Relationships

Relationship Question: Are You Similar or Opposites?

Beyonce and Jay Z at the Louvre

When Alex and I first started dating, my friend Randy pointed something out…

“You and your past boyfriends were yin and yin,” he told me. “You and Alex are yin and yang.”

He was right. Before Alex, I had dated guys who were like me — energetic, outgoing, anxious. Alex, on the other hand, couldn’t be more laid-back and unflappable. As we fell in love, got married and had kids, that balance has been key. For example, I plan our dates and family adventures, and he calms me down when I have my 11 p.m. nightly freak-out. The only catch is that, as an introvert, he sometimes craves alone time, and I’m like, WHYYYYYY??????

We’re also different in random ways:

* Alex would keep anything and everything, while I love clearing out our home to the point where a month later, we’ll be like, “Wait, where’s the can opener?”

* Public speaking is his phobia. I’m happy in front of a crowd, but I’m scared of basically everything else (elevators, the dark, you name it).

* He has read all the history books on WWII, while I go for emotional deep dives.

* He likes desert heat, and I prefer a misty rain.

What about you? Similar couples can work really well, too, of course. Years ago, before their wedding in Vermont, my friends Abbey and Tim met with a minister. “We didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “We’re nervous, and he greets us and gives us lemonade on his porch and we’re sitting there. And he’s like, so, have you ever done the Myers-Briggs personality test?” Abbey and Tim explained that they were both INTJs — which basically means thoughtful introverts. The minister’s only concern was, who will make the friends? “We did have to work harder on that part because we’re both homebodies,” she said, “But it worked out in the end.” Now married for 12 years, Tim and Abbey are happy as clams with two sweet children.

My friend A. and her husband are both introverts, and they revel in it. They rented an old cabin on Airbnb for a couple weeks last summer, and they’d spend the time alone, cooking, reading and doing woodworking. “We had a couple friends up one weekend, and they said, ‘What should we do today?’ and I was like, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be whittling my spoon.”

Are you similar to your partner (or past partners)? Or opposites? How does that balance work for you? I’d love to hear…

P.S. A first date ritual, and how do you know if your partner is the one?

(Photo of Beyoncé and Jay Z at the Louvre.)

  1. I’ve been with my opposite for 12 years (plus 4 months and 3 days if my partner was asked). He is quiet and kind hearted while I’m not afraid to speak my mind. He thinks everyone is nice…and I’m suspect. He likes the golf channel while I’ll be surfing the net just fuming over some misdeed or catching up with reality tv. Over the years our differences have been a learning tool to broaden each other. He triumphantly walked in the front door a few years back with a neighbor’s front yard sign that had annoyed me…while I have been kinder with my words to phone solicitors…well I do try now. Though I may have turned him into a sign thief…he did let me steal his heart. The irony of it all….we met on match.com 12 year ago….and 4 months and 3 days and 16 hours.

  2. Mary says...

    My husband and I are so similar – this might be TMI, but the other night we were gettin’ down to business and decided to pull out this “sexy” deck of cards we received once. They say things like “lick chocolate sauce off my body” – I won’t go too much into detail. We each went through our halves of the deck and finally picked out a card to show the other. The killer? Both of our cards said “blindfold me.” Just about died picturing us trying to have sex while both blindfolded! (And in the end, we took turns).

  3. Anon says...

    Sweet to hear about the ways couples match up! Dated a Yang but he wasn’t my yang.

    Also, a book recommendation for you & Alex – The Ghost Keeper by Natalie Morrill – won best new fiction from Harper Collin. Just finished it this morning (4 days of can’t-put-this-down reading) I am not a fan of WWII books because the darkness seems too much – but the author walks the reader through the horrors with such tenderness. Emotional deep dive for sure. Holding back tears on transit moving ?

  4. Eileen says...

    I am surprised I haven’t noticed any comments about a shared passion! My husband swears that is the key. For us it is playing outside, namely mountain biking. Which of course is no bueno for the years when the kiddos are young… but sure enough they’re riding with us now and it is super fun to have this family activity that totally shapes how we live. And cheers to the yin n yang, I would have never believed even a time travel version of myself… but sure enough our oppositeness is our magic ??‍♀️❤️

    • Em says...

      Oooooo! Good comment, Eileen! Thanks for something important to consider.

  5. I honestly can’t decided if my partner and I are opposites or the same. On one hand, we both love staying at home, watching funny TV shows + superhero movies, and eating food together. On the other, we’re also very opposite.

    For example, he likes savoury foods whereas I have a huge sweet tooth, he’s a math whiz and I prefer to write my numbers as words because I despise math as much as I love words (which is a lot), and I am a collector of collections, where he is content with only the necessities, IF that.

    Whatever we are, we have an amazing relationship and both genuinely love spending every moment that we can together, so I don’t mind either way. I’ve certainly never had a relationship or a friendship that I have loved as much as this one, and we’re still going strong five years later!

  6. Cait says...

    My husband and are similar as far as being introverts who also need time with friends (as a stay at home mom, a girl’s night out or food adventure with a friend can be great, but playdates and park time can still wipe me out emotionally for the day). I’m moody and struggle a lot emotionally/mentally sometimes, and my husband is the most laid back person I know – I’ve never seen him angry. It’s interesting to see which of our kids takes after each of us, because our first two especially are very distinct!
    I’m a Gretchen Rubin fan, and her book, The Four Tendencies, is really interesting for relationships. I first thought, ‘wow, a Questioner is probably the hardest for me to get along with.’ And then I realized….my husband is totally a Questioner!! It only comes out in certain situations, and we talk about it, so it works ;)
    This topic makes me think of a memorable sermon on marriage we heard early on….how God gives us a partner who will be weak in the places you most want/need them to be strong. Not that you don’t see and admire the strengths too, but there are often recurring issues that feel so important but are just how we are, and it’s there to make us better people. My faith says that marriage is not about compatibility and happiness, it’s a calling and something that can be beautiful but will always take work. No one person (nor yourself) is ever going to be satisfying in a relationship, and that makes us look to Christ even more.

  7. My husband and I are complete opposites. I’ve been obsessing over finding out that I am an INTJ personality type – http://www.16personalities.com is just insane in describing who you are as a person! Last night I was reading the relationship section and it says that though Intuitive (N) types are uncommon it is essential for my personality type with one or two balancing traits of either Extraversion (E), Feeling (F), or Prospecting (P). My husband is a Campaigner – EFNP – I couldn’t have a more perfect match!

  8. Alex Yates says...

    For books, I have a great recommendation! Seeing his comment about WWII books and your love for emotional deep dives made me think of the book I’m reading now! Beneath the Scarlet Sky, it’s a true story about an eighteen year-old Italian who helped smuggle Jews over the alps into Switzerland and eventually enlisted as a Nazi and became the driver for Hitler’s left hand! The story is amazing and fascinating I can’t seem to put it down!

    I support Alex’s need for alone time! Haha, I too am an introvert and I love my people, but sometimes I need my quiet space; but I love my fiance and the wonderful handsome social butterfly he is <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, alex!!!

  9. for us, my husband is the gas pedal and i’m the brake. he’ll have an idea and want to pursue it in the next 15 seconds. i’m the one that says, whoa, wait, what about this? what about that? what happens if? then, 15 months later we do his idea. oddly, it works.

    • Hannah says...

      I like your description- the gas pedal and the brake. That’s exactly what my husband and I are. 15 years later it still works!

  10. janine says...

    My ex-boyfriend, who I’ve been friends with for longer than we ever dated, once said, “The reason we couldn’t be in a relationship is that a couple needs a sane person and a crazy person. We’re both the crazy person. Your husband is a sane person.”

  11. Amanda says...

    My relationship is a little non-traditional. I actually started dating my current partner when we were young teenagers, and we’re 28 now – without a single break! While we’ve both changed a ton since we were young, we’ve been lucky in that we’ve evolved and grown together over the years, and he really feels like another half of me at this point (despite that, no plans for marriage, ha!). We’re extremely similar in most ways – a little bit contemptuous, a constant need for humor, and a desire for equal parts relaxation and socialization during our free time. I actually can’t imagine not being in a relationship where I can look at my partner and know what he’s thinking and feeling because I’m probably thinking and feeling the same.

  12. Angie says...

    My husband and I have been together almost 20 years, since college. We knew from the beginning how opposite our personalities are (he is charming, high-energy and extroverted, and I am calm, measured and introverted). A couple of years after we met, we took a compatibility test for my sociology class and while waiting for the results we joked that we were going to “fail” it. The results were interesting…confirming yes, that we were different in many ways, BUT — we *wanted* and *valued” the same things. Fast-forward to 13 years of marriage and two kids, this common vision is what gets us through. We might go about it different ways but ultimately, we are moving in the same direction. The biggest plus is that we have very similar parenting styles. Sometimes I find him maddening and wish he were calmer — but at the same time, that would not be good for me. Daresay, I might find it boring? He has helped me come out of my shell over the years and look at life in a more positive and humorous way. Conversely, he would agree that I have helped him see the world from a more compassionate and informed viewpoint. We’ve had our ups and downs like any couple, but when I look around there is absolutely no one else I’d rather be with. We grew up together and I love him, end of story.

  13. Emily says...

    Complete opposites. I inhabit the emotional realm. I cannot fix anything and I will never have any keen sense of spatial relations. My husband is the type of person who will take apart our dryer because he wants to understand precisely how it works. His world is black and white and I inhabit the grey area. I believe in many ways that opposites attract for a reason and after being married for 14 years, have come to realize that we often choose our partners because we are trying to heal something within ourselves or we are aiming to grow. If I had chosen someone just like me, I wouldn’t necessarily experience growth and vice versa. Sure, it makes the times when are having difficulty a bit tougher (sometimes I wonder if we are living on different planets), but in our differences we nudge one another toward our truer selves.

    • Sarah says...

      I love this, and feel exactly the same way in my marriage of 12 years, and two kids in tow now. It’s always comforting to hear this b/c as you said at times, especially during difficulty, it can be tough to approach matters so differently.

    • Michela says...

      My husband and I are total opposites in every way: extrovert vs. introvert, ESTP vs. INFJ, touch vs. acts of service, etc. etc. etc. Someone once described the opposites attract phenomenon as beautiful because as a couple, you have no blind spots. It’s such a lovely way of approaching what can be maddening differences. So lovely, in fact, that it’s the basis of my maid-of-honor speech for my sister’s wedding this summer! (Apparently it’s family tradition to marry your opposite).

  14. Heather D says...

    My husband and I are opposites. I’m outgoing and crave people-time. When I’m alone for more than a few hours, I get lonely and find myself wandering out of the house.

    But – in nearly 12 years of marriage, we’re starting to share weird habits. If you would have told me as a younger woman that at age 35 I’d be able to tell you the difference between Star Trek, Stargate and Star Wars — and LIKE all of them — I would have laughed! Look at me now, all nerdy!

  15. Allie says...

    I was just thinking this morning how “on paper” my husband and I would never match. We come from very different backgrounds, different personality types, and different ways to react to things. But our core values align and that’s what makes things work along w the fact that opposites can really work well if you play the positives!

  16. Joanna, I related to your ‘alone time’ WHY?! reference so much! All the time I’ll be yelling to my husband (when I’m in the shower/upstairs/anywhere that he isn’t) “JONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!?!?!?!?!????????!!!!! JON!!! Can you come here really quick??????????????” And then when he arrives I’ll be like “Hey.” Thank god he finds this endearing in addition to slightly enraging :) Just not really an alone time gal, unless I’m at Marshalls.

  17. Meagan says...

    My husband and I are opposites in many ways but similar enough to both love it. I’m an introvert and spend a lot of time in my head. He’s an extrovert and life of the party. I help him enjoy the little, quiet parts of life, and he encourages me to have fun and keeps me from entering full hermit mode. I’m serious, reflective and make decisions by following my heart. He’s silly, a total jokester and extremely logical. If we were more similar, my life would be less filled with laughter, adventure, and carefully measured decisions. We both crave new experiences and embrace the challenge of working together to better understand the flip side of the coin. Life together is a total adventure and we love it!

