There are two obstacles to finding love: Not being emotionally available, and locking yourself up in a non-loving relationship with the wrong person. That’s it. Both are equally likely to lead to long-term loneliness. Not being open to love harms two people: yourself, and your potential mate who lies awake at night in a state of longing. Being in the wrong relationship harms at least four people! You, the person you should be with, the person you are with incorrectly, and the person your wrong partner ought to be with. It may also ripple outward, teaching a lot of bad lessons to anyone who sees how wrong you are together. This is why it’s a good idea to consider falsification of your relationship.
Falsification is the process of proving yourself wrong. For instance, if I see my husband talking to another woman, I could have several reactions. I could think, “That cad! I married a womanizer.” I could think, “That man-eating wench! She is trying to steal my husband.” I could think, “That must be his new intern.” Or I could think, “My husband is having an interesting conversation; I bet I’d like her.” I need more information about the situation before I automatically assume that I understand what I think I’m seeing.
Who are you going to believe, me, or your own lying eyes?
I look at my marriage as a blood oath. I took this man, and that day, I took his family as my family. Anyone who belongs to him belongs to me. As such, if anyone in my new extended family needs me, I’ll do anything I can, in any way, to be there for them. ‘Wife’ is a job, just like ‘husband’ or ‘parent’ is a job. It’s my mission to be the best wife I can be, to be supportive and to further his interests and back him up in every way. I’m on his side and he’s on mine.
However. If the contract is ever broken, then all bets are off.
I would instantly break off a relationship with any man who scared me, threatened me, or physically attacked me. Once. That’s a 100% dealbreaker. I would also break off a relationship with a man who lied. If I don’t have total honesty then I don’t have a relationship, I have an association. I’d stay with him if he went to prison, but only if he was innocent; if he committed a crime I’d drop him like a hot rock. My love is based on the belief that I’ve chosen and married a good and honest man. If he lied, attacked me, or committed a crime, any of these actions would falsify my belief in his fundamental character.
As a rational person, I have to accept the statistics. A marriage between two people who have both been divorced previously is statistically unlikely to last. A second marriage between divorced people over a certain age is even less likely to last. Our chances are low. Knowing that going in, we have to be more careful. In the back of our minds, we both have this little closet of All the Bad Thoughts. Cheater. Liar. Betrayer. Spendthrift. Screamer. We both had our series of little tests that we put each other through, up to and including blood tests and credit reports. Are you worthy of my love? Can I trust you?
The sad truth is that a lot of people are not trustworthy at all. They may wish they were. They may have made a bunch of promises to themselves. When it comes down to it, though, they revert to type. Over and over again, they’ll hurt different people in the same way that they’ve done before. Cheaters cheat. Liars lie. Most people do neither. I mean, who needs that kind of drama? Tell the truth and you don’t have to keep your story straight. Be honest and faithful and you don’t have to explain where you were the other night. Integrity is just easier.
What are some ideas about romance that we should attempt to falsify?
Nobody will ever love me/Nobody except this person will ever love me.
Not only is that a ludicrous thought, but if you’re with someone because you think that nobody else will ever love you, then you don’t love that person. That “reason” has nothing to do with this partner’s qualities as a human. It’s a selfish thought based on insecurity and scarcity mindset. I need to cling to this person so I won’t be alone? Don’t do them any favors.
I missed my chance.
As we get older, it’s true that we’ll never look like Romeo or Juliet again. Thank goodness! In my late twenties, I got down on my knees and prayed that I would never feel infatuated with anyone ever again. I wanted a mature love, not a teenage crush. I wouldn’t want to have to go through my teenage skin, my teenage cluelessness, or my general teenage incompetence ever again. Give me an adult and a practical, long-term love! I’ve always looked forward to the sweetness of elderly romance, and I hope my hubby and I make it to our fiftieth anniversary, even though we’ll be well into our eighties when it happens. I’ve met a few couples who fell in love and married in their sixties and seventies, and if anything, the romance is much stronger later in life. People of every age are single and looking to mingle.
I “always” wind up with [a cheater, someone who can’t commit, whatever].
This kind of thought makes us emotionally unavailable. What, some kind of fate sends us only people from the Cheater Store? What happens is that we communicate with other people based on our expectations of how other people behave. We may close ourselves to certain types of relationship; we may even provoke people into uncharacteristic behavior based on our own words, beliefs, and actions. When we fixate on how someone is inevitably going to mistreat us, that is cruel and unfair to that person, an honest bystander who probably started out with genuine attraction and pure intentions. It’s like starting an exciting new job and constantly having your supervisor accuse you of embezzling from the company.
What I have to expect from myself is that I have a loving heart which is sometimes fogged in by my personal, idiosyncratic history and beliefs about romance. I may be reacting to fantasies and images of my own creation, then projecting them and overlaying them onto an innocent person who has no idea what’s going through my head. I need to be aware of how this person is actually behaving, not falsely blaming them for my anxieties, and also not giving them undeserved credit for being a great partner based on wishful thinking.
What has this person actually claimed about our commitment?
What has this person done to demonstrate caring, affection, and reliability?
What are the reasons I find this person to be endearing, fascinating, and irreplaceable?
If we broke up, would I be sad? Scared? Angry? Relieved?
Do my friends and family like this person? If not, do people who don’t know each other have the same issue with this person?
Is it possible that this person is something of a con artist?
Do I trust this person enough that I feel safe to be fully honest about my life?
When I think about us being together ten years from now, how does that feel?
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.