Relationships: Why Opposites Attract

by Elizabeth Connors-Keith, CHt

Have you ever wondered if there’s any truth to the axiom “opposites attract”? There is a spectrum of behavior that the hypnotherapist and marriage and family counselor Dr. John Kappas called “Emotional and Physical Sexuality”, and every individual  is on one side or the other of the spectrum (is either a Physical Sexual or an Emotional Sexual). Most people are attracted to their opposite on this spectrum. 80-90% of us who are in an intimate relationship are with our opposite because the opposite has strengths that we do not. This feeling of the other completing us is what causes the “chemistry” or “sparks” between opposites.

What is a Physical Sexual? This is someone who is comfortable with and connected to his or her body. Physicals like drawing attention to themselves and their bodies. They wear sexier and more trendy/flashy clothes than Emotional Sexuals and could have sex every day. They are comfortable in groups and socializing, and exude confidence. When Physicals feel something emotionally they feel it in their bodies as well. They lead with their bodies to protect their vulverable emotions. Physicals seek acceptance through closeness with others. They have a very hard time with rejection. The number one fear of Physicals is rejection.  They equate sex with love and, thus, are faithful to their partners, and almost never are the ones to end a relationship. When they are rejected they will try to get their partner to take them back. Physicals prioritize their lives this way: 1. Intimate partner/sex 2. children/family 3. friends/hobbies 4. career. 

 Emotional Sexuals (who probably should have been called Intellectuals), on the other hand, are not comfortable with their bodies and don’t feel emotions physically, or else have delayed responses to emotions. Emotionals don’t like to be the center of attention, therefore in social situations they sit back and let Physicals come to them. They are protective of their bodies and so lead with their minds, or with emotions such as fear or anger. Emotionals dress more conservatively than Physicals and aren’t interested in sex everyday. They can separate sex and love, and therefore they are more likely to have affairs than Physicals. If rejected they will withdraw so that they don’t have to feel the pain of it. The number one fear of Emotionals is loss of control. Emotionals’ priorities are: 1. career 2. hobbies/friends (for females) 3. intimate relationship/family 4. sex. 

If you don’t see yourself, or other people you know, as completely fitting either of these descriptions it’s because Physical and Emotional Sexuality is a continuum, which means that you are a certain percentage physical and a certain percentage emotional. But everyone has a dominant side. Emotionals can appear physical in their jobs if that’s what their job (such as sales, teaching or acting) requires. Sometimes people have developed a defense of the opposite behavior in response to a rejection, and they thus suppress their true traits. When that happens they will attract someone with their same sexuality, which doesn’t usually work out in the long run. 

Although opposites attract, Physicals and Emotionals can have a hard time getting along with each other because they are so different, especially if they are on the far ends of the spectrum. What attracted us to someone in the beginning can end up being what we hate about our partner when things aren’t going well in the relationship. It’s important to know about these two types of behaviors in order to understand your partner and what motivates him or her.