Ask A Woman: You STILL know nothing!
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A few weeks ago I posted the first in a series on ideas that seem to be pervasive–but aren’t really true–about love. Today I’m following up with my second post on the same topic. These four beliefs are especially interesting to me because at various points in my life, I held them, which did not do any favors for the relationships I was in at the time. None of them typically works in the complex swirling of real life.
“When you meet THE ONE, you know.”
I’m sure some people do get that thunderclap feeling when they meet their future spouse. But most of us don’t (and I would guess that many of us got it about the wrong person at some point). Maybe we have a lot to talk about right off the bat. Maybe we’re instantly attracted. But to catch someone’s name and shake their hand and be decided right then and there that this is who we’ll end up with? Nope. It takes time to get to know someone, and it takes time to build a relationship. That’s okay. No one gets a prize for “knowing” after two dates versus six months versus one year.
“Everyone has a soul mate.”
One person just for you does not exist. As in, if you happened not to register for the class you met your wife in, you would be destined to be alone forever. Or if you had the thunder clap feeling described above, and then you and that person broke up, you wouldn’t ever find another love. The idea of soul mates is very romantic. But not true. We can make our lives with any number of people. Each life would be different, yes, but each would have its own set of joys and challenges.
Phoebe introduces Monica to her soul mate…who is not Chandler.
“If you love someone, you should love everything about them.”
I think most people know this intellectually. Obviously, you’re not going to love everything about anyone. Everyone has faults. Everyone is irritating sometimes. When you first start dating someone you’re really into, there’s a honeymoon stage. Everything about them is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Eventually that falls away and you realize that your gregarious boyfriend frequently interrupts other people in conversation. Or criticizes your driving every time you’re both in the car. Part of making a life with someone is accepting and tolerating those irritations. It’s normal!
“It is your duty to change the things you don’t like about your partner.”
Heyyyooo, this one is for Beth circa 1999, and then again circa 2002. This is what I say to young Beth, and to anyone else out there in a similar situation: you aren’t going to change the person you’re with and you really shouldn’t try. People aren’t improvement projects; you are not contributing to the greater good by trying to make someone into the person you’d prefer they be. You can get your sloppy partner to put her dirty clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor, sure. But it would be near impossible (and unfair) to try and change your other half from a shy introvert who hates going out, to a bubbly extrovert who wants to leave the house at every opportunity. People are responsible for themselves–that means you be the kind of person you want to be, and you either accept others as they are, or choose not to have them in your life.
Perhaps a Part Three is in store?
Got something brewing in your life? Send me an email’style, etiquette, relationships’I answer it all: email@example.com