Love’s Greatest Irony

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I had an epiphany about my love life not long ago. I discovered that I tend to be more difficult when I’m with someone I truly have feelings for, and more easygoing when I’m with someone I don’t care about that much. Why is that?

In the sordid and outrageous ride that has been my dating life over the past decade and a half, I’ve been with the woman who is absolutely smitten by me and thinks I am the perfect man for her. I’ve also been with the woman whom—in retrospect—I should be grateful towards for putting up with my *ahem* crap. So which woman do you think I last the longest with? Ironically enough, it’s the woman who gets a healthy dose of my *ahem* crap, not the woman who idealizes me. Again, why is that? Here is where the epiphany begins….

The woman who thinks I’m a Greek God… sadly, I’m just never that interested in her. (And it’s not because I think she has a sick and twisted notion for who constitutes a “Greek God.”) As it turns out, it’s not because she thinks I’m perfect that I lose interest in her. It’s because I’m not all that interested in her in the first place that she ends up thinking I’m perfect.

With this woman, I just don’t feel the need to be myself. When we first start dating someone, we all put up façades. We want to charm and to impress. We want to be perfect. So, we hide our faults and keep our idiosyncrasies in check. Well, I’ve had over three decades to uncover my own idiosyncrasies, and I certainly know how to hide them. I love to debate controversial topics, but maybe I choose not to engage her when she makes a passing comment that I disagree with. I can’t stand perpetual tardiness, but maybe I just smile when she shows up twenty minutes late for our date. I hate getting dirt on my furniture, but maybe I ignore the fact that she’s lying on my bed with her shoes on while we’re making out.

These are my idiosyncrasies, and I may not necessarily be ashamed of them. But, I also know that they don’t paint me in the best light. So, if I find that I like spending time with someone, but am not particularly interested in establishing a long-term relationship, I don’t feel the need to reveal the real me. It’s only once or twice a week that I have to act a certain way. As a result, this woman only sees my best side and may start believing that I am indeed perfect for her. Oops.

What about the woman I actually develop feelings for? Why am I more difficult around her? Well, I’d like to believe that it’s not because I’m trying to be difficult, or even that I’m a difficult person to begin with. I’m just not perfect. I do have my faults. I do have my idiosyncrasies. And with this woman, I need her to know the real me because I’m hoping to see her more than once or twice a week.

I know I’m falling in love when I catch myself daydreaming about spending the rest of my life with someone. Well, I certainly can’t maintain a façade for the rest of my life. So, I have to be myself around her. If she continues to broach controversial topics, I start responding with my own opinions, hoping that she will respect them. If she continues to be late every time we go out, I start pushing her to get ready sooner, hoping that she will understand my desire to be punctual. If we spend almost every night together, I start asking her to take off her shoes before getting on my bed, hoping that she will accept my dirt phobia.

With this woman, I have to stop hiding my quirks and weird habits because I am hoping that she will love me for who I truly am. She gets to see the real me, and if I’m lucky, she’ll fall in love with the real me.

And for me, that’s love’s greatest irony: the woman I fall in love with is the one I sometimes torment.

Now, I will acknowledge that I’m speaking for myself here. But, I’ve also been around long enough to believe that many people act this way. After all, we want to be attractive, so we build façades. And some of us have pretty damned impressive façades.

Of course, there is the chance that we might actually meet someone who truly is perfect for us in every way, and they’re not faking it. But, I liken that to winning the lottery: it can happen, but don’t count on it. So, we just have to accept reality and be willing to love the person we’re with for who they are (and hope that they will do the same for us).

If we truly love someone, we accept that they’re not perfect. And if we meet someone who seems perfect, it might be wise to delve a little deeper and try to discover who they really are and why they continue to maintain their façade.

So, I think the lesson here is quite simple. If you and I should ever become romantically involved, and you find that I have quirks and strange habits, or that I may be difficult at times, please understand that I’m hoping you will learn to love me for who I am. On the other hand, if you find me to be everything that you’ve ever wanted in a man… be careful, because I’m probably just not that into you.

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  • Christopher R. Ryan

    I’ll keep that in mind should we get invovled man… Wait what? Relationships are difficult man no joke. We all have faults man, thor knows I have man. Being introspective is a good way to smooth them out.

