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Opposites Attract

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"Strange extremes meet in love's pathway."

Strong relationships, in both TV and real life, thrive on how each member compensates for the other's weaknesses with their own strengths, and vice versa.

A Motor Mouth just isn't as funny if he doesn't have the Straight Man to torment. Similarly, only when a sweet, shy person is paired up with an equally jerkish one is their kindness and shyness made all the more noticeable.

It is all but guaranteed that the characters' differences will cause more friction than harmony between them. That's what gives the Odd Couple its fuel for Slap-Slap-Kiss, Will They or Won't They?, and Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other situations. Bickering and mushiness in one package. What's not to like?

The Odd Friendship also has elements of this, but tends to focus on how the differences make them see each other, and maybe the world, through new eyes. Perhaps the serious one is Not So Above It All, or the Shrinking Violet has an inner strength they never knew they had. A Moe Couplet also does something similar to this, focusing on how each half of the couplet brings out the other's endearing or nurturing traits.

About the biggest challenge in creating a day-and-night dynamic is to keep the attract and repel cases relatively balanced. When the pendulum swings too far toward the repel side and the characters seem more interested in torturing each other than helping out, it's no longer cute to watch; it's just masochistic. The key (both in fiction and in Real Life) is to watch the pair's goals. If they want the same thing but use completely different methods to achieve it, it's this trope. If they want different things entirely, it's a divorce waiting to happen.

If you add a third-party mediator for balance, you get a Power Trio.

If the opposites end up having a kid, then Stern Parent, Doting Parent can ensue, or (in more horrible and cynical instances) a Custody Battle and/or a Loving Parent, Cruel Parent situation.

Contrast Birds of a Feather. Compare Too Much Alike. See also Evil Desires Innocence.

Popular Opposites Attract dynamic tropes:


IMPORTANT: Please, no ships, just Canon portrayal of attraction. If you see an example that hasn't been portrayed in canon as this type of attraction (or hasn't been portrayed in canon at all), please delete it. This also means examples will tend to be spoilery, so read on at your own risk.

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    Anime & Manga 

    Audio Plays 
  • In 36 Questions, Jase is completely honest even when it's inconvenient for him, whereas Judith spent two years in a Snowball Lie and still tried to lie when she finally got caught.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority: The gruff, brooding, cynical Midnighter is Happily Married to kind, cheerful, optimistic Apollo. Even their costumes emphasize this trope: Apollo's is white with a gold sun emblem, while Midnighter's is black with a silver crescent moon.
  • Batman: Batman and Catwoman: One is a stolid, no-nonsense upholder of the law, the other is a mischievous (but never malicious) lawbreaker. They fight crime (sometimes, when she's not causing it herself).
  • ElfQuest: Discussed by Tyldak and Kahvi in regards to her past relationship with Rayek. He thinks their differences in background (she's "ice", he's "fire") were the problem. Kahvi disagrees though, saying that differences make good sparks. It was his arrogance which she hated.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Supergirl and Brainiac-5. She's a warm, nice and friendly Flying Brick. He's a super-intelligent, rude jerkass with non-existent social skills. Plus she's a believer and he's an atheist.
  • Persepolis: Subverted. When Marjane returns to Iran in her late teens, she starts a relationship with Reza, who's her polar opposite in terms of personality, Marjane being outspoken and extroverted and Reza collected and introverted. Marjane initially thinks that this is why they complement each other so well, but after they get married their personalities increasingly clash until they decide to avoid each other.
  • Robin: Callie Evans an active and very vocally open about her life basketball player tomboy who is more than willing to get into fights dated nerdy Sebastian Ives who freezes up at confrontation and will go far out of his way to avoid it and keep secrets. They remained friends afterwards but were unable to make a lasting romantic relationship work.
  • Runaways:
    • It paired quirky nerd Gert with dumb jock Chase, All-Loving Hero Karolina with Blood Knight Xavin, and fearless Molly with shy Klara.
    • In Runaways (2015), troublemaker Jubilee grudgingly admits that she's attracted to rule-abiding Sanna. It later turns out that the attraction is mutual, and they end up as a couple.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Would you ever believe the shy nerdy wallflower Peter Parker to end up married to the outgoing party girl Mary Jane Watson? Well it happened. Actually when MJ first saw Mr. Parker, she was going though her troubled home life and empathized with the lonely looking Peter. So they're similar after all.
    • Morbius and his fiancée Martine are this, both in appearance and personality. Morbius himself even wonders out loud how "an out and about society girl" could fall in love with "a morose scientist who can't stand the sun", saying even he doesn't have a hypothesis for that one.
  • Superman: Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter and Lois Lane, determined and outgoing reporter.
  • Teen Titans:
    • When their relationship began, Starfire and Robin (later Nightwing) were this: Robin was reserved and methodical to Starfire's passionate impulsiveness. As the trope often works in real life, they began to influence each other so that each acquired a level of the other's personality, to the point that their breakup ultimately had Nightwing making an impassioned plea for Starfire to stay and Starfire making the reasoned, logical choice to leave.
    • Raven and Beast Boy. One is an emotionally unstable daughter of a demon who has a tendency to sometimes turn evil and attack her friends quite frequently, one is a fun-loving, optimistic Manchild who can turn into just about any animal on the planet. Due to Raven's emotional issues and her desire not to harm people she cares about, the two are frequently on/off but always come back to one another due to Beast Boy refusing to take a hint. Prior to the New 52 reboot, Raven had recently made the decision not to ignore or suppress her feelings any longer and to embrace the future with Beast Boy. How they fared may never be known...
  • X-Men:
    • Cyclops and Phoenix. He's an emotionally withdrawn introvert control freak and she's fire and life incarnate an outgoing redhead who reads minds. He draws the attentions of at least two other hot and extrovert telepaths, which suggests there's something interesting going on behind that facade...
    • Cyclops' second major love interest, Emma Frost, also qualifies. One's a stoic born leader who grew up in an orphanage, the other's a wealthy, snarky seductress trying to atone for her past villainous deeds.
    • Gambit and Rogue: he's a dashing kinda powerful ex-theif who blows things up by touching them, she's an introvert extremely powerful ex-villain who absorbs people's powers by touching them. They're currently the only X-Men to be Happily Married. Though when you think about it, Rogue and Gambit are kinda similar. Both have brown hair, both worked for Super Villains (Mystique and Mr Sinister respectively) before defecting to the X-Men and both their powers relate to touching things. Their personalities are distinct enough for this trope to work, but the couple are more alike than they know.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts features Peppermint Patty and Marcy. Peppermint Patty is extroverted and athletic but Book Dumb. Marcie is introverted and intellectual and not at all into sports. They develop a symbiotic relationship, with Peppermint Patty protecting Marcie from bullies and Marcie helping Peppermint Patty with her studies.

