I don't know if I'm overthinking this or not enough, but how to ions have charges? I don't mean that mechanically but literally. How is it that an cation is positive and anion negative? I understand that the cation has lost an election and the anion has gained, but how does that specifically affect the atom's (ion's) charge? Perhaps my question is: do atoms have charges? They are attracted to one another by necessity, does that mean elements are "positive" and "negative?" That doesn't make any sense, does it? EDIT: i.e. O has a charge of 2-, because it wants six elections, and if it achieves this it becomes an anion, but how is it that O is at first considered "negative"? Is not an electron always an electron? Or is it just saying it can never "give away" it's two electrons? So bonds have nothing to do with an actual "charge" but the limitations of the atom's composition? Did I answer my own question? Can anyone clarify?