In a relationship, there’s usually someone who doesn’t pay attention to their finances as long as they aren’t broke. The other person sometimes loves the subject so much they consider it a hobby.

When the free bird and the money nerd get together…Do they fly toward financial freedom or end up in a cage, constrained by the other's habits?

Why do financial opposites tend to attract each other?

I recently read a few books on the subject, but I found no definitive answer. Who knew that mixing the worlds of logic and emotion would be so murky?

My parents are financial opposites. Dad is the free bird, while Mom is more by-the-book. My grandparents on both sides of my family are the same way. And then there’s me.

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I’m not attracted to my money opposite. Here’s why:

I’m big on self-improvement. This means I’m constantly looking for the optimum way to achieve my desired results.

When you live this way, I think it would be kind of crazy to be attracted to someone who’s the opposite. Why would you be attracted to a way of life that you’re constantly moving further away from?

For instance, I like eating healthy, and I’m not really interested in eating fast food. So why would I be interested in someone who eats fast food every day? I wouldn’t.

Maybe the only reason people sometimes seem attracted to their financial opposites is because they really want to be like their partner, but aren’t.

The free bird may realize she should pay more attention to her finances, but she doesn’t. Or the money nerd may think he should be more spontaneous or chill, but he doesn't do anything to move the needle on his own. Thus, a decent way of getting what each person wants is to find someone else who can supply what they are lacking.

I hear many people express the same sentiment about marriage. They say that they want to find someone they can grow with. Someone to balance them out.

This scares me. It’s almost like saying you can’t balance yourself out, so you try to find a quick way of marrying into what you want. Emotional gold digging, perhaps?

I read a few more books about happiness in search of the answer to this question. Here’s a nice synopsis of what I learned:

A marriage counselor had been happily married for 20 years. She was at a conference teaching married couples on the secrets to a successful marriage. An audience member asked, “How does John make you happy?” The marriage counselor replied, “He doesn’t. I make myself happy. It’s my responsibility to be happy. That’s what’s important. That you control your own emotions. Do not look for someone to fill a void that’s your void to fill.”

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Maybe so many people seem to end up with their financial opposites because they’d rather not take on the task of becoming financially successful alone.

And I’m not saying that’s wrong. It works out well for many people, my parents included. Though you should be careful of trying to outsource too many things in your life.

It seems like it's usually best in life to become a well-rounded person yourself and then seek a partner.

This means you’re less likely to drift apart from your partner as time goes by and you do improve yourself. Also, you won’t be emotionally ruined when your partner dies.

I’ve dated my financial opposite before. Was it fun? No. Not at all. From now on, I’m sticking with what I know works. Logically it makes sense, and it feels better emotionally (at least from my experience) to date someone who’s on the same wavelength.

This is all probably coming across as being quite unromantic, but with the U.S. divorce rate hovering around 50 percent, I like to think things through a bit more than that 50 percent of people.

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