    Fan Works 
  • The Accidental Warlord And His Pack: Gweld is sweet, easy-going and playful, often compared to a puppy, while the love of his life is the stabby stand-offish Seritt. She loves him too, but takes longer to come to terms with her feelings.
  • The Dragon and the Butterfly: While Bruno is characterized as a meek, superstitious, soft-spoken men with No Social Skills, his girlfriend-turned-fiance Valentina is a well-traveled party girl with a tough exterior and a twisted sense of humor. While Alma disapproves of their relationship under the belief that Bruno should be with a Proper Lady, Valentina has lived her whole life around Dumb Jocks and finds Bruno's attentive and sensitive personality a breath of fresh air.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Like in canon, Italy is the opposite of Japan. However, despite their opposite personalities, they have a lot in common too.
    "You're so kind and warm inside that cold and calculating exterior of yours. Although it may not seem like it, we have quite a bit in common. It's nice how we can bond over literature, anime, manga, fencing, food, cats, art...and so much more. Despite not seeming like it, my heart beats fast around you." He gave a fond smile. "I can't help but love that about you Kiku."
  • In The Dragon That Will Pierce the Heavens, the main trio of Luffy, Hikari and Zoro are this in every configuration you split them into. Luffy is very cheerful and tactile, while Zoro is reserved and standoffish; Hikari is mature and selflessly maternal, wanting to save everyone, while Luffy is childish and can be very selfish except when it comes to saving friends; Zoro is calm and laidback for the most part, while Hikari is more driven and snappy when their crew does stupid things.
  • Guardian portrays Lulu's romance with Posthumous Character Chappu as this—while she is a serious and somewhat cynical teen, he's fun and goofy and acts more his age.
  • Near the end of How I Learned to Love the Wild Horse, Tomboy Badass Biker Donna hooks up with nerdy Arnold after the two bond over a love of anime.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Yang and Izuku are opposites in almost every way imaginable. Izuku is shy and lacking in confidence due to his Broken background, growing up an only child with only his ordinary mother for company because he father is always working overseas. He's extremely driven to achieve his goal of becoming an amazing Huntsman who saves others, but is inexperienced and lagging behind his peers when he comes into Beacon. Yang is proud of both her abilities and her appearance, growing up with her father, a prestigious Huntsman, and her half-sister Ruby because Raven Branwen and Summer Rose both mysteriously vanished when they were young. Yang is much more relaxed and happy to party but lacks a driving goal or dream in her life, being content to simply help her loved ones achieves theirs. They end up becoming close friends and later start dating.
  • The Story of Apollo, Daphne and Luca: An Italian Tragedy: Luca Paguro and Alberto Scorfano. Luca is shy and soft-spoken while Alberto is energetic and outspoken. They're madly in love with each other.
  • Ryuko and Mako in Natural Selection. Ryuko is a foul-mouthed, crude, moody, bloodthirsty tyrant who descends from the wealthiest, most powerful family on the planet, while Mako is a loving, cheerful, passive girl who lived in the slums most of her life. Needless to say, they are as opposite as you can get, but they're clearly shown to love each other all the same.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles: Aside from having the same canon Naruto couples from above (with the exceptions of Ino/Sai and Kiba/Tamaki), there's also Gaara and Matsuri. The former has a serious personality and almost always speaks while showing little to no emotion. By contrast, the latter is more cheerful and able to show more emotions.
  • The Night Unfurls has Sanakan and Hugh. She's a Hot-Blooded cynic while he's a mute idealist. This is reinforced in the Four-Temperament Ensemble, with Sanakan as the choleric and Hugh as the phlegmatic respectively. The result? Puppy Love!
  • Rainbow Brite and the War of Darkness: Lord Dark (better known as the King of Shadows) and Lady Brite are mates despite being polar opposites. One is the embodiment of darkness and the other is the embodiment of light, yet they explicitly can't exist without one another.
  • Son of the Sannin has, aside from the canon Naruto couples above, Fu the Nanabi jinchuriki and Shino Aburame. The former is an excitable Genki Girl with a penchant for playing dumb to get a kick out of people, while the latter is The Stoic and has a rational and analytical mind.
  • An Insecure Violet has the awkward, but kind and friendly Izuku and the aloof, snarky, and tomboyish Kyoka fall in love with each other. It's their own opposing traits that make them attracted to one another; it also helps that they have similar goals as to why they want to become heroes. The author even says that their own personalities write their relationship itself.
  • Total Drama:
    • Total Drama Legends: Sanders, a respectful By-the-Book Cop, develops feelings for Duncan, a troublemaking delinquent who just recently got out of jail. Duncan begins to feel the same way for her, but tries to deny it partially because of their different statuses of cadet and felon. Eventually, the two get together after Gwen gets herself eliminated convincing Duncan to stop denying his own feelings.
    • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: Cody and Heather. Though it takes years for the attraction to form, it does eventually occur. Jasmine and Sammy also fit this as well to a lesser extent.
  • Twice Upon an Age: All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird has Mahanon and Cassandra, who are arguably as different as they could be. He's an elf hunter who grew up in the woods, reveres the Dalish pantheon, and usually has a snarky comeback. She's a human noblewoman who devotedly serves the Maker and is often extremely serious. They are nevertheless very well suited for each other.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton:
    • Two of Danny's dates are the polar opposite of him in different ways, but are potential girlfriends.
      • Diana Lombard is a 16 year old girl who is mature and an intellectual, while Danny is a 14 year old who is more laidback and easy going.
      • Phantasma is a full-ghost who is energetic, wild and expressive, while Danny is a more reserved and down to Earth half-ghost.
    • Outside of this, Ami Mizuno, aka Sailor Mercury, is shown to have feelings towards Ben Tennyson after their blind date. Ami is a reserved, smart and mature girl while Ben is an emotional, impulsive and immature boy.
  • A Hero's Wrath: There is a sense of irony in the idea that Izuku Midorya — who has a hereditary affinity to Wrath Mantra —eventually starts dating Nejire Hado, a girl who is later revealed to be attuned to Lust Mantra.
  • Shen Yuan and Luo Binghe from The Untold Tale. Luo Binghe is a passionate half-demon wearing dark and red, Shen Yuan is a composed celestial albino dressed in white and blue. Word of God explicitely wants to explore the trope.
  • A lot of the primary ships in Incorrect Smash Bros Quotes are this.
  • Always You: Strange Aeons is a self proclaimed "creature" who makes meme videos and has an eccentric, alternative taste in fashion and pop-culture, while Abby Classic is a "classic woman" who dresses in and preaches about conservative fashion and holds panels featuring other Christian content creators. This is a fic about the two of them falling in love, with Strange in particular being drawn to Abby for reasons even she can't explain.

    Films — Animation 
  • Milo Thatch and Princess Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. She's a Tomboy Princess, he's a cute nerd.
  • La Muerte and Xibalba from The Book of Life. She's a kind, loving Goddess made of sweet candy and he's a cheating, gambling God who's made out of everything icky.
  • Brave: King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Fergus is your typical boisterous Fiery Redhead while Elinor is the graceful, proper queen. Their dynamic is one reason why the kingdom stays together: he's the man-of-action and natural leader in wartime, she's the natural diplomat who can calm feuding factions in peacetime.
  • The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: Victor Quartermaine is courting Lady Tottington even though he is an avid hunter and she is an animal lover. Subverted when it's revealed he's only interested in her wealth.
  • Frozen has the laidback and introverted Kristoff with the energetic and sociable Anna.
  • How to Train Your Dragon plays with this with Hiccup and Astrid. Astrid is The Ace who takes her job very seriously, while Hiccup's skill and physique borders on a physical disability (and he eventually gets an actual one, as well) and he constantly shirks his duties to fellow Deadpan Snarker Gobber. However it becomes clear that they are both passionate, driven individuals who desperately want to groom themselves to fulfill a greater purpose and help people.
  • Mulan and Shang in Mulan II. She's a rebellious, free-spirited warrior and he's a stern, no-nonsense captian. Throughout the sequel, their differences (coupled with Mushu trying to break them up) nearly ruin their engagement, but they manage to find the balance necessary to make it work.
  • The Princess and the Frog has Tiana and Naveen. She's a Workaholic, no-nonsense waitress and he's a fun-loving, lazy prince.
  • Tangled gives us the jaded, worldly-wise thief Flynn Rider and the spirited, innocent princess Rapunzel.
  • Treasure Planet has Captain Amelia and Dr. Doppler. She's a tough-as-nails Action Girl, he's a bookish scientist, not to mention they're basically an anthropomorphic cat and dog, respectively. The two grow closer throughout the movie, and by the end they even have several kids.
  • WALL•E has The Woobie WALL•E and Action Girl EVE. They provide the page image.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Roger and Jessica Rabbit. He's an energetic and goofy rabbit, she's a sexy and glamorous woman. They are married and couldn't be happier. Why?
    Jessica Rabbit: He makes me laugh.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Felix and Calhoun. She's a Statuesque Stunner, he's half her height at best. She's a hardcore badass, he's an "aww shucks" kind of guy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Odd Couple Steed and Mrs. Peel in The Avengers: he follows the rules, she doesn't. He admits that she's "just my type".
  • Charly (2002): Charly Riley is a carefree art student from New York City who falls in love with Sam Roberts, an uptight computer science major from Utah.
  • Clara: Isaac and Clara are very much opposites in their outlook on life. He's bitter, she's optimistic. He's an atheist who doesn't believe there's meaning to the universe, she's spiritual and does. Nonetheless, they fall for each other working together and get into a relationship.
  • Corky Romano: Corky, an extremely quirky but nice man who's often smiling ends up married to Kate Russo, a very staid, serious FBI agent who initially doesn't express much emotion (he grows on her).
  • Crazy/Beautiful: Carlos is an ambitious student and football star from East L.A. Nicole is a free-spirited, rebellious white girl from Malibu.
  • The Darwin Awards: Michael, a Crazy-Prepared former profiler with a crippling fear of blood and No Social Skills, is partnered with Siri, a sardonic claims investigator whose years of working in insurance have turned her into a hardened cynic. Despite getting off to the wrong start at first, they fall in love while working together to investigate insurance claims across the country.
  • Deadpool 2 reveals that Negasonic Teenage Warhead, an Emo Teen with a boyish buzz cut, is dating Yukio, who is so cute it practically hurts.
  • Rough and tough, working-class, Mike Hagen, and high-society, prim, Mirella Brown in the film, Designing Woman.
  • Eloïse's Lover: Àsia has pale skin, a more conventional feminine style, is shier, somewhat reserved and outwardly friendly from the start. Eloïse has olive skin, a more tomboyish, slightly grungy look, she's bolder, freespirited and at first doesn't look very friendly as her peers shun her as a weirdo.
  • Enchanted: Giselle the cheery optimist, and Robert the sarcastic pessimist.
  • The Great Race. The Great Leslie — charming male chauvinist. Maggie DuBois — militant women's libber. How can they not fall in love?
  • IQ: Zig-Zagged. Catherine is a mathematician and doctoral student at Princeton while Ed is a mechanic who barely passed high school. However, while Ed may be Book Dumb he is intelligent and quick witted.
  • Claire and Owen in Jurassic World. Before the events of the film, they didn't go on a second date because they were too different (he showed up in board shorts, she showed up with an itinerary).
  • Love at First Sight (2023): The narrator wastes no time establishing that Oliver and Hadley are very different — he's organized, hates surprises, and obsessed with using data to rationalize the world around him; she's a little scatterbrained and prone to leaving things behind. His phone is nearly always fully charged; her phone is always dying. And yet, as she cheekily informs the audience, they're going to fall in love.
  • On Chesil Beach: Edward is from a rural, working-class background. He is also a fan of rock & roll music, which classical violinist Florence is not as enthusiastic about. Though both of them are university graduates, Florence comes from a more well-off background, with her father owning a business and her mother teaching at Oxford.
  • Performance Anxiety: Peter - the neat freak accountant — and his boyfriend, Jeff, who is a messy, hippy musician.
  • Room in Rome: Alba is a bold, somewhat butch lesbian who's experienced with women, who's shorter while having olive skin and short dark brown hair. Natasha is a shier, very feminine woman who says she'd never slept with women until Alba, while she's very tall with pale skin and fairly long blonde hair. They fall passionately for each other and have an intense one night stand.
  • No-nonsense Captain von Trapp and cheerful Maria in The Sound of Music.
  • The Sun Is Also a Star: Daniel and Natasha have this in many ways. He is more likely to go with his feelings, and also believes in things like fate. She is more intellectual, disbelieving in that idea because there isn't scientific evidence of it. Even so, she's charmed by him and his bet that he can make her fall for him within an hour actually works.
  • Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl: Sweet, shy pale-skinned blonde Adele is attracted to bold, confident Beth who's a brunette with olive skin, reciprocating her attraction.
  • Upgrade (2018): Grey Trace - a techno-phobic vintage automechanic - is happily married to High-Powered Career Woman Asha, a cybernetics exec. As the film is set in the near-future, playful clashes over automation and AI tech are a running part of their day-to-day; Grey even suggests making a pizza from scratch for fun over Asha's casual notion of ordering/3D-printing one.
  • Woman of the Year (1942) is about the marriage between brainy, patrician political analyst Tess and salt-of-the-earth sportswriter Sam. The trope is deconstructed by showing the realistic challenges of a marriage between two people with such great differences.

