Being an optimist has its downside. When attracted to someone I often fill in the blanks of all that I don’t know, with what I would like them to be. I endow them with character traits I imagine. I’m not blind to what I see, instead giving credit for qualities not demonstrated. Not necessarily perfect, just perfect for me. As time goes by, I come face to face with the realization that the reality of she isn’t the same as my projections.
On an early date, I took a woman to a public event and an elderly man squeezing past spilled some popcorn on her. She immediately cursed him out for being so stupid. I was horrified. I confess to having little understanding of fabrics and stains and the possibility that butter might ruin an expensive blouse or pair of pants. It’s also possible that I judged her unfairly for falling off my self-created pedestal. It’s certain that I was wrong to demand someone comport themselves in the manner I desire rather than seeing the person for who they are and making decisions based on reality, not fiction.
Pursuing someone because of who you think they are instead of who they are leads to disastrous results. Bob Marley said, “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.” Hoping to care for someone isn’t the same thing as actually doing so. I didn’t like the answer when I asked myself if I’ve ever cared more about the chase than in having someone once caught? If I want better I have to do better.
Getting to actually know someone takes time and requires one to put in the hard work of communication. That work isn’t all painful but honest communication will require risk and trust. Not having those conversations will leave room for doubts to grow and fester. It will involve a negotiation with yourself as to what you can honestly accept and what you can’t. You must also give the other person the opportunity to make informed decisions, not choosing for them what they’re entitled to know. Yes there’s a risk that having serious discussions may reveal you aren’t a match after all but isn’t that the point. A minor disappointment is far preferable to major heartbreak.
Accepting someone for who they are means not hoping to change them. Or criticizing down the road how they dress, walk, and talk. If you acknowledge and accept who they are when you are getting to known them. It will eliminate issues later.
This isn’t a perfect world, nor are there perfect people. There are those out there that given the chance can accept you for who you are. You also need to be willing to see them for who they are, without judgment and without projection. There’s no one else to blame for seeing someone in an imaginary light of your own creation.