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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Expat Living: The 'Opposites Attract' Theory

Costa Rica Expat Living: The ‘Opposites Attract’ Theory

If you have ever been married, or in a long-term relationship, think back to the first time you met the person who became your significant other. Then take it one step further: Think of all that had to transpire for the two of you ever have met. Sometimes the roads that converged were as simple as being childhood sweethearts.

And sometimes those roads commenced in places far removed. Over 25 years ago, fresh off a divorce, I met the woman who would become my second wife.

We were both living in the same town– San Isidro de el General. My route there had been a long and winding one. I had met my first wife in Washington DC. Young and adventurous, we subsequently moved first to the US Virgin Islands and then to Costa Rica. We bought land a 30-minute drive from San Isidro.

After our divorce, I moved into the city for work. My future wife came to San Isidro from the rural Zona Sur. She moved in with her older sister and attended high school and college.

I was in town daily with an English teaching job and passed her on the street numerous times. As a recently divorced, still young man, I would smile and say ‘hola’ when we passed. One day, sitting across from the central park after a bike ride, she saw me and approached, and asked for help with an assignment in an English class.

Within a year we were married. Besides all of the events that needed to transpire for us to have even met, our life stories were so different that it further amazed me that we ended up together. I was born in a public hospital, with a doctor and nurse on hand to perform the delivery. My wife was the 12th of 14th children, the birth performed solo by her mother, in a private area of their rancho.

My mother-in-law had experience as a midwife, and also delivered her own babies, as they lived far from a public hospital. When my family moved in my youth, we hired a moving van company who took care of the logistics of getting us moved out of one house and into another.

When her family moved from Rio Claro to the forested area of the Osa Peninsula, they loaded and unloaded everything themselves, with most of the family taking a boat across the Golfo Dulce, while her father and older brothers made the trek overland with their possessions in an aging flatbed truck.

I am 12 years older than my wife, and when I was beginning my university studies at a college with 20,000 students, she was at the same time starting the 2nd grade at her school deep in the campo, wearing her first pair of shoes–she had attended kindergarten and 1st grade barefoot.

While my father dealt with the hassles of factory management and worried about his golf game, her father was a classic hunter-gatherer, working the farm with her mother, and also bagging wild game in the jungle and fishing the nearby river to provide food for the family.

I lived in a country where communists were our arch enemies. She grew up near the United Fruit plantations, and 3 different older brothers went to study in Havana and Moscow, under the auspices of the Costa Rica Communist party.

We have now been together for almost 26 years and have 4 children. In 1954, a sociologist named Robert Winch first proposed the ‘’opposites attract’’ theory. The validity of this has been argued against over time, but in my case, at least, it still holds true.

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