  • The 39 Clues. Ian is a mega-rich, an Evil Brit, and a Momma's Boy. Amy is a Shrinking Violet, pretty smart, poor, and an orphan. She apparently always found him attractive, but when he actually started flirting with her, it was, of course, a trick. And then came a whole new set of complications.
  • One of the major themes of The Accidental Tourist, and the trope is invoked In-Universe by Sarah in the book, who says that Macon and Muriel will be one of those couples at a party whom no one can figure out why they're together. Macon is briefly distracted by this thought, having had those thoughts about others and now was a living example.
  • Ai no Kusabi has this as a plot point of why the highest of the high would want to be with the lowest of the low.
  • Kenneth Oppel's Airborn series has Matt Cruse, poor cabin boy, and Kate de Vries, rich wanna-be scientist... cue angsting about how they can never be together...
  • The Baby-Sitters Club:
    • Mary Anne's father and Dawn's mother are a textbook example.
    • Shy and quiet Mary Anne paired with jockish and outgoing Logan.
  • Alan E. Nourse's The Compleat Consummators took this to a horrifying conclusion with a couple whose differing interests and personalities meshed so well that they ended up as a sort of composite creature:
    "After It had jelled for awhile, It got up from the sofa and went into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee."
  • Ignatius J. Reilly and Myrna Minkoff of A Confederacy of Dunces. Him: fat, stentorian (if hypocritical) in his morality, obsessed with chastity, an archconservative—nay, reactionary!—who believes Western civilization took a wrong turn at the Renaissance and longs for an authoritarian king and authoritarian Catholic Church. Her: thin, stentorian in her love of sex, believing that the world in general and Ignatius in particular is perfectible through sex, an archliberal—nay, radical!—who believes in revolutionary socialism and racial (and gender) equality, and who long ago abandoned her ancestral Judaism for—something. It isn't clear what (other than sex). They engage in a fevered exchange of letters that has all readers firmly convinced that they are in fact almost exactly the same despite appearances and perfect for each other. By the end of the novel, Ignatius has agreed to go to New York with Myrna.
  • Discworld:
    • Captains Carrot Ironfounderson and Angua von Uberwald are on opposite ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. He inspires her to fight injustice, she reminds him not to set his expectations too high.
    • Similarly, in Interesting Times, it's strongly suggested that Wide-Eyed Idealist Twoflower's daughter Pretty Butterfly inherited her Rincewindian view of the world from her late mother.
    • Parodied with Nobby (grotesque and cynical petty thief watchman) and Tawnee (stunningly beautiful and jawdroppingly naive exotic dancer) in Thud!. When Nobby says Tawnee thinks they're "two halves of the same soul", Sergeant Colon thinks about this for a moment and concludes "Yeah. Not the same stuff in each half, obviously. Sort of... sieved." They split up when Tawnee realises she has options and Nobby realises she can't cook.
  • Razz and Sally in Don't Call Me Ishmael!. They do have some common interests (for example football), but she is down-to-earth, very studious, intelligent and calm. Razz... is not.
  • Dragonvarld: Melisande and her lover Bellona, extending to many things. The former is a pale-skinned blonde priestess with magic who's a more sensitive, physically softer and open-hearted woman. Bellona meanwhile is a black-haired, brown-skinned, muggle lay warrior women, while she keeps closed off to other people emotionally (aside from Melisande). She's also hard-edged and muscular.
  • In Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, Wei Wuxian is a Motor Mouth smartass and troublemaker, while Lan Wangji is The Quiet One, stoic, proper, and unfailingly adhering to the rules. They wind up Happily Married.
  • Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby. He Will Not Tell a Lie; she's a Consummate Liar.
  • Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating: Hani and Ishu are very much opposites in many ways. Hani is a Muslim, Ishu an atheist. Hani has long hair, Ishu short hair. Hani likes feminine things, Ishu doesn't. Hani is social, Ishu happily keeps to herself. Hani suffers from self-doubt, Ishu is confident of herself. Despite this, they fall for each other over time.
  • Ron and Hermione of Harry Potter's Power Trio: she's uptight, smart, logical and Crazy-Prepared, while he's more laid back, driven by emotion and acts on instinct. This one is particularly notorious for the fierce Ship-to-Ship Combat that surrounded it, and for the author's somber look back on it years after the fact.
    Rowling: I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That's how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione with Ron. [...] I know, I'm sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I'm absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people's hearts by saying this? I hope not. [...] It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it... I'm not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was too much fundamental incompatibility. I can't believe we are saying all of this — this is Potter heresy! [..] Oh, maybe she and Ron will be all right with a bit of counseling, you know. I wonder what happens at wizard marriage counseling? They'll probably be fine. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues and she needs to work on being a little less critical.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss and Peeta, at least by the end of Mockingjay.
  • In Death: Eve has pointed out that Roarke and her have this between them, like in Divided In Death. She is a cop who is crude, rude, not interested in money, believes in the law, and has morals that are basically black and white. He is a former thief who is suave, charming, has more money than you can imagine, believe more in his conscience than in the law, and his morals are very much grey. Fortunately, one thing they do have in common is that they both were raised by bad parents and had lousy childhoods.
  • Brainy ambitious women regularly find P. G. Wodehouse's Upper-Class Twit Bertie Wooster from Jeeves and Wooster romantically irresistible.
  • A Master of Djinn: Fatma is fairly reserved and more reticent with her emotions, while having a very masculine clothing style (she likes wearing fine Western men's suits). Siti, her girlfriend, loves to wear beautiful dresses, with a playful, much more emotive personality (often teasing Fatma about things). The pair are both skilled fighters, but Fatma does this only when necessary whereas Siti is eager for fighting. Fatma is a Muslim, while Siti worships the ancient Egyptian god Hathor/Sekhmet.
  • The main couples of Minoru Kawakami's light novels are usually like this, due to Author Appeal:
    • Mikoto Sayama and Sadagiri Shinjou from The Ending Chronicle. He's an arrogant, eccentric self-proclaimed villain who thinks he's the center of the universe and she's a sensitive, insecure and modest Nice Girl. It gets lampshaded constantly with both outright calling themselves opposites and loving each other for it.
    • Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere has the overly energetic and carefree Tori and the emotionless and analytical Robot Girl Horizon Ariadust.
  • Victor Hugo discusses this trope in Les Misérables, in reference to Grantaire's devotion to Enjolras.
    A sceptic who adheres to a believer is as simple as the law of complementary colors. That which we lack attracts us. No one loves the light like the blind man. The dwarf adores the drum-major. The toad always has his eyes fixed on heaven. Why? In order to watch the bird in its flight. Grantaire, in whom writhed doubt, loved to watch faith soar in Enjolras. He had need of Enjolras.
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! has the introverted, somewhat cynical Mahiro and the bubbly, energetic, outgoing Nyarko, fitting just about perfectly with the standard Manic Pixie Dream Girl and/or Uptight Loves Wild plots.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Girly Girl Dennaleia and Tomboy Mare become attracted to each other.
  • Ben and Lacey in Paper Towns. Excitable geek who is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, dating a Spoiled Sweet Lovable Alpha Bitch? Believe it or not, they're not just dating, but incredibly happy together.
  • Percy and Annabeth in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. While Percy isn't dumb, his academic success isn't all that great. Annabeth is a child of Athena, and very intelligent. Percy is a powerhouse in battle, while Annabeth uses her intellect and magical relics. And while Percy is quite sassy, most of it is in the narration. Annabeth has no such reservations.
  • The Queen of Ieflaria: Blonde Esofi is a dutiful and pious princess who's very straitlaced. Brunette Adale is a skeptical hedonist who cares nothing about convention. Nonetheless, they bond and fall for each other.
  • Reaper (Ivan Navi) has a rather extreme example: Life and Death are a married couple despite being as opposite as anyone could be. They do have some disagreements but are a loving and caring couple who truly care about one another.
  • San Amaro Investigations: Protagonists Nick and Parker. Nick is an upper class alchemist from a powerful family and a By-the-Book Cop; Parker is a working class PI raised in the foster care system by a witch foster mother and is a displaced fae. Despite significant differences in temperament and personality, they do love each other a lot and welcome the changes the other brings to their life. In book 5, a man is sent specifically to seduce Nick, who is like him in all ways (same interests, social status, social circles, etc), which not only is uninteresting to Nick, Nick actually finds him to be a bit annoying despite Parker's spikes in jealousy.
  • This seems to be the driving force behind Zavahl's and Ailie's relationship in the Shadowleague books- he has the personality of a bad rainstorm, whereas she is never seen to frown.
  • Ship Tease aside, it may as well be Zelgadis the cynical, weary, brooding chimera paired with Amelia the optimistic, innocent, and plucky princess from Slayers, with hints of Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl peppered in there. In the novels, there is also the hot-headed, driven Luke with the snarky, calm Millina (in this case, this is All Love Is Unrequited).
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the biologist and her husband became a couple because she thought he was energetic and alive while he thought she was mysterious. As they got to know each other after marriage, their relationship hit the rocks... Turns out he's overbearing and she's withdrawn.
  • Sweet & Bitter Magic: Tamsin and Wren are very much opposites in many ways. Physically, Tamsin is a brunette with brown eyes, and Wren a green-eyed redhead. Tamsin is a powerful witch cursed so she can't love, Wren a source of magic who's unable to use it herself who has cared for her father as a result of her deep love for him over many years. Despite this, they fall for each other over time.
  • Tell Me How You Really Feel: Sana and Rachel are opposites in a lot of ways. The former is easygoing, friendly, has a very feminine style, comes from a wealthy family and the most religious Muslim of her relatives. Rachel is a terror to all the people working with her, keeps people at a distance, a tomboy, has a poorer lifestyle along with her father and only attends synagogue on the High Holy Days. Nonetheless, they fall for each other.
  • Courtney Milan's Unclaimed is a Victorian-set historical romance between a courtesan and a Christian moralist who has written a treatise on chastity. It sounds like a case of Uptight Loves Wild, but the moralist has much more of a quirky and mischievous sense of humor than one would expect and the courtesan is rather emotionally repressed.
  • From The Wheel of Time, Mat is a Farmboy turned Four-Star Badass raised in an Arcadia, Tuon is an Empress and Chessmaster who was raised in a Decadent Court. They're married.
  • Discussed Trope in the novel Youth in Sexual Ecstasy, the sexual therapist actually says that for a couple to succeed in the long term, they must have opposite temperaments alongside with similar lifestyles and independent realization. The protagonist and his fiancee agree on this being the case for them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Penny and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory are such an extreme example as to nearly defy belief. Leonard is a bespectacled, hopeless nerd with a Ph.D in Physics and alarmingly subpar social skills (which suddenly appear impressive when compared with those of the people he hangs out with); Penny is an attractive aspiring actress who works as a waitress in the nearby Cheesecake Factory and never finished college. Lots of Lampshade Hanging on this one.
    Leonard: Are you even listening to me?
    Sheldon: Yes. "Blah blah, hopeless Penny delusion, blah blah."
  • BOB ❤️ ABISHOLA: Bob is an obese, Caucasian, American, nonreligious, wisecracking CEO. Abishola is a trim, black, Nigerian, Christian, comically serious nurse. They are both aware of their lack of compatibility, with Bob saying that their relationship makes as much sense as having ice cream for breakfast, but as long as they're both happy, why should it matter?
  • Bones:
    • The coldly intelligent, scientific, atheist, hyper-rational titular character and her partner the FBI agent — religious, more emotional, more of a people person. Clearly they complement each other, but each also finds the other fascinating and attractive. Both lampshaded and subverted on the show; Sweets wrote an essay about Booth and Brennan's relationship dynamic called "Opposites Attract", which Gordon Gordon punctured by calmly stating that Booth and Brennan were complementary, not opposites.
    • Angela and Hodgins probably count too. She’s an attractive, outgoing, free spirited artist who wasn’t very well off before coming to work at the lab and Hodgins is a geeky, rather plain scientist who was super rich when they married.
