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Shelia Collier
We have all been in one of those relationships where after the infatuation has worn off, we realize that the person we are with is nothing like our original perception. This happens when we project desired characteristics onto a person who does not have those characteristics. In essence, we fall in love with the image of what we think the relationship should be and expect our partner to live up to these expectations. When our partner fails to meet these expectations, we are disappointed and feel like we did something wrong.

This is not uncommon, if we are looking for a meaningful relationship, we often compromise our needs, especially in the beginning, just to accommodate the relationship. While we are in the infatuation stage of a relationship, we often overlook warning signs and bad habits because they seem minor compared to the high of being in love. Plus, both partner's tend to be on their best behavior to impress one another. The true strength of the relationship lies in the two partner's ability to see the whole picture and still want to be together.

If you think about it, we dress in our nicest clothes, wear our best cologne, and use better manners than usual when we go on a date. Now hygiene and good manners are always welcome, but these things can be deceiving. Especially, if either partner has no intention of continuing the behavior. Never start something you are not willing to continue, forever. Granted we all want to make a good first impression, but its the truth that will mean the success or failure of the relationship in the long run. Not everyone is looking for a meaningful long term relationship, so you always need to be honest. When you first start dating, it is important to discuss with your possible partner what kinds of expectations that you have. If he or she is looking to date and have fun with no real commitment, the you either accept that or date someone else. The key is ask questions and then understand and respect the answers that you get.

Many times we just don't listen. We hear what we want to hear or think that the other person will fall in love and change their mind. We are not being fair to ourselves or to our partner by having expectations that are unrealistic. Sometimes the other person does fall in love and then all bets are off, but most of the time those situations are movie plots! If you meet someone who says, "I only want to be casual and I do not want a commitment." Don't expect a commitment. Don't be disappointed when they don't fall in love. Be realistic. At the same time, be honest with yourself and with your partner. If they do not want a relationship and you do, tell them. "I enjoy your company (only if you really do) and I would like to see you, however, I am ultimately looking for a long term relationship. If I meet someone that I like and we are compatible, I will pursue a relationship with them." Its that simple. Know what you want and do not be afraid to say it.

Shelia Collier

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