  18. Rue says...

    The deal-breaker for my longterm partner and me is that we were too similar about conflict avoidance. It became impossible to talk about the big, hard, important things. When things got really bad for me in another part of my life, I couldn’t talk to him about it. It was hard, because our similarities were also such a comfort. We were PERFECT at sharing a home, cooking a meal, taking a road trip, being moved by the same music, deeply understanding each other’s career ambitions. He’s still one of my favorite people on the planet, but even dating casually now, if I sense someone avoids hard conversations, I walk away.

    I have a friend who, if my life were a movie, is the person I’ll end up marrying. I’m not sure yet where things will go, given that this is real life. But since we first became friends when I moved to my current city, I’ve felt compelled to tell him everything. The hard stuff that I don’t want to share with anyone else, he knows all of those things. Better yet, he continues to be my friend and show up for me and support me, knowing all that stuff. He and I are more yin and yang. I’m a very anxious person, and I recently mentioned offhand that “it’s so easy for me to torture myself” about dating. I’ve had a hard few months with a lot of strike-outs. And when I described this tendency to turn into a ball of anxiety, he said, “so stop torturing yourself!” Half of me was like, “but you don’t UNDERSTAND!” and half of me was like, “yup, I think I need someone I deeply trust who can tell me to snap out of it.”

    If you’re curious, we were both going through difficult life stuff when we became friends, and we quickly realized it was best to be friends while we each sorted through our hard stuff. Once at dinner I said to him, “I don’t know what we are… disaster friends?” But we also have what I’ve started calling in my head these State of the Union meetings, where we check in about whether we think we want to start dating, what the barriers are for each of us, what it would take to move through those things, how we’re both feeling. I’ve never communicated better with anyone. I truly don’t know if we’ll end up together, but I think I want a similar “yin and yang” balance with whoever my next serious partner is. That balance is amazingly beneficial for me, even though I cherish my experiences with my previous partner who was so similar.

    • Katie says...

      This person sounds amazing! I’m so glad you found a friend you can be so open and real with!

  19. Has Alex been to the WWII museum in New Orleans? It’s amazing!!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, no, but i’m sure he would LOVE it!

    • Ellie says...

      Just seeing this now and I have to add – yes, it is amazing and in the summer, every Sunday afternoon, they have free swing dancing lessons/open swing dancing!! IN the museum! It’s awesome!

  20. Polar opposites, in his words…

  21. Anon says...

    My husband and I are two very different people. It didn’t bother me in the beginning, but it bothers me so, so much now that we’ve been together for about seven years.

    I am 39 and with age I found myself aching for someone similar. Here is an example. I am a foodie and love trying new foods, while my guy sticks to the usual and would not for the love of him try anything new. Besides, he hates the smell of food in general and if I cooked at our home first sentence when he enters is: “Gosh, it stinks so ugly (even though it doesn’t – it is the smell of cooked food), we’ll never get rid of this smell”. This makes me cringe and resent him a lot. And that is just one example.

    I am just so tired of all the bickering and different opinions. Plus, we do not like to compromise, like, at all, neither of us.

    We have two small children and I am grateful to him for them (and he is an awesome dad!). We still have great sexual chemistry, we have the same level of devotion to one another and we definitely love each other.

    But, I’m certain now that it is much better to be similar to your partner, when it comes to long-term relationship. You can enjoy life more, without constant maneuvering.

    • Alex says...

      I hear ya anon – my husband and I certainly enjoy different things. I love going to the theater and the ballet, he loves watching Youtube videos about how to forge steel. This is why we have friends outside of our relationships – so we have dates for that hip new restaurant that just opened up when our partners don’t give crap.

      He doesn’t have to love your cooking experiments, but he shouldn’t belittle or insult – that’s just rude. I would tell him to cut that s**t out.

  22. Ana says...

    We are very different! We grew up in very different cultures and families. I am French with a nuclear extra stable family, he is American with an eclectic blended family which makes for some fun culture clash and discoveries and some utterly hilarious situations. I am ultra organized and love decluttering , a ball of energy always over scheduling things and thriving in high stress situations. I love change while planning my next 50 moves in advance. He is very active but in a calm and contained way, hate planning, love keeping random stuffs for like ever and is more confortable with routines. We are both at different levels on the introvert spectrum but it works. He balances me in a healthy way and I push him out of his comfort zone. We share a taste for adventure and a strong sense of humor which makes any sticky situations much easier to handle.

  23. Alice says...

    A few years ago, I had a boyfriend who, on paper, was exactly right for me- very similar interests, similar personalities, similar senses of humour. It was great in many ways, but also made me feel really stifled- I didn’t feel like I was learning or growing within the relationship- and it made me unhappy enough that I broke it off. Everyone was SO shocked- my mum had thought that he was The One for me, but I’ve since found that I’m much happier dating guys who are similar-ish (must like books and wine and food!) but different enough that we both learn and grow within the relationship.

  24. My husband’s an introvert, and I’m an extrovert. We follow one simple rule to stay balanced: I say what parties we go to. He says what time we leave!

    • LOVE this!

  25. Lisa says...

    God I love the atmosphere and comment section here at Cup of jo! First time commenting but I just had to declare my love ? Everyone seems so great and friendly and supportive and insightful… Thank you everyone!

    Love from Lisa, Denmark

    • Miruska says...

      I agree Lisa. Cup of Jo is this rare bread of blogs where I come to every day for articles but end up spending hours reading every single comment. And look forward to it. People are very supportive, very open, share their experiences so lovingly with others not to brag, I believe, to share similar experiences or learn from eachother. I love it. I even commented a few times, which I absolutely never do on other blogs. Joanna has created such a lovely space here.

  26. Hannah says...

    Really, really simplified: I’m bouncy and my boyfriend is chill. Yet I’d describe us more like “yin and ying” (not yang), because we’re not total opposites. We’re both (different kinds of) introverts and need our alone time. But I can stand crowds (i.e. at farmers markets or events) and he hates having that many strangers around him. At the same time, when I’m overwhelmed, he sets me at ease, calms me down and sets things into perspective. And when he’s stressed, I’m like “Let me handle that” or make him see the bright side/the good things in life. I think we complement each other really well. <3

  27. Sadie says...

    Also, one observation from a marriage of identical MBTI types: there is a real danger of transferring your dissatisfaction or irritation with yourself into your partner! My husband and I sometimes find each other saying, “Ugh, YOU can’t be the one who does that! I’M the one who does that!”

  28. Sadie says...

    Something that really helped my marriage was realising that the differences are what make partnership exciting (and sexy), and the similarities are what make it comforting. You need both! When things feel stale, sometimes the answer is to spend the first half of date night apart, doing different activities, then come together. When things feel unsteady, that’s when you need to connect to your shared qualities.

    I’ve always loved your advice, Jo, to spend one day of your vacation apart. It’s counterintuitive, but works absolute wonders for us just at the point that we think our camping trip is going to end in tears!

  29. Katie M says...

    I love talking about relationship dynamics and personality tests. I think my husband and I are similar to you and Alex, except that I’m the worrier and planner but also the introvert.

  30. Matilda says...

    My husband and I are pretty similar. We started dating the first week of college, both were business majors but ended up as history majors, we love any type of Asian food, we’re both introverts but only slightly, we (thankfully) have the same parenting philosophy, love dogs, have the same sense of humor, and we rarely spend time apart.

    At the same time, we’re good balances for each other. He’s very decisive and logical. I’m much more indecisive and think with my heart. I’m a total worrier and he brings me back to reality. He’s in law enforcement and that’s the last job I’d ever choose. He can be a bit moody sometimes and I’m very even-keeled, even when I’m pregnant. Whenever he’s in a bad mood, I can get him to laugh and it’s over.

    After 15 years he’s still the person I want to spend all my time with (in addition to our three boys). I know there’s always a debate about if people have soulmates or not, but I definitely believe we were made for each other. We fit together better than I think either of us could with anyone else. He understands me better than I understand myself. We each lighten each other’s load and always put each other and our family first. He’s just the best!

  31. Brady says...

    My partner and I are sooooo different in so many ways!! We come from way different cultures. (India vs US)
    He loves going out with his friends and at weddings will dance till 3am. (I’d prefer to just eat the cake and chill) He talks to his friends on the phone constantly (I’m more of a texter) And he’s not afraid to ask for anything he wants which I admire. He’s my grounding force when I get too much in my head. We’re both independent but in different ways too. He’s always lived with his family (cultural tradition) and has been their main financial support and I’ve lived on my own. I love traveling alone and going on adventures and he’s afraid of flying which is when I become the calm, grounding force in the relationship. We both love movies but of way different genres (and languages). He hates reading (unless it’s for work) and I looove it! The cool thing is at the end of the day we make each other laugh a ton because we’re both total goofballs especially when it’s just the two of us!

  32. Stephanie says...

    I’m a 1 and he’s a 3, so we complement each other well. We both like to plan and schedule (planning and going on trips is our favorite thing), and both have some issues with anxiety, but I am much more perfectionist and his presence immediately calms me. He’s an introvert and I’m an extrovert so he needs more time alone, but that gives me plenty of time with friends. Anytime I’m worried I’m doing something annoying or asking for too much he says, “I would never want to deprive you of anything you love.” He’s my breath of fresh air :)

  33. HTM says...

    I’ll never forget the paper I wrote in 6th grade comparing and contrasting my own mom and dad. When the teacher asked us to pick 2 things to write about for a “compare/contrast” paper the first example that came to mind were my parents. They were sooo different behind the scenes that it made for the easiest topic I’ll ever remember writing a paper on. Fast forward 30 years later, and here I am, married to someone I feel is the total yin to my yang… just like mom and dad.

    As I’ve known my husband for 15 years now, so much of life has happened that has led to personal growth — kids, career roller coasters, spiritual awakenings, and relocations, just to name a few — it’s become so evident that in the beginning, during young love, we focused on what was similar on the surface, but now it’s so easy to see what’s different underneath.

    I’ve also realized that some of the similarities that brought us together have now turned into sources of disputes that we didn’t think would, e.g. both Christians, yet one is Catholic and one Protestant thus leading to bickering every weekend over which church to attend. We were once both Obama supporters, yet in the past election we each voted differently. It has been quite a challenging journey and to be honest I do wonder how life would be if we were more the same and I do question our differences.

    But I remember the vows I took 10 years ago when I chose this partner to share my life with, and to create life with: “For better or for worse”…. and: “Love is patient”… also:  “Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. Because life is going to keep happening, and 15 more years are going to pass, and maybe in keeping to our vows of unconditional love and being patient and always listening, our children will see us and be better equipped to navigate life with all its turns, alongside a partner that will not always be on the same page. Thank you mom and dad.

    • grace b says...

      Yay for the Enneagram! I’m a 4 married to a 9w1.

  34. Total opposites! I just see him as a friend when we met in college and never considered a future with him. And he was in a long term relationship with someone from the same circle of friends. I never thought it’d workout when we started dating because I thought we’d never get along. But boy, even if we don’t share the same interests all the time, I learned to love what he loves and he’s done the same. I get to know more about Jason Mraz and San Antonio Spurs from him.

  35. Samantha says...

    My husband and I are opposites. We actually just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary today (!) so I guess you could say it’s working out. ? Our differences have really helped us reach our couple goals. I’m the dreamer… and he’s the one who will actually help make it reality. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  36. Brooke says...

    My fiancé and I are the same – chill, traditional, homebodies, and Capricorns!

  37. Dana says...

    My boyfriend and I are very similar, and I wonder to what extent online dating contributed to that. We certainly gravitated towards profiles of people who were similar to us. It’s good to have similar values and interests, but as a lot of other commenters have noted, the best pairs don’t always make sense on paper!

