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Judging by the amount of emails and comments I get regarding Future Faking, Fast Forwarding and “It started out so great! Why can’t they go back to how they were in the beginning?” (even though the time between the beginning and the ‘change’ is actually quite short), many people believe that they ‘know’ another person quite quickly and talk and think with a high degree of certainty about what they can expect from them…even if they haven’t truly experienced enough with them to justify the certainty or even claims of ‘knowledge’.
If you’ve ever watched Big Brother, you can see this in action normally within 3-5 days of them entering the house when you always get people declaring scarily intense feelings, or claiming that they’re best mates, or that they know one another deeply, along with hasty promises about what they’re going to do when they get out of the house. After they leave, it quickly fizzles out…
There’s a reason why it’s called ‘getting to know someone’ – it’s because you are gaining knowledge about them through observation, asking questions, and information. Over time. You can’t really claim to ‘know’ someone until you’ve observed them in all sorts of situations and come back with the same consistent information – the more the same information comes back, the more you can trust that what you’ve believed that you know is true.
The question is, how much time do you think you need to get to know someone, to the point where you would think that you know “a lot” about them and would feel justified in feeling that you’d been misled if they ‘changed’? A few hours? Days? Weeks? A few months?
How much time would you have physically spent with them?
Would you be judging it based on actions matching words?
Or would you judge it based on how excited, horny or ‘connected’ you feel?
If their actions and words ‘changed’, would you consider this part of the discovery phase, particularly if this is in the first weeks or early months?
At what point do you feel uncomfortable with reconciling reality with how you thought things were? For some of you, the answer is immediately or at least a very short timeframe, which is going to pose some major problems for you, because it doesn’t leave you any room for discovery and it certainly doesn’t leave you any room to adjust perceptions and assumptions that you’ve made, which sort of defeats the purpose of getting to know them.
In fact you’re not ‘getting to know’ them because you’re working off an idea that when you experience A,B, and C which you consider to be your strong indicators of someone who you’re very attracted to etc, you believe you’re going to experience X,Y,Z, which are whatever you think leads to your vision of a relationship. So if you get flowers, compliments, and a good shag, you might believe that it means that it’s going to lead to a committed relationship, that they’re available, and that they’re already in love with you, which is actually quite a leap.
It’s like there’s a point where you just shut out incoming information and it’s like “Yeah baby! I like what I ‘know’ so far and I don’t want to ruin it with anymore information. In my mind, I should be able to gauge who someone is within this timeframe and truth be told, I don’t want to burn up copious amounts of brain energy by having to be listening, watching, having boundaries, asking questions, and processing information.”
This then leaves you with a static image of the person that isn’t actually very realistic and the longer you stick with this, the deeper in illusions you become, making it difficult to differentiate between what’s real and what’s fake.
Even if you have observed, and asked questions, or gathered some information, you know what? That doesn’t mean that that’s ‘it’. If you observe further things that contradict or change the nature of what you think you know or what you expect, or the answers to questions change, or your ability to ask questions and get answers is impeded, or you gain further information that informs you of what reality is, it’s your job to be heeding this feedback, and applying it, …even if you don’t like it.
I think it’s also safe to say that sometimes something very crucial is forgotten: Every dating and relationship interaction has a honeymoon period. It might be as little as a few hours (one night stand/date), days (fling or a couple of dates), weeks (possibly several dates), or a few months (building up into a steady relationship). As ‘normality’, routine and even expectations set in, you’re either going to grow, go in fits and starts, regress, or even come to a halt. Sometimes when I read stories about ‘relationships’ that have fizzled out within a few weeks, I do wonder if this whole honeymoon period has been forgotten.
Time is what gives you the opportunity to get to know someone and to also have their true intentions for a relationship. While you might like to think we let it all hang out immediately, people actually reveal themselves over time.
In a very short period of time, particularly in days or weeks, anything you know during this period is distorted by the time period and possibly by intensity which like the Big Brother house can’t last forever, and depending on the nature of your involvement, may actually be largely based on words rather than a more balanced blend of observing actions and sharing experiences with them.
When you decide to go on a date with someone or at a later stage agree to get into a relationship with them, you do it based on what you know at that time. If you’ve gone in with your eyes wide open, have been listening, and have packed your self-esteem for the journey, there’s less opportunity for unpleasant ‘surprises’ plus you’ll listen to yourself if you start to receive ‘feedback’ from your relationship that concerns you.
If what you base your decision to date or get into a relationship changes, you are free to leave at any time. You can walk.
Dating is a discovery phase – if you struggle with the emotional consequences of putting in the time that comes with the territory of dating, you have a duty of care to slow yourself right down.
The litmus test of how well you think your Instant or Very Quick Knowledge Ability works is the results, so if you feel that someone has changed from what you thought you knew, it’s life’s way of telling you that you need to focus on learning about them instead of claiming that you ‘know’ them, and that you also need to heed the feedback that a big enough change in character, behaviour, and values indicates – that you need to stop, look, listen and don’t proceed until you have gained more knowledge to justify continuing.
And here’s the irony in all this: I am inundated with stories from people who claim to know others quickly enough to justify their feelings and investment, and yet funny enough, this ‘skill’ doesn’t extend itself to recognising inappropriate behaviour! How can you truly claim to know someone, if you’ll only ‘know’ what you feel like seeing?
Knowledge when you’re prepared to be available for it, gives you the power to choose realistically.
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.
Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .
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