Experts Say Even Successful Couples Have These 7 Incompatible Traits
If you think you need to be exactly like your partner in order to have a successful relationship, think again. While it may require more understanding, and an ability to compromise, being different is actually a good thing. And this includes bringing traits to the table that are technically incompatible.
When you approach life from different angles, you might find that you and your partner have an easier time solving problems, since you're both offering your own unique perspectives. You might find that you strike a healthy balance as a couple, since you're making up for each other's shortcomings. To reap these benefits, though, you'll need to be open and accepting of each other.
"The main thing about couples who are successful is how they view and relate to their differences," therapist Risa Ganel, MS, LCMFT, tells Bustle. "Instead of harping on their differences — [or] trying to change the other to view or do things the same way they do — they celebrate their differences."
And that doesn't just mean appreciating each other, but figuring out how to combine forces. As Ganel says, "They actually work to each other's strengths by dividing things in a way that uses these differences to their advantage as a couple." Read on for some "incompatible traits" that don't seem to go together, but can actually make for a healthy and successful relationship, according to experts.
1. Relaxed Vs. Uptight
If one partner is a laid back, go-with-the-flow type of person, you may not expect them to have much success with someone who's more strict and structured. But this can, in many ways, make for a very healthy relationship.
"When you have a partner that is more calm and collected, they can help bring you down in times of anxiety and stress," Mackenzie Riel, a sex and wellness educator for TooTimid, tells Bustle. "They're able to look at the bigger picture and can do their best to help you solve a problem without getting frustrated about it."
And if you're the more relaxed one, you can use your skills to support a nervous partner whenever they're stressed, so they can see things from a different perspective. If you were both uptight, or both super relaxed, it could still work, but maybe not as easily.
2. Organized Vs. Messy
While having different standards of cleanliness may cause you to butt heads at first, this incompatibility can actually be quite helpful — if you're both willing to embrace it.
As Riel says, a more organized person can help the messier partner see the benefits of keeping things tidy by setting standards, reminding them about paying bills, and so on. They can use their organizational powers — and delegation skills — to keep the relationship running.
The "messy" person, on the other hand, may help bring more fun and creativity to the relationship. While they can strive to be more organized, they can also use their strengths for good by helping their more structured partner learn how to appreciate a bit of "chaos," when appropriate.
It's all about accepting each other's differences, and allowing them to balance you out as a couple.
3. Spontaneous Vs. Scheduled
Believe it or not, when a spontaneous person coexists with a more structured person, it can make for quite the healthy match.
For example, if one is a planner and the other is more spontaneous, the planner takes cares of the all the minute details, Ganel says, while the other takes the lead when it comes to creating a looser schedule overall — and having fun.
This can also apply to everyday life, where you can use these "incompatible" qualities to spur each other to get things done, while also knowing when to step back and relax. (It can also come in handy on vacations.)
Of course, these traits may drive some couples apart. But if you use them to your advantage, it can make for a great combination.
4. Type A Vs. Type B Personalities
Folks with a Type A personality tend to be ambitious, hardworking, and competitive, while Type Bs can be more relaxed and flexible. While it is always possible for two Type As to be together, or two Type Bs, opposites can also attract.
And in many ways, that can be a good thing. "Two highly driven people could find themselves in competition with each other and constantly nursing resentment over who is more successful," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. And it's also possible that two Type Bs would never get anything done.
That's why a Type A and Type B partnership could actually be quite complementary, Bennett says, as it can help you to keep each other’s excesses in check.
5. Internal Vs. External Processors
Some people are completely internal when it comes to how they process things. They keep their thoughts to themselves, and work out issues on their own, while others are more external, and all about communicating.
This might seem like it could cause problems, when it comes to relationships. But the differences can end up being strengths. "While each of you may find the person's style impossible, it lends some variety to how you all problem solve," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "There are times when things need to be talked out together, and there are times when reflection and careful thought is needed instead."
By being so different, you two may have an easier time overcoming obstacles — and may even have a more successful relationship as a result.
6. Older Vs. Younger
While it's not necessary to date someone older or younger than you in order to have a healthy relationship, if you do end up with someone of a different age, you may notice a few benefits.
"Many people assume that age differences mean automatic incompatibility," Bennett says. "However, sometimes people might value what they find in a younger or older partner."
For instance, an older partner might enjoy a younger partner's spontaneity, Bennett says, while the younger person might enjoy the wisdom and experience their older partner brings to the table. Again, it's all about appreciating each other's differences, and finding ways that they can assist in creating a healthier relationship.
7. Spenders Vs. Savers
While it's very common for couples to argue about money, there are a few ways in which differing opinions can turn into strengths — as can be the case when one of you is a saver, and the other a spender.
This doesn't apply to extreme examples, where one person spends without thinking about the affects they're having on their partner. But "it can be healthy for the relationship if one partner tends to save and be more conservative with spending, while the other pushes just a bit to enjoy life," Dr. Klapow says.
This is, again, all about balance, and keeping each other in check. "This works well when one partner is not a compulsive spender, or a compulsive saver," Dr. Klapow says, "and when both partners can appreciate the influence the other has with their different ways of looking at money."
Sometimes incompatibilities are just that: incompatibilities. While compromise is always possible, being different doesn't always mean you and your partner will have a successful relationship, especially if you don't see eye-to-eye on the big stuff.
It also takes work to see differences as strengths, and to find value in what makes you both unique. But if you can remain open and willing to find that balance, it can work out to your advantage.