    I happen to love dating someone similar to me, but I do wonder on whether it’ll become more and more common to have yin/yin pairs than yin/yang, and whether that’ll have any impact on society as a whole.

    • Emma says...

      Huh, that’s a fascinating idea! I met my guy at my work, in real life (when he walked in the door my first thought was, ‘I’d marry that guy’ and my second thought was, ‘clearly he’s taken’–but he wasn’t!). We’re pretty similar in a lot of ways, though I feel like we balance each other. But I do wonder about the online dating thing–I couldn’t stand anyone I went out with through the internet, often because we were too similar on paper. I kept getting matched with nerdy, anxious, work-motivated introverts (that’s me!). It was terrible! Sometimes I think if I weren’t with my partner I would literally never stop working or thinking about work.

  38. Anne says...

    My husband and I have very similar energies. Despite us both being very introverted, we never get tired of just being together. I used to joke with him saying, “You don’t even seem like a person to me!” Meaning that, while usual social interactions with people are very draining to me, his presence was neutral, so I was never tired by being around him. And he feels the same! It’s so wonderful.

    • Laura says...

      I’m super introverted, or maybe just very shy – it’s hard to tell, but either way it’s very exhausting to be around people. I feel the same way about my boyfriend – he doesn’t even seem like a person to me. In a good way lol

  39. anna says...

    we were different but now we are the same.

    • Meredith W. says...

      Yes! We were different…but we are the same too! This strikes me as so beautiful. Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. We got married when we were practically babies – 20 and 21. We were so incredibly different: opposites attract and all that. In so many ways we are still as different as night and day but balance each other in a lovely rhythm. In spite of the many ways our personalities, mental wirings, and even parenting skills are different, we’ve also somehow morphed into the same person. We even look more alike. How did that happen?

    • Mei says...

      I feel the same way! When we first started dating all I could see were our differences. More than ten years later (married for 2), I see all the ways we’re similar.

    • Capucine says...

      We were the same, but now we are different ☺️ (well, in the beginning we focused on and delighted in each discovery of how we were alike, and parenting and life has now showed us how we’re unalike).

  40. Kerri says...

    So SOOOO different. Thank God. I could never be married to me. ?

    • Heather D says...

      This comment cracked me up. Same girl, same.

    • Katie says...

      Lol, so true!

  41. Christy says...

    My husband is really laid back and thinks things and people are good enough the way they are. He doesn’t care much what other people think of him. I’m anxious and perfectionistic and sometimes suspicious of others and nervous about what people think of me. So he helps me relax, enjoy life, and appreciate what we already have, and I help him to keep moving forward and growing. One area where our differences create a struggle is, where I like to skirt over the surface of lots of different topics and interests without settling deep into any one, he gets really intense about one interest at a time and digs in to the point of obsession. That makes it hard to talk to each other sometimes, but we are finding our way. We’re both introverts, so we give each other the space and alone time we need. I would die to protect him, and he’d do the same for me, I know it.

  42. Meganleiann says...

    I’m Googling “How to whittle a spoon”…

    • Ja me too

  43. Lee says...

    He makes the friends, I maintain the friendships.

    • Justine says...

      Wow. I never thought about it that way before… so well said.

  44. Jamie says...

    Maybe it has something to do with what kind of dynamic was modeled by your parents. My mum was straight-laced and my dad was a bit of a rebel/hippy, both introverts but in different ways. So it turns out that my sister, who is as wonderfully straight as an arrow, chooses a partner who is a massage therapist/acupuncturist/hippy type (both introverts in different ways). While I’m more of a hippy/creative type who married someone more straight laced and traditional (both introverts in different ways!). It works, and I suspect it works because that’s how we understand relationships,l based on what was modelled. Who knows!

  45. Cath K says...

    First time commenter! We are the same! our sons – your first me third were born days apart so I’ve always followed your lovely journey. My husband is (like) Alex and sometimes I get annoyed when he doesn’t ‘get it’. This gives so much perspective.
    BTW we live on opposite sides of the world. Reader of 6+ years from Brighton – UK

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, cath! we are so, so similar, that’s amazing. waving from brooklyn. xoxo

    • Juliette says...

      Hi from a fellow Brighton reader!

  46. Midge says...

    This sounds odd, but when I get myself super upset about something stupid, my even-keel husband will make a hilariously clever but utterly inappropriate joke about it and instantly dissolve into uncontrollable laughter. This has happened about four times in 20+ years, and every single time I gasp in shock and then we’re laughing so hard together that I’m instantly over being upset. It provides immediate perspective. I would never in a million years have told you that this would be one of his most endearing qualities, but damn, this man understands me to my core and gets right to the heart of it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “this man understands me to my core and gets right to the heart of it” = i love that so much.

  47. Emily says...

    We are… both! Our Meyers Briggs are INFJ (his) and ENFJ (mine). We perceive things in similar ways and often agree, but manage to butt heads frequently anyway, until we can talk and realize we are really on the same page! He also does calm me down and his steady attitude evens out my anxious self. I bring him out of his shell as he can be pretty introverted, and he helps me to enjoy a chill day at home or in nature. I think we’re a pretty good pair. :)

    • TennesseeCassie says...

      Similar! My husband is INFP and I am an ENFP and this works so well for us, as we see eye-to-eye on so many judgment calls. I bring him out and he keeps me grounded (and encourages that quiet space that I do really need).

  48. Sylvia says...

    Bevor even reading the post I have to comment on how much I love the pic of Bey n Jay and that you chose it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      same!!!! she is the best.

  49. anna says...

    As a single gal these comments are so much fun to read (and so meaningful) ! I don’t totally know how to convey what I’m feeling, but I guess it’s just really refreshing to see how different individuals in relationships can be and they still seem so harmonious. Thank you to everyone commenting !

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a sweet comment, anna! glad you are here!

  50. Katherine says...

    My husband and I are a good match for one another. We compliment each other in many ways, but also offer balance and perspective since we are not identical. I’m an INFJ, and am a highly sensitive person; I am deeply empathetic and tend to get overwhelmed by sensory experiences, and my emotions can sometimes be crippling. I manage ADHD, serious anxiety, and depression, as does my husband, minus the depression. I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to be with someone who understands my mental health issues and doesn’t blame me or stigmatize me for them (my previous boyfriend did). My husband gives me space to breathe and time to process, even though he himself can be very impulsive. He’s an INTP: although he can be spontaneous, he works very hard at being risk-adverse and spends a lot of time researching things before making decisions. He is rational where I’m emotional, and he helps me see through the fog of all my feelings.

    As helpful as it is to know where we fall on the Meyers Briggs scale, what has been more helpful to me in truly knowing and seeing him has been learning more about his childhood and how he was raised. I can be very passionate about things, but when I talk about those things that make me feel deeply, he tends to shut down and ask me to calm down or can we talk about this later, which makes me upset because I’m trying to share my soul with him. After a few fights about it, I came to understand that when I get into one of my passionate talks, he views me as getting aggressive, and he grew up with a father who was unpredictable and volatile, so when he feels my voice and energy change, he gets uncomfortable because to him it triggers back to childhood memories of being cornered. Once I learned that about him, it helped me to know how to talk to him about things that are important to me but doing so in a way that doesn’t feel abusive to him, because I certainly don’t want him to feel bullied by me. But man did it make me angry when he told me to “calm down” – I can’t handle a man telling me that EVER because to me it means they just want me to be happy and smiley all the time, which I am not. I feel too many feels to only be happy!!

    Ultimately our relationship works because we are patient with and respect one another. I wish he’d open up more so I could learn even more about him, but I’m okay with taking it as it comes.

    • Sarah says...

      How helpful it was for me to read this Katherine! I am an INFJ too and am highly sensitive and empathetic, which is comforting to read since a lot of times I feel like an oddball (when I’m not!) with all my feelings and passions and idealism when others are not. Sometimes reading the INFJ character traits comforts me. So many strengths from our personality traits, I have to remind myself. I have had similar experiences with my husband responding negatively to my passionate talking because of a hard/volatile relationship with his mother and how it may trigger thoughts of her attacking him when it isn’t what I mean to do at all! Good point to keep childhood history in mind. So glad to be able to relate to people online and learn from it too.

    • Bobbi says...

      Fellow INFJ here, and I can relate a lot to what you said. We should start an INFJ club, because we’re the rarest type and that can sometimes feel isolating.

    • Hilary says...

      Another INFJ (we are the rarest type!) and totally understand this. My husband is also very rational and I struggle at times to convey to him the emotional support I need sometimes. Thank you for this insight :)

    • Katherine says...

      Hey ladies, thanks for chiming in! I had no idea we were a rare breed! Makes sense to me, though, as I am THE MOST emotional and empathetic person I know, and it’s a struggle to find others who truly relate to how deeply I feel things. I know others often think I am too extreme and that I overreact to things, which makes me feel like I am somehow wrong just for being me (my husband, thank god, does not since he knows this is how I am wired). I think we should definitely start a club, or a support group, to say “I feel you.” How helpful that would be!

    • Nicole says...

      I would like to join this INFJ club :). I am incredibly sensitive and I’ve learned to really mother myself. There was a lot of trial and error – going from helping everyone with their problems to giving harsh “no’s.” I think I strike the middle more often now and often employ what my therapist calls “the Queen Elizabeth approach: ” gracefully waving”, but not getting deeply emotionally involved in EVERYTHING.

      So thankful for this Cup of Jo community!

  51. Maggie Mehr says...

    At first glance, my boyfriend and I couldn’t be more different. Different families, different childhoods, different academic interests, different generations, difference strengths and weaknesses. I’m what he calls a WASP-y but emotional Catholic (I have intense feelings, but I don’t talk about them) and he’s very in touch and expressive and mature about his feelings. I have strong opinions about everything (furniture, where we put dirty dishes, etc.) and he’s really doesn’t have a preference either way. But what unite us are our shared values. We believe that your calling is not necessarily what you love, but what you are uniquely qualified for and drawn to. A job is not just a job. We believe in service and compassion and generosity. We value emotional intelligence and making decisions that are right for our relationship even if they look questionable to the outside observer. And even though we are radically different, we understand one another, we see one another.

    It also helps that we’re stupidly, disgustingly in love.

    • Amber J says...

      This is beautiful. I’m going to be pondering that line about ‘calling’ for the next several days.

  52. People always thought I would end up with someone artsy or musical, on paper that seemed to really match up in reality it was nothing short of a disaster. My husband and I are both introverts but in varying levels and style. He is an outgoing introvert and I am a shy introverted feeler but extroverted thinker and part Italian so when I am not feeling shy I can talk quite a lot. I worried we wouldn’t be able to find shared interests together (he loves sports and I am more artsy, book reader) but it has been fine. I realized working on art projects was something I wanted to do as an introvert not as a couple. We have the same core values for life, marriage and parenting. We have complete opposite upbringings though. I grew up with first generation Sicilian and Puerto Rican immigrants for grandparents so my food culture is vastly different from my husbands more American family.

  53. Alexa says...

    My husband and I are both introverts, but we differ in that I am more creative/have the ideas and he is more practical/has the solutions. It works! :)

  54. Amber J says...

    My husband and I are a little of both! Sometimes I feel like we’re the exact same and every so often I realize we couldn’t be more different. He’s an ENFP and I’m an INFP, and we’re both heart types on the Enneagram (he’s a 3w2 and I’m a 4w5), so the way we perceive the world is very similar, but the way we handle what we perceive is very different. It’s fascinating! And keeps things fun! (And keeps me feeling emotionally safe at parties while he’s actively working the room and I have the freedom to just sit on the couch or silently cling to his arm!)

    I’ve learned that keeping an open mind and heart is extremely important.
    Just when I think he’s DEFINITELY going to agree with me, he presents an opposing thought, and sometimes I’m thrown for a loop! Then I have to remember A) how much he REALLY DOES LOVE ME — it’s not personal and B) WE’RE DIFFERENT PEOPLE — his opinion/thought process/approach matters just as much as mine! It’s a fun journey.