  • Buffyverse:
  • Sam and Diane of Cheers, practically archetypes of the Mars and Venus Gender Contrast.
  • Conversations with Friends: Shy, reserved Frances dated bold, outspoken Bobbi. It's perhaps deconstructed because they stopped dating and became simply best friends instead. They get back together later though.
  • CSI: NY: City boy Danny Messer and country girl wife Lindsay "Montana" Messer. (She's still tough in her own right, though.)
  • The show Dharma & Greg revolves around this trope. Dharma is a free-spirited, tolerant, and ditzy flower child. While Greg is an upright, conservative, somewhat uptight lawyer. Despite the fact that they have virtually nothing in common they got married on their first date.
  • Doc Martin: Martin and Louisa basically cover every trope in this section at some point.
  • Ultra-conservative Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties finds himself attracted to women who are the ideological opposite of him - while his best friend, Skippy, is the intellectual opposite of him.
  • Action Girl Aeryn Sun of Farscape, for some reason, finds herself falling for Plucky Comic Relief who alternates between The Kirk and The McCoy in the form of John Crichton. Though he's pretty well helpless in a real battle, she does end up training him up almost to Badass Bookworm levels. And while she does thaw a bit from her Ice Queen demeanor, he just gets more and more extroverted as he slowly goes crazier.
  • Firefly:
  • For the People:
    • Kate and Anya. They're almost complete opposites in both their looks and personality. Kate is a very uptight attorney who always dresses in business attire but also has short hair. Anya's a more loose ATF agent who is usually in casual wear and has long hair.
    • It ends up happening for Roger and Jill despite their opposite political views (not to mention being on opposite sides of the prosecutor/defender divide).
  • Game of Thrones: The Starks and Baratheons have almost nothing in common. Robert Baratheon (oldest son, groomed for command, irresponsible leader) is best buds with Ned Stark (younger son, groomed as a soldier, responsible leader). Both get arranged marriages. Ned's works, Rob's... doesn't. The Baratheons hate each other, but the Starks love each other. They're still almost allies until Renly dies. This dynamic even carries over to Arya and Gendry. They'd both rather have the opposite life of what they have at the start, and end up backing each other up. And while Arya is uncompromising in pursuing her dream, Gendry is willing to take what breaks he can get.
  • Glee has the ditzy, goofy but sweet Brittany paired with the bitchy, sarcastic Santana.
  • Good Omens (2019):
    • Aziraphale, an angel (who’s a little bit bad) and Crowley, a demon (who’s a little bit good), who develop quite a bit of a forbidden romance over the course of six thousand years. Aziraphale is the kind of immortal that is stuffy and stuck in the past, in addition to his generally friendly demeanor, whereas Crowley is constantly changing, always modernizing, and more abrasive on the surface. Aziraphale’s bookshop is cluttered with books and knickknacks everywhere you look, while Crowley’s flat is barren (which serves to contrast Heaven’s barrenness and Hell’s overcrowding problem, respectively). That said, both vastly prefer Earth and humanity’s offerings to what Heaven and Hell provide, both are somewhat morally gray, and neither are exactly what their head offices want them to be. Unfortunately, while Crowley is much more cynical of said head offices and more inclined to run away from problems, Aziraphale is more trusting of them and more likely to face problems head-on, which ultimately forces them to separate at the end of season 2 when Aziraphale returns to take charge of Heaven.
    • Humans Maggie and Nina from series 2. Nina is a grouchy, no-nonsense cynic, coffee shop owner, and object of affection for Maggie, the more forward and emotional record seller. Although Nina returns Maggie’s interest, they both agree that Nina needs time to heal from her previous toxic relationship before they can get off on the right footing.
  • In The Good Wife the law firm's co-owner Diane Lockhart, who would probably consider the term "liberal wacko" a compliment, is in a relationship with weapons expert Kurt McVeigh, who would likely feel the same about the phrase "right-wing nutjob". They even get engaged as of "The Wheels of Justice".
  • Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham are harsh polar opposites that complement each other well. Hannibal is stylish, charismatic and severely lacking in empathy, where Will is twitchy, unsociable and overflowing with too much empathy. In the series finale, after years of fighting against and for each other, their relationship evolves into something romantic and they run away together.
  • Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother. Ted is the Dogged Nice Guy who is a romantic, wants to settle down and have kids and Robin is The Lad-ette who is a gun nut, hates commitment and kids, focuses on her career. The show deconstructs their relationship where they did get together but by the time they talked about their goals, they want different things which resulted to their break-up and remained friends. After a few years, Ted is still in love with Robin which one of his ex-girlfriends pointed out that he's unable to move on due to his unrequited feelings for her while Robin herself did move on. In the series finale, it's implied that now-widower and single dad Ted and the divorced and single Robin got together.
  • iCarly: Deconstructed with the Sam/Freddie arc. They are complete and total opposites that become physically attracted to each other, but eventually break up when the actual relationship fails. They are unable to find any common ground in their interests and actually end up sabotaging them for each other when they try being involved in each other's activities. It ends up being one of the main causes of their break up.
  • Intimate starts out with two of the guys being in long-term relationships with partners who are very different from them, but it quickly becomes clear that both relationships are fundamentally dysfunctional, and both fall apart over the course of the season.
    • Inhibited Max and the outgoing Isabella are a case of Uptight Loves Wild. Isabella is bored with their conservative, monotonous sex life and wants them to experiment with pegging and threesomes (whereas Max's wildest suggestion to spice things up is "sex in the living room"). She eventually insists on opening up the relationship; when they visit a sex club, he is unwilling to to do anything and has to watch her doing it with another couple.
    • Grumpy, emotionally distant Leo and the chirpy, chatty Florian make a Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple. Leo has a very heteronormative view of their relationship, outright calling Florian "the woman", and also cheats on him, which eventually leads Florian to dump him. Afterwards Flo vents to a friend that "nothing ever worked" between them, which Leo overhears and is rather devastated by, despite unquestionably being at fault for their relationship failing.
  • Played for laughs in the Legends of the Superheroes special "The Roast", where shrinking superhero The Atom is shown to fall in love with the villain Giganta.
  • Little Lunch: Discussed in "The Relationship", when Rory's been asked out by a girl in grade 6. Atticus, who's watched a lot of romantic comedies with his sister, claims that if he and the girl are complete opposites that means the relationship is likely to work out. He's proven right at the end, as it turns out Debra Jo and Rory both have crushes on each other.
  • The L Word: Alice and Tasha are very different people, yet become a couple nonetheless. On the one hand, Alice is a bubbly girly effusive woman who's staunchly opposed to the Iraq War. Tasha is a butch, taciturn soldier (starting out), who's very defensive of it given her service there.
  • Laid-back, jovial "Hawkeye" Pierce and hard-nosed Margaret Houlihan in M*A*S*H. They're not a couple, but the attraction is definitely there and definitely mutual; in a couple of episodes it's heavily implied (read: as close as you can get on prime time network TV without actually saying it) that they have sex, and the main reason they aren't usually a couple is that they both realize that their personalities and life goals are fundamentally incompatible over the long haul.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold Arthur and Shrinking Violet (except when she's sufficiently ticked-off) Guinevere from Merlin. Also noteworthy was their difference in class status, with him being a prince and she being a servant.
  • Microsoap used and deconstructed it. As the kids describe it, "It was a case of opposites attract. Then it was a case of opposites drive each other crazy".
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries has the titular Phryne Fisher, a freewheeling, rule-breaking Lady Detective whose chief interests include solving murders and sleeping with virile young men — in that order. She ends up falling head over fashionable heels in love with her (initially reluctant) partner Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, a stoic, quietly snarky By-the-Book Cop with Hidden Depths galore who is absolutely crazy about her despite — or perhaps because of — the way she exasperates him on a regular basis.
  • Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. Maddie (Shepherd) is a chic, smart, former supermodel who's dead serious about running the business; David (Willis) is a glib, lighthearted, and pragmatic Private Investigator.
  • Subverted in an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Ned tries find morose Mark Downer a friend and, inspired by his science teacher's advice that "opposites attract", tries to pair him with Martin Querly, only for Martin to fall victim to his contagious depression. Ned then gets an idea from his math teacher's advice that "a negative times a negative equals a positive" and pairs Mark with a just-as-morose girl, which works.
  • No Tomorrow: Evie and Kareema are friends despite being almost totally opposite personalities. Evie's always bright, chipper, and wants a steady, monogamous relationship. Kareema's cynical, snarky and seems to only have casual sex (before meeting Sofia anyway).
  • The Other Kingdom: Despite having a rough first meeting, Devon Quince and Brendoni start to become close companions and rather fond of each others ways', even though Devon's obsessed with organization and tidiness, and Brendoni's a total slob.
  • Our Miss Brooks has three examples of opposites attracting:
    • Snarky Connie Brooks and shy Phillip Boynton. Connie is more perceptive than Mr. Boynton, but several scenes show that they are both kind, generous and intelligent individuals. Connie and Phillip marry at the end of The Movie Grand Finale
    • High-School Hustler and Book Dumb Walter Denton and principal's daughter Book Smart Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold Harriet Conklin.
    • Osgood Conklin, the blustery, pompous school principal. Martha Conklin, his kindly wife . . . who is known to put her foot down on occasion (i.e. "Trying to Pick a Fight").
  • Parks and Recreation: April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer, to the point that they've been described as what a cat and a dog would look like if they got married. April is snarky and claims to hate everything, while Andy is upbeat and full of energy. Despite getting hitched after only a month of dating, they end up Happily Married for the rest of the series.
  • Schitt's Creek: Nearly all the romances on the show work on this dynamic. Johnny and Moira, Roland and Jocelyn, David and Stevie, Alexis and Mutt, Alexis and Ted, and David and Patrick all contain various permutations of opposites attracting. The only exception is Stevie and Emir, who seem drawn to each other because of what they have in common.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the seventh season the very Betazoid Deanna Troi began pairing up with the very Klingon Worf, son of Mogh. This is first explored in the episode Paralles, where Worf travels to a number of alternate realities, the last two of which show Worf and Troi as husband and wife. Upon his return to his home universe Worf becomes closer to Troi. A Worf/Troi romance is further explored in the episode Eye of the Beholder, and by the series finale All Good Things the pair are actually dating. However, sometime before Worf's joining Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the couple have broken off their romantic relationship and are just friends again. Worf meanwhile marries Jadzia Dax while Riker and Troi resume their previous romantic relationship, and later themselves get married.
  • That '70s Show has the geeky Eric with tomboy Donna, the rich girl Jackie with rebel Hyde, and the short-tempered Red with bubbly Kitty.
  • Twenties: Hattie, a working class Butch Lesbian who is deep in debt constantly losing jobs, often semi-homeless and has a plain-spoken manner, gets involved with Ida B, a wealthy executive who's got a very femme style with very refined taste. She's also Hattie's former boss, starting to date her right after she had fired Hattie to boot.
  • The Vampire Diaries.
    • Damon and Elena. They have vastly different personalities, values, outlooks and beliefs.
    • Stefan and Katherine too, when Stefan's not hating her.
  • Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files: Skeptical, scientifically oriented redheaded Catholic meets agnostic UFO/supernatural enthusiast. And it works.
  • You Me Her: Nina, an uptight Jerk with a Heart of Gold and Control Freak, falls in mutual love with easygoing Nice Guy Shaun.
  • Zoey 101: Quinn Pensky and Logan Reese had to hide their relationship, because they don't want people to know about nerdy Quinn dating sporty, girl crazy Logan, so they hid their relationship until Stacey unconstitutionally kisses Logan. Then, Logan confessed that he loved Quinn, and Quinn reciprocates her feelings publicly. Finally, they kissed in front of everyone.

