Chemistry is a branch on the tree of science that I was never able to grasp successfully as a student. In this class, we spent hours studying what properties we are faced with and how different chemicals reacted with one other. It also taught us how certain reactions are the end results of the actions we take. As an adult, I now realize that chemistry was more than test tubes and periodic tables. Chemistry is really the science behind love and successful relationships. Put down your pencils, this lesson will never be found in any text book.
In relationships, the old saying goes “opposites attract”. In chemistry, this is called an ionic chemical bond. Ions have either positive or negative charges. The different charges complete each other and fill the spaces that the other may be lacking. When applied to dating, the differences within us pull us toward someone that may be our complete opposite. You can thank your local chemistry professor if you find yourself in love with someone you have virtually nothing in common with.
So why does this happen? Perhaps this person has qualities that you wish you saw in yourself. When you form an ionic bond in chemistry, the opposites complement each other and build the relationship into something greater — thank you hydrogen and oxygen for the delicious water I am presently consuming. In successful opposite relationships, we learn from the qualities of our mate. They may inspire us to be more outspoken or introduce us to things that we never would have experienced without them. The opposites can create some challenges while you try combining them, but they can also lead to a level of new excitement in our lives.
Does it always work? Should we always date someone completely opposite from who we are? No. Sometimes the differences end up being the reason you grow apart. The qualities that once drew you to each other could be the very things that split your relationship at its core, turning it into an atom bomb. It takes a willingness on the part of both involved parties to be open to adjusting their tendencies and quirks to come to a working compromise that suits both parties. It sounds simple, but it’s not always easy.
The answers are out there somewhere. Plato and the ancient Greeks started studying the attractive and repulsive forces in the BC era. Sir Isaac Newton blamed our attractive behaviors on planetary motion — anyone who has ever worked in customer service can attest to the “crazies” coming out during a full moon — and since then, 20th century scientists have dedicated their careers to figuring out how electromagnetic forces work.
So what is the science of chemistry and attraction? Do opposites really attract and more importantly, should they? Can you have love without chemistry or is love simply a chemical reaction that causes your toes to curl, your heart to flutter and your face to never stop smiling.
Love isn’t fleeting. If you find yourself still hopelessly in love with your opposite even after the initial chemical lust days have run their course, then congratulations. Your relationship is bigger than planetary movement and brain synapses. The greatest of all scientists, Miss Paula Abdul said it best, “Things in common, there just ain’t a one…But when we get together, we have nothin’ but fun. Try to fight it but I’m telling you Jack, It’s useless, opposites attract.”
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.