So I may be on to something, but I’m not totally sure because I have zero professional credentials towards this discussion. With that being said, I have a question. Do you think that a large majority of marriages fail because of a false pre-conceived notion of who you think your spouse is, but really is someone totally different? Think about it. Forget the money arguments, forget about the disciplinary disputes involving your children…but finding yourself in a marriage five years out and you think “ I have no idea who the hell this person is?”
And whose fault is it? Is it the one who showed up on a first date or the twelfth date who covered themselves up in conservative clothes from neck to toes, but really prefers to prance around in something close to nothing? Or is it the fault of the one who now wants out because they may have been in denial, misrepresenting who they were to accept behavior that is not what they want early on, but taking a stance to oppose it down the road? Or frankly, just both out of desperation to find that perfect someone, thinking that they are willing to accept others or to accept themselves as something that they are not?
Realistically, this doesn’t sound like so much of a shocking revolution; however it sparked thought in myself because of a personal battle regarding this issue. I’ve realized that a lot of arguments in my own life with my spouse is a result of misrepresenting myself in the beginning of our relationship. I knew what a good man he was (is), and I walked very delicately to keep him around, all the while carrying myself as someone who was passive, submissive and quiet. These are characteristics that I am not, in fact, just the opposite, but I thought if I tried to change these things about me, than the outcome for a better relationship would prevail. (I’m lucky he’s so patient.)
The problem? Your true self will start leaking out piece by piece, until it becomes an explosion of leaving the other person (for lack of better words) in shock. Some can adapt, and some can’t adapt, which leads me to believe that perhaps this is why so many call it quits. Perhaps when you think that your husband has changed because he is staying out with his buddies until 2am, and coming home smelling like cigarettes, in actuality, this has been him all along. Perhaps the “change” that you speak of was within the first 2 years of your relationship when he was trying to be someone that he wasn’t.
But, again like I mentioned earlier in this discussion, that maybe the fault lies in the one who feels they have made a mistake with the one that they are with. Maybe the ignorance from the beginning when his “soon to be wife” hung out with “guy friends” instead of “girl friends”, would surely change down the road is what put him there. “When somebody shows you who they are the first time, believe them” (Dr. Phil)…is a good foundation to understand people’s personalities and characteristics cannot just magically vanish just because you want them to.
A solution? Well, I’m not sure I have one. You watch any dating show that is all over television networks, and they suggest you toning yourself down on the initial introductions. I get it. I understand that if you are a 35-year-old woman telling a 25-year-old guy on a first date that you want 5 kids and you want them now, it may cause him to run like “Forrest” and delete your number with less time it takes to take a breath. However, presenting yourself as someone who is simply not that person is basically lying, and there is never a good outcome in that. It’s no different than a homosexual trying to be heterosexual. The truth comes out…one way or another.
A suggestion…well maybe the key is being you, but being you with safety scissors. Maybe showing a little cleavage is better than a turtleneck or a see through shirt. Maybe mentioning through casual conversation that you enjoy social smoking is better than quitting cold turkey abruptly, or smoking 2 packs the first night. Trying to quit smoking and being a nonsmoker are simply two different things. As a past smoker, you will will always have that desire to smoke and possibly could fall off track here and there, so acknowledge that, instead of ignoring it. Maybe that’s the first step in presenting an honest relationship.
..and the truth lies in the fact that no one ever really knows who they are every single moment. As your life changes, so do you. Life creates you, but ignoring the core things about you or someone else does not make it go away. They will always be there because it is the infrastructure of what makes you different from them. Don’t hide from it, embrace it.
Do you have any suggestions in preventing a false identity early on in relationships without scaring the other? I want to hear them.
I challenge you to ask yourself if you are living your life true to who you are. And I know that not everyone is as lucky as I to be with someone so understanding of this…but it doesn’t mean that you failed. Every day you have a choice…and remember to “show other people who you are the first time”….