  • The Paula Abdul song "Opposites Attract" is basically all about this trope. And the music video involves her singing it as a duet with an animated rapping cat...
  • Daniel Amos's "She's All Heart" (from Vox Humana) is about a couple who are "one heart" in spite of their different perspectives and disagreements.
    She says I complicate things
    I say she over simplifies everything
    But either way, I still believe we need each other.
  • "Little War" by Axxis describes a couple that are exact opposites of each other personality-wise, yet still love each other greatly.
    "We belong together like summer and cold ice."
  • Brazilian song "Água Perrier" (Perrier Water), recorded by Adriana Calcanhotto, lyrics by poet/songwriter Antônio Cícero, has one of Red Oni, Blue Oni type: an intense and creative person who deeply admires a more rational, low-profile, blasé person (kind of an inversion of Uptight Loves Wild). The latter, in turn, lets himself/herself note  be admired by the other one. The different personalities are represented by their drinks of choice: the Red Oni prefers hard liquor, while the Blue Oni prefers Perrier water.
  • "She Likes the Beatles," by Alternative Country singer William Clark Green, lists a plethora of ways the narrator and his lady love don't see eye to eye... before explaining how, at the end of the day, those differences don't matter.
    She's determined and honest, she's stubborn and strong
    And I always know where she stands
    So it never bugs me that she's always wrong...
    As long as she's wrong with her hand in my hand
  • The song also called "Opposites Attract" by Juris.
  • Another Brazilian song, "Eduardo e Mônica", written by Renato Russo and recorded by his band Legião Urbana, brings the titular couple: they have different ages (she's a few years older than him) and tastes (her tastes are more sophisticated, while his are much simpler). Regardless of all differences between them, they build a solid relationship, living together and having twin children. The song originated a stage play, a TV ad and a film, starring Alice Braga as Mônica.
  • "You Lost My Memory" by Skyclad. This romance doesn't end well, but is described as sort of awesome anyway.
    The Brownian-Motion within this love potion,
    ensures our opinions are always dividing.
  • "Good for Me" by Amy Grant.note 
    You like to dance and listen to the music
    I like to sing with the band
    You like your hands splashin' in the ocean
    While I like my feet on the sand...
    You get brave when I get shy
    Just another reason why
    I think you could be so good for me

