The other day I got a phone call from a friend who was going through a really bad break up. She was devastated. This was the man she wanted to marry. They’d had fights before but this time it was over, for good!
What she found out was that in the few years they’d been dating, he hadn’t actually been happy in the relationship. He spent all his time trying to make her happy, and she never realized he wasn’t happy.
In fact she was shocked to find out that he wasn’t happy and never really had been.
And it’s not because he fooled her. It’s because he fooled himself.
He wanted to be with her so badly, that he convinced himself that the more he was the way she wanted him to be, the happier she would be with him, and therefore he would be happy because she was happy.
But that house of cards came tumbling down. Many times.
They’d fight often. Break-ups would happen. Then he would feel so lost and alone without her, that he would take back all the things he said so she would love him again. And she was so willing to take him back and forget all the awful things he said because she was just as committed to the relationship working as he was.
And the cycle continued on and on for years.
They were more invested in the relationship working than they were in seeing and acknowledging the truth. They were both so afraid of being alone that they carried on a lie so they wouldn’t have to face the possibility of a break-up.
Do you know anyone in this kind of situation?
Are you in a relationship where you’ve had to hide truths from yourself in order to carry on the illusion of happiness?
Have you had to convince yourself that all the changes you’ve made, all the sacrifices you’ve made, all the truths you had to hide were worth it because at least you have a relationship?
Is being alone worse than living a lie?
For a lot of people, it is. They’d do anything to avoid a break-up. They are afraid they will never find another person to love them, so they compromise, sacrifice, and change their behavior so they don’t have to face the devastation of loss.
But that’s not healthy. Eventually it leads to resentment and anger, which leads to more fights, and eventually a break-up. And often the other person in the relationship has no inkling that their partner is hiding so much.
Too afraid to be alone, they’ve subconsciously altered their behavior so that their partner will love them.
There’s a way to avoid this from happening, but it has to happen before you’re in a relationship.
Obviously being authentic is vital. If you are authentic AND your partner still loves you, you’ve got the makings of a fantastic relationship. But like I said, sometimes people make subconscious adjustments and they’re completely unaware of what they’re doing. They justify these changes in their minds.
So ask yourself these questions the next time you’re dating someone and answer them as honestly as you possibly can.
- “Have I had to become something I’m not in order to make my partner happy?”
- “Have I had to stop doing something I used to love because my partner doesn’t like it?”
- “Have I had to become something I don’t like in order to keep this relationship going?”
- “Have I had to hide parts of myself that I’d rather my partner never see?”
- “Have I had to adopt new habits or lifestyles that I’m not actually interested in, just to keep my partner happy?”
- “Have I had to convince myself that my partner’s bad behavior is okay because I’m afraid he or she will leave me if I bring it up?”
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re becoming an inauthentic partner.
If your true self is not present in the relationship, then you have a relationship built on a lie. And those don’t last. The longer you hang on to the illusion, the more it’s going to hurt when the illusion falters.
Don’t fool yourself. Don’t buy into the lie you’re telling your partner. Be willing to be alone rather than be in a relationship where you can’t be yourself.
I’ve read for thousands of people, many of whom built their illusion and are now struggling to get out because they can’t maintain the illusion any longer. It’s far better to avoid this than have to fix it later, because often these clients are in marriages where there are children, property, and finances at stake. It’s messy and unfortunate.
But you can prevent this from happening if you stay authentic at all times. If you’re that afraid of being alone that you are willing to compromise yourself, then work on getting over that fear before you start dating.
But trust me, because I’ve seen it thousands of times, if you allow yourself to live in the illusion, you will never have true happiness. And neither will your partner. It’s a lose-lose situation.