The workaholic and the couch potato. The wallflower and the party animal. The hothead and the peacemaker. The hero and the villain.
Yin and yang are opposites, so a yin-yang couple must be totally different from each other, right? That means Aisha and Nex aren’t yin and yang because they’re too similar! Gasp! My blog is a lie! ?
Just kidding. Aisha and Nex are the Yin-Yang Couple — not just because of their name meanings, but because they embody a healthy yin-yang relationship. To recognize why, we need a broader understanding of yin and yang.
Back on my old blog, I wrote a post about why Aisha and Nex are yin and yang. In it, I brought up two yin-yang elements most people don’t think of: ice and flowing water. Aren’t they both water? How can they be opposites?
Because ice is solid and stationary, and flowing water is liquid and in motion. They don’t have to be different elements; being in opposite states makes them yin and yang. Water and steam are also yin and yang, and so are ice and steam.
The key to yin and yang isn’t how different two things are — it’s the comparison itself. In fact, you can’t know if something is yin or yang until you compare it to something else. For example, water is yang relative to ice, but it’s yin relative to steam.
Compatibility Still Matters
Shippers love “odd couples”, partners with little or nothing in common. But if they’re so different from each other, what would they bond over? What would they do for fun? How would they communicate with each other? How would they resolve arguments?
…if there is an attraction between two very different people, it will be unlikely to stand the test of time, because compatibility and genuine long-term intimacy are usually based on similarities, not differences.
You can’t just throw any two people together and expect them to build a happy relationship, especially if they’re opposites. The fact they love each other doesn’t guarantee things will work out. Their differences need to be manageable; otherwise, they’ll lead to conflict and crying more than chemistry and cuddling.
The most common ships are characters with polar-opposite personalities because they supposedly balance each other out. We’ll talk more about that phrase later because it means more than people think it does. But as far as psychology goes, having such different personalities sets a couple up for a rocky relationship. Quoting Psychology Today again:
…a very extroverted person will not do as well with an extreme introvert as they would with someone who has a similar social appetite. Similarly, a very passive person will likely experience conflict and resentment if they are coupled with a very assertive partner. And a highly sensitive person will often feel abraded by a partner who has a skin as thick as a rhinoceros hide!
Being an introvert, I can tell you I’d hate having an outgoing boyfriend. (That’s right — I like Nex, but I’d never date him if he were real! ?) When an introvert stays too long in a high-energy or social situation, they have an “introvert hangover” where their mind shuts down because of overstimulation. It happens to me all the time. Sometimes, it takes me an entire day to recover. So dating an extrovert would be my worst nightmare.
Anyway, the bottom line is differences make a couple yin and yang, but similarities make them compatible. And as the water/ice/steam example shows, two things — or two people — can be similar, yet still be yin and yang.
Aisha and Nex: Similar, Yet Different
Aisha and Nex are a lot alike, but they’re not exactly the same. Rainbow highlighted their differences well in the first Sirenix arc in Winx season eight.
Aisha is an ambivert. She had few friends when she was little, so social interaction is hard for her. Also, because of her avoidant attachment style, she withdraws from people when she’s overwhelmed, and she doesn’t ask for help when she needs it.
Nex, however, is an extrovert. He loves being with other people, and he prefers to work on a team instead of by himself. Also, he loves being the center of attention.
If Aisha were as shy as Flora or Tecna (or me), she probably wouldn’t get along with Nex. He’s too bold and energetic for a true introvert. Luckily, she’s a bundle of energy herself, and she also matches him in courage and confidence.
Remember my post about their Helen Fisher personality types? They’re both Explorers: enthusiastic, adventurous, energetic, and optimistic. An Explorer’s best match is another Explorer because they need someone who is “on the same level of energy and spontaneity” (according to this article).
As for Aisha’s social life, she wants to be more social because she hates being alone. Interestingly enough, Nex also hates being alone, but for a different reason. She hates it because she was alone all throughout her childhood, and he hates it because…he’s an extrovert. Being alone is draining for him.
Another way they’re different is how they react to stressful situations. Aisha gives in to her impulsiveness, while Nex stays calm and focuses on the big picture. Again, we saw this in Winx season eight, but we also saw it in the Melusina battle in comic #131: “La Prova di Nex” (Nex’s Test). This is part of what makes Aisha and Nex a power couple. They enhance each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses.