    • C B says...

      YES ENNEAGRAM. Why don’t more people use it? 4w5 is v cool :)

    • Yesyesyesyesyesyeeeees! Enneagram has helped me love my husband (and myself!) better. I’m a 4w3, and he’s a 1wsomething. ;) i love how much insight it gives me into our tendencies, behaviors, and how our past wounds affect us now…and teaches me how i can best love him and also encourage him towards health.

    • Molly says...

      Another YES to the enneagram! I’m also a 4w3 “the individualist” and my husband is a 9w1 “the peacemaker”. I can remember one distinct argument we had early on that really made me understand our differences: we were laying in bed on a peaceful Saturday morning and I was wanting to “emotionally connect” so I brought up some of my angst I was feeling about our relationship (4s are rather angsty) and he immediately said “Molly, I’m sorry, but you are kind of disrupting my inner peace”. I was so taken aback – I was like “inner peace!?? Who has THAT?” but then it clicked that we were perceiving that moment SO differently based on our personalities. Instead of feeling hurt by his comment I ended up just laughing because we were SO on the nose with our enneagram numbers. Being aware of what was going by on made me appreciate and understand him (and me!) better. This system gives us a way to communicate especially when feeling misunderstood and gives us space to grow into our healthier selves. It’s been pretty life changing for us in our marriage!

      Another personality typing system we like is called “the four tendancies” by Gretchen Rubin. Holy smokes just look it up, trust me. I’m an obliger, he’s a questioner which are opposites due to how we handle external and internal expectations. I reallly love this system – a bit more practical for every day habits, routines and interactions with people.

  55. Jenn says...

    My husband and I are just like you and Alex. When he’s driving me really crazy with his laid-back, low-key, good-enough introvertedness, I stop and think about what it would be like to be married to some one like me. Everything would be very clean and organized and pretty and perfectly scheduled— and we would both drop dead from stress-related causes at 45. Thank God for my yin. (Fingers crossed the kids turn out more like him…)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!!!! this is exactly like me. sometimes i’m like, you really want to do the SAME thing every saturday??? or go to the SAME place on a trip every time??? but then he’s also soooooo relaxed and supportive when i’m at my most worried/anxious:) he’s definitely the best fit for me, and necessary. xoxo

  56. Emma says...

    I love reading these comments and seeing how many people are happy with being opposites AND how many are happy married to the same. I’ve come to find that no matter the personality type, the right person will lift up and illuminate your best qualities, those things that make you ‘you’ – be they introvert or extravert. The right partner is the one creates a cozy place for you to expand into the the absolute best version of yourself. Its less about how you’re wired and more about how you’re celebrated .

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this. xoxo

  57. riye says...

    Opposites. I’m a reader–he’s not. I’m a cat person and he loves dogs. I need alone time and he doesn’t. I have to say, though, we’ve been really good for each other. I’ve learned not to call him names and shout when we argue. He’s learned that its okay to say “no” to me and pretty much everyone else if needed. And so much more. We’re both on the same page about what is important to us and how we feel about it so it works for us. Plus, any man who cheerfully helps you drug your cancer-ridden cat, even if it means getting up at 4:30 a.m., is a keeper.

  58. jenn says...

    we’re super similar in most respects–beer nerds, board game nerds, D&D nerds, Marvel movie nerds, we like all the same foods (which is to say, we’ll try anything). but in other ways, we’re opposites–he’s a major extravert who loves high-energy situations and combining friend groups, and i’m a major introvert who would be completely happy spending two weeks exploring a new city alone together, as long as i have a hot tub and a copy of Vogue to spend an hour or two with. it works for us :]

  59. Mel says...

    Well this sorta relates; I’m the COO
    & he’s the CFO….

  60. Jessica M. says...

    Funny enough, I’m in a master’s program and just did the 16-personality test yesterday so this is a very timely discussion. I scored as an ENFJ-T and my boyfriend decided to participate and found out he is an INTP-A.

    I think the differences can make it interesting, I always appreciate that my partner can offer me a different perspective on things. I am more emotion-focused, sensitive, and love being around people whereas he is logical, analytical, and enjoys time spent alone, I think the differences encourage us to grow and provides balance.

    Side note: Joanna, I have been a huge fan of yours for years and have been reading your blog since I was in high school and you were writing for Glamour. This is my first time commenting but I wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading this blog for the past 10 years. Thank-you for all that you do! xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, jessica, that means so much to me. thank you for saying that. truly. xoxo

  61. Jen says...

    My husband and I are total opposites! He’s meat and potatoes and I’m soup and salad. He’s tall, I’m short. He’s hot, I’m freezing. He loves talking to strangers and I prefer staring at a wall. However, after being together for 20+ years, we often end up dressing like twins! One of us always has go back to the closet and change our outfit!

    • Colleen Shannon says...

      I can totally relate to the twinning! Before we go on vacation I check what he’s packing so we won’t be wearing the same outfits running around the world together!

  62. Jac says...

    In the past, I have dated people that I THINK are like me, but are actually polar opposites in ways that actually matter. I tend to date people that are my worst qualities personified (sarcastic, wreckless, critical). When I actually made the effort to date people that have strong version of my best qualities (loyal, thoughtful, easy going) and personality traits I admire (kind, adaptable, industrious), things have gone much better! I like to think that all different kinds of people can work together, but in truth it’s only the people that are going to let you be you and the ones that only believe the good stuff about you : )

  63. Lauren says...

    I love personality chats especially within marriages and families.

    Have you looked into the Enneagram? I love Myers Briggs as well, but the enneagram has definitely shed some light on certain dynamics between my husband and myself.

    So, my husband is a One on the Enneagram, the perfectionist. He can’t sit down for the night until every dish is washed, put away, every toy and thing tidied up.

    I would leave it all and go sprawl on the couch the second the kids are down for the night and then begrudgingly clean it before going to bed. I’m a type Four, the romantic, and all I really want is to be IN my feelings and for my husband to tell me all the reasons I’m unique and special. Ha.

    He loves when we stick to a budget and any sort of ‘act of service’ is like his dream come true. Or having organizational weekends. Bless it.

    Meanwhile, I can be super in my own head, and he is literally anxious about NOTHING (how?!?!!).

    But, it all works. We are both introverts who love to be together at the end of the day, like you said we do have to be intentional about making friends, but despite all our differences, it works.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you two sound so sweet together, lauren. so curious to try the enneagram.

    • Amber J says...

      LAUREN!! I’m a 4! Obsessed with the Enneagram. Good to find a fellow 4 here <3

    • Also a 4!! (Which I’m characteristically very proud of, haha.)

    • Steph Gilman says...

      Omg I’m a 4 and my husband is a 1 too! I bet we have so many similar stories!

    • Katie says...

      I’m a 4 too! Sounds like Joanna’s blog attracts 4’s. My husband is a 7. I love that the enneagram, I think most 4’s do.

  64. Rahnster says...

    Opposites, absolutely. I am anxious and driven. He is so insouciant and content. He is also very similar to past partners. I have a type and it is laid back, skinny men. We are similar in some really nice ways. We both prefer traveling to cities, we both like to be active, and we have similar taste buds. My favorite: we are both no-frills, minimalists, We were playing a Newlywed Show-style game and the question posed was about our “dream cars” and we both said, who cares? We both want something fuel efficient and safe.

  65. Daniela says...

    All my past exes were extroverts and religious. I am finally with another introvert who’s not religious and it’s great! We are different in good ways too though, I’m a total perfectionist but he always calms me down.

  66. Katie says...

    We text at the same time. Send each other emails simultaneously. Order the same dish at restaurants. Speak in unison. And look alike. We don’t finish each others sentences. We say the same sentence at the same time.

    • Amber J says...

      That’s hilarious! You sound like a fun couple of people to hang out with.

    • Anna says...

      <3

  67. Colleen says...

    Me: Very introverted, creature of habit, love routines, devoted excel spreadsheet user. Good listener, empathetic, yet often times judgmental. Prone to being critical, but usually stemming from a place of wanting to protect loved ones.
    My boyfriend: Incredibly extroverted, everybody’s friend (no really, you’d love him), generous to a fault, your next dance partner, he won’t forget your name…or even your mom’s. Sometimes too spontaneous/not always sticking to a plan. Ahem, like…maybe we didn’t need to spend $200+ on the Beyonce tix before moving 0.0

    What was once a huge road caution sign in the beginning of our relationship, our differing personalities have balanced out well. He now breathes a sigh of relief when getting comfy on the couch while staying in on a Friday- realizing that one does not need to attend *every* friend event. I now look forward to the texts that pull me out of my comfort zone like, “get your day drinking pants on, we’re gonna find a sunny patio. you’ve got 20 minutes to get ready”. It’s been surprising delightful :)

    • Amy says...

      You two sound ADORABLE!!

    • Ashley says...

      I feel like you might also be a Virgo…

    • Alex says...

      Ha! I’m a Virgo and sound a lot like Colleen!

    • Colleen says...

      Libra :) I’m not too familiar with horoscopes though. Now I want to look it up!

  68. Mouse says...

    My husband and I seem quite opposite on the surface, but we have one deep life experience which I think bonds us. We both lost our mothers in different ways when we were young. It’s not that we’ve even ever talked about that–I just think somehow we both had a hole that the other unconsciously (and consciously) filled. He’s a down to earth guy, I’m in the arts, he likes sports, I like art and books, he’s messy, I’m neat, etc etc. But we work really well together, literally: we designed and built our house together and I don’t think we had one fight, which is apparently unheard of. Also we met each other later in life, after failed marriages, don’t have children, and we understand that we are each other’s family for the duration. And we have the same sense of humor when we’re alone……

  69. My husband and I are opposites, but in some ways we’ve taken on the characteristics of the other. Or I should say…he’s taken on many of my characteristics! I have a real IDGAF attitude about a lot of things–not in a mean or combative way, but like in a Winnie-the-Pooh type way. He’s really caught on to that way of being since we’ve been together. I’m also a total introvert and homebody, able to do just fine socially, just not my preferred mode (all the memes about rejoicing over cancelled plans are near and dear to my heart). With the upcoming three-day weekend, his past self would want to fill it with plans and outings. Now I’ve got him all excited for our “stay-cation.” My evil plan worked; I brought him to the dark side. #introvertsunite

  70. Amanda says...

    My husband and I are comically opposite. I have a big, boisterous family
    (5 siblings, tons of cousins, etc) and he’s an only child with a small, quiet, polite extended family. I’m an extrovert, he’s an introvert. I’m a verbal processer and very open, while he is very private and in his head all the time. He’s deeply practical and frugal, and I’m more free-spending and aesthetically driven (we’re building a deck this summer and while he’s doing tons of research, measuring the yard and pricing everything out before we start, I’ve literally already purchased a cute party tray for the BBQ we’ll have when it’s done LOL). The list goes on! In 10 years together we’ve learned how to make most things work…. neither of us are upset when we attend a wedding or party and I’m flitting around the room and tearing it up on the dance floor while he stands by the wall and has one on one conversations. Whenever we are with my family for several days in a row, he takes lots of long solo walks. When he needs to process after a long day at work he goes on a bike ride or hike rather than come home and then not interact with me, and I spread out my socializing and processing needs to friends and coworkers – but we both also push ourselves to consider what the other needs from us, even when it might be uncomfortable or not what comes naturally. It can be a challenge to be so different, and if I’m being honest I sometimes wish we were more alike, but on a good day we bring balance to each other and push each other to grow and consider other perspectives, and most importantly, celebrate our individuality and uniqueness.

  71. Madeline says...

    “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be whittling my spoon.” I am cracking up over this.

    My husband and I were pretty different when we got together. Some of those differences remain (I’m still hyper organized and he is still messy) but a lot of them have closed. I didn’t notice it until my mom pointed out that I’ve become much more optimistic and laid back over our 5 year marriage. I love that all his best qualities seem to be rubbing off on me; it’s the best part of marriage, to be made better by the person you love.