  • The driving force behind the central love story of The Misanthrope. Alceste despises anyone who is polite instead of honest, but is in love with Célimène, who by the end of the play is revealed to be about as two-faced as they come. It's Lampshaded several times.
    Alceste: I see her faults, despite my ardent love
    And all I see I fervently reprove
    And yet I'm weak; for all her falsity,
    That woman knows the art of pleasing me
    And though I never cease complaining of her
    I swear I cannot manage not to love her.

  • Monster High has Heath Burns and Abbey Bominable, a fire elemental and a yeti, respectively. Despite their contrasting powers and personalities, they truly do like each other and are an official couple in the series.

    Video Games 
  • APICO: Dr. Codey, who studies solitary bees because she prefers things with more "buzz", mentions that her girlfriend Dr. Sto is afraid of bees, which is why she became a lepidopterist instead. Doesn't stop them from going on romantic "research trips", however.
  • BioWare has a tendency to create somewhat psychotic mad people (usually women) who can be most successfully romanced by a nicer player character.
    • Jack in Mass Effect 2 is impulsive, impatient, anger-driven, and generally insane; the Paragon romance arc involves calmly and patiently listening to her issues and generally being nice.
    • Morrigan in Dragon Age: Origins is a survivalist in the extreme who believes love is a weakness; she does, however, approve of some of the Warden's behavior that is rather contrary to her stated doctrine.
    • Garrus in Mass Effect 2 has trouble with the rules, but is just as likely to fall for Female!Shepard if she calls him out on it and points out that the rules are there for good reasons as if she goes along with his ends justify the means ideas.
    • Bastila in Knights of the Old Republic is attracted to the male player character no matter what, so if you are a silly rule-bending sort or an Ax-Crazy maniac your very straight-laced and overly serious companion will still fall for you.
    • Viconia DeVir in Baldur's Gate 2 is a neutral evil drow priestess who believes that the strong are meant to dominate the weak, but that doesn't stop her from being romancable by good-aligned male player characters.
    • Fenris in Dragon Age II has a real bone to pick with mages and is brooding as all hell. It still doesn't stop him from falling for a snarky mage Hawke. The irony of this is not lost on him and is noted at a few points.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Iron Bull is a hulking, snarky Qunari warrior who really Does Not Like Magic. Doesn't stop him from entering a romance with an elf or human mage, or with a dwarf (who only comes up to his knees). His people have been at war for ages with Tevinter, the homeland of mustachioed mage Dorian, who can be romanced by a male Inquisitor of any race, including Qunari. If the Inquisitor doesn't romance either of them, they can end up together.
  • A somewhat downplayed example in Borderlands 3 has Wainwright Jakobs (the heir to the Jakobs corporation and a homebody) and Sir Hammerlock (a Great White Hunter and an adventure-seeker). This is a major source of drama and in the Guns, Love and Tentacles DLC they both express doubts over not being brave/caring enough for the other. Thankfully they get engaged in the main game credits and the afrorementioned DLC is about their wedding.
  • Deltarune: It quickly becomes obvious that the shy, awkward, bookish Noelle has a crush on the tough Jerk with a Heart of Gold delinquent Susie (obvious to everyone but Susie, at least). This is especially true in Chapter 2, where Noelle gets pulled into Kris and Susie's adventures in the Dark World and the pair get some serious Ship Tease.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • GTA Radio has a married couple host a political talk show. One's a Democrat, the other's a Republican, both are strawmen.
  • Achilles's codex in Hades notes that stoic, prickly, duitiful Thanatos is pretty obviously in love with his defiant, reckless foster brother, Zagreus despite their diametrically opposed dispositions. His theory is that they're inherently drawn to each other as Anthropomorphic Personifications of the Life/Death Juxtaposition.
    Whence came the bond they share? My thought is that the Master's son must be the god of blood; of life. Thus, they are inexorably drawn.
  • The Forerunners Didact and Librarian from Halo. The Librarian is a Friend to All Living Things whose favorite species was humanity. The Didact is a Four-Star Badass in a society of pacifists, who was responsible for destroying humanity's empire and sending us back to earth as cavemen. Everyone lampshades how odd this match is; however, they both love each other fiercely.
    Bornstellar: Your relationship with the Lifeshaper does not seem ideal.
    Didact: You don't know the half of it.
  • Night in the Woods has Gregg (an energetic and somewhat reckless fox who enjoys committing petty crimes) in a serious romantic relationship with Angus (a nerdy, polite and quiet bear who acts much more responsibly).
  • Psychonauts has the cold and logical Sasha with the upbeat and fun-loving Milla.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha allows the player to customize their character, having a choice of four personality options; your Love Interest will automatically be assigned the opposite personality, meaning a Shrinking Violet will always be paired with a Hot-Blooded character and The Stoic will always be paired with a Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • In The Sims 3, the Pok household (from the Supernatural expansion pack) consists in husband and wife David and Janet, who are respectively a burglar and a policewoman.
  • The ending of Troublemaker. While the PC, Budi, gets the girl of his dreams Sophia, his Dumb Muscle friend Zaenal somehow gets the genius Hackette girl Rani.
  • A non-romantic version is described in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume between court magicians Lieselotte and Rosea. Both were orphans adopted by court mage Lord Cennair and could not be any more different, but that was why they got along. Lieselotte greatly admired Rosea's grace and dignity, whereas Rosea loved Lieselotte's energy and lust for life. When Cennair is killed, each woman believes the other is the guilty culprit, and both were punished for it. The fact that they liked each other so much made the betrayal even more hurtful. And it will end up killing one of them. Or even both.

    Visual Novels 
  • While the protagonist of Daughter for Dessert is grounded and responsible, Lily is the quintessential free spirit.

    Web Animation 
  • Chikn Nuggit: Iscream is a demonic bunny who likes to do evil, scary things while Fwench Fwy is a divine dragon who likes to help people. They initially opposed each other, but they later started dating and became a couple, although there are occasions where they argue with each other.
  • Epithet Erased: It's eventually revealed that this was the dynamic between Martin and Calliope Blyndeff before the latter's untimely death in a house fire: Calliope needed Martin to pull her out of her work and get her to relax, and Martin needed Calliope to provide him with structure. Unfortunately, following her death, Martin has reverted to an irresponsible, selfish Manchild, and the Blyndeff family has gone from being stable despite "two broken support beams" to just being broken.
  • RWBY: The Aloof Dark-Haired Girl Blake is attracted to Sun and Yang, both of which are bright and energetic.

