There’s this quiet perception that can sometimes arise while we’re reading profiles, connecting with someone, and assessing whether we wish to go deeper and to more intimate levels with a date. It’s a perception that influences how we are seeing the other person, how we are receiving their expressions, and it even impacts how we feel around them. It is a view that has immense power, and yet is so often left unnoticed like a stealthy sneak, dodging our awareness while shaping our entire experience.
I’m speaking to this perception that the other person is who we want them to be. These are the rose coloured glasses we wear during the honeymoon phase. You know what I mean? It’s the passion induced blindness that sometimes comes from new relationship energy, when our attraction is so strong that it becomes easy to see this person as an ideal – and here’s the danger word – perfect lover. At this point, we’re hooked. And we love to be hooked.
It’s the rush, the sex, the new reason to be motivated in life, or the feeling of no longer being alone. Well, these might be some of our conscious stories, offering us a satisfactory description for what is going on in our lives. But, let’s remember that this perception is a blindness. It’s an illusion. It may simply be an attraction between two people of matching unconscious roles: the dominant and the passive, the giver and the taker, the wounded and the saviour, the pursuer and the pursued. Subtleties unfold that, if observed with a sweet detachment, reveal themselves to be quiet battles for energy, attention, resource, or power.
I’ve been there. I’ve been guided by the addiction of perpetuating a strange cycle that, sooner or later, as the rose coloured glasses fall away, leads to surprise, pain, and breakups. Oh the drama!
It takes energy to gain awareness of how this perception plays a role in our own relationship or our search for love. It’s an ongoing process to figure out how to navigate our way out of these habitual ways of relating with people. I’d like to share with you some of the sign posts for when these destructive patterns are arising in a “perfect” or otherwise great and enchanting connection. And then I’d like to offer you the one remedy I have learned to offer a genuine degree of personal transformation beyond this perception that our date fits the bill of everything we want them to be.
1. You don’t believe them when they tell you who they are. This could manifest as ignoring the details someone writes on their profile, like how they enjoying going out drinking on Friday nights when you prefer being with an introvert, or that they “can’t live without a cigarette” and you decide that they can. It could even be that they aren’t looking or ready for anything serious, but you choose to believe that you have so much in common there’s no way they wouldn’t fall for you (hmm, locked in a pursuer and pursued complex?)
Advice: Believe them when they tell you who they are. You can’t change them, nor should you approach anyone with that intent.
2. Something makes you feel uncomfortable but you choose to dismiss it. You met someone online and are making the next step to meet in person for your first date. The two of you have agreed to meet at a café for a hot drink. After you arrive, you find yourself waiting for half an hour before your date finally arrives. You’re annoyed but as soon as they arrive and sit down, your excitement or eagerness to meet causes you to dismiss the disrespect for your time.
Advice: Honour your feelings, honour your boundaries. No matter how gorgeous a person appears to you, how awesome your conversations online had been, or whatever other reason might arise, this doesn’t mean you should ever dismiss your feelings. Communicate yourself kindly yet clearly, then move forwards and enjoy yourself. Don’t skip over how you feel because you want a connection to work out.
3. You want a fairytale romance. The soulmate who lights up our world. Our best friend and lover from a previous lifetime. The incredible sexual compatibility. The dashing good looks. Biased gender roles and expectations. This is actually a major issue, especially for individuals who ever find themselves watching Hollywood romance films and believing that is how it works in real life. If you are carrying an image of a character in your mind, based on expectations of what a relationship “ought to look like,” then you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
Advice: Be aware of projecting your ideals onto another individual. Everyone is utterly unique with strange flaws and shortcomings, and weird gifts and quirky perks. Love stories are all different, and nobody is going to fulfill all of our needs. Enjoy the excitement of new relationship energy, but be prepared for when a denser reality begins to settle back down and your date says or does something that catches you off guard.
And, how exactly do you prepare yourself? How exactly do you maintain an awareness over something that is so very often unconscious?
You meditate, every day. You observe yourself with acceptance. You spend time alone so that you can love yourself properly, freed from the need of someone else to make you feel better. You learn to acknowledge your internal pain and insecurities, feel them, and you accept them. This is what will allow you to recognize the pain and insecurities in others, and accept them for exactly who they are. With patient yet persistent practice, the perception that someone else is ever going to fit the bill of the ideal lover, being everything we want them to be, will fall away.
What remains is a love based in reality, a love far more pure, and truly everlasting.