  72. In my last relationship I essentially dated a more outgoing version of myself, and over time I began to fade away. When we took a break near the end of our relationship and I was like “wait, I’m engaging too! I can be funny too!”. My husband and I are very opposite. He lives fully in the physical world, always wanting to figure out how things work, while for me the physical world is often reduced to a backdrop for human stories. The balance has made the world bigger and more interesting for both of us, and his concrete rationality is the best antidote to the anxiety-inducing realm of human subtext I sometimes live in!

  73. Danielle says...

    Loved this! I worried about my boyfriend and I being too different in the beginning – he wants to be out in the woods all day, and I’m still a new hiker. I LOVE sitting on the beach on a summer day for hours reading a book, he wears sandals with socks to the beach (eye roll) and gets bored. Getting lost in the music at a concert is the best feeling to me, and he does not understand the concert scene and isn’t really into music. He’s SUPER organized, and I am a bit more…scattered. I love sports, and he doesn’t really care (even though he’s 6’7! We watched the Super Bowl together when my Eagles won and it was completely lost on him). BUT we both love trying new foods, and we’re news junkies, and we’re each other’s favorite person to hang out with. I could talk to him for hours on end and not get bored. I love him dearly, despite our differences. And we definitely balance/complement each other :)

  74. Amy says...

    My husband and I appear really different from a distance. He is quiet and very numbers oriented. I am outgoing and a lawyer (I don’t like numbers). But now that we’ve been married for 6 years I see *so many* similarities in how we process things. I’m not sure if we are alike because we’ve rubbed off on one another or it’s just what you peel away the layers we have the same fundamental approach to family, finances and priorities. Whatever it is I think we’re perfect together and I’m so glad I found him.

  75. Jane says...

    My longtime boyfriend and I have similar morals, interests and taste, but very different personalities. He’s a quiet, shy, but super confident introvert. I’m a loquacious, anxious, outgoing, people pleaser. Totally agree about not understanding and being confused about the “alone time,” but I’ve become better about it through time (and fights). :)

    The best part about out different personalities, though, is that when I’m spiraling and jumping to dramatic conclusions, his totally different, calmer perspective gives me clarity. When we fight and I go to, “we’re doomed!!!” his calm and confidence in us brings/life me back down to earth and I know everything will be okay.

  76. I am OBSESSED with Myers-Briggs, but my husband and I are technically a “bad” match (for those who know I’m an ENTP and he is an ESTJ). We have been together for fifteen years, so we obviously make it work! We are very alike in some ways…we are both extroverts and both types are very direct and logical. This served us well recently when we realized we didn’t want to go on date nights with just us. We have three little kids so we spend many many MANY evenings together in front of the TV, so going out just us wasn’t that exciting. Now when we have a sitter we invite a crew and we have so much fun! We have totally different perspectives but have lived so much of our lives together that we really know how to work a crowd together! When we get home we’re both buzzing from the energy of being with friends. I think if we had different personalities someone’s feelings would have been hurt if one of us said “hey, you’re great, but I hate our romantic date nights!” For us it was fine! Welcome, even!

    We are VERY different in every other area though! He’s tidy, I’m not; he’s a rule follower, I’m not; he’s a strict parent, I’m not; he likes quiet and order, I thrive with chaos; he’s an athlete, I’m an artist; he’s a doer, I’m a thinker. We obviously get on each others’ nerves semi-regularly, but luckily since neither of us are feelers we can sort it out without a rift 90% of the time. Overall we make each other better, and I help him to be less rigid while he helps me to be a bit more stable. Of course, sexual compatibility goes a long way too ;) I definitely recommend taking the Myers-Briggs test if you’re in a relationship. It really helps you understand where your partner is coming from.

  77. Annie says...

    In terms of tastes, routines and motivators, my husband and I are so different– which is awesome! I get my alone time at 5:00 am, he gets his at 11:00 pm. He goes golfing while I go to yoga. I love cooking for guests while he carries the conversation with everyone.

    The most interesting thing I’ve learned about us over the years is that we have very similar anxieties, but very different ways of expressing and coping with them. This created a lot of tension as we were learning to read each other, but once we realized the same wheels were turning in our heads, we were so much better able to support each other.

  78. Molly says...

    Eannogram. Look into it.

    • Emma says...

      yes to this. (also, block out about a month of free time for the deep dives into your number)

    • Tori says...

      Yes, the enneagram is so much more complex and better way to understand personality types. I’d say it’s a combination of Meyers-Briggs and Strengths Finder. My partner and I did it recently in a class with other couples (and some singles) and it totally helped me articulate that we are similar in many ways but also very different too. He is a 3 with a wing 6 while I am a 2 with a wing 3. Love it.

  79. Fran says...

    Complete opposites! He’s tall, I’m short. He likes the cold, I like the heat. He has a big loud personality, while I’m more quiet and reserved. We even realized recently – when we have an event to go to – his mind immediately plans how we’ll get there, while I start thinking about how we’ll get home :) It’s proven to be a nice balance with our two kids. One of us always has a plan.

  80. Jessica Rollin says...

    As usual, CupofJo asks an age-old question but somehow makes it fun and relatable and I just want to sit down with you guys and tell you all about how my husband and I are so different but also the same.

    The main difference we have works well for us–I’m a dreamer, love big ideas, and don’t need much to be in reality. He’s detail oriented, enjoys logic, and wants the facts. This combination works so well in so many ways–trip planning (let’s go to Hawaii and then Iceland/there are no direct flights between those), discussing current events (universal healthcare is the right thing/how exactly would it work), cooking (let’s just throw some ginger in there/make sure you turn the oven off), decorating (I love BIG couches/let’s measure the space), etc. Yes it leads to lots of disagreements but overall it’s synergy. The one thing I have to struggle to remind myself is that though my style may result in more errors and fewer tangible results, it’s actually essential to our family’s wellbeing.

    • Julie says...

      This is my marriage as well. So often frustrated by him not jumping in headfirst with me, but then equally relieved when I realized his logic and patience saved me from a crazy decision. Haha!

  81. Paige Hunter says...

    ‘Alex would keep anything and everything, while I love clearing out our home to the point where a month later, we’ll be like, “Wait, where’s the can opener?”’ — Died laughing! This could not be more similar to me and my boyfriend. Since we’re always moving, I don’t like to keep very much “stuff,” but he always thinks I’m crazy for clearing things out.

  82. Lucia L says...

    My husband and I are pretty similar and it has its ups and downs. I wish one of us liked to clean! One of my favorite similarities is our intense love of people watching. I always think we probably look like a couple that hates each other because we are so intently listening to the people around us that we are basically silent at restaurants. We spend the rest of the evening debating about what we eavesdropped. It’s our favorite pastime.

  83. Meg says...

    My husband and I are similar in lots of ways with one big exception – I’m a night owl and he’s a morning person. This seemed like a bit of an unfortunate mismatch until we had kids! I really didn’t mind the 1 am feeding and rocking as long as I got to sleep in the morning. He slept all night and then loved early mornings with the babies (which was the only time I did NOT want to be with them, no matter how cuddly and cute!) Now that our kids are older, I’ve got to say, I have the sweet end of the deal. He still gets up and gets everyone breakfast and makes the coffee, but no one in our house needs to be fed at 1 am anymore! Night owls for the win.

  84. Amanda B says...

    I love this, and the comments are so good!

    My husband and I are opposites in some ways: I’m super career-driven, and he’s more of a work-to-live person. I love trying new things, he loves maintaining old habits. I love character-driven books and films, he prefers things that are action-driven. I like tons of spices on my food, he likes plainer dishes. Like you said, we balance each other out in a lot of ways.

    But in other ways, we match each other. We’re both obsessed with our cats. We’re semi-introverts who like people but need alone time. We also love a lot of the same clothing styles, so sometimes we LITERALLY match (on accident, of course).

  85. My husband and I are very opposite in terms of how we take on the world (me a softer, personable touch and him a determined focus). We each have different strengths and weaknesses, and it’s been amazing to learn from each other on how to be better. Despite being different from each other, we share many of the same hobbies and can be passionate about each others’ work. It’s special to find someone you can love so much despite having so many differences.

    Eva

  86. Linsey says...

    My husband and I are opposites, but it comes in especially handy when we go out for wings… he likes the wing, I like the drumsticks #soulmates

    • Eva says...

      ha! true compatability ;)

  87. Rachel says...

    My husband and I are very similar. And I love it.

  88. Michelle says...

    My husband and I are opposites (excepting our shared introvert leanings). We’re so different, in fact, that friends and family expressed to us that they “just didn’t see it” when we started dating. We knew better, though, and made plans to marry just 2 months later. We’ve been married 12 years and we’re still happy and quite different, though we find our personalities mellowing and melding over time (kind of like old leftovers in the fridge ; ).

  89. Marki says...

    OMG, anyone know where I can find Beyonce’s colorful American flag t-shirt? Love it!

    • Savannah says...

      Marki it’s Givenchy! Check resale because I’m pretty sure that Beyonce was in Paris over a year ago!

    • Marki says...

      Thanks so much, Savannah! Found it on eBay!

  90. alison says...

    My boyfriend is the first self-declared introvert I’ve been with and it’s been a bit of a learning curve! I’m not extraordinarily extroverted, but I do like planning social engagements and don’t mind big bustling crowds, where he nearly shuts down. So I appreciate that he’s able to tell me when he needs alone time or time to recharge, or that maybe I shouldn’t try to talk to him immediately after a concert while we’re dodging our way through a giant crowd of people… But when we’re one-on-one it’s top notch, and he makes me laugh (almost to tears!) every day and is the logical brain to my emotionally driven self. Gradually learning that opposites can attract!

  91. jen says...

    My husband and I are total opposites in everything including disposition. He’s calm and collected and Im an emotional screamer. Two people like me would kill each other…

    • Bobbi says...

      Omg. Same same.

  92. Lisa says...

    We’re a mixture of similar and not but I like where we’re not (mostly) because we balance each other out. For eg I can be pretty blasé about things (including major life choices), just deciding straight away and sticking with the decision whereas he researches every single possibility, but can’t make a decision. For one trip he did, he spent FOUR HOURS researching one of 10 hotels we had to book. It drove me mad, but what we do now is he does all the background research (which bores me silly), presents me with 3 options and I make the final decision. It means my decision isn’t based on a whim, and that a decision is actually made (which wouldn’t happen if he was in charge)

  93. Vicki says...

    Ha! Love your comment about alone time! I’m the same way and definitely had to learn to accept my husband’s need to be alone and that sometimes he would prefer not to go to a party, while I’m always game for socializing. It was tough in the beginning (we’ve been married for 14 years) but I think it has helped us build more empathy because you learn to see a social situation through your loved one’s eyes. We both have an awareness going into a situation if how the other will respond- whenever I’m tired and unsure if I should go to a social event he will assure me that I will get a second wind ince I’m around everyone (so true!) and I will readily let him off the hook of joining me in certain social situations. It also helps me see others too, I freak out less if someone doesn’t want to hang out and understand more that sometimes people want alone time. I also think its helped us grow a little, he is more social
    and I’ve learned that time aline can be refreshing sometimes.

  94. Laura says...

    My husband and I are both introverts and that cabin in the woods vacation sounds like a dream come true! Sometimes we’ll be like, “we should make friends and go out more.” and then we’re like, “Nah, let’s watch Game of Thrones again.”
    One of our favorite pasttimes is what we call “parallel play” where we each work separately on our own project in the same physical space, sometimes stopping to check in…. It’s a very exciting life we lead!

    • My boyfriend and I do the parallel play thing! He has a big desk where he will work on car models, and I have a seat at the end of the desk where I draw/doodle. It’s my happy place :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love the idea of parallel play! that is so, so cute. i notice with my kids that if i’m doing something low-key, they really mellow out next to me — like if i’m cleaning out my closet or something. there’s something relaxing about the energy in the room.

