Dating Magazine

Why Are We So Often Wrong About Our Forever After?

By Datecoachtoni @CoachToni

The NY Times had a very interesting piece running a couple of days ago titled “Why you will marry the wrong person.” Now that’s a title that would get the attention of anyone who is single, and especially anyone who is presently engaged to who they believe is their right person.

The Times piece offers one fairly simple reason for why folks marry the wrong person—they say that we are all crazy in some way, but don’t discuss, explore or really demonstrate our craziness with one another before we say “I do.” Then, after marriage, our real selves come out and suddenly our partner is asking who is this person and why didn’t I know this before? They make the point that the close proximity created by intimacy brings out our problems, and that many of us have an array of them. Wow, that is sobering.

According to the author; “marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating.” As a therapist who works with many couples in trouble, I can’t really disagree with this theory. Couples don’t do enough talking and asking beforehand—as though they fear it will be too unromantic or demonstrate a lack of faith in one another. The piece points out that we now have marriages based on feelings, instead of practicality and convenience. This is because most people believe that chemistry is about how we feel and don’t consider the other important pieces needed for marital success–like stability, maturity, and reliability. You are probably thinking, oh, how boring. Believe me, these qualities grow on you.

When we marry we look for someone who is familiar and resonates with our childhood perceptions and experience of love—which may or may not have been functional or healthy. If our role models shaped us to seek out needy, angry, or uncommunicative people to love and make whole—then this is who we would believe our right person to be. If someone seeking a relationship with dysfunctional traits encounters a healthy, stable and mature person—they usually don’t feel any attraction. This then leads them to reject someone who could have been right for them and with whom they could have found happiness.

In my experience there is great truth to what this author lays out as the reason people end up in unhappy marriages. Therefore what you have always heard is true—get yourself straight before making one of the most important decisions and biggest commitments of your life. Otherwise, you may end up marrying the wrong person for all the wrong reasons.

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