To understand why relationships fail, we need to go back and look at how they begin.
Consciously or not, we carry in our minds an image of our ideal mate, with a list of desirable characteristics, a list of ‘tick boxes’ even. When we are attracted to someone new, that person will tick some of the boxes.
If they tick enough of the boxes, we tend to assume that they’ve ticked them all and we project our ideal image onto them. We believe that we have found the ideal mate.
At the beginning of the relationship, we will both be on our best behaviour. During this honeymoon period, we only see the boxes that were ticked. If any of the unticked boxes begin to show, we will ignore them, but as time goes on, more and more of them will show and we will reach a point where we can’t ignore them anymore.
This is where the problems begin. We don’t accept our responsibility for the problem, but instead, we blame the other person.
We try to force that person to change, to become the image we projected. But we are dealing with a real person, not with a projection, and until we accept the truth of that, and accept the other, warts and all, there will be conflict.
In any relationship, both parties will be making this mistake, not necessarily to the same extent. Both parties will be projecting their ideal image onto the other.
In order to overcome this, both parties have to accept their responsibility for the problems; both have to accept that they have been making this mistake, and it’s not easy.
But if they can be brutally honest with themselves, and possibly with some counselling, the conflict can be overcome and a true relationship based on mutual trust and love can begin to grow.