From Opposites Attracting to Relationship Disagreements

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”Opposites Attract, But Can This Last?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

I’ve been dating a woman for a month and the chemistry is there and we enjoy long talks and walks, but we are opposite in lots of things — I like to put things away after I use them, she leaves them out till hours later; I spend money freely, she’s frugal. We laugh at these differences, but these things are beginning to irritate me. I hear that opposites attract, but can these relationships last?


Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Opposite:

In my opinion, these types of relationships are not likely to last unless some behavior change occurs or the bothered person learns to accept the irritating behavior and live with it.

Barring that, if something is bothersome at an early stage in a relationship, it will probably be bothersome later, not unlike a sore toe that someone keeps stepping on. Too many of these types of situations wind up in separation or even a divorce court.

”More Kids, What if a Couple Can’t Agree?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My husband and I have two children. I want to have another child but he insists that two is enough. He has good reasons, like money constraints, but I can’t adjust to the idea that I will never have another child. Suggestions?

Enjoying Motherhood

Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Mother:

When a couple disagrees, the ideal is to try to work things out in a way that would satisfy both people. Barring that, when one partner initiates a change that the other finds unacceptable, then I believe that it would be wise for the initiator to let go. One person cannot force change on another. The only thing each person can do is change themselves if they choose.

There have been instances where couples have disagreed about whether to have more children and this disagreement has interfered with their relating and love for each other. In one situation, the husband gave in against his better judgment and became a father again. This ended up being unfair to the child that was born because the father ended up treating him differently than the other siblings, because he bore an underlying resentment that he took out on that child.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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