. We try to make it a point to talk about our hobbies, and indulge in them together to have a deeper understanding of each other.
While our differences make us distinct from each other, they’ve made each of us a better person since we now have a broader view of the world, and we know that someone different from us can be genuinely lovable.
Kieran: I’m more casual about things, less fussy, and relaxed. Florence is the exact opposite: She’s very focused, work-oriented, and has a certain way of doing things.
I’m more into media, TV shows, movies, and technology, while she does not see the point in enjoying things that will not give her any benefit. My definition of great downtime is lounging around; I can sit down and watch TV or movies for hours. Meanwhile, she struggles to even finish a TV show.
Despite our differences, we bring the best out of each other. While my pessimism gets the best of me, Florence cheers me up and encourages me to move forward and achieve my goals. We see the best in each other, and I understand why she works a certain way. I help her relax, and she keeps me grounded and helps me make the most of my abilities.
We gel together, and that’s why I think we’re destined for each other!
Ginyn and Rozz
Ginyn: introvert, clumsy AF and easy-go-lucky, a night owl, thinks that sleeping and watching K-dramas all weekend long is worth it, loves a good bargain and enjoys the variety at small online shops
Rozz: extrovert, very careful and meticulous, a morning person, thinks that weekends are better spent outside the house, invests in pricey, quality goods and sticks to the brands he knows and loves
Together for: 10 years (married for 3 months)
Ginyn: TBH, we bicker because of the parts of our personalities that are polar opposites. Before, it was just the little things like me being too clumsy (still am) and him being extra careful with everything. But naturally, after a decade of being in a relationship, we’ve discovered things about ourselves and each other that may be different, but complementary.
We work because we learned—and continue to learn—to listen. Despite having different ways of thinking, we openly hear each other out and give the other what he or she needs. If I just need to stay at home and chill while escaping real-world problems, he obliges even if he’s itching to go someplace else. When he’s dying to shop at the mall or just do anything outside the house and when he urges me to wake up at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, I get on board even if I feel tired AF. And when it comes to decisions, we calmly talk about it and figure out what to do. That’s after we lash out and be all dramatic about it, of course.
He’s my best friend, and he’s such a loving husband—I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Rozz: I had a hard time thinking about what to say maybe because it is also one of our differences: Ginyn is very good with words and I, on the other hand, am not very adept at expressing myself in an organized manner.
As she said, I spend a lot on things, unlike her who spends a lot on experiences. I am the type of person who wants the fulfilment of having something immediately, while she is one who waits and tries to cherish each step of the journey. When it comes to making decisions though, she jumps right into them without thinking too much about the consequences; I, on the other hand, am a certified overthinker.
Although we have a lot of differences, I think we complement each other very well. We balance each other out, may it be in talking and listening, in staying home and looking for a new adventure, and in thinking about things in our own different ways.
It’s great, because through her, I can enjoy much of the different ways the world actually works.
Marla and Anton
Marla: introverted, reserved, level-headed, cautious, straightforward, pacifist, calculated, detail-oriented
Anton: outgoing, outspoken, intense, adventurous, playful, confrontational, spontaneous, big-picture person
Together for: 5 1/2 years (married for 4 months)
Marla: Anton was the first person I’d met who wasn’t completely impressed by the fact that I was a “nice girl”—he was neither buying it nor settling for it. And he was right: That wasn’t all there was to me. Being with him has taught me to see myself in color and layers, and to question and challenge what I thought I already knew. Now I feel more like myself than I did five years ago, like I’ve finally grown to fit the mold that fuses who I am with who I want to be.
It’s not easy being on such opposite ends of the personality spectrum, but every day I learn not only how to see things from a different perspective, but how to stand my ground as well. I think this has been one of the biggest secrets of our relationship: that even if we make a good team, we will always value and protect our individuality fiercely.
And while it’s true that love changes you, I think the best, realest kind accepts you enough not to—at least not to your very core. You may start dressing alike and speaking alike and hanging out with the same people, but at the end of the day, seeing eye-to-eye means not losing sight of who you are separately.
