Wrong assumptions or why we do not always know what will make us happy

It took me sometime to figure out how to present this problem - the problem of wrong assumptions. We ALL have this problem and we are all victims of it to some degree.

Somehow, especially when it comes to dating and relationships, we think we know what makes (or will make) us happy. We have this list of ‘must haves’ our potential partner should possess and the list of what they should and should not do. It is like we have this happy template in our head and one big assumption attached to it.

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Would it make you feel weird if I told you that you could be WRONG? And if so, now imagine how many potential candidates you've rejected simply because they did not fit that well-crafted by you template? They had zero chance in the world because the wall of assumptions you built so carefully was way too high for them to overcome. They had no chance which means… you had no chance to try it with them either.

I know you may not care about them or their chances of finding happiness, but how about your own chances? Don’t you care about finding our own happiness?

Now, I am going to tell you a story of my friend who is a great example of this problem. As you read through this story you may either recognize yourself or already know someone who has it.

A friend of mine, let’s call her Jen, was in her early 20-s when she thought she knew what kind of a partner would make her happy. Since she was outgoing and loved partying she was looking for someone who was ‘fun’ to be with. She found the guy, married him, and had fun for some time… until she got pregnant and had a baby. Having an infant at home is not ‘fun’, I mean it is ‘fun’, but of a different kind. As a result, she was having her ‘fun’ at home ALONE while he was partying and boozing somewhere else.

She did not feel happy about it. His ‘fun’ nature was the exact opposite of what she wanted him to be. She wanted a caring, attentive, loyal, understanding, ‘homey’ husband, but had someone opposite instead. As you have probably guessed by now, this marriage did not last long. It ended after 3 years.

Disappointed in all men and with a baby on her hands she started looking for ‘the right’ partner. This time she wanted someone who is loyal, does not like partying, is serious, emotionally mature, financially stable, attentive and loves children. She wanted to be The One. In this case we would think she had learned her lesson: she already knew what kind of a partner was making her UN-happy and now she thought she knew what kind of a partner would make her happy.

Well, not so fast.

After 2 years of searching she found the guy who possessed all the qualities listed above. They got married and he accepted her child as his own (he was never married before and did not have children of his own). In my opinion he was a really great guy and of really good long-term relationship material. I would say, she got really lucky this time. I mean like – REALLY LUCKY. Besides him being financially secure he was treating her like a Princess. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. For 10 years. Until she filed for divorce. (Spoiler alert! –  she regretted her decision later).

What went wrong?

Her main complaint was that he was ‘too beta’ for her. He was too loving, too attentive, too understanding, too agreeable, too caring, etc. She felt suffocated and it was too much for her.

Some people perceive love, caring, loyalty, and other decent traits as a weakness. As a result of this, instead of appreciating the golden partner they have got they mistreat them. Once it happens the relationship becomes unbalanced and pretty much one-sided. It turns into a relationship of two people standing on opposite sides of the hemisphere with one feeling unloved and unappreciated and the other suffering from an abundance of love. If the problem is not addressed, everything goes down pretty quickly. In the end he became a push over and she lost respect and feelings for him.

Divorced twice, with no prospects and no hope she started looking again. As one would expect again, this time she would know for sure what kind of a man she wanted. Somehow she knew (or assumed) that if she were with a stronger than her husband #2 man everything would fall into place. Knowing that wussy guys were not her cup of tea she went on a look out for an Alpha male.

Oh Dear Lord, an Alpha male? Of course it would not work! With the kind of emotional makeup she had an Alpha male was the last thing on this planet Earth she wanted to mess with.

Anyways, after dating extensively she found what she was looking for. Within 6 months of dating she married an Alpha male – a top executive of xx company. P.S. in case you wonder how she finds all these guys the answer is simple – she dated a lot and dumped every one of them until she met who she wanted. She never dated anyone for ‘too long’ and never was dwelling on anyone ‘for years’. Everything was moving pretty quickly.

She thought that being with a stronger man would make things better, but unfortunately, it did not. Her current complains? He is not as attentive, as loving, as understanding, as romantic, and as compassionate as her previous husband was. He won’t listen when she needs him and won't run to buy her a chocolate at 2 am like her previous husband did. He is an Alpha male who does not like to be ordered around and who won’t put up with the crap she was dishing out at her previous husband. He has a strong personality and makes the rules: they bought a house HE wanted, they go on vacations and stay in places HE wants, and he bought her a car HE thought she should like. In HIS mind he takes care of things, but with her - he is a dictator.

Although, she is well provided, she feels neglected emotionally. Her favorite days are when he is gone for business and she is home alone for days.

Here is another story:

I knew a woman who kept saying the same thing for years ‘I like big cities, I am a city-girl, and I will never live in the country!’. Ten years later she did end up living in the country… with a husband and 2 kids.

When talking to her she said ‘Well, I rejected him several times, but he was too persistent. I gave him a chance and here we are’. ‘Are you happy? – I asked. ‘I am very happy’ – she responded. ‘But how about that city thing? Don’t you hate living in the country?’ – I asked. After a 5 second pause she replied: ‘When it comes to love and being with someone who makes me happy - country or no country - at the end of the day it does not really matter. Besides, I had no idea how relaxing living in the country is. Cities are crazy!’ Hmmm, OK.

And one more:

I knew a woman who wanted to marry a ‘local’ man only so she could stay close to her family and friends. Her point was understandable; besides, relocation is not for everyone. Living far away from her sisters, mom and dad, and the rest of her family seemed too frightening to her. She just knew that she needed to marry someone local which means she was denying herself other opportunities.

She could very well be right (about being close to her family), but how could she know for sure?? Did she have both experiences to compare? Anyways, 15+ years later and she is married to a guy who travels (and relocates) all the time. They lived in several countries and she visited many beautiful cities (Paris, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Barcelona and the list goes on and on!) Currently she lives in Florida (over 2,000 miles away from her family), has no regrets, and is super happy with her life.

Who would know?! She was brave enough to give herself a chance to embrace something scary, unfamiliar, and unknown and here we have it!

Moral of these stories:

~ our assumptions about what will make us happy are not always correct which means – see the next
~ our assumptions about what will make us UN-happy could be wrong too
~ our past real experiences is reliable proof of what makes and what does not make us happy
~ our assumptions that are not backed up by real experiences are not reliable proof. They are just assumptions made out of our own possibly wrong believes.

When it comes to dating and relationship, discarding potential partners who do not fit into our imaginary template is utterly wrong. Yes, we should not discard our history and past experiences, but assuming that something we have not tried before won’t work is rather stupid. Why not give it a chance and see? Let it be a small one, but still a chance.

To back it up: remember those times when you got rejected after only one date? You knew you were a great catch and deep down you knew that if only they gave you more time you would eventually have a blast together. You may never know why they rejected you, but wrong assumptions on their part could be one of those reasons.

If, for example, you have never dated a certain type or have never done certain things, what makes you think that it won’t work? Your assumptions? As the stories above demonstrate, we can be very wrong about what might make us happy. We will never know until we give it a chance and try. Other than that, by rejecting the ‘unknown and unfamiliar’ we are unknowingly sabotaging our own chances of finding happiness and love. Think about it.

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