He was so amazing in the beginning.
He brought you flowers, opened the door for you, and surprised you with magical experiences. When you were sick, he brought you treats. When you were upset, he made you feel better.
“What luck!” you thought to yourself. “What a gentleman! What a thoughtful, kind, loving human being!”
And so the weeks passed.
He started to spend a lot of time at your house. You started to spend a lot of time at his.
You let him see your face bare, without the shield of makeup. You dared break out the sweatpants and t-shirts. In exchange, he let you see the real him.
He stopped opening the door for you. He stopped checking in on you when you were sick. He snapped at you a time or two. He was grumpy. He acted like it was inconvenient to make time for you.
“Who is this imposter?” you thought. “I want my man back.”
But you had it all backwards.
The man you dated was the illusion. The man you’re with now is really him.
Men know how to be charming and impress you on the first few dates.
They know how important it is to be their best. They’ve only got one chance at hooking you. It’s a challenge, and they rise to the occasion.
As all employers know, a stellar interview doesn’t guarantee that a new hire will work out. People present their ideal selves in an interview. They give their interviewers the right answers, not the real answers.
Modern men are savvy. They know there are right answers and wrong answers. They’re not going to tell you anything that might put you off.
If you say you love walks in nature and modern art, he’ll tell you how much he enjoys the beach a few blocks from his home and invite you to see an exhibition. You’ve made it easy for him.
A smart man can guess what you want to hear and play the role of your dream boyfriend to perfection.
Even Disney figured this out.
Frozen’s Prince Hans looked like the ideal man. He said all the right things to Anna when they first met. Then, when crisis hit, he revealed how easy it had been to play her. She’d heard what she wanted to hear. She could have asked the hard questions, but she didn’t.
There’s a twist:
We guess what men want to hear, too.
We try to present ourselves as his dream girlfriend.
We don’t let him see our flaws, not at first. We let him see the woman we’d like to be, which may or may not be an accurate representation of who we really are.
Is that deception?
Is it deceptive to wear a dress and heels on a date, even though you live in jeans and sneakers?
Is it deceptive to wear Spanx and a push-up bra to give yourself the perfect figure?
Or is it just clever marketing?
You can’t blame men for pretending to be your knight in shining armor. Part of him may even enjoy playing the role of gentleman. It’s just that he can’t keep it up forever.
No one wear their social mask forever. Part of getting into a relationship is taking that mask off.
So can you blame a man for pretending to be your dream date? Of course not.
Like Anna from Frozen, you have to ask yourself some hard questions. Did you jump to conclusions about his suitability for you, based on your first impressions?
There’s a very simple and easy solution to all this:
Adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
Enjoy those first few dates, those first few weeks, even those first few months of bliss. But recognize that this is just the honeymoon stage. You’ve only seen each other at your best. Don’t make any promises or jump to conclusions.
The longer you’re together, the more (and better) information you’ll have to decide whether he’s right for you.
Something magical happens when you commit to waiting and seeing how things work out before making any assumptions.
Your man may actually show up more fully in the relationship.
He can tell you’re not falling for his “ideal man” act. He can tell that you know there’s more to him than what he’s shown you. He can’t just say what you want to hear and win your heart. He has to reach deeper into himself to earn your trust.
A man experiences a huge feeling of relief when he knows his date isn’t going to expect a happy-ever-after after Date #3. He doesn’t have to bear the weight of unrealistic expectations. He doesn’t have to pretend he’s perfect.
And if he slacks and stops behaving like a gentleman, it’s no skin off your nose to bid him goodbye. You haven’t been doodling hearts around your initials.
So wait and see. Don’t assume that your first few dates are a good indicator of the rest of your lives together. He will change, and so will you.
If you’re looking for a way to get your power back in love and quit the grind of making yourself appealing to men, then you will love my book THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE.
It’s about turning the tables on classic dating advice and rediscovering what makes YOU come alive.
You deserve a partner who loves to make you smile, and The Pleasure Principle will teach you how. Check it out.