I always say that when it comes to dating, everyone needs four seasons and a stomach flu to really get to know the other person.
But the truth is that it takes years to really, really get to know someone.
I’m not talking about what foods they like or their favorite movies.
I’m talking about what’s under the onion layers.
You know, the real stuff — from the skeletons to the secrets.
And the ugly.
PSA side note: Pandemic love doesn’t count. The couples I know that have met or quarantined together during COVID seem to be getting closer faster than lightspeed due to the increased level of accelerated intimacy that comes with quarantine.
Anyway, moving on.
The reality is that we all have many layers that are not readily transparent to the naked eye.
So, when we meet someone new and we’re all on our best behavior with only kind pleasantries exchanged, blah, blah, blah, blah-it’s nearly impossible to know if there is true compatibility until the relationship is actually tested.
I know many people who stay on best behavior far longer than necessary. I equate that little act to a house that has never had to endure a true storm.
If you don’t allow it to downpour, you’ll never see how sturdy your house is.
And if you don’t know how sturdy your house is…
Well, chances are you’ll never know how to repair the leaks.
In other words, there’s a certain point in every relationship where one must switch from model behavior to being their true selves.
If you’re in a bad mood, it’s okay.
If you’re tired, it’s okay.
If you’re sad, it’s okay.
If you’re a sociopath, well… maybe not so ok.
It’s okay to be you and see how your partner reacts — and vice versa. In fact, I‘ll go even further. It’s CRUCIAL that we find this out.
With a progression of time comes a progression of authenticity in all relationships.
I write all the time about how people reveal too much too fast when dating. I actually coined the term “premature revelation” and I write about it all the time.
While I am a huge believer in being truthful, I also feel very strongly that time and consistency are a prelude to earning trust.
Think 70/30 rule.
Reveal 70% slowly followed by the 30% after the relationship is on solid and steady ground.
Now with that being said, there’s a difference between being straightforward about what you’re looking for in the relationship itself vs. talking about family secrets like Grandma Betty’s time in the slammer.
I encourage my clients to be straightforward in talking early on about relationship “goals.” If you’re looking for marriage and dating someone who is not looking for the same thing —well, that relationship is going to have some large obstacles to overcome.
That’s not to say that one can’t catch up to the other eventually, but it’s important to be honest about what we want out of a relationship so we can weed out the ones who are wrong for us — faster than not.
Saying you want something different than what you really want is not going to benefit anyone in the long run and compromising is obviously okay, as long as both parties agree about “the future” and what it looks like.
But never lie about who and what your needs are or else the person on the other side of the phone or sitting across the table from you will never know how to fulfill your needs and you’ll essentially be pulling off a “bait and switch” which doesn’t work for anyone.
When women tell me they fake it in bed, I’m always so surprised and I tend to respond in the same way: “You’re letting this person think that what they’re doing works when in fact it doesn’t. Essentially that is giving an okay to what isn’t working.”
It’s the same for life.
Be authentic in what you want and reveal with time your true self, allowing the relationship to grow organically.
And always remember, a weed in one person’s garden is a flower in another’s. If your constantly stumbling across more weeds than flowers, chances are it’s time to either strengthen your gardening skills or simply find a new garden.
Until next time,
Born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Karin has a BA in sociology, with a minor in psychology earning honors at Michigan State University. Along with certification in relationship coaching, Karin is an international blogger and current columnist. She is currently accepting relationship coaching clients via skype or phone. She can be reached @firstname.lastname@example.org.