    • Sadie says...

      I love that you call it “parallel play!” I work from home, and I’m home educating my four-year-old. There’s something about the two of us at the table together in the morning, him working on his writing workbooks or painting, me, editing a book, that feeds my soul. It’s a wonderful, companionable feeling. And, as all work-from-home-while-homeschooling parents will recognize: a moment all too rare and fleeting!

    • M says...

      A dear friend/former roommate and I call it “comp si” for companionable silence. We used to do this together one weekends when one of us would read while the other was cooking or whatever. We no longer live together but still make comp si dates! ❤️

  95. Rachel says...

    My husband and I are definitely opposites, but we have somehow also become more alike as the years have gone by. I’m more confident, outgoing and fun-loving, and he has become more serious and introverted over the last 14 years. Now I’m the social event planner, and he’s the “let’s increase our IRA contributions” guy. I think the changes have mostly been a good thing, but it does make me wonder what we will be like when we’re octogenarians! :)

  96. Elizabeth Giraud says...

    My husband lives for the outdoors; I’m a city girl. He’s an eternal optimist; I’m a skeptic. He’s very accepting and outgoing; I’m reserved. He likes sports; I like the arts. I can figure out almost any movie on TV after 15 seconds; he’s never seen “Gone with the Wind.” Together, we’ve introduced each other to our worlds so that our lives seem very rich. We have so much fun learning from each other. I think when it’s right, it’s right.

  97. Megan says...

    HA re: Myers-Briggs!! Probably on our third date my husband asked me to take the test. I’m ESFP and he’s INTP. I think our opposite personalities help our relationship work well. There is no competition in our marriage–I’m happy being the center of attention, he would hate it, etc. We also share a common religious faith which is hands down the most important thing.

    Another ‘test’ that I think can be so helpful for couples is to find out what your love language is (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/). Luckily we have the same ones, but for couples who don’t, once they find out what the other one’s is. . .love explosion :)

  98. Maire says...

    I am an ENFP married to an ENTJ, but I just recently read about his personality type and the article about how the two personality types operate in the relationship and it was SCARY accurate. We are both extroverts, but he is super organized and task oriented and I am cluttered and easily distracted. He is patient with me or gives me time ultimatums to complete tasks, and I help him to chill out. Together, we throw excellent parties and have a large group of friends.

  99. Carrie says...

    I love how similar my husband and I are! To me, our relationship feels so easy and natural that it’s just…simple. Just lots of love, understanding and respect for one another. Even our fights are “easy”, maybe emotions get heated but we still can always see one another’s point of view during the fight. We apologize fast and move on. It’s amazing to step back and examine my life, and if I had done one thing differently, I probably never would have met him. Definitely a big believer in fate and soul mates now :)

    And Jo if you like a misty rain you should come to Oregon

  100. My husband and I are almost the same on the Myers-Briggs (he’s an INFJ, and I’m an INF P/J split), and we share a huge love of the intellectual, and artistic things in life. We usually come to the same conclusions on things, but our primary difference is how to we get to our decisions and how we move through life. Everything about him is slow- slow to put words to his thoughts, slow to come to a decision, slow to get to the grocery store… It all is because he’s just so incredibly thoughtful and feels he has to wade through so many things happening in his head (I imagine it like the scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where they have to find the one key that will open the door in a room *filled* with identical flying keys). He also is *not* someone who will share his thoughts or opinions just randomly, he definitely has to be asked (and then given time to respond). Meanwhile, I’m positively *gushing* with words, emotions, thoughts, ponderings, musings, and sometimes just truly inane, unnecessary sentences. I talk to myself (it helps me figure out what I think), and I have to hash and rehash situations out loud to feel like I’ve explored all the areas. It’s taken almost five years of marriage for him to differentiate when I’m asking him a question, and when I’m just talking out loud to myself, haha. Of course, this has caused some issues, but ultimately we’ve taught each other patience and grace. I’ve taught him to express his emotions, and he’s taught me that sometimes a little quiet heals everything. :)
    The other main difference is that he is a doer. He’s always tidying up, getting himself out of the house for a walk, listening to a podcast, writing for hours, keeping abreast of the newest art documentaries, etc. Meanwhile, I could lie in bed for an entire day, surrounded by coffee cups, pants I couldn’t stand to wear for another second, books, my journal, etc, and just never move. I will pile up the clothes and the cups for days on end and never see the light of day, but eventually I feel too guilty for leaving him to do all the work, and he’s asked me enough times to go on a walk with him that I have to get up and be present in the world.
    Ultimately though, we balance each other really well. Where one of us is struggling, the other seems to magically have the exact skill to counter-balance. I never could have known that he was what I needed- so different from everyone else I was interested in before, in all the right ways. Thank god I found him.

  101. Alison says...

    I love this – my husband and I could not be more opposites! While sometimes it drives me absolutely nuts – I also am thankful for it because it balances us out. I also think its good for our kids that they are exposed to both of our personalities types.

  102. Emma says...

    My husband and I are not “opposites” per-say, but “compliments” in fluid ways. I love novels, he loves non-fiction. I love chocolate desserts, he loves fruit desserts. I don’t like to put off work that can be done today for tomorrow, he could…let…it…sit..until…I…do…it…

    Okay, maybe that last but is less “complimentary” :p

    It’s funny though, because as much as I appreciate these differences in the ways they help us both grow and learn from just being around each other, I adore that my best friend is my mirror. She is not my compliment, but almost my clone, and sometimes *that* is exactly what I need. Maybe it’s not about having just a partner that’s either the same or different from you, but instead, having multiple places to turn when you need a safe place to fall, or celebrate, or confide in. One person can never (should never?) be everything another needs.

  103. Laura says...

    My husband and I are also both introverts and that cabin in the woods vacation sounds like a dream come true. Sometimes we’ll be like, “we should try to make friends and get out more.” and then we’re like, “nah, let’s watch Game of Thrones again”

  104. my sweet beloved and i are both introverts. socially i do the going out part w the girls sometimes and he’s happy hanging out by himself, but when we are at events together, i’m mute and he can do the small talk thing like an expert.
    another difference we have is that, i moved every 2-3 years growing up due to my father’s job so i’m adaptable to change and i usually see changes in jobs as a new adventure. dw was in the same school district his whole life, he’s been employed at the same place for 15 years, change is difficult for him. we plan vacations and while he loves the idea of trying to new foods and new sights, he does dread it a little because it deviates from our norm, and i’m all like, LET’S GO BE SPONTANEOUS ADVENTURERS!!!

  105. Dee says...

    Do you think this might change over time tho? Maybe it’s cos I met my husband aged 22 but I feel like over the last 10 years together we’ve def grown together and are more alike now than we ever were when we met.

    • Sadie Carter says...

      I agree, there is definitely change over time– but it depends on where you started. My husband and I share the same Myers-Briggs type (INTP). But being with someone with similar inclinations had meant we’ve HAD to grow across type to get anything done! We are both now much stronger decision-makers and more at ease in groups, and we’ve both had to become tidier (although no one would accuse us of being neat!) There was no one to fill in those gaps, so we had to change.

  106. Kiley says...

    That “why do you hate me” GIF made my husband and I laugh. It’s me! When we first moved in together I wanted to be near him at all times, and had to learn that he needs his space to recharge. It never occurred to me that a person might need that! Suffice it to say, we are completely yin and yang.

  107. Isabelle says...

    Such an interesting discussion! My partner and I are definitely different in many ways. I’m very emotionally intelligent yet also anxious, and he’s more relaxed about it all. I am empathetic to a fault (like, we can’t give away ALL our money every time I read a sad headline, but… I want to!!) and he keeps us more balanced. He likes hot beaches, I like the mountains. These differences have led to lively debates, but nowadays we both know each other well enough to a) know what to expect and b) respect each other for our personal perspectives. It took me a while to understand that differences are OK and quite fun in fact, and once I relaxed about that, I’ve been better able to appreciate all of my partners strengths. :)

  108. Mallory says...

    My fiancé and I are very different. He could eat grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner most nights of the week and be happy, while I will never stop working my way through TheKitchn’s long list of recipes or Trader Joe’s frozen foods aisle. He’s a pharmacist – super into science, and I can (and do) write all day long. I’m a Christian, and he’s not. He’s laid-back and logical, while I’m an anxious planner.

    At the end of the day, we both love the things that matter most: Seinfeld, kindness, our cats, and each other. It doesn’t hurt that he can light up any room with convulsive laughter. I love that guy.

  109. Virginia says...

    I love this! I initially dismissed my now-boyfriend because we were too different, and even broke up once because of it, but we’ve been together about a year now and I love him so much. He comes from a conservative background while I’m a raging liberal feminist, and he’s calm and laidback where I’m a hyper-anxious planner. He calms me down so much and I can’t believe I almost missed out on this!

    • Stephanie says...

      This is almost exactly my story as well! Our differences freaked me out at the beginning of our relationship – for 5 months – until I realized I didn’t have to date a carbon-copy of myself. In fact, when I had dated someone just like me, it never worked out. So glad I stumbled upon something (and someone) who had the patience to show me what a balanced relationship looks like.

    • Stacey says...

      Whoa, this sounds so much like me and my husband! He was super conservative when we met, and I was a liberal feminist. He is the calm and chill to my frenetic, loud madness. It’s such a nice balance to have in a relationship – we’ve been married almost ten years now! And I’m happy to report that although he was hyper-conservative when we met, he is now a liberal feminist just like me :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s awesome, stacey :)

  110. Danielle says...

    Sometimes I think that my husband and I are as different as humanly possible: he is an introverted economist and has all the traits that go along with that (rational, direct, an insatiable appetite for statistics and financial graphs); I am an historian–I thrive on the ambiguity and emotion of human experience, I am social and outspoken and overzealous, often to a fault. Sometimes I worry that we are too different. Will we ever truly understand each other? Can we be “soulmates” if we ourselves have experienced so little of what makes up the other’s soul? I’ve worried too much in our marriage about whether or not other people think we are a good match. We love each other and are good for each other, but sometimes I worry that we are missing some magic that perhaps other couples have. These are worries that crop up every so often, and I often quell them thanks to his help.

    But every once in awhile, our differences seem to calibrate in this completely magical way–like when I throw a party with lots of food and friends and commotion, and I know that he is somewhere feeling a bit uncomfortable, and then I see him standing near the wall with an awkward neighbor, asking this neighbor question after question about how his mom’s chemotherapy treatment is going and why exactly he chose the lawnmower model that he did–and I feel like we are the most beautiful thing I have ever known in this whole world.

    • Rachel says...

      This is the best response and the one I needed right now. Sometimes, there is fog, yes, but the complete, undeniable clarity of other moments makes me ask how I could have ever doubted.

    • Kate says...

      Danielle, this gave me goosebumps! I think you two are good.

    • Rachel says...

      What a wonderful reminder. Sometimes there is fog, yes, but in those moments of intense, undeniable clarity, I wonder how I was ever unsure.

    • Gosh I love this comment so much. “Can we be “soulmates” if we ourselves have experienced so little of what makes up the other’s soul? “

    • Jessica Rollin says...

      This second paragraph is so beautiful, you should show it to him.

    • Suz says...

      So lovely! I also have an introvert economist partner! (Have you ever been to their Christmas parties? I feel like I’m as loud as Oprah!)

  111. Sarah says...

    This seems like such a fun, easy question, but as I’m thinking about it I realize I don’t have an easy answer (although it’s still fun!). On the outside, and especially early on when we met, we probably seemed like opposites on paper: he conservative, me liberal; he an extrovert, me the introvert; he an engineer and scientist, me more inclined towards the arts. Even the way our brains function is fairly opposite. That said, as we’ve grown together over the years we’ve joked about how we’re basically the same person. We’ll have the same thought at the same time (regularly), enjoy the same type of humor, agree on most things, etc. It feels like we’ve grown together in all the ways that matter, and our differences have become more complementary with time.

