You owe it to yourself to be honest about who the person you love really is.
Few things are more bewildering than watching someone you love waste her time with a significant other everyone can see is a terrible person. You know, the kind of thing that leads to speculative conversations like, “Does his dick taste like chocolate and spit out gold coins?!” Usually, however, the truth is far more simple than magical genitals.
Too often, we fall in love with the idea of someone instead of who that person actually is. This deeply-seeded belief holds us hostage far longer than otherwise rational people would be comfortable with.
It’s human nature to want to believe the best in people and when we meet someone who sparks our affections, our surging hormones allow us to edit out red flags much more easily than usual. Enthralled in the intoxication of new romance, we're quick to dismiss the others’ shortcomings, which, let’s face it, is probably a huge reason humans have been able to continue reproducing this long in the first place.
Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be able to see the good in others, but the problem with looking at any situation through rose-colored glasses is that positive thinking doesn’t allow us to fully see reality.
When we start clinging to our initial perception of a romantic partner or even how a relationship’s dynamic was in its infancy, we become blind to its gradual changes over time. This explains all those long-term couples who argue with and complain about each other constantly but insist that they’re fine; they’re still under the impression that their relationship hasn’t evolved into something very different than the bliss it was initially.
This isn’t just limited to relationships that have slowly changed with time. Whether through optimism or sheer lust, a lot of us develop a false idea of who our partner is right at the beginning.
I, personally, was caught in a years-long bullsh*t romance with someone my friends couldn’t believe I kept letting back in after he’d repeatedly wronged me. The problem was I held tightly to this completely fabricated image of him I had in my head. Toward the end, I honestly remember thinking to myself, “I don’t think I even really like this guy, and we have absolutely nothing in common.”
I was a victim of my own brainwashing. Looking back at the evidence and remembering our interactions, it's clear I was in love with someone who didn't exist. When we finally broke up, I didn't miss the guy he'd been consistently proving himself to be; I missed the guy I created out of my his best moments.
Unfortunately, the memory of who I thought he was at the beginning and the optimism that he could transform into that imaginary guy again kept me coming back, convinced that I’d seen “who he really was” and that he’d come back around. At the time, I fully believed our relationship and this person I had feelings for were both completely different things than what was easily proven otherwise by the actual events between us.
It was immature and even selfish of me to be motivated by my own false perceptions in that relationship; however, I can’t blame this behavior simply on meeting him when I was a naïve teenager.
The truth is that I have friends of every age who have supported abusive, destructive partners in scary, tumultuous relationships while earnestly believing that they were with someone very different than evidence suggested. It’s frustrating and terrifying to watch from the outside, but it’s important to realize that each of us can be susceptible to it.
Whether it’s a mother who’s convinced her schoolyard bully child is a sweet angel or the adult progeny of an abusive father who still insists he was a model parent, delusions of those we love can be found in any possible connection we make.
Even though many would argue against judging each other within a romantic relationship, being vigilant and observant of our partner’s faults doesn’t make us horrible significant others. We can see the best in our partner and make note of our partner’s actions or patterns and take inventory of where he or she is in her life without becoming critical or belittling.
Aside from keeping the romance authentic, we owe it to ourselves to be honest about who the person we love really is, so we’re not blindsided, disappointed, or especially unprepared when they show us that they are, in fact, someone very different that what we could've clearly seen had we been paying attention.
When you choose to look at your love objectively each step of the way, you not only liberate yourself from the confines of your own misguided beliefs, you ensure your relationship will be genuinely prepared for whatever happens in the future. That’s a far more positive effort toward both of your respective happiness than continually deceiving yourselves with blind optimism.