Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

When most things are similar, opposites attract

Not inhibited by common sense, medical statisticians messed up again

We all know that opposites attract. Not for everyone, everything, and always, but often enough for everyone to notice. Now, ‘science’ disagrees.

The first proof is odd couples, which seem a rule rather than an exception. The tall person with the short one; the fat person with the thin one; the smart person with the dumb one; the fun person with the dull one; the talkative person with the silent one; the strong person with the weak one; the old person with the young one; the rich person with the poor one; etc.

Physicians know this. They call it ‘negative partner choice.’ Not because it’s negative. To the contrary. Tall and short parents hooking up makes the height of their offspring stays somewhat under control. I know two very tall people who got kids. Their first two ones are giants. Their third child has a growth hormone deficiency. Genetics needs diversity; it does.

The Rabbis also know that opposites in character traits need each other. Marriage is not only to be comfortable but also to balance each other.

Sociologists in Israel no longer can tell Arab and Western Jews apart because of the high degree of intermarriage between Jews of all cultures. And we didn’t need busing to get there, in 120 years of modern Zionism.

As an overview, here are some opposing extremes that enrich and help partners to be amazed at, learn from, and balance each other:

  • Introverted/outgoing
  • Mild and forgiving/stern and principled
  • Bold, confident, open-minded/conservative, cautious, doubting
  • Conventional/unorthodox
  • Doer/contemplative
  • Calm and stable/nervous and vulnerable
  • Feeling/analytical
  • Optimistic and relaxed/pessimistic and concerned
  • Mover and adventurous/home bird, happy to stay at home
  • Modest, small ego and flexible/big ego and stubborn
  • Liking routine and stability/liking change and upheaval
  • Proper/naughty
  • High/low sex drive and frequency of sex.

Yet, of course, couples should not be each other’s opposites in everything. That would be unworkable. Here are traits that when shared diminish suffering for one or both partners and may save the relationship:

  • Saintly/more wicked
  • Responsible/more irresponsible
  • Knowing what one wants/open to anything
  • Honest/more dishonest
  • Generous and empathic/more self-centered
  • Respectful/more coercive
  • Sensitive/more insensitive
  • Pleasant/more unpleasant
  • Sense of humor/more dull
  • Love for closeness and intimacy/more cold and distant
  • Night owl, evening person/lark, early bird, morning person.

Other helpful things to share are the same language, culture, and bed.

Yet, some relationships survive because they have no common language to fight in or hardly see each other by day and/or night. No to one size fits all.

The scientists I mentioned above noticed that most qualities are shared. Small wonder. Only when most things are similar do opposites attract.

For most people, most potential issues are shared. So, in the statistics, you find that people almost always partner with their (almost) identicals. Which few things exactly differ also varies widely, making it invisible in the stats. Another statistical bias is they only compared partners and ignored ex-partners. They could have shown what qualities don’t work in couples. In any case, a healthy dose of common sense should have told them that their conclusion proves they made a wrong turn somewhere.

NB: The JPost writes the study looked at 22 traits. That’s strangely few. But in truth, it even considered 133 traits. Part of it was another statistical disaster from the UK Biobank, as I warned against before. Nature Human Behavior articles are peer-reviewed but not spell-checked.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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