  112. Annelise Smith says...

    My husband Logan and I have been married for almost 4 years. I’ve found that despite all our differences, we are committed to the same “pillars” in life—faith, family, friends, and our health. We’re sure to make time for those things because it makes us both feel fulfilled and happy, which in turn makes us better partners to each other.

    • Rachel Simmons says...

      Amen!

  113. Lorraine says...

    it’s hard to define myself and others with one personality type. i find that different people bring out different aspects of our personalities. i consider myself an outgoing introvert, but with my husband (who we’ve decided is actually a very shy extrovert) i compensate for his quietness and sometimes come off as way more outgoing than i am. we’re not quite two halves of a whole – sometimes we lean one way or other, and are 60/40 or 70/30 depending on the situation. if that makes sense? i can’t quite say we are yin & yin or yin & yang – we’re a mish mash.

    what’s been really interesting is having kids come into the mix. our 2-year-old seems like a classic extrovert, something neither of us fully relate to! it certainly helps with our 5-year-old classic introvert. all the dynamics, i love them. i’m way into the DISC assessment, and love how that helps shed light on how to communicate effectively with others.

  114. megan says...

    my husband and I are total opposites, he’s an engineer, I’m a graphic designer, so we always look at things from completely different perspectives. This can be good or bad, but mostly just time-consuming! He’s also a woods, hiking, cool temp guy, and I crave the water, beach and sun. For our honeymoon he picked the perfect spot – Hawaii’s big island which has 7 different climates. We spent half the week on the hot, beachy side, and the other half on the misty, cooler volcano side. It was perfect!

  115. My husband and I are complete opposites personality-wise: I’m an ISTJ, he’s an ENFP. We’re also exactly 6 months apart in astrology (I’m a Capricorn, he’s a Cancer)! Yet, we see eye-to-eye on all the things that matter. I think the saying “opposites attract” is very true for us, going on 18 years together! :)

  116. Laura says...

    My boyfriend and I are both introverts who act like extroverts- in social situations or at work we are charming and the life of the party, but it exhausts us both. This kind of similarity has been really nice because we can both integrate seamlessly into each other’s friend groups and families, but we also both usually want to leave parties at the same time and favor staying in over going out.

  117. Whitney says...

    I never thought much about it until my sister described to someone that my husband and I are “basically the same person”. Since then I’ve noticed how similar we are but we balance each other out. It’s been 13 years together and we would happily spend all day/every day together. Three young children and work prevent this from happening, but he is the person I look forward to sitting next to on the couch at the end of every day.

    • Carrie says...

      This is exactly like my husband and I as well and I love it!

  118. Jessica says...

    My husband and I are total opposites! I’m an ENFP he’s an ISTP. He likes to joke that in our relationship I’m management and he’s labor. But it 100% works! For example, I’ll plan a new tradition for our family and he’ll remember to renew our car registration and inspection. Areas where I am weak he is strong, and vise versa. He’s my rock and I’m his muse. We have three young children (6, 3 and 2 months) and the fascinating part has been seeing their personalities form and grow. They are each very different and similar to either my husband or I in a bunch of ways.

    And I still get quick a kick out of this “Myers Briggs In Hell” article: https://thoughtcatalog.com/heidi-priebe/2015/05/the-definition-of-hell-for-each-myers-briggs-personality-type/ which I think was posted on Cup of Jo a while back! It’s so true!

    • “I’m management and he’s labor.” Haha! That’s my husband and I, too! I organize the direction of our lives and our day-to-day, and he carries out all the small things I’d rather ignore. Never thought of it that way, but so funny.

  119. We are very alike in some ways, and totally different in others. We have completely different learning styles, for instance. Since we moved to Germany two years ago we’ve been taking private language classes, just the two of us and a teacher. The poor man! I need to learn things in context as I go and see a full sentence written down, but my husband wants charts of articles and all the rules laid out ahead of time. I think one of the most important things I’ve learned about marriage, after three transatlantic moves, is that you have to give your partner space to do their different thing, and process the world how they need to. It’s been much smoother sailing since I figured that out. ;)

  120. I just moved into my boyfriend’s studio apartment, and it’s been interesting. I’ve always thought we were pretty similar, both thoughtful introverts. This is still true, however, I did not realize how easily distracted he is. I grew up in a three bedroom house with siblings, and I’ve lived with a roommate my whole adult life. Despite being an introvert, I can read and enjoy me-time if there’s someone moving boxes or listening to a podcast nearby. My boyfriend cannot! He cannot go to sleep if there are any lights on or slight noises being made. He can’t work on his computer if someone is talking on the phone nearby. Living in one room is TOUGH!

  121. Laura R. says...

    We are total opposites! I am an introvert. I like hanging out with small groups with my close friends, and my husband loves a loud party. I love vacationing in cooler spots like Iceland and cold winter walks but for him there can never be too much heat or sunshine. But even though our personalities and social styles are different, we have very similar values when it comes to religion, child rearing, politics, etc. I think at the end of the day that’s the most important thing.

  122. Sarah Beth says...

    In terms of fundamental beliefs, my husband and I are just alike, but with everything else, we’re such opposites! He’s much more relaxed around people, he’s a mess, he marches around the house cheering for sports and chatting on the phone; I’m quiet and have just a few friends, I love decorating and pay attention to my house (though I’m pretty messy too, ha!), I sit curled up reading for hours. He gets me out and about, I help calm him down. My stepmom summed us up well in her toast to us at our wedding when she said, “I knew they were a perfect fit when I walked in the living room to find adam cheering for a football game on the couch while sarah beth was curled up next to him, engrossed in a book.” And we’ve spent our Sunday afternoons like that for more than 8 years, now!

  123. My partner and I are completely different. He’s emotional and a planner, and I’m even-keeled and comfortable with pretty much any level of uncertainty. He’s athletic and musical and works a blue-collar job, while I’m pretty deeply entrenched in academia and am a photographer, but have no musical talent at all. He hates small talk and can be uncomfortable in big social settings, whereas I’m that rare introvert who also knows how to be totally at home meeting people. In some ways it’s nice to have us balance each other out, but of course there are things we have to work on (for example, when we argue it’s hard sometimes for me to not be condescending when I quote journal articles and sources because of my academic background, when I should really be holding space for his feelings as well).
    The biggest challenge for us is that we are not on the same page spiritually. I am an atheist and he was raised conservative Christian. He hasn’t renounced his faith or anything like that, but has still been cut off by his family because he is unwilling to navigate his life the way they expect him to (huge no-no to be dating a (mildly) tattooed, alcohol-drinking, sex-enjoying atheist). This has been tough on him obviously, and does present challenges for this relationship that I haven’t experienced before.
    I especially think a lot about what this looks like if we have kids. It would be tough to tell a tiny one “daddy thinks x and mommy thinks y and there is no middle ground between those at all but hey, nobody knows anything anyway! time is a construct and death comes to us all, go forth and live your life”.
    A lot of the easily google-able internet articles and essays follow the pattern of new couples being really afraid that if their tastes in music don’t align (etc. etc.) then they must not be compatible, and then they end with a fun “ha ha! what a silly idea! we agree on the big stuff, and the little stuff is what keeps things whimsical and exciting!” but I’d love to read something from couples who don’t see eye to eye on the big stuff!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hear you, cherry. that’s really tough. i have quite a few friends who have held different spiritual beliefs from their partners (including a number of women who felt one way when they got married and then moved away from the church) and there were lots of hard conversations, etc. i’d love to talk more about this.

      it would also be interesting to hear from couples who don’t align politically and how they manage that.

      xoxo

    • yes! Especially because they often go hand in hand (religious and political differences). I was inconsolable the first time my partner said he thought homosexuality was a sin. After a lot of conversations and a lot of soul-searching and time away from the family that raised him to believe in the letter of the law rather than the spirit of words, he no longer believes that. But it took a lot of hard and hurtful conversations in which I raged and called him a bigot and he raged and told me I didn’t understand the world he grew up in and I told him if this is what it looks like I didn’t want to understand any part of him (yikes) before we got there. Not saying that all these disagreements end (or should end) with him just coming around to my side, just trying to highlight the capital P PROCESS it has been and still is for us to get to a place of mutual respect on certain topics. And it’s hard to find other people who are dealing with something similar!

    • Kathryn says...

      There is a really lovely book called “Relax it’s Just God.” It is geared towards secular parents talking to their children about religion and spirituality. It also covers parents who have different beliefs. It is well worth a read before you have children because it helps to frame morality and the good person you are outside of a religious context.

    • Isabelle says...

      I so get this! My partner and i have had differing views of political stuff over the years, and i use to try to change his mind, but overtime I’ve worked to just understand where he’s coming from, and ask for the same. It has led to a lot less heaviness placed on these topics and a lot more love and acceptance overall. Also, I’ve also noticed how our own opinions change over time, so I’ve also realized that I don’t need to cling to any one opinion to hard, because who’s knows how I’ll feel in a year from now!

    • My boyfriend and I are similar in that we come from totally different religious and spiritual backgrounds. While I’ve moved much away from my Christian upbringing – there’s still a ton of my identity, friends, and family wrapped up in those beliefs and traditions that are hard to untangle.
      I’d LOVE for Cup of Jo to do a feature on couples with different spiritual beliefs and how they navigate this for themselves, their families, and their children.

    • Hilary says...

      Kathryn- Thank you for the book recommendation! My husband and I are not religious but would love to encourage our daughter to explore any and all faiths. This book sounds like the perfect guide!

    • Lea says...

      I’m in a similar relationship right now and it makes me feel like my partner will never know me fully, because he can’t understand such a big part of who I am. I would love to hear experiences of those in similar positions.

  124. Hilary says...

    My husband and I are very different on the Myers Briggs! He’s introverted, logical, analytical whereas I’m extroverted, make decisions based on feelings, etc. However, we seem to ALWAYS come to the same decisions. Buying a home, parenting philosophies, politics, financial decisions- we’re always on the same wavelength which we find hilarious since we come to decisions completely differently. When we bought our house, I thought it “felt like our house.” He thought it checked all the boxes in terms of must-haves, budget, and so on. I keep waiting for some major disagreement where our differences are highlighted but almost a decade together and hasn’t happened yet!

  125. When we first moved in together, I was amazed that my husband sorted all my junk mail–like, he was incapable of throwing any of it away, even takeout menus, random coupons, credit card offers. Fast forward almost 10 years, and he does the same thing with our son’s kindergarten school work. I’m like, do we need to keep EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF PAPER?! I’m surprisingly much less sentimental than he is about that stuff. Unless it’s a really special art project, I throw it straight into the recycling bin.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      me too! i throw out 99% of the artwork without thinking twice, and alex keeps every birthday party invitation, etc. :)

    • Heather says...

      Same! My husband would like to keep every piece of paper that our three-year-old scribbles on. I feel a little cruel throwing his projects in the recycling bin, but otherwise we’d be drowning in construction paper.
      I have an overly-simplistic theory that people are either purgers or hoarders. My parents tend to hoard, and every surface of their house is covered with nicknacks and, consequently, dust. Perhaps in reaction to this, I’m a purger. I find it cathartic to reduce, reduce, reduce. Unfortunately for my husband, he’s a sentimental hoarder. We joke that when I get that time-to-declutter glint in my eye, he needs to bury his keepsakes in the yard.
      Reminds me of this New Yorker cartoon: https://condenaststore.com/featured/im-doing-some-reorganizing-are-there-any-tom-toro.html

  126. My husband and I are so very different. I’m a very inquisitive person (my roommates used to tease me because I would walk into the room and say “So, I have a question…”), while my husband is super innately smart. He does insane math problems in his head, and he sort of knows everything. He’s my endless source of knowledge for all my random wonderings. In fact, at our wedding, my roommate/bridesmaid stood up and started her speech off with, “It’s perfect. The girl with all the questions marries the guy with all the answers.” It’s sweet to see how we’ve become more alike the longer we’re married. We’ve conformed in ways we didn’t foresee…and our personalities are kind melding together into this beautiful, complementary love. It’s like we harmonize. He’s wonderful.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “The girl with all the questions marries the guy with all the answers.” = oh my gosh, i love this, steph.