  • Avialae: Gannet is a snarky, short-tempered Emo Teen who's slept around with numerous men and hates that he's suddenly growing bird-like wings. Bailey is his kind, patient neighbor who's never been in a relationship or had sex before and geeks out over everything bird-related. Each of them end up being exactly what the other needs.
  • Invoked in one Catana Comics strip where Catana and her boyfriend state outright that their differences are what attracts each to the other.
  • In Doki Doki Literature Girls, Yuri ends up becoming enamored with Natsuki despite of their writing styles and personalities.
  • In Dubious Company, Walter is an Educated, Goofy, Sky Pirate Bird Man. Tiren is a Hardened, Straight-laced, Ninja Cat Girl. Clearly, the crew knows they were made for each other. Except Mary, who insists that Tiren has eyes for Elator.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Catalina who is a Fiery Redhead pairs up with Rhoda who is a Shrinking Violet.
  • In Freefall, Florence the anthromorphic wolf is dating Winston, who has spacer genes and so no hair. Niomi thinks it's a very odd case of opposites attracting.
  • Homestuck: This is the point of moirallegiance; two moirails are supposed to balance each other's negative traits, thus allowing their other relationships to be more successful and facilitating self-improvement.
    • Vriska and John have some Ship Tease early on, but the ship sinks when John finally realizes how cruel and dangerous Vriska actually is.
    • Deconstructed with Vriska and Tavros Nitram. Vriska is so revolted by her attraction to him that she ends up bullying/stalking him—unable to really love him, but too fixated on her feelings to stay away from him. They do end up together at one point, but soon break up.
    • Deconstructed with Eridan and Feferi's moirallegiance which is similarly ill-fated. They're both high-blooded, given an incredible amount of power over other trolls—but that's where their similarities end. Feferi's a Hot-Blooded optimist who wants to even out Alternia's caste system; Eridan's a spoiled, pessimistic racist with genocidal ambitions. Their relationship is dysfunctional because they can't reconcile their different ideologies.
    • Dirk and Jake are polar opposites in personality, and their differences ultimately lead to a messy breakup.
  • Imaginatives has Skylar and Excalibur, when they eventually get together. Skylar is cheerful, friendly, and extroverted while Excalibur is more reserved, introverted, and not as bubbly.
  • Parodied in I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!! when Dr. Wendy and Alice decide to try a Pair the Spares situation. They go out on a date, have a wonderful time...and Wendy decides they're too opposite of each other, and declines a second date.
  • Long Exposure has the romance between The Bully Lean and Mean Mitch and his favorite victim/long time crush, the Lovable Nerd and band geek Jonas.
  • L's Empire has Carnation and Pix who are pure evil and pure good respectively.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Hayley is The Cynic and has has a bit of a selfish streak. Elan is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who loves being in a team and automatically puts the needs of others before himself. As a result of their relationship, Hayley becomes more open to others (but is still cynical) and Elan becomes less of a Quirky Bard (but is still idealistic). The opposites attract trope is Lampshaded by V, who compares them with Roy and Miko, who, despite their similarities and Roy's initial attraction to Miko, can't stand each other.
  • Questionable Content:
  • Discussed in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's "Uncomfortable Truthasaurus!" by Zach Weiner. Common misconception: Opposites attract or like attracts like. Somehow you get both of these. The truth is that 95% of people want someone hot. 100 % of people just want anyone with a higher social status.
  • Averted in Slightly Damned. The main pairing is Kieri, a water-elemental angel, and Buwaro, a fire demon. Seems like a perfect setup for this trope... but in terms of personality, they're really very similar.

    Web Original 
  • Mille and Iriana of Ilivais X. Iriana is a Broken Bird Creepy Child who acts like an Emotionless Girl to avoid her Drive Core pushing her towards being a hyper Love Freak, and is highly logical and cynical, yet becomes surprisingly impassioned and devoted when those she cares about are in danger. Mille is essentially a blank slate Phonos Weapon in the form of a cheerful, lively, and outgoing Ethical Slut who's a little on the ditzy side and erratically emotional, but take Iriana from her and she becomes dark and sullen. They couldn't be more opposite, and they couldn't be crazier about each other.
  • Kontrola: Olive-skinned brunette Natalia is more morose, less friendly and reserved. Contrasting this, Majka is a fair-skinned readhead who's usually upbeat, quite friendly and outgoing. They are both still the others' One True Love.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: While most couples in the show are so matched that they're the same in both personality and species (such as the Keanes being kindly balloons, the Robinsons being misanthropic muppets, and the Bananas being goofy bananas), the Watterson couples all stand in stark contrast.
  • Arcane: Vi and Caitlyn have almost nothing in common and could not be more different from each other if you tried. Vi grew up in the slums, the oldest of her pack of fellow orphan siblings, and is someone who absolutely despises the Enforcers for killing her parents. Caitlyn is the only scion of the powerful and wealthy House Kiramman who choose to become an Enforcer against her parents wishes. Vi's a Boxing Battler while Caitlyn is an excellent shot with a rifle. Even their respective pink and blue hair colors reflect their Red Oni, Blue Oni nature. The initial reasons the two have for working together are wildly divergent, as Caitlyn seeks to bring a criminal conspiracy to justice and recruits Vi from prison who agrees just to get out of there so she can fulfill a deeply personal desire to find her younger sister and get revenge. About the only things they have in common are that they're both ultimately good people and are attractive young women who have an interest in other young women. From the moment they lay eyes on each other there is a very strong mutual attraction between them that only gets stronger as the show goes on.
  • Exaggerated in Codename: Kids Next Door with Kuki Sanban (Numbuh Three) and Wallabee Beatles (Numbuh Four); he's an abrasive hard-boiled proto-badass with an extreme aversion to everything cutesy and sugary, while she's an upbeat Japanese girl with a kind heart and an obsession for stuffed animals. In the series Distant Finale they get married.
    • To a lesser extent, Numbuhs 2 and 5. Numbuh 2 is the dorky, bad pun spouting, team mechanic and Numbuh 5 is the smooth, laid back Only Sane Man spy. And like the previous example, they too are hitched during the future set finale.
  • Final Space has Gary and Quinn. One is an immature, dense, and slightly insane Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and the other is an emotionally distant genius whose pragmatism borders on ruthless.
  • Laid-back slacker Fry and responsible, reliable Leela on Futurama.
  • G.I. Joe has a lot of these, most notably the silent Snake Eyes is teamed up with the loudmouthed Shipwreck. Also the stoic and by-the-books Duke teams up with the Fiery Redhead Scarlet.
  • Miss Information and Mr. Smartypants on Histeria!: The Dumb Blonde and The Smart Guy.
  • Warm, passionate, generally friendly, closer to Earth Wonder Woman and cold, stoic, anti-social, sometimes arrogant Batman on Justice League. The interesting part is that their oppositions also extend to where they break from their archetype. Batman is still an antisocial antihero, and Wonder Woman plays the role of an idealistic paragon, but out of the two Batman abides a moral compass much more than Wonder Woman, as he's never considered killing anyone and there have been times that she's come dangerously close to punching a hole in at least a few of the villains.
  • Hailey's On It!:
    • The title character's parents are a laid-back Surfer Dude and a stereotypical realtor. That being said, it's revealed that Patricia was a professional breakdancer in The '90s, and also turns out to be Not So Above It All as she's a huge fan of a K-pop Boy Band aimed primarily at teenage girls.
    • Becker Denoga the destructive troublemaker and her former rival-turned-girlfriend Kennedy the strict perfectionist. They're rivals until Kennedy reveals that she has a crush on her.
  • Kaeloo: Kind, friendly, cheerful Kaeloo and cruel, violent, Mr. Cat who is almost always in a bad mood.
  • Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable. Kim's always been a popular overachiever while Ron was an unpopular underachiever (at least until the final season, when he joined the football team as the new star running back).
  • The Legend of Korra:
  • The Looney Tunes Show: The two main couples on the show, Bugs/Lola and Daffy/Tina, can both be boiled down to a level-headed Straight Man (Bugs and Tina) dating a Ditzy Cloudcuckoolander (Daffy and Lola).
  • The Loud House: Lori Loud is a mature-minded, if somewhat cynical Only Sane Woman, and she is dating Bobby Santiago, an idealistic Kindhearted Simpleton.
  • Milo Murphy's Law:
  • Monster High: Iris Clops and Manny Taur. The former is a demure, clumsy and effectionate aesthete and the latter is a loud, boisterous and excitable Lovable Jock.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes gives us Professor Venomous and Lord Boxman. The two villains are night and day, with Venomous being calm, collected, slim, specializing in more biological science and is a well-respected villain. While Boxman is chunky, short, very loud, specializes in robotics and is seen as a joke by most serious villains. Despite a rough start, the two form a Villainous Friendship that is all but stated to eventually become a romance, as they're both seen wearing wedding rings during the Grand Finale.
  • The Owl House:
    • Luz Noceda and Amity Blight. Luz being an extremely perky human who wants to make friends with almost everybody and has no natural magical power, while Amity is the extremely gifted but snarky and taciturn ace student. Amity is crushing on Luz before season 1 is even over, and Luz is likewise crushing by the 3rd episode of season 2.
    • There's also Eda Clawthorne and Raine Whispers. Eda is an extroverted wild woman, who rails against authority and despises the Coven system and what it stands for. While Raine is much more reserved, hates attention, and eventually became a full-on Coven head.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • It's been more or less confirmed that Sea Hawk, a boisterous, over-the-top man whose emotions are very close to the surface, and Mermista, a Deadpan Snarker who regularly groans bitterly, are an item, despite Mermista's best efforts to pretend otherwise. Word of God has stated that they're "kind of a garbage couple", but Sea Hawk's over-the-top nonsense helps bring her out of her shell, while her snark keeps him grounded.
    • While they have not become romantically involved just yet, Hordak and Entrapta have demonstrated attraction for each other, with Hordak pining for Entrapta throughout season 4. The cheerful, optimistic, loud Entrapta and the sinister, moody, introverted Hordak have a surprising amount of chemistry and common ground.
  • South Park: Nervous Wreck Tweek begins dating the permanently chill and stoic Craig.
  • Space Chickens In Space the greedy, arrogant, and dim-witted Chuck has a huge crush on the generous, humble, and intelligent Adele.
  • Steven Universe: Ruby and Sapphire could not be more different and could not be more devoted to each other. Their love makes up the strongest character on their team, Garnet.
  • Robin and Starfire on Teen Titans (2003). Robin is the serious and determined leader, and Starfire is the sensitive, sunny one.
  • Total Drama:
    • Deconstructed with Academic Alpha Bitch Courtney and delinquent punk Duncan. The bitter arguments start up almost as quickly as the sparks fly, with her ultra-preppyness directly contrasting his criminal nature. Their relationship is unstable from the beginning, and they break up and come back together several times. Eventually, the constant arguing becomes too much; Duncan tires of her by season 3 and cheats on her with Goth girl Gwen, leading to his and Courtney's final breakup.
    • Courtney seems to attract these a lot, because later, in Total Drama All-Stars, she enters a relationship with the dirt-poor farmboy Scott. Unlike Duncan however, the two get along much more swimmingly from the get-go (due to Scott finding Courtney's bossiness attractive), but it ultimately proves brief.
  • Silverbolt and Blackarachnia of Transformers Beast Wars fit this trope without Question: Femme Fatale and Knight in Shining Armor.
  • X-Men: Evolution:
  • Young Justice:
    • Goofy, happy go lucky Wally West/Kid Flash and focused, rough and tumble Artemis Crock. Ironically, the writers paired them up because of their similarities — namely, they're both intelligent, yet insecure teenage heroes who resort to sarcasm and bravado to hide how much they care about each other, and are somewhat amused by the fandom latching on to them as part of this trope.
    • From the same series, moody, emotionally stunted Superboy and perky, outgoing Miss Martian.

