Avoiding Avoidable Breakups: Don’t Set Up Unrealistic Expectations

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We’ve all been there: You meet someone you think is amazing and that brings out the best in you. They make you laugh, they take care of you, and they make you feel special. But somewhere along the way, things change – fast. Suddenly, this person becomes distant, neglectful, and you don’t feel so special anymore. In fact, you feel downright invisible to them. The relationship’s passion fizzles out. Then, sadly, so does the relationship. Next thing you know, you’re crying in your bedroom with a hollow feeling in your chest and a newly open schedule. Except, each evening for the next six months is reserved for heavy sobbing and the occasional outing with girlfriends to do some public sobbing after a few drinks.

Where did you go wrong? Things were going so well. At least, you thought so. For a while, they were perfect. What changed? The answer is usually pretty simple. A lot of things did – only you didn’t notice, because they were the little things. Usually, it’s the small
things people do that draw you together. Things like taking your car in for an oil change, going to family dinners, or even taking out the garbage when they see you’re busy. Think back to the beginning of your relationship. Weren’t you both so cute? He would call you all the time just to hear your voice. She would make you breakfast in the morning to impress you with her culinary expertise (alright, fine, they were just eggs.) There was a song and dance in order to woo each other, and obviously it worked. You won the grand prize: Them. Then what? Things got comfortable. He didn’t care about your voice as much. Phone calls became less frequent. She got lazy and stopped making breakfast. Cereal boxes began appearing in the pantry instead. We do all these adorable things for one another to peak each other’s interests, and then once we do, we switch off the charm. Boom. Comfort Zone Land.
Population: 2, soon to be 1.

The fact is that we have a problem as people, and here’s what it is: We do things to get the other person that we realistically will not
keep doing later on. None of those actions were organically our own and so they can only happen for so long before they stop completely. Then the other person is left wondering what went wrong. Really, the only thing that went wrong is we lied from the first date. We lied about liking phone calls, texting, dates to the movies, action flicks, classic cinema, poetry – lie after lie after lie. It’s no wonder we think, “how could they change so much in such a short amount of time?”
Maybe they didn’t change. Maybe this is who they always were, only they were too busy sweeping us off our feet for us to notice.

We need to be more authentic in our approach. If this guy likes a woman who sings, don’t run off and get vocal lessons to impress him. If this woman wants a handyman and you can’t even use a screwdriver without serious injury, drop it and step back. You have a lot to offer as yourself, with your own interests and hobbies. If another person doesn’t appreciate those things, hold out for someone who will. But please don’t set yourselves both up for failure when the truth starts to shine through. Do only what you want to do. No time limit exists for who you are.

There’s someone out there who is waiting for the real thing. Drop the acting gig. After all, your open schedule means you have the time for the real deal.

 

— Marisa Bagnato 

(Originally written on Thought Catalog)

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