    • Alex H. says...

      Love this, Steph! Your story reminds me of my husband and me, as well. I always want to understand how stuff works, and my husband has that same innate ability. During our wedding ceremony, I surprised him by asking him a trivia question – of course, he got it right. I secretly hope one day he tries out for jeopardy, I know he would do great. :)

      Thanks for sharing, brought a smile to my day. XO

  127. Anne says...

    My husband and I have very similar values and parenting styles but as individuals we are very different. He is extroverted but also anxious and I’m laid back and introverted. We have different interests but embrace each other’s hobbies – which doesn’t mean we always do the hobbies together but help to carve out time in our busy work/family lives to make sure we get what we need to make us happy as an individual. I think a happy partner makes a happy marriage. We just seamlessly pick up the others slack when we need help and after 7 years of marriage I can say that it feels effortless (which, ironically, took a lot of work in the early years). We certainly aren’t perfect but it just feels like a true partnership and I couldn’t love him more.

  128. I love this post! And your story about Abby + Tim really resonated — my new husband and I are both big introverts (he’s an INFJ and I’m and INFP), and it has worked out really well for us. My last serious boyfriend before my husband was a lovely guy and a huge extrovert, and honestly, I always felt like I was disappointing him or pushing myself past what would really feel good in an attempt to be sociable. I can totally understand the yin + yang argument, but having a yin to my yin feels soooo good! Plus, we’re both people who like to stay home and talk about out feelings a lot (ha!), so I think it gives me a solid grounding, that actually makes me want to explore and do more exciting things, especially on my own (which I didn’t want to do for years because I was too tired all the time!)

  129. My boyfriend is an ENFJ while I am an INFJ. He’s very laid back and go-with-the-flow, and he manages stressful situations in a way that I really admire. I’d say we’re both pretty social people, but the one major difference between us is that every time he opens his phone, he’s got like, 12 group chats on various apps going, where I might have one text from my mom. But I like that we devote the time we have together, completely together.

  130. Hannah says...

    I’m an INTJ and my husband is an INFJ, which is just enough similarity and dissimilarity for us. He’s more outgoing, which is helpful for me, and I’m more organized and planned, which (in my opinion ;)) is helpful for him. But we connect really well on that intuition level. I really think marriage is mostly about mutual respect though, no matter how similar you are/aren’t.

  131. Hayley says...

    This reminds me – does Cup of Jo have a piece on how couples work together raising children when they have different views on parenting, especially education?

    I am nearing my mid-thirties and still not sure about having a baby. One of the big worries i have is clashing with my husband on education. We had very different upbringings. I would pay attention to school districts and encourage my child to perform well academically, which is something he doesn’t understand and is rather scornful about.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a great question, hayley. alex and i have had some different philosophies about things, too, and it’s definitely a challenge to work through. we’d love to do a post on this, and i’d love to hear others’ thoughts. thank you so much!

    • Alice says...

      We are also struggling with this issue—my husband was Waldorf and home-schooled, whereas I was expected to be an overachiever in big, anonymous public school. These different backgrounds have very clear ramifications both for our personalities and our career trajectories! Almost everyone we know is an educator in some capacity (us included) and we get a lot of conflicting impulses and input as we try to make choices for our three year old, and we’ve had a lot of disagreement. I would be super interested in discussion about this!

    • Nancy says...

      My parents paid for my private school university and always told me that a parent’s most important job was to pay for education. I was told my most important job was to be a student (and therefore not get a part time job). Straight A’s were expected and anything less was failure. My husband worked 2 jobs while attending a public university and paid for it all himself. He did enough to pass classes and never tried to get an A because he didn’t see the point in doing the added work.
      Needless to say we have very different thoughts on who is responsible for tuition and what sort of expectations are reasonable. We knew this about ourselves before we got married and have had many conversations about education. Our kids are only in elementary school so we are feeling our way through it. I realized that my thoughts on education will evolve over the 10 or so years before our kids go to college just as my thoughts have changed over the past 10. We moved out of a very good school district into lower ranked one because there were other benefits to the neighborhood and every year we sock away a chunk of savings because a student paying for college on his own might not be feasible. Like so much with marriage, it’s an ongoing conversation that you have to revisit over and over and the goalposts are always moving.

  132. elaine says...

    My husband is the kind of person who wants to take the kid to the emergency room with an earache while I am the type who tells the child with the broken ankle to walk it off. Somewhere between those two extremes is the right place to be so I like to think that together we make up one perfect parent

  133. Betsy says...

    went to a dinner party sunday night i was the only unmarried person. at one point i told everyone i want to get past the dating/infatuation “oh my god- we are the same person” phase and get to the “who is this space alien who lives in my house and puts all the dishes away in the wrong places” part of a relationship.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awwww, i love that, betsy.

  134. We’ve been married almost 7 years and I’m still trying to figure this out! Sometimes I think we are from totally different planets, other times I think the reason we fight is because we are TOO similar. On the outside, I’d say we are opposites: he’s an engineer, super good at math, very athletic, physical, adept at anything to do with his hands, like building, cooking, etc. I’m a creative writer, in my head a lot, a bookworm, and hopeless at math and anything having to do with spatial intelligence!

    BUT, we share similar values and a similar vision for our life together, which is what I think brought us together in the first place. We are both passionate people, and also both driven and pretty hard on ourselves.

    Still figuring it out, but I can say that life together has NEVER been boring! (Have you heard writer Jen Hatmaker talk about sweet and spicy families? We’re definitely a spicy family! I think your INTJ friends are probably a sweet family. :) )

    • Rachel says...

      I LOVE Jen Hatmaker’s take on family issues! I come from a sweet family, but my fiance is definitely from a spicy one. I can’t wait to see how we’ll end up! :)

  135. Anne says...

    I think my husband and I are totally different (he’s a dog, I’m a cat, he’s a doer, I’m a thinker, he’s tidy, I’m messy), but every now and then someone will comment on something we have in common, like telling similar jokes. It always makes me smile to think we’re more alike than we realize!

  136. Louisa says...

    Yes – my husband likes rural and desert; I like urban and rainy. We’re in Boise: urban(ish) and desert!

    I’ve also noticed that while we’re yin and yin around a lot of things, one of us is always a *little* more yang – and over time that muscle develops more. So I’ve become our social planner; he’s become the house maintenance guy. I’ve been less anxious; he’s more!

  137. Megan says...

    I love this! My husband and I are opposite in a lot of ways too-the biggest being that I am an extrovert and he is an introvert. It was a big learning curve for me too! I died laughing at that Gif! That was totally me! Plus, my husband needs a lot of physical space and I’m always all up in his business and he can’t deal. I’ve had to learn when is a good time for cuddling and when he’d rather have some space. Ha! He is an ISTJ and I’m an ENFP! I’m a very emotional person and he is cool as a cucumber – its a good balance. Our 7 year anniversary was this weekend and I love how we balance each other out and are such a good team. Glad you found a yin to your yang too! xo

  138. Cecilia says...

    My husband and I are almost complete opposites when it comes to personality, but super similar when it comes to interests and values — It’s been a great combination over 10 years of marriage :)

  139. Me and my boyfriend of 17 years (there really needs to be a better word for that) are different in a lot of ways but same in others. We share the same views on big topics (politics, religion, etc) but with him being 10 years older, we differ a lot on the smaller philosophies. Especially – and this has been SO tricky to navigate these past couple years – views on traditional vs. non traditional roles; he falls way heavier on the traditional side than I do. Not saying he’s not mostly an ally, because he is – but he still has some, I guess, older views. Also he’s way more extroverted and super at math or tech things, whereas I’m a firm introvert with a much dreamier, arty bent.

  140. It’s crucial to be similar in the stuff of life that matters- values, goals, spiritual life, etc. But the differences in the smaller things are what keep relationships interesting and engaging.

  141. Clairellyn says...

    I came up with the phrase a couple years into my marriage with my husband and why it worked.

    He sees me as normal and I see him as special.

    I spent my childhood being the weird kid who talked too much and didn’t have friends (think annoying first book Hermione) and he was off reading encyclopedias and writing music but no one noticed him. In some ways we are very similar but how the world saw us was very different. When we first started dating it was like being seen for real for the first, the opposite of how we had always been seen.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i love that, clairellyn.

  142. Elisabeth says...

    We’re opposites, too! I am an ENTJ and my husband is an ISFP. There are certainly moments where our differences can create challenges, but for the most part it’s great to have someone who compliments you. I appreciate my husband’s relaxed approach to life and ability to see the best in everything. And I probably have enough opinions and ideas for more than one person anyway ;-)

    • Elisabeth says...

      Oops! *complement

  143. Robin says...

    My partner is very active and I work in academia so I spend more time with books and screens. He’s great at getting me to spend time outside, which I love. But I also like it when he goes for a bike ride or a ski and then we walk, which is more low key. I am Indigenous and he is not, but he is incredibly supportive of me spending time in ceremony or in drum circle, for example. It’s great to come back together at the end of the day because we always have a lot to talk about.

  144. Britta says...

    My husband and I are opposites. I’m a city person, pop culture junky, extroverted in groups to entertain others, but need to be alone alone to recharge. My husband would literally be happiest in the wilderness farthest away from any civilization, loves hobbies like working on cars or woodworking or being outdoors away from television, and he is an introvert who claims he can recharge his batteries while still being around me (a problem because I can’t recharge around anyone, even him). No one would’ve put us together. Both our families have told us that they were nervous when we got serious, but we’re very happy, and so far so good ten years later.

  145. sasha says...

    What a fun question! Can’t wait to read the comments.

    I think we are more alike than not. Both introverted and homebodies but he’s more outgoing than me. I’m more trusting than he. He likes travel and adventure more. And sports….. He’s a nut for ALL sports, and good at them too, and I’m completely disinterested as well as not talented. We are both anxious, but good at being comforting for each other.

    I can’t imagine life without him (and that is my biggest source of anxiety). We’ve been together for 26 years, more than half our lives. He likes to joke he’s been happily married for 15 years, which isn’t bad, out of 23 ?

  146. Amy says...

    We are ying and yang, although we have similar hobbies and interests. So while our personalities differ (I’m a talkative neat-freak and he’s a quiet pack-rat), we both love camping, playing cards, and bike riding. It works well.

  147. my husband i literally just took the myers-briggs test last night (i’m an ENFJ married to an ISTJ) and had such a great conversation about the results and how it relates to us as a couple! what a terrific way to open up about your needs and gain a better understanding of where your boo is coming from.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so cool, caitlin!

  148. Colleen says...

    Totally ying and yang. He is non-fiction, athletic, introverted and all things sports. He is also immediately excellent at any sporting activity he has never previously tried which is amazing. I am fiction, artsy, extroverted, will visit any museum anywhere anytime and can cook just about anything. While my sister was single and having her moments of lowness about it, I would remind her that NO ONE would ever match the two of us together (she totally agreed) but somehow it works. Look beyond your usual!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! look beyond your usual is such good advice. i actually might not have asked alex to dinner, if i had known he was 13 years older — i’m so glad i didn’t know! :) sometimes you end up really clicking with someone who isn’t your exact match on paper.

    • Capucine says...

      Yes! My husband fell out of the heavens by a sheer stroke of magic, nothing like me in any way, and certainly not who I would assume was my type on paper (French, twelve years older than me, and married once before, for starters). I had often felt it was too limiting to have an idea of my ‘type’ and preferred to let the universe at large arrange things, but boy did the truth of that hit home when my man showed up. I have often wondered how internet dating can work serendipitously, but of course, magic is possible in more ways than I know! (I didn’t talk like that until my husband appeared, in a way that permanently altered my attitude toward ‘being in charge’.)