Eyes Wide Open
On May 7, 2015 | 0 Comments | Blog Posts |

Dating can be fun. A time to learn more about y=
ourself: your wants, deal breakers and idiosyncrasies, and at the end of on=
e, you may have even met your soulmate! But before we identify your potenti=
al life partner, you must be transparent in your relationships and represen=
t yourself authentically. This doesn=E2=80=99t always happen, so know that =
both parties will be better served if they go into relationships with their=
eyes wide open.

There=E2=80=99s a great quote from Maya Angelou that resonates with me:=C2=
=A0When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.=
=C2=A0There is no better advice for someone entering a new relationship=E2=
=80=A6especially a dating relationship, but it can be a very difficult=C2=
=A0rule to follow. I=E2=80=99m all for giving people the benefit of the dou=
bt to a certain degree, however, tread lightly if you see red flags (and fo=
r goodness sake, stay sharp!!!).
I recall a person I dated who fully admitted that he’s controlling, but his=
actions seemed to belie his words. More likely, I was being a bit naive. T=
here were clues: we seldom did anything on the fly. Someone had to =E2=80=
=9Chave the con=E2=80=9D (have control of the date) as he puts it. It was u=
sually him. He had certain dietary restrictions, so when we did dine, he sc=
rutinized any restaurant I chose despite the constant reminders about his d=
iet. I chalked this up to quirkiness because he was fun to hang around with=
and we laughed constantly.
After a while of knowing each other and dating, he kicked it up a notch, a =
trip to Boston. He would be on business; I would be on vacation. I thought,=
=E2=80=9COk, this could be fun, and I need a break,=E2=80=9D but there was=
a hum of warning just beneath the surface. The first night for dinner, we =
had to =E2=80=9Cstay within the $85 budget=E2=80=9D (his company=E2=80=99s =
per diem=E2=80=A6) after he ordered everything he wanted. The first morning=
, he wanted to go shopping for snacks for the hotel; seemed harmless. He lo=
cated the carts, and called me over to grab it, as =E2=80=9Cpushing the car=
t is a woman’s job=E2=80=9D. We=E2=80=99d had this conversation before, and=
in an effort to get along, I acquiesced. Apparently unloading the basket=
=E2=80=99s content on the conveyor belt was also on my non-penis-possessing=
to-do list. I was rather matter of fact when I asked if he was going to he=
lp. His irate and public response caught me off guard. All of this on day 2=
of 5.
Just as he revealed what I’d already suspected about his personality, I rea=
lized, too, that he didn=E2=80=99t see me for who I am. He made assumptions=
that I would over pack (he packed WAY more than I ever would). He thought =
I would iron his clothes…a chore I hire out for because of my distinct di=
stain for it (and he knows this fact, so why even “test” me?). I’ve always =
been a strongly independent person which we discussed, so why he thought I =
would stay in the hotel room while he was at his conference (yes, a date on=
the super cheap) rather than explore the city solo is beyond me. He=E2=80=
=99d made so many assumptions about me rather than listen to the words I=E2=
=80=99d spoken. I hadn=E2=80=99t misled him about my personality with subtl=
e hints; I was overt. We shared stories about our exes, what went wrong, wh=
at went right. He clearly hadn=E2=80=99t revealed everything about his flaw=
s or personality. However, I was completely honest about who I am. He chose=
door =E2=80=9CB=E2=80=9D instead of =E2=80=9CA=E2=80=9D because that fit h=
is personality best. He wanted me to =E2=80=9Cact right=E2=80=9D and =E2=80=
=9Cbe on my best behavior,=E2=80=9D however, the only person I can be is me=
. And I=E2=80=99m not a child to be bribed into good behavior.
My advice is to go into dating with eyes wide open and listen to what your =
mate/date/friend is telling you. Don’t try to manipulate or coax out the qu=
alities you’d rather he or she have. That never works. You can’t domesticat=
e me by “asking for help” with ironing your clothes=C2=A0when you’re fully =
capable of doing it yourself. That’s nothing but manipulation ESPECIALLY if=
you get angry and retaliate when I reply no. Neither can I make you a well=
-functioning, courteous, gentleman if you=E2=80=99re not.
Healthy relationships are about partnerships, not strategies. Going into it=
trying to “win” or further your agenda sets you up for failure. He can str=
ategize all day about how to not pay a single penny for this “date,” and =
=E2=80=9Cwin,=E2=80=9D but he lost a valuable friend who saw his actions as=
extremely cheap, manipulative, and oh yes, controlling.
A healthy partnership is not about forcing someone to your will or winning;=
it’s about working together to create an atmosphere where you’re both comf=
ortable and you BOTH win. You can=E2=80=99t do that unless you keep your wi=
ts about you, accept the warning signs, see the person for who they are, an=
d THEN, act accordingly.

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