Why Do We Idealize Partners at the Beginning of a Relationship?
Even the most adequate and skeptical people fall into this trap: a partner who seemed perfect suddenly becomes a completely different person. This always means one thing: the image, that you had come up with after the first few dates, collapsed. Why do people tend to romanticize even the worst qualities of partners at the beginning of a relationship and whether it is possible to get rid of this habit?
Your body reacts similarly to stress and love
Negative traits in the behavior of a potential partner may seem attractive because your body similarly responds to stress and love. Excitement, butterflies in the stomach, increased heart rate, and rosy cheeks can be an involuntary response to both a compliment and a suspicious stranger who entered the elevator with you. Thus, qualities such as impulsiveness and risky winter date ideas can be confused with adventurous and creative rather than potentially dangerous ones. An emotional, impulsive person on a first date will seem talkative, interesting, passionate. However, excessive expression can also speak of restraint, aggressiveness, authoritarian proclivities.
Red flags can be ambiguous
To the problem of the confusion of your reaction to stress and love, one can add that the red flags in people’s behavior are almost always ambiguous at first. When a person with whom you just met immediately shares the intimate details of their life or past relationships, this may indicate that they want to be as honest and open as possible. However, at the same time, a person may have problems with defining personal boundaries. It is possible to unambiguously determine the negative trait of a potential partner at the beginning of a relationship only if they manifest it quite clearly: insult you or others, ask for money, behave inadequately. Such situations are possible but unlikely.
Previous experience affects you
Our perception is affected not only by the mood and atmosphere during the meeting, but also by previous experience, and, as a rule, not in the best way. For example, when a person had a difficult toxic relationship, the same features in the behavior of a potential partner may seem normal to them. As an adult, you try to correct the situation and feel some superiority, instead of vulnerability and helplessness as earlier. However, unfortunately, returning to such a relationship, you again put yourself in a hopeless situation, and the results will be the same. You will feel anger, disappointment, helplessness, and resentment. If a person sees red flags in the partner’s behavior but tries not to pay attention to them, the so-called repetition syndrome occurs when they attract people with negative traits into their life.
How to Face the Reality?
To begin with, it’s worth reconciling with the idea that one date is almost always not enough to draw conclusions about a person. Minor cute gestures of a person can turn out to be a manipulation, while seemingly repulsive behavior can be an accident or a misinterpreted reaction. It is important to know which red flags may indicate that the partner is unsafe, and how to discern them: this information will help you be more conscious, but it will not give you absolute objectivity. Listen to your gut: if something seems too ideal or suspicious in the person’s behavior, you probably see only part of the picture. And finally, the main advice is to not rush. It is equally useful for the case when you fall in love with a person literally at first sight, and for the situation when the first meeting with them does not make a special impression. Allow yourself to see a person in different circumstances, to see how they treat other people and what they say about them as well as to do all this before allowing your communication to go too far.