    Real Life 
  • Actual science tends to show that the best predictor of compatibility is in fact similar background, interests, and attitudes. A likely reason is that we tend to only notice the ways a couple are different (since it's not that surprising when two partners are alike), at which point we feel the need to form a theory to explain why all the couples we see are so different (when they are, in fact, similar). The grain of truth in it is that a partner who's exactly like you in every way would probably cause all sorts of problems, so we do seek our opposites, after a fashion—just not our total opposites.
  • There is also the fact that, up to the past 100-150 years, a person's social circle was limited to their immediate community; people in the same age group, social class, and locality would (theoretically) have common experiences and, ergo, background. This similarity was overlooked because it was so ubiquitous; it wasn't until the modern era with its quick communication between communities that similar backgrounds became a qualifiable factor. Since this factor was discounted (or, rather, not known to exist), it was not accounted for; ergo, the importance of differences becoming Common Knowledge.
  • Literally true (in terms of forces) for charged particles and magnetic poles. Sometimes described as a pun on this trope.
  • SPC Kate Norley, an activist representing Vets For Freedom, a group whose "mission is to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in [Iraq and Afghanistan]," and still an occasional guest commentator on Fox News, while attending the 2008 RNC convention to show her support for John McCain, as part of a campaign that earned her praise from right-wing bloggers up to and including Michelle Malkin, apparently fell in love with one of the correspondents there. They married in 2011. His name? John Oliver.
  • Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel.
    • For example, Roger Ebert hated Mars Attacks! because Tim Burton "seemed to like the aliens more than the humans" (paraphrasing); Gene Siskel loved it for the exact same reason. Even in watching old At the Movies episodes, you can tell that Siskel is more carefree and cheery, while Roger Ebert is ever-sarcastic and snarky.
    • The biggest case of this is perhaps their disparate views on Blue Velvet. Ebert notoriously hated it and found the scene with Isabella Rosselini standing naked on Kyle MacLachlan's lawn to be misogynistic, while Siskel loved it and compared it to Psycho.
    • "Gene Siskel and I were like tuning forks. Strike one, and the other would pick up the same frequency."
    • The DVD commentary of WarGames also mentioned that Siskel and Ebert argued about the film. Siskel thought the character Dr. Stephen Falken was Anvilicious and unnecessary to the story, while Ebert thought Falken and his messages were essential.
  • The two band members of Tears for Fears are Heterosexual Life-Partners who have been best friends since they were 13 years old. It's Roland Orzabal's opinion that his and Curt Smith's contrasting personalitiesthe former is an introvert, the latter is an extrovert — are what drew them together, and although their differences can lead to numerous clashes (which includes a 9-year-long break-up), they can also complement and balance each other's strengths and weaknesses. Since Orzabal cares a lot about the Western Zodiac, it's worth noting that astrology confirms that Cancerians (Smith's sign) and Leos (Orzabal's sign) have opposite temperaments.
    Smith: [Roland] was kind of a nerd. He was more studious. Both his parents were very educated. Mine were definitely under-educated. So I guess, even though we grew up along the same lines, he was from a very different background.
    Orzabal: I remember the first time I met Curt, he wasn't allowed out because he'd been in a fight. He'd dumped someone down the stairs. Yeah, he was a lot more rebellious. It's the attraction of opposites, isn't it? I never looked up to him, but I've ended up in my life with people who are more fiery than me, and bring out the fire, like my wife. I didn't marry someone timid and conservative. I guess it's one of those psychic — relating to the mind, you know? — sort of things you bring into your life, things that hopefully bring the best out in you.
  • James "The Ragin' Cajun" Carville and Mary Matalin. He's a rather liberal Democrat; she's a quite conservative Republican. They were both prominent campaign managers/political operatives in their respective parties from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, facing each other occasionally in races across the country and seeing each other as rivals, being the top operatives of their day. It came to a head in the early 90s, when he was chief strategist for Bill Clinton and she was deputy manager for George H. W. Bush, in preparation for the 1992 presidential campaign. Then...they started dating. Mind you, while they were thinking of ways to beat each other (making this a case of Dating Catwoman, as well). They married in 1993, and now have two daughters. They understandably do not talk politics at home.
  • Legendarily taciturn and introverted Calvin Coolidge and his lively, socially-adept wife, Grace. The most common reaction people had to meeting the two of them was "Why did she marry him?" Interestingly, however, they were most definitely Happily Married.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise, particularly during the height of their fame in the '70s and '80s. Reynolds was a brawny, macho ladies man, while DeLuise was an overweight, campy goofball.
  • Jorge Luis Borges was a highly literate intellectual and a vocal anticommunist. Estela Canto was a "dancer for hire" and a committed socialist who was twenty years younger than him. They bonded over, among other things, a mutual love of George Bernard Shaw, who ticked both their boxes by being both a great writer and a socialist.
  • RuPaul's longtime husband Georges LeBar is a Wyoming cattle rancher of all things. Fridge Brilliance kicks in once you look past surface differences; Ru is very private and introverted in his personal life, so it makes sense that he would choose a partner with no connection to show business for when he wants to get away from it all.


Video Example(s):


Janet and Jason's Wedding

Jason Mendoza, who may very well be the dumbest person to ever live, gets married to Janet, an infinite database who knows literally everything

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / OppositesAttract

Media sources: