Seriously. Seriously! Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahp. Right now.
Lying about what, you ask?
We’ve all done it, so don’t feel bad. But once you realize it, you’ll know immediately why the majority of your relationships haven’t worked out to date – or perhaps the reason the one you are in right now isn’t working.
You see, when we first meet someone, we are so eager to come across as friendly, open, understanding, non-judgmental, accepting, etc. And perhaps because we really like this person or would just like to be in a relationship again after a long dry spell or they are legitimately just really cool, we find ourselves overlooking, justifying, or choosing to ignore things about this new person that we would usually consider to be unappealing or undesirable traits in a significant other.
The problem with this is that the things you chose to ignore are the very things that will start to annoy you as time goes on. The behaviors or attitudes you justified – fairly so or not – are the ones that will drive you up a wall. And the differences in beliefs or ambitions or desires that were ignored will drive a wedge between you and your significant other that you will likely be unable to repair – at least, satisfactorily. This doesn’t mean those things are inherently bad or that the person isn’t good, but it does matter when you are talking about true compatibility.
I am guilty of doing these very things, but I can confidently say that the other person in the relationship did the very same. I was lying to myself about what I could accept and what I was ok with and so were they.
Have you ever been just completely blindsided by your partner’s expressed or implied disapproval in regards to something that you had absolutely NO CLUE might have ever been a problem?
(Like your tendency to interrupt them when you get excited about something? Yup, I’m guilty of this habit- my advice? Find someone really patient, lol, and who doesn’t mind repeating themselves ^_^)
Or perhaps you are passionate about world politics and could talk about it nonstop for hours, and it seemed like the two of you completely gelled on this topic the first time you met, but now anytime you bring something up, they have no interest in talking about it?
This isn’t just a “leaving the toilet seat up drives me crazy” kind of thing. If you can’t resolve that issue in a mature fashion, your relationship probably has some greater issues. We aren’t talking about habits.
We are talking about the core.
What is the core?
These four things can take all kinds of different forms. In fact, let’s take a second and write down all that we can think of in regards to them.
Did you do it? I hope so. Especially because you’ve got to really know yourself before you get into the business of trying to really know and love someone else.
Now that you’ve got this list, what are you supposed to do with it?
Don’t. Ever. Compromise.
When you are on your first date, the second, the third, the fourth…however many it is before you agree to be exclusive and your feelings begin to grow, take a look at this list and see, if at any point, you’ve compromised in any way.
What do I mean by compromise?
When you say “ah, well, it’s ok if he’s doesn’t like watching movies, even though it’s my favorite thing to do. I can do that with my friends.” and “Even though my faith is important to me, I don’t mind if she doesn’t come to church with me on Sundays; I respect that her beliefs are different from mine.”, you might be compromising.
Let’s do a little dissection.
First of all, your partner should be your best friend. Your #1 BFF – all other BFFs rank no higher than #2. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to have interests outside of those you share with your partner and you have healthy relationships with your other friends with whom you do those things (or perhaps you prefer to pursue those interests alone, which is also cool). But if you are in this thing for real, then you are going to be sharing all of yourself in ways you will never (should never?) do with those other BFFs.
If going to the movies is just a means of getting out of the house and hanging out with your friends, then it’s no big deal that your partner doesn’t like to do it. However, if watching movies is a true past time for you – you know all the lines to your favorite movies, you watch the Oscars not just to see who won best picture, but also for the photography and musical score wins, you read reviews, write your own, and love to discuss the bigger picture of it all – then I guarantee you, it’s going to be 100x more satisfying to do that with your significant other and even more so when they are just as passionate.
As for the second “I respect that her beliefs are different from mine”, you have to determine which is truly more important to you – sharing spiritual beliefs or the respect you have for those with differing beliefs. Neither way is right or wrong, but if 2 years into your relationship, you find yourself wishing that she would just come to church with you once to twice, then this is likely to be a point of contention down the road and you shouldn’t have compromised.
But, Michelle, what about “opposites attract”?
Well, again, that comes down to the core. I guarantee that when it comes to the most important things – or the core – the majority, if not all, successful couples will find that their cores are extremely complimentary or similar.
The only difference might be in “Mode of Expression”, but even that has its similarities. That’s the only place where compromising might not interfere with the relationship at some point, but again, that requires some reflection. If it’s important to you that you get flowers on Valentine’s Day to feel loved, but your significant other doesn’t see giving gifts as a way to show affection, this could be a problem. Neither is right or wrong, but there will be dissatisfaction.
Yes, you can talk these things out and people can try to adjust. However, instead of trying to do the whole “square pegs, round holes” bit, be patient. Wait. Know yourself. Know your core. Listen to the other person, and if a little red flag pops up when this super cool, good looking, smart, creative, successful person says something, give that red flag proper attention. That doesn’t make you or them bad, just not necessarily the best fit. Save yourself from a potential breakup.
What are some red flags you’ve chosen to ignore in the past? Leave a comment below!
Know yourself. Know your core.