Opposites attract, complement

Photo courtesy of Cindy Bolander
Cindy Bolander, a junior nursing major, and Ben Flora, a senior elementary education major, smile together during a hike.

Ben Flora said his parents have radically different career paths, leaving Flora to believe different personalities make well-rounded couples. The senior elementary education major said it is one of the biggest advantages to dating someone with a different major.

Flora said one of the best things about his relationship is the ways he and Cindy Bolander, a junior nursing major, are different. Their differences complement each other. Flora said since Bolander is a nursing major, she is always pushing him to work harder on this school and manage his time, even encouraging him to purchase a planner to help sort his assignments.

“It’s been really good for me with her helping me study helping me get organized and better at school,” Flora said. “I’ve been able to help (Bolander) relax and have fun with school more when she’s studying. Since I’m in elementary education, I learn all these really weird and interesting ways to get kids to learn, like associating words.”

Flora said it can be difficult to balance a relationship with different schedules.

“Scheduling, especially dating someone within nursing, is really hard,” Flora said. “(Bolander) is always super busy. I can have big spaces between busy times, but she’s constantly really busy. It can make it hard to see each other.”

Flora said it can also be difficult to understand each other’s school work, but he still finds it interesting.

“I think that’s one thing that is a result of the majors we are in and those personalities attract,” Flora said. “I think it’s more fun to have someone who isn’t learning the same stuff. I’m more interested in learning about how a heart functions from her.”

Bolander said that she and Flora work hard to adjust to their differences and schedules by focusing more on quality time than quantity time such as going on walks rather than watching TV.

“We eat together a lot because dinner time is when we are free, but then we make sure that we have put our phones down and just have actual conversations with each other,” Bolander said.

Bolander said she has a strong type A personality while Flora has more of a type B, which she believes is good for a relationship, as they are able to balance each other’s personalities.

“I hang out with people who are in my own major for eight hours a day so it’s nice to be around someone who is not a nursing major and not exactly like me,” Bolander said. “It’s fun to have someone to tell my stories to who wasn’t next to me the whole day. If it were up to me, we would go to the library and study every night. He makes sure we get out and do fun things.”

Daniel Helmling said the problems differing majors can experience involve lack of communication where couples aren’t operating on the same level in their work and educational lives.

The sophomore American history major from the University of Evansville said he always assumed this meant he would end up with someone very close to his personality.

Helmling said he and his girlfriend, Marissa Brown, a sophomore creative writing major, have different interests but their similar interest in each other’s majors help meld them together.

Helmling said one major similarity between the two is their interest in creative writing.

“I’m better at the big plot stuff,” Helmling said. “I can make a skeleton and she can put muscle on the skeleton. I’m much better at thinking through that or imaging all the little things that people think about when battles happen.”

Brown said even though the two have different majors, their majors are actually very compatible.

Brown enjoys writing about historical influences and events making Helmling, “a walking Wikipedia.”

Brown said Helmling is also great at motivating her to work harder on her writing and even edits her papers for school.

“Mostly we bounce ideas off each other,” Brown said. “(Helmling) is dabbling in creative writing as well. We talk about his ideas and my ideas, draw references from things we’ve both read about. He’s better at the complex war stuff, I’m better at the complex people relationship stuff.”

Brown said dating within a different major is a great way to expand a person’s knowledge about new topics and creates a great relationship of balance and unique personalities.

“I honestly don’t think we could get it any more similar without it getting into genetically weird robot modification,” Brown said. “It’d be really boring. It’d be like talking to myself in the mirror.”