People make a lot of mistakes when choosing a life partner. Here are a few of the big ones that seem to be repeated by people who end up in regret.
- Brain Functioning: People really have no idea what is going on in the brain when we become interested in someone. The primal brain takes over when the first levels of interest began. It basically releases a load of chemicals into the body that makes the person of interest highly desirable. This cocktail of chemicals is designed for one purpose- procreation. The primal brain doesn’t care about marriage, relationships, consequences, etc. All it wants is the gene pool to be mixed, protected and continue. Due to this function, people “think” it is love, that this person is the one because they are all they think about when in reality, it’s an evolutionary design that is driving your desires. Because of this, people make really bad decisions as they are not really ‘seeing’ the person and miss many of the red flags that are noticeable to others. Once the honeymoon phase has ended, the brain stops the chemical shit storm and we suddenly start to see the other person more clear. What people call the end of the ‘honeymoon phase’ is actually where the brain begins to automate the relationship and all those gooey feelings stop and then reality sets in. The primal brain has completed its function and will lie dormant until interest is peaked again (different subject).
- Vetting: Because we cannot perceive clearly during the courting season, it is in a person’s best interest to have close friends and family vet the person you’re interested in. Since your brain is clouded with chemicals, we need others to help us see the person clearly. Using objective friends & family will help save you a ton of hurt down the road. However, because we value independence so highly in the western world, we think we don’t need others to help us or, we don’t want to hear the truth because we think we’re in love, we fail to execute this step and allow others to help us see what we cannot. The strange thing about this, is we seek counsel on many other things in life, but on this one HUGE decision, we think we know best because we “feel” amazing about this person.
- Red Flags: When we think we are in love or moved by infatuation, we miss many of the cautionary flags that we would see clearly in any other relationship. We fail to pay attention to that “gut” feeling that is warning us about this person character. That gut feeling is coming from the higher brain picking up on patterns of behavior that you’ve deemed as a “warning” in the past and is preparing you for fight or flight (anxiety). However, because we are in ‘love’ and this person is so special and unique, we fail to recognize it until it slaps us in the face later down the road. Once the relationship moves forward and the brain automates the relationship, you’ll often hear people complain about their partner’s quirks, habits or general behavior that they hate. Problem is, the behavior was always there, you just didn’t perceive it due to the cloudiness of what your think is love and the failure to listen to other people who tried to warn you about them.
- Emotional Compatibility: This is a difficult part in relationships because most people are not emotionally self-aware individuals. Therefore, they do not perceive the emotional chasm that often exists between a couple. Since people are on their best behavior when courting, we think what we see is what we are getting and that is rarely the situation. I’m not sure we ever really get to know someone, but as time passes we should become experts on the other person. However, if you don’t see a relationship as a path to becoming a better person through your partner triggering you, you’ll miss all the opportunities for relational growth. Most people are victims due to emotional immaturity and since immaturity breeds incompatibility, a disaster is not too far down the road.
- Relationship Business: When you get married or get into a long term relationship, you are basically going into business with someone. You’re agreeing to set up shop in your partner’s lap, their family, their space, their darkness and the awful annoying parts of them. They are signing up to see your hatred, your judgmentalism, your cynic, your demons and all your ugliness. The relationship is the best place to see a person’s true colors. It’s also the ultimate growth tool which helps a person to love and embrace all of these parts, in you and them. If you’re not willing or ready to experience this, then perhaps long term relationship is not for you. Many never bother to learn the ‘how’ of relationship. It’s always easier to play the victim and blame the other person for their bad habits, behavior or how badly they treated you. Instead of using the relationship to evolve into something glorious, most collapse into their own field of misery and emotional chaos.
I realize that my answer didn’t address the ‘feeling’ side of the relationship, such as love, happiness, and the forever afters. Reason being, that love, and all the gooey feelings have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with long-term relational success.