In the beginning of relationships, we are all in a haze of perfection. Romance has blinded us to reality, leading our brains to stretch the parameters of our list of desirable attributes to make them fit the current relationship. As a result, you might overlook some things about your current partner in order to keep that honeymoon phase going.
It can be about something as silly as height. (“I want a guy who’s 6′ or taller and he’s 5’10 ½” … but that’s almost 5’11” which is basically 6′. Plus, I can wear shorter heels so that I’m not taller than him and the skyscraper heels hurt anyway, so he’s really doing me a favor!”). But in some cases, it’s about something much more significant, like life goals. (“She says she doesn’t want kids, but I know once she gets married and all her friends get married and start having kids that maternal instinct will kick in and she will change her mind. All women want to have kids someday, right?”)
So, how do you see through that haze and make sure the person you’re falling for is truly a good fit for you?
Use Your Imagination
The best way to see the forest for the trees in a relationship is to put imagine how you and your partner would handle various imaginary stuations.
For something as inane as height, imagine yourself wanting to wear your skyscraper heels and being as tall as or taller than your boyfriend. Will it make you feel uncomfortable? Will it make your boyfriend upset? Hopefully, you will recognize if everything else is working between you two, a height difference shouldn’t be a problem. If not, then think about what the underlying issue may be. Are you overly concerned about what others may think? Getting over that is freeing! Who cares what strangers think? Really, how does that affect you and your relationship?
Time To Talk
For more serious topics such as marriage, kids, or other life goals, get ready for a serious talk. If you are falling in love with a woman who says she does not want kids but you think you can change her mind, then spend the day with good friends who have kids, see how she interacts, and then broach the subject after you leave. If she is adamant about not wanting kids, then you will have to make a huge decision. In this case, the scenario you imagine will have to be a future without kids but with your partner. Is it worth giving up, or are your priorities simply not aligned? Moments like this can be make-or-break for a relationship, but they are critical if you want to find a good match.
Visualizing The Future
There are many other scenarios that are important to visualize or experience before things get too deep:
- Did you imagine being a hands-on parent and wanted a spouse who was by your side cheering on or coaching your kids on the soccer field and on the ground tickling and taking time off from work for every school event?
- Do you love engaging in political and current event debates and have friends who enjoy meals ripe with passionate arguments and you imagined a partner who would partake in those conversations and still be able to laugh and enjoy the friendships after?
- Were you hoping to have a spouse who would blend in seamlessly with your tight-knit family, joking around, jumping in and helping out at holidays, being genuinely interested in everyone’s lives?
If you think this new relationship may really last, it’s important to imagine these situations and whether your partner fits into them.
Whatever it is you thought a partnership would be like, there are bound to be areas where someone doesn’t meet your expectations. In these situations, you either need to cut your losses and wait until you meet someone who does or adjust your expectations accordingly for the sake of that person’s attributes that you do appreciate. Remember that you also likely don’t meet all of their expectations and they are having to make compromises on how they saw things going in their lives as well. When your relationship hasn’t hit those big milestones yet, these visualizations are a great way to discern whether you’re with the right person and what compromises you’re willing to make.
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