As I joined my girlfriend in viewing “The Bachelor,” I commented that I didn’t feel there was very much time to really learn about one woman let alone 30. It takes time to get to know someone. Of course, we are on our best behavior early in the relationship as we seek out love and acceptance. It is then we can choose to be vulnerable and show our true selves. Being vulnerable can get you hurt but it can also insure that you are accepted as you truly are.
I am still learning about my girlfriend. We have been together for two years and my times with her still uncover surprises. I am not saying life should be without surprises but some things should be somewhat predictable. Spending time with someone, especially long periods of time, allows you to assess personality traits that otherwise may remain hidden. Does that person: anger easily or is easy going; get frustrated and stay upset for a while or is the frustration just a momentary hiccup of their day; choose to see the bright side of things or concentrate on the rusty lining of a silver cloud; see things as always black or white, or things as always gray; always certain or always ambiguous? Is this person: appreciative; selfish, insensitive; caring; or nurturing? These are all things to be considered and are not necessarily deal breakers or sure bets. There are no perfect people – we can all have our moments. You must choose what is acceptable and what you can tolerate. Too many divorces occur because what was known and once tolerable is now too much to bear.
People change – we change – but you don’t change a person, only yourself. You can change your behavior, opinions, beliefs and perspectives. Spending time with someone allows you to learn how he or she behaves normally. This will alert you when they behave out of the norm that something may be troubling them. You could then explore what is affecting them so you can offer your support and understanding. Stresses outside of the relationship can migrate into the relationship. It is important to recognize the source of the stress and prevent the frustration from being misdirected.
I am not advocating looking for bad behaviors. I am advocating learning about another person and observing their traits, both good and bad. Learning about another person allows you to build trust. You will learn what they are and are not capable of handling. It is simply another level of intimacy. You can trust me to make breakfast and you can also trust me to be late. Just as you should seek to understand your loved one, they should be seeking to understand you.
I looked up the bachelorette stats for the show. I was not surprised that many of the bachelorettes did not continue their relationships with the “man of their dreams” for very long.
You can only learn these things with time. I have moved quickly in the past only to learn that what I thought was true was merely a misconception on my part because I didn’t take time to observe and learn. Take your time when it comes to living with a partner. Living with someone and loving them isn’t the same thing but it is a wonderful mix when it works.