I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone who is less different from me, and though living with someone who is constantly contradicting and challenging me may drive me crazy sometimes, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
Anton: The role Marla plays in my life is that of someone who brings out the best in me. She feels like home, and ultimately, isn’t that worth looking for in a romantic relationship? I always thought I was attracted to the same personality traits that were inherent in my own character until I met Marla—unassuming, graceful, and always beaming with a quieter version of confidence.
You see, for us, the differences are always stark, forever present and never allowed to dissipate into the background. We might not always see eye-to-eye or share the same opinion, but the fun of it all is in building the workarounds, breaking down the debates, and recognizing the beauty of knowing that this person might not always get you, but is at least willing to understand where you’re coming from.
It’s when you find those in-betweens—those cozy, complicated nooks nestled at the center of your many differences—that you start to feel safe. It’s where you discover that this is where you’re more than comfortable living.
Mel and Bim
Mel: very quiet, very reserved; has a small group of friends she keeps close; introvert; ‘di makabasag-pinggan
Bim: not so quiet, not so reserved; is friends with practically everyone; ambivert; pati platito basag
Together for: 10 years (married for almost 3 years)
Mel: We’re different as night and day—I’ve known it since day one. It takes a while for me to warm up to people, while Bim can be best friends with a stranger in a matter of a few minutes. I shy away from attention, drawing myself as far away from the spotlight as I can, while my husband thrives on it and enjoys being the life of the party—which he usually is. I much prefer spending my nights curled up with a book or a thoughtful movie and a cup of coffee in the comfort of my home, while anyone who knows my husband knows that he can party the night away anytime, anywhere.
We are polar opposites in so many of the ways we handle things and situations, but at the core of it all, we share the same values, have the same beliefs, love the same creature comforts, and enjoy the same lifestyle.
Ultimately, what makes it work is that we both work towards the same relationship goal: making each other happy.
Bim: If you’ve ever spent any amount of time with my wife and me in a social setting, the first thought you’d have is “How can she stand him?” In fact, that’s a common comment we get: “Buti natitiis mo siya.”
I’m a little loud and when I make a remark; I tend to think of the worst thing to say and just dial it back a bit, depending on who we’re with. I’m crass and obnoxious. My wife, on the other hand, is quite reserved. She despises rude remarks and toilet humor, of which I am a connoisseur. And this doesn’t just happen in public, either. Even when it’s just the two of us, she’ll catch me dancing nude and slapping my butt in front of the mirror for fun and she’ll just roll her eyes. I guess she’s gotten used to it by now.
Underneath all that, I think she and I find common ground where it matters—our values, our politics, and our core beliefs are aligned for the most part. Our ambitions and goals and dreams are on the same trajectory.
At the end of the day, the personality quirks we have are what make our daily lives interesting. Who’d want to live life the same way every day?
Pia and Francis
Pia: sociable, a go-getter, adventurous and loves to try anything new, eats everything, doesn’t know squat about visual arts, works in advertising and marketing for a big media company
Francis: quiet, a homebody, loves a laid-back life, sticks only to the food he loves, good with drawing and digital design, works as a home-based graphic designer and web developer
Together for: 8 1/2 years (married for 3 1/2 years)
Pia: Yin meets yang—that best describes our relationship. While we may be opposite in many ways, somehow these differences help us to be interconnected and interrelated.
Because his weakness is my strength and vice versa, we have always been each other’s support system. We have helped and supported each other in different aspects, may it be in things as simple as our household and works tasks or with the complexities of life and trying to solve the different issues we face day to day.
Our differences allow us to complete each other. They’re the puzzle pieces that together, make us fit perfectly to form a whole.
Francis: For over eight years, we have been a great team. Despite our differences in terms of preferences and personalities, we are still able to relate to one another. My calm and relaxed personality helps her cope in and overcome stressful situations, and in exchange, she keeps me inspired, motivates me, and pushes me to do my best in my craft.
A plus of having different skills and talents: We get to do work projects together. We create marketing materials and websites for local clients, with her in charge of conceptualization and copywriting and me taking care of design. And to strengthen our relationship, we always find time for activities we both enjoy, such as watching movies, going on trips and staycations, shopping for our home, and bonding with our families.