By the time you reach your mid-20s, it’s safe to say that you’ve probably had your fair share of disappointments with men. There have been a few guys for whom you have fallen; however, for some reason or another, it didn’t work out.
The odd thing about falling for someone is that for the duration of the infatuation period, he seems perfect. But, it is worth noting that “loving another person” and “infatuation” are two entirely different things.
When we are infatuated, we remain in a bubble. We make excuses for red flags, dismiss any flaws or downplay them when others (mainly those who actually care about us) bring them to our attention. We pretty much do everything we can to preserve this state of captivating desire.
Why? It feels amazing; it enables us to feel invincible — the blissful fascination elicits a state of bionic vigor. As wonderful as early emotions may be, there is often cause for concern and caution should be taken.
The dilemma is that at the beginning of almost all relationships, the infatuation stage prevails and so we “think” we are dating our Prince Charming, when in reality, we have created a mirage (well, the chemical reactions in our brains created an overdosage, so to speak, of serotonin and dopamine, which formulated the fallacy of our modern-day Romeo).
The instant this phase begins to disintegrate, our perfect man becomes amiss and irony creeps into our paramnesia. Now, this once paradisiac man could not be further from perfect for us. The plight leaves women feeling as if time has been wasted and to a certain extent, she feels foolish, as if her emotions have deluded and failed her.
At the commencement of a relationship, nonetheless, it is difficult to really see past the bubble. Being in a new relationship myself, I cannot deny feeling head-over-heels for my man and that this feeling of ecstasy is likely driven, in part, by infatuation.
However, I have enough experience at this point in my life that I can step outside of my state of mind, overwhelmed by burning desire and captivation, and analyze the situation from an outside point of view.
The nature of the vista is always very different from an outsider’s perspective. When you’re in it, you are engulfed by rapture and see nothing but roses and butterflies.
Foreseeing any disappointment or animosity is nearly impossible. An outlander peeking in can more easily peel away the superficial lens and identify telltale signs as to whether he truly is Mr. Right rather than Mr. Right Now.
Upon engaging in this act of “stepping outside of the bubble,” I typically do a run for the hills. I pick up on the million reasons why the relationship won’t work and try to detect any and every excuse to call it quits. I realize that true compatibility does not exist.
There is a lack of alignment in terms of future goals. I don’t admire the other individual enough to take his advice into consideration. There always seems to be so many justifications to leave him and suddenly, the Prince Charming I believed him to be vanishes into thin air.
Skepticism and realty usually get the best of me. I have yet to be in a situation where upon analyzing the circumstances objectively, I conclude that I have met my Prince Charming. Of course, this was only true until now.
For the first time, I stepped out of the bubble and still liked what I saw. The man I see has force of character, a kind heart and chivalry.
I don’t need to be in engrossed in blissful romance to discern this. It is just who he is and for me, it doesn’t get better than that. This does not mean anything is set in stone, but it signifies that the relationship has potential to be something great, something real and something longlasting.
So, how do you know that you have found your Prince Charming at the beginning of a relationship, when you are still blinded by bliss and excitement and cannot tell the difference between romance that is true and that which is superficial? Look for these four signs:
1. He Respects You
Respect, especially at the beginning of a relationship, is paramount. How can you possibly be with someone you don’t regard with admiration? Without respect, a relationship is doomed.
It is a prerequisite for love. That being said, it is not a necessary perquisite for infatuation. Therefore, it is entirely possible for new couples to lack respect for one another without even realizing it.
Adoring a person does not imply you respect him or her. Respect, in many cases, takes time. This, of course, raises the cliché that respect is earned and not simply granted.
Nonetheless, even at the start, there is a certain level of respect that is demonstrated on each individual’s part. Look for subtle actions: He asks your advice on work-related matters, consults you about decisions that impact his life, speaks highly of you to his friends beyond simply your physical appearance, etc.
2. He Is Constant
When a relationship commences, we are on our best behavior; we are kind, considerate, caring and sweet as can be. It is as if we all become poets and profound romantics, regardless of how nonchalant our characters were prior to meeting this superior being for whom we have fallen.
A person’s true colors only show as time passes. A man may act like the sweetest guy on earth at the beginning, but after a few months, he may turn out to be rather barbaric. So, how do you know whether or not your man is the sweet, good-natured individual he is presenting himself to be?
Keep your eye out for Jekyll and Hyde moments. Try to spend time with him in various contexts rather than just alone with him. Does he treat you the same way in front of his friends, family and colleagues?
If you spend nights together often, does he act the same way in the morning?Is he still as passionate and caring? In a past relationship of mine, the guy was extremely sweet for the first six months or so.
However, whenever a dilemma at work arose, his kindness wore off and he took his work-related stress out on me. I, naturally, excused him of this demeanor because as humans, we sometimes take out our frustrations on the ones we love.
Looking back, this was an obvious red flag and I should have been wiser from the start to detect his true colors. I spend a lot of time with my current boyfriend — perhaps more than I have ever spent with any other man from my past — and his behavior toward me is constant.
It is unwavering, despite stress related to work, anxiety or any external pressures. This is the sign of a real man — a man who can handle his issues maturely and who does not take advantage of what he has.
3. He Supports Your Ambitions
Different things make different people happy. For one person, working in the corporate world and making a decent salary may be fulfilling; whereas for another, money alone may not cut it. A more emotionally satisfying career may be someone’s priority.
Ultimately, whatever you truly want to do with your life, your partner must support it. I have learned the hard way that relationships — no matter how perfect they may be in some ways — are destined to fail if this aspect is not in place.
Moreover, it works both ways. A woman must endorse her partner’s life goals, as well. Too often, we overlook this feature of a relationship in the beginning.
We think, “This person is so wonderful that I don’t care if he is a millionaire or if he has a dollar to his name.” But take one step back. Is that really how you feel?
What’s more is that even if that is how you feel, what about him? Does he have certain expectations in regards to your ambitions? Couples don’t really bring up these issues at the commencement of a partnership because they extract us from the psychological wonderland of romance in which we have immersed ourselves.
4. He Listens And Actually Cares
There is a massive difference between passive and active listening. When we are drowning in obsession, so to speak, we tend to act like we are concerned with our significant others’ problems.
In reality, we simply enjoy consoling them, but this does actually require us to sincerely care. I have dated men who appear to be deeply engaged in what I am saying, as if I am telling them the secret to life itself.
But upon finishing my thoughts, I have asked their opinions and feedback, only to have them respond with compliments regarding my physical appearance and nothing even remotely related to what I said. Your man should take you seriously.
He should respond with inquiries to better comprehend a matter if it is unclear. There are plenty of obvious ways to discern whether he is actively listening. Do not get swayed by his flattery and completely dismiss this critical aspect.
I have been through my fair share of letdowns with men. I was so close to giving up on believing that my Prince Charming was somewhere out there for me. Luckily, right at this moment, the man of my dreams showed up.
It took no time at all for me to realize what an amazing human being he is. I now find myself happier than ever in a genuine, affectionate relationship. There may be such a thing as fairytale happy endings, after all.
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