Pedestals – Part Two
(This is a follow up to an earlier article – read it here!)
In Part One of this article, I talked about some of the dangers of putting women on a pedestal while dating or seeking a relationship. I have seen a lot of my friends fall into this trap, and I was definitely guilty in the past as well. It limits both sides of a potential relationship before it even begins. However, this attitude doesn’t necessarily stop during the early phases of flirting and meeting new people; it can be just as big a problem within existing relationships.
I love my fiancee. She has changed my life in a lot of ways, and almost all for the better. I look forward to spending time with her whenever I can, whether that means talking about our jobs, watching TV on the couch, or travelling. She is extremely smart and driven, and on her way to becoming a lawyer. We both have talents and gifts – some overlap, and some compliment the other person’s weaknesses.
As great as she is, though, I have to be careful not to fall into the trap of idealizing her – or, putting her on a pedestal. When you’re in a relationship and one person puts the other on a pedestal, you can probably guess where it leads. An uneven, unfair, and one-way relationship doesn’t work. If one person is putting in all the effort, in an attempt to “live up to” the other person, it will cause many issues. The one who feels unworthy will eventually become bitter and resentful, because their needs aren’t being met. The one who is put above the other person will eventually resent that person for putting an unfair expectation of perfection on them. And neither one will truly feel fulfilled, or like they’re part of a working team.
I have first-hand experience with this. It started with me lacking confidence in myself – I saw myself as someone unworthy of love, and undeserving of a great woman. When I met a girl who showed interest in me, I overreacted and almost immediately committed to making sure she would never have a reason to leave me. I bought her anything I could (or couldn’t) afford; always chose the movie she wanted to watch; never complained or brought up anything she did that I didn’t like or agree with. And for a while, it felt great. But eventually, the cracks started showing. I had to force my cheerfulness more and more, and found that all the little things she did that bothered me were bothering me more and more. She stopped being surprised by my over-the-top demonstrations of “love,” and even started resenting some of the romantic gestures.
Doing your best to make your significant other happy is a great thing. Putting her needs above yours can be a great sign of love and commitment. However, you must also make sure that you are happy with yourself and with what you are getting from the relationship. If you aren’t truly happy with your life, and with how she changes your life, you won’t be able to keep up the facade forever. It will get more and more tiring, for both of you. Also, if you so desperately need her to love you, it can often be a sign of deeper, underlying issues. The old cliche is true: you have to love yourself before you can love someone else, or have them love you. It took me much longer than it should have to learn that lesson, and there’s no way for anyone else to teach it to you – but I can tell you that one other, happier cliche is also true: there are plenty of fish in the sea. As hard as it might be to believe, especially when you’re down on yourself, there ARE other girls. And when you’ve made a change, and started embracing who you are and loving that person, you will be shocked at who may start loving that person too.