When Dating, Take OFF Your Rose Colored Glasses

04/25/2017 08:19 am ET Updated Apr 25, 2017

One of my girlfriends is in relationship flux. In discussing and breaking down the specifics and looking at how she got where she is, she told me that her man has totally changed and is so different than she thought.

There was a time, that in solidarity I would have reinforced the view from which she stands. “Yes, he has totally changed, he is not who he was. It’s so unfair, how could he do this to you?” But I care too much and we’ve been through too much to pretend it’s anything but what it is. You can work on yourself. Train yourself to pick up socks off the floor, count to ten before answering and eat a snack before your hunger turns to hangry and you turn on your mate. You can make efforts to extend your patience and to communicate in ways effective with your partner. But, much of what makes us who we are is not pliable. As much as you can change, there’s double that won’t budge.

With this belief I called bullshit. I told her it’s unlikely he changed that much in a short time. It’s much more likely that he is who he was and she is only now seeing the parts she chose to ignore. She bemoaned my tough love but acquiesced that she was hearing me.

I recently wrote “Why You Shouldn’t Hide Your Flaws” it’s better to let your imperfect self shine and make a match based in reality. But, my friend got me thinking… what about when we show our flaws and our mate chooses not to see?

We all start new relationships wearing rose-colored glasses. Some believe you need to make it though all four seasons with a mate before you start to see the real him or her. Some say that traveling with a partner is a must before settling down. The bloom comes off certain roses quicker than others and I agree that at least four seasons is a start and traveling will absolutely highlight the strengths and weaknesses in any coupling. But time and travel don’t help if you can’t or won’t see what’s right in front of you.

I spent five winters, five springs, five summers and four falls with my ex before we got married. While I was devastated at the breakdown of our family and ending of our marriage, I am not shocked that it wound up the way it wound up. I can’t condone or excuse choices my ex made but I must own my choice to keep on my rose colored glasses during those winters, springs, summers and falls in which we dated. Evidence would irritate my eye and I’d assure others and myself that it was only a blurred and skewed view. I’d wipe my lenses carefully and push my glasses higher on my nose.

I was young and inexperienced, I wasn’t super self-aware and the parts of myself that I was told were untenable I tried to change instead of accept. I underestimated the value of seeing clearly, the value of accepting reality and dealing with minor heartache now, saving major heartbreak later. My ex showed me who he was and I chose to see what I wanted to see. I’d guess if pressed he’d give that the parts of my personality that aren’t suited for him were more or less there from the start and he too wore his own pair of sunnies.

It is important to show our authentic self to others instead of pretending. You can’t live a life of pretense, hide your flaws or twist yourself into a pretzel for someone else. It won't work. It’s also equally important to look at what’s in front of you. Don’t make excuses, tell yourself a story or look for a piece of person to fit into your puzzle. To take the one piece you want, you need to accept the whole. Look, watch and consider. People show you who they are so take off your glasses and see what they’re offering.

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