Alain De Botton wants you to get real about your relationships.
Many people grow up believing that marriage is in some way magical - the bringing together of two people who are perfect for each other. A marriage characterized by ever-present happiness and love, little conflict, and shared desires, likes, goals, and values.
Research in the states has shown that almost 75% of people believe in the idea of a soul mate, or one true love. Unfortunately for them, research has also shown that the more a person believes in the idea of one true love, the less likely that person is to be successful and happy in their relationships. They tend to bail when things get difficult.
It comes down to expectations, and commitment to relationships when they don't meet unrealistically high expectations.
People with realistic expectations, and a willingness to struggle through difficult times while still committed to the relationship, tend to do best. A key component of this is self-awareness, more specifically recognizing our own idiosyncrasies and why we might be difficult to be with.
This piece in the New York Times lays it all out, raw:
Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person
By Alain de Botton
IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.
Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”
Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.
Read the rest here: link.