Dysfunctional Dating Pattern #3: Pretending IT is not important

Posted on June 7, 2010


There’s something that’s important to you. I mean, REALLY important.

You want to get married some day. Or you love kids and want some of your own. Or you don’t love kids and don’t want any. Or you love your pets and wouldn’t dream of giving them away. Or you’re devout to your religion.

Whatever it is, it’s really important to you. You can’t imagine your future without it.

Then he comes along. The guy you totally like. The guy you’ve been waiting for. The guy you started to think, after countless dates with unappealing others, didn’t really exist after all.

But he does exist and here he is, right before you. He even likes you back, which just about puts you over the moon. Except for one little, minor, tiny problem.

Remember that thing we were just talking about? That REALLY IMPORTANT thing? Yeah. He doesn’t think it’s all that important. In fact, he downright doesn’t want it. At All.

And, being the gracious and honest guy that he is, he makes sure to tell you this. He says, in one way or another-That important thing you’re talking about is not something that I want in my future.

So naturally you’re left with a decision. Do you abandon this really important thing and pretend that it’s not that important after all or do you tell this really great guy the truth?

When you choose to pretend that the really important thing is not that important to you, that you would, in essence, give it up to be with him, then you have officially begun participating in the third dysfunctional dating pattern. In this pattern, where you trade your essential, core self  for a romantic relationship, you are not only setting yourself up for heartbreak, but for the worst kind of betrayal. The betrayal to your own self.

No matter how you may try to spin it, pretending is dishonest. Selling your soul for a relationship will never result in a happy and peaceful union.

Eventually, that really important thing will come back to the center of your attention.

When this happens, you will try to change him into accepting it. He’ll begin to resent you for not being honest about how important this thing was to you in the beginning of the relationship. Or, once it’s apparent that he will not accept it (like he honestly informed you eons ago), you’ll begin to resent him.

There are really only two ways this story turns out. The relationship will end with resentment because one party was not completely honest with the other (and after one invests one’s heart, finding out that your partner was dishonest with you sucks). If the relationship does last, there will still be a lot of resentment because someone will be forced to make a compromise they do not want to make.

When I talk with clients who’ve been in relationships for years and are just starting to be honest with their partners about that really important thing, it’s an extremely difficult situation. I’m not talking about the natural compromises that are required of people in a committed partnership. I’m talking about one person deliberately deceiving the other about a really important thing.

In a relationship, both parties involved invest their hearts, their time, their energy and all of the other things a relationship requires.  One partner coming clean about a really important thing after lying about if for a while is pretty tough on everyone involved.

Save yourself this rough road. Be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want. Be honest with yourself and with the people you date about the things that are really important to you in the beginning of the relationship.

No matter how great the guy, if he doesn’t dig your really important thing, he’s not the guy for you.