The Second “C,” Commonality vs Polarity. This post is the second of five on The Five C’s of Relationship.
There are two forces operating in relationship, commonality which pulls us together and moves us in the same direction and polarity, the drive to separate, individuate and be different. Both are important to successful relationship.
Commonality is the pool of common values, interests, and identity between two people. As we mentioned above, dating services know that the more things a couple have in common the more likely they are to have a solid friendship base. And a solid friendship base is very important to a rich relationship. Relationship can survive without chemistry, but it cannot survive without friendship. Sooner or later we get out of bed and have to build a life together. The more we have in common the easier it is. Friendship is the glue that keeps us together.
Polarity is the opposing force to commonality. It is that which drives the experience of being separate and different from one another. Polarity provides energy, spark and creative tension. It is at the heart of the old chestnut that opposites attract. Our commonalities make my partner comforting to me, our polarities fascinate, stimulate and aggravate! The friction of our differences creates heat and intensity.
Relationships with high commonality are easier to manage, but can become bland. Below are examples of how two real-life couples can play out on the commonality, polarity axis.
June and Saul both come from a middle-class background and both are teachers. When they met they knew they wanted kids and that they wanted to raise them in the Jewish faith. They love going to the movies and are taking a Thai cooking class together. They spend a lot of time comparing notes about their teaching experiences. When they have a conflict they talk it through logically. When asked to describe their relationship they say they are best friends.