As you know, “Aisha” means “life” or “alive” in Arabic — Rainbow chose “alive” in a post on WinxClub.com during season four — and “nex” is Latin for “death”. But Aisha is yin, and Nex is yang. Does that break the theory? No. As Power of Charmix put it: “The key here is opposites that contain pieces of each other.”
Nothingis completely yin or completely yang. Yin contains yang, yang contains yin, and everything contains both. For example, daytime isn’t completely bright. When objects block sunlight, they cast shadows, areas of darkness. We also see the moon during the day sometimes. So “night” and darkness exist within the daytime.
Likewise, night isn’t completely dark because of the moon and stars. And even though we can’t see the sun, it’s still there. In fact, moonlight is really sunlight reflecting off the moon’s surface. So “day” and light exist within nighttime.
The yin-yang symbol reflects this idea through the opposite-color dots in each half. These are “seeds” of yin and yang. (More on that later.) One way to think of them in terms of a couple is the partners’ similarities: shared personality traits, shared interests, etc.
As for Aisha and Nex, as Power of Charmix hinted, their names could represent their seeds of yin and yang.
Seeds of Yin and Yang
I recently wrote a post about Aisha’s yin traits. Of course, we know most of them came from her childhood. She grew up in a yin environment where her parents and servants taught her to be as stereotypically feminine (yin) as possible. Mind your posture. Don’t speak unless spoken to. No running around.
As she told Musa, Stella, and the Pixies in “The Invisible Pixies” (Winx season 2, episode 13):
AISHA: On Andros, a princess doesn’t get to do much. Right from birth, I was trained to be one thing… TUNE: A mistress of etiquette!
A mistress of etiquette? Aisha? Yes! Check out these posts (here and here) for scenes of her using her princess training.
So her upbringing stifled her yang energy, but it didn’t destroy it. There’s no denying she has a lot of yang traits. She’s energetic, she’s tough, she has a hard time sitting still, etc. But her seed of yang can’t grow if it’s smothered by yin. She needs a source of yang energy to balance out her yin programming. That’s Nex.
As for him, you might think he’s all yang, but he’s more yin than he seems. For starters, he prefers working in a group than working by himself. “Teamwork never fails!” as he said in “Into the Depths of Andros” (Winx season 8, episode 8). Collaboration is yin.
Also, yang people are individualistic. Compare him to Riven (everyone does), who is also yang. In his character description from Winx season two and three, Riven said, “I prefer to act by myself and according to my own rules.” We’ve seen this a lot when he’s fought with Sky. Riven has a problem with authority and wants to be the leader. This is more yang than yin.
Nex, on the other hand, obeys the rules and doesn’t mind being a follower. He can lead — we’ve seen him do it — but he doesn’t try to take control. This is more yin than yang, which is why he’s more balanced than Riven.
Finally, Nex is more sensitive and nurturing than he lets on. The best example is in “Winx Trapped!” (Winx season 7, episode 10), when he tried to calm Squonk down. When the Fairy Animal kissed him on the cheek, he melted and started acting like a doting dad. Even Timmy was surprised!
To bring out more of this yin sweetness, he needs a source of yin to water that seed. That’s Aisha. She’s intuitive, motherly, and attuned to people’s emotions.
(UPDATE: In the original version of this post, I said Nex’s sociability is a yin trait. It’s actually yang. What I meant was his desire to connect and cooperate with others is yin, so I rewrote this part to explain my point better.)
Yin and Yang Change Into Each Other
Let’s go back to the water/ice/steam example. Since they’re all the same element (water), we’re not talking about opposing forces. It’s actually one force shifting from yin to yang and back.
To quote author Jinghan He:
…Yin and Yang do not exist in separated and independent forms. Yin and Yang are two faces of a whole, or, it may be said, Yin and Yang join together and combine into a whole.
Jinghan He, Bagua Daoyin: A Unique Branch of Daoist Learning, A Secret Skill of the Palace
The symbol represents this in a couple ways. First, each half has a large end (a peak) and a tapered end. When one force reaches its peak, it transitions into the opposite force. That’s why the tapered end of each half is at the peak of the other.
Here are a couple examples from nature:
When day (yang) reaches its peak — when the sun is highest in the sky — it slowly transitions into night (yin) through the sun setting. And when night reaches its peak, it becomes day through the sun rising.
Winter (yin) transitions through spring into summer (yang) and back through fall.
Another way to think of this is everything has a yin state and a yang state. Using an example from Power of Charmix‘s fifth Aisha/Nex video:
Water is yin when it is sitting calmly in a lake, but it is yang when it rises up into a great wave.