  • Yeah, it helps me vent! 🙂

  • Christopher R. Ryan

    Me too brother me too. We should go get a drink some day and talk for awhile.

  • you should read my recent blogs on myspace 🙂

  • Lisa Rae Hawkins

    Hmmmm…That explains a lot. Not about you in particular, but about my experience with men. My irony is that I tend to be the opposite. I typically only let my guard down when I don’t care that much or when I’m pretty convinced that it won’t go anywhere anyway. Meanwhile, the guys I do tend to go for are the ones who seem perfect at first but it ends up being a facade. No wonder I’m still single! Perhaps it’s time to make some changes… Thanks for the insight, Dennis!

  • Lisa Ann Wilson

    Dennis, thanks for sharing. And with you I share one of my favorite quotes about relationships from the ever-so-wise Carrie from Sex in the City:

    “Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

    My two cents:

    Perhaps relationships are difficult for people because it’s daunting to find two people who not only are right for each other, have the right chemistry and accept each other unconditionally, but who are also right with themselves. Therein lies the challenge. 😉

  • Amy Lauren Gettys

    I was just going to say, haven’t I read this before? Then I saw “reposted from Myspace”. . . So yes, I guess I did. Still true Dennis. As Lisa, via Sex in the City says “…if you find someone to love the you you love, that’s just fabulous”. Good luck!

  • Margaret Da' Magnificent

    interesting theory. i have always believed the opposite:

    if you start to fall in love with someone you try to be on your best behaviour. and when you aren’t that into someone you can be a total ass cuz you just don’t care.

    maybe it’s different for males vs females? i notice that when i’m a bitch to the ones i’m not that into, they try even harder. and when i’m nice to the ones i actually am interested in, they usually ignore me.

    a catch 22 really. i guess the next guy that treats me like an asshole i’ll have to believe it’s cuz he wants to show me the “real” him. NOT. my goodness dennis i think you’re trying to brainwash the female masses.


  • I think I date like a man.

  • Katie Cooper Matchett

    Yes Meg, yes you do. This is part of your great charm.

    Dennis, hmmm, maybe the problem is that you overanalyze your relationships? Hee hee, just kidding!

  • Hey folks, thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on this article. Per some of your suggestions, I’ve added a little more detail to explain what exactly I mean. Keep the comments coming if ya got ’em!

  • Laura Sheppard

    Great insights Dennis. My two cents: I’ve noticed I’m more “difficult” when I’m with someone I’m into too – but I’ve analyzed it differently.
    We all love to be loved freely, without clinging or judgement, right? Well that’s easy to do when the stakes are low. I’m pretty good at it, actually! And it feels nice!
    But when I’m REALLY into someone, the stakes go up. Sp all my fears and insecurities and doubts rear their ugly heads. So ironically, the more potential a guy has, the less likely he is to get the real me, and the more likely he is to get the possessive, judgmental, clingy freak I become when ruled by my fears. So then he goes away. Hence, why I am single. Boo.

  • So true, Laura, so true.

  • Any guy who thinks a girl is normal needs to be told, she’s just not that into you.

  • Pingback: The Cursable Case of the Sneak-a-Break « Musings on Life and Love

  • Wow Dennis….I really do have to chew on this one for awhile! It’s a totally different perspective than I’ve ever realized or contemplated!! …I grow curiouser and curiouser about the male species:)

  • Yeah, we’re a bunch of weirdos, aren’t we? But hey, you female types aren’t much better. 😉

  • so how many white girls have you nailed penis , I mean dennis. Yes that would help me to quantify how much of douch you are, oh wait there is no need. Go back to Asia now.

  • ‘And some of us have pretty damned impressive façades.’ You can say that again! Good to bear in mind when unrequited love comes to town! As my flatmate (full of useful romance-related soundbites, unlike yours truly who just regurgitates them on her blog!) pointed out when I claimed a guy friend was perfect for me, there’s no knowing what he’d be like to be in a relationship with. There’s a world of difference between imagination and reality.

  • Yes. Of course, when you reckon you do know someone pretty well (a flatmate/very close guy friend, for example), that’s when things can get a bit trickier. Loved your comment on Simone Grant’s blog, by the way, about advice! In fact I will say as much…

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