Not too long ago, I was watching the Bachelorette. (I know, a great use of my time.) The couple went on this date that was just amazing. They were in Ireland, and the date took place at an old historic church.
As the couple walked into the church, hundreds of small candles were lined up along the sides, directing the couple to walk toward the front of the church. The Cranberries were there, and they started to play their hit song “Linger.” (It was like your high school prom, except 100x cooler.) The guy asked the girl for a dance, and they had this incredibly magical moment.
As I watched, I had two thoughts. The first thought was about how impressive the date was. The second thought was more pessimistic: It’s all downhill from here…
Maybe that’s a cynical attitude to have. But I wonder if part of the reason couples from the Bachelor never work out is they set up these super-high expectations that can’t realistically be met in an actual relationship. What happens when there isn’t a TV network financing your relationship? Reality can be a hard pill to swallow.
I think a similar problem can happen in regular relationships. At the beginning of a dating relationship, you probably put your best foot forward. You actually clean your apartment and make your bed. You might try to hide some of your rough edges, at least at the beginning. We all want to be accepted and loved, and you might be scared that if you showed who you really are, the other person wouldn’t be interested.
I think some of this is okay and normal, but it can set us up for a letdown, just like the couples from the Bachelorette. You can’t keep up the facade forever. What happens when reality hits? What happens when you each start showing your true selves? That’s when the real relationship starts.
Be Your True Self
I think it’s good to put energy into your relationship and make it a priority. But as you are doing that, try not to set expectations that aren’t in tune with reality. Be your true self, and don’t hide the parts of you that you view as less acceptable. In the best relationships, partners love and accept each other “as is.” It’s not a bad idea to see if that can happen from the beginning.
When starting a relationship, do you hide who you truly are, or are you okay presenting your true self? What do you think about setting expectations at the beginning of a relationship that can’t be maintained over time?