By Lindy Earl
Talking about relationships and dating, a woman told a friend of mine that she wasn’t good enough for him. She had her reasons, which were rather superficial. I agree that she wasn’t good enough, but not for the reasons she listed.
A guy contacted me on social media. When I said that I wasn’t interested in dating he told me that he probably wasn’t good enough for me. That wasn’t it – at least, not for the reasons he thought.
But, I contend that there should not be any theory of not-good-enough in this world. Dating is hard enough without adding this self-induced negativity. But it’s out there! I have found, however, that it is normally in the mind of the people who think that they are on the losing end. They believe that they aren’t good enough based on some formula such as age or income or attractiveness – all real reasons I have heard.
If somebody is not good enough it’s only for one reason – that they believe that they aren’t good enough. In some cases they perceive an attractive inequality – “How did I land someone as gorgeous as this?” They ask themselves. They are ignoring their other characteristics, maybe personality or sense of humor, that attracted their gorgeous Significant Other in the first place.
While their characteristics will suffice for a while, a constant insecurity will affect both people in the relationship. I heard one story of a gentleman who kept telling his current, and first, wife that her second husband, thus her second marriage, would be better. She finally took him up on his thoughts and divorced him. He brought it on himself. He kept putting the idea into her head, hoping that she would offer assurances that they were fine. She did that for a while, but eventually it wore on her and she left him. She didn’t leave him for the reasons he had listed, but for his insecurity.
When you first enter a relationship, you tend to put your best self forward. You either hide your bad habits, or they just don’t show up at first. Think about it, you are only spending a few hours a week with this person, so a lot of idiosyncrasies can remain unseen.
Even when some interesting behavioral patterns emerge, it can be easy to ignore them. So they put chocolate milk on their cereal. Who cares? Does it really matter if they have to brush their teeth before and after every meal? Not a big deal . . . at first. But some habits can get annoying after a while. As the relationship develops, some things that were originally fine become irritating.
Early in my marriage my husband joined me on a grocery shopping trip. We brought our own bags to this store and I put my purse in the cart first, then placed the bags on top of it. My then-husband commented how smart that was. Fast forward twenty years, during which time my husband has not step foot into a grocery store with me. For some reason we find ourselves together in the same store again, and I again put my purse under the bags. He commented about how paranoid and foolish I was. Hmmm. What once carried the positive characteristic of intelligent now carried negative characteristics. What changed?
I certainly hadn’t changed. I had been employing the same habit for twenty years. He was the same man in a lot of ways. What had changed, I learned, were his feelings for me. Twenty years before the man had loved, even liked, me. Now, a simple trick of hiding my purse irritated him, more because of who I was than what I did.
We have all seen this to some extent. Somebody at work asks a question, and depending on who answers it, the response could be good or bad. If the popular person proposed a solution then everyone is for it. But if the obnoxious know it all suggested the same idea, it might have been ignored or called foolish. I have seen this happen so many times in different situations – work, volunteer organizations, and yes, family relationships. This is why teenagers believe what their peers say more than what they parents say.
People meet people every day. Many of us are looking for someone we could date or with whom we could create a relationship. Couples are also breaking up every day – but maybe not for the reasons they think. You know that positive energy that exists in the beginning of a relationship? If we could keep that going throughout a relationship, knowing that it’s hard work, I think there would be fewer break ups. And, when a couple does stop seeing one another, it would be for reasons that they both understand so can even agree that the break up is for the best. That way one person isn’t feeling that they aren’t good enough – because they really are good enough, but the insecurity has to go.
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Lindy is a Consultant, Speaker, and Writer, currently living in Atlanta, GA. She is The Business Coach focusing on Relationships through Communication, Leadership, and Corporate Culture. You will be more successful with Lindy as your Coach. Please contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com.