We have a proposition for you today! With the help of Sol, a 22-year-old psychology student and long time collaborator with Yahoo! Answers, we will give you a window into the mind of long-term lovers and how they feel about being in a relationship.
Disappointment and how to deal with it
Time takes its toll and constant interaction turns our “Prince Charming” into a different person from the one who woke Sleeping Beauty from her timeless slumber. It is fair, then, to ask how this happened.
Why do we detest men we once found seductive?
This is one of the many questions asked by women who are experiencing a rough patch in their relationship after Prince Charming begins to show his toad form. This, naturally, leads to disappointment. Not all is lost, though. There are ways to keep our dreamy other half from completely turning into a toad.
During the head-over–heels stage of a relationship, we grant our sweethearts attributes that have more to do with the perfect man of our dreams than the actual man we’re dating. We all have an unconscious model of what we want in a couple, and that’s the basis of our ideal relationship. When someone shows us signs of that ideal, we allow our imagination to take off and make tweaks and additions to match our unconscious ideal. Because all of this happens unconsciously, it is only natural to feel disappointment once we see that the man behind our hidden expectations, isn’t perfect or ideal.
It’s not uncommon to hear couples saying that time can wear down a relationship, which isn’t exactly accurate. What happens is that we begin seeing the person we are with for who they are instead of who we wanted them to be. The realization that they’re not perfect can happen suddenly or over a long stretch of time.
Contrary to popular belief, this is a good thing. One can’t (or shouldn’t) go about life loving the person in our head rather than the real deal. In many cases, this realization brings the couple closer together instead of breaking them apart. We begin to see that person from another perspective, and it’s important to keep in mind that everything changes. In essence, if a couple changes it means that the relationship is alive.
Another reason for disappointment is falling for a particular character trait and assuming (often incorrectly) that it’s a reflection of the person’s actions and behavior. We think that good sex is everything, that someone who is nice and sweet will always be so, and that intelligence applies to all areas of that person’s life. That’s not always the case, though. Contradiction is a human trait, and we each respond uniquely to different situations.
People say opposites attract, and there’s some truth to that. Sometimes we fall for people for the traits that make them different from us. However, it is not always easy for us to recognize and love those traits as time goes by. The tireless determination of a sports enthusiast can be appealing at the beginning of a relationship. But if you’re not into sports, that appeal can wear off. Similarly, an artist or intellectual might cause all kinds of dreamy sighs until his creativity is overcome by his disinterest in obtaining a more stable living arrangement and a real job.
The problem is not with our significant other. We are the problem. We cling to our expectations instead of taking notice of the person we’re with. We’re not disappointed because they’re different: we’re disappointed because they’re not who we want them to be. We believe it is possible to change the person we’re with and turn them into the model at the back of our minds. This rarely works. While some aspects may be modified, you can’t change an identity. Our significant others are not a garment to be tailored to fit us.
Remember that a positive attitude is paramount in learning to appreciate the virtues that we might’ve missed while focusing on the bad. Talk to your partner and make sure he knows about all the things you love or dislike about him. If things are good, don’t take them for granted. Keep all the reasons why you fell for him close to your heart. Communication is key to a functional and happy relationship.
So: Psychology student
Sources: Bibliography and articles published by Beatriz Goldberg
-Yahoo! Latam Team
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