“The crush is the instantaneous certainty of the location of the ideal – there’s a lot of self-deception in it”, says modern-day philosopher Alain De Botton, founder of the School of Life. How far do we go deceiving ourselves and to what extent do we allow there to be deception in dating?
Exploring The Reasons Behind Deception In Dating
Deception seems to be a very integral part of dating, whether we realize it or not. It is actually two-fold: first, we deceive ourselves about the lack of imperfections on the part of our object of desire, and then we do our best to deceive them about our own perfection.
“The easiest people to fall in love with are those about whom we know nothing”, said the philosopher in a recent interview. He went on to explain that it’s really hard for us to accept that the person we fall in love with is an independent person outside of our fantasies.
We relocate the feelings about perfection and satisfaction we have from our early childhood and our bond with our mother in our prospective partner, seeking in them what we know to be right and desirable and thus deceiving our own selves.
For De Botton falling in love is “the triumph of hope over self-knowledge”. We want in our partners the very things we know we don’t have. We desperately want them to be perfect, even though we know we are not.
“What is so frightening is the extent to which we idealize others when we have such trouble tolerating ourselves”, the philosopher concludes.
Deceiving Our Partners
On the other hand, we also like to present ourselves in the best light possible. We would rather our partners never saw our flaws. We’d be perfectly happy with them thinking we never go to the bathroom or that our noses never run.
Indeed, the De Botton says that “sometimes we should be allowed to edit ourselves and there could be relationships where two people decide they don’t want to expose one another to the full extent of their disturbances, they may want to say ‘let’s call it a day – let’s see you in 5 days, I just need a little time’.
Asking for personal space and time to protect your partner from your most damaged and damaging sides shouldn’t be seen as an abandonment, but rather a way to protect your relationship.
Can We Ever Be Completely Honest?
As our relationships grow, so do we. It’s not a coincidence that older people enter relationships by explaining themselves clearly. They are confident and self-aware enough to say “I get depressed on Sunday evenings, I need my time alone then. I will be OK again on Monday”.
The more you get to know someone, the more difficult it is to hide your dark sides from them. Explaining ourselves and our motives makes it easier for our partners to understand and love these sides of us too, though.
So, even though love is characterized by some degree of deception in dating, as our relationships grow deeper, deception tends to take a back seat and understanding becomes a greater part of our lives.