Finally, the seeds — the dots — not only represent yin within yang and yang within yin. They also represent each force’s potential to become the other.
Couples aren’t literally the same person, though, so what does this have to do with relationships? This is where “balancing each other out” comes in. Shippers believe each partner is supposed to play a fixed role in the relationship, especially if they’re polar opposites. For example, the peacemaker is the calm partner, and their job is to pacify the hothead.
It’s not wrong, per se, but it assumes the couple’s dynamic will stay the same forever. That’s not how “yin and yang” works. Yin and yang are in constant flux, so their balance changes as well.
Couples exchange energy: yin for yang and yang for yin. This means sometimes, each partner will have more yin or yang energy than they usually do. They may even exhibit each other’s traits.
The exchange process is harder when the partners are polar opposites. It’s better when they’re relatively balanced individually — i.e, they both have a lot of yin and yang energy. Conversely, if the partners have the same primary type (yin/yin or yang/yang), the exchange barely works because they don’t have enough of the opposite energy.
If the couple has too much yin energy, there won’t be a great deal of creativity or advancement in the relationship. The couple will be rather passive and lack the energy to transform the relationship into more. This type of relationship eventually becomes stale. The couple may feel as though they are stuck in a rut and can’t find a way to change things.
The best example in Winx Club is Flora and Helia. They used to be one of my favorite couples, but I’m bored with them now. Yes, they’re cute together, but their relationship hasn’t progressed in six seasons. Helia hasn’t even met her parents! Tecna and Timmy, who are just as shy as they are, have at least made it that far!
Worse, when Flora and Helia disagree on something, they end up at a standstill. Neither of them wants to stir up conflict, so they avoid discussing the problem as long as they can. That’s unhealthy. Plus, it often takes another Winx or the person who caused the problem in the first place — *cough* Krystal! *cough* — to push them forward and make them reconcile.
2. Yang + Yang = A Power Struggle
The need for control is a yang trait, so if both partners are yang, get ready for fireworks. Quoting LoveToKnow again:
Each will try to one-up the other or dominate the other….Both will seek the calming yin energy from the other that isn’t available and could cause the yang energy to escalate.
Think of Icy and Tritannus in Winx season five. They bonded over their mutual desire for power and respect, but they used each other to get it. As soon as he sat on the Emperor’s Throne, the relationship was over. (Yeah, he was possessed, but Icy betrayed him of her own free will.)
Did they love each other? Maybe, but let’s be honest: they were doomed from the start.
3. Polar Opposites
Now we come to the cliché yin-yang couple. We’ve talked a lot about why they don’t work, but here’s why from the energy exchange angle. From LoveToKnow again:
A relationship where one person is mostly yang and the other is yin may appear to be a harmonious blending, but the truth is, this imbalance will create conflict and discord. At some point, the yang person will feel the lack of yin energy in their own life, and the yin person will grow depressed without the motivating yang energy in their energy makeup. This can set up a cycle of codependency between the two people with neither feeling whole without the other.
So, polar-opposite yin-yang couples are balanced together, but not individually. What happens when they exchange energy? Remember: it’s yin for yang and yang for yin. Both partners have a lot to give, but they have to take a lot in order to balance themselves.
This is what the author means by “codependency”. The partners need each other for balance more than they should. What if they break up? What will they do without the other half of their personality? Develop those traits themselves? Gasp!
4. Yin + Yang = Balance
I keep bringing up the first Sirenix arc in Winx season eight because it was the best example of a yin-yang relationship. Remember when Nex calmed Aisha down in “The Light of Gorgol” (Winx season 8, episode 9)? Her fear and panic pushed her into her yang side, erratic and aggressive. To keep them balanced, Nex slipped into his yin side and became the calm partner.
They didn’t change much as people; they just switched places. And because they’re both balanced individually, they didn’t need to take much energy from each other to make that happen.
When Aisha regained her composure, they went back to normal: she became yin again, and Nex became yang. Quoting LoveToKnow one more time:
There are times when one person will have more yin energy and the other will have more yang energy. There are also times when those combined energies of the couple may have more yin energy than yang energy and vice versa. This is normal and should be expected, but eventually, you want those energies to recede and a more balanced chi to return.
What is a yin-yang couple? They’re a pair of lovers with complementary traits and some similarities who are balanced individually, creating a healthier balance together. So they’re not polar opposites — they’re moderate opposites.
Aisha and Nex are the best example in Winx Club, both in terms of symbolism and their relationship. I hope Rainbow will continue to show the harmony these two have achieved together.