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Revisited: The Madness of Making Assumptions in Dating & Relationships

Posted Aug 04 2011 6:13pm

A couple of years ago, I wrote about 10 reasons women choose men…and why they shouldn’t including stuff like being a churchgoer, being married and loving kids and animals, and more recently I’ve written about being blinded by intelligence and looks . Many a reader has also discovered that there’s no point going on about how much you have in common if you don’t have shared values and the common ground of a relationship .

People can have ‘hallmarks’ that would appear to indicate certain qualities, characteristics and values, but be very careful of using them to make blind assumptions.

It’s also safe to say that just because you believe you’re in possession of certain qualities, characteristics, and values or even life experiences, it doesn’t mean you can assume when you meet someone and find you have some common ground, like being only children, or fond of 18th century poetry, or similar relationship experiences, that you must be destined to be together and are ‘the same’.

When people say to me “I thought that because he was seventy that he was looking for someone to love” or “I’m fifty-effing-two! He should know I want to get married” or “He was married so he is obviously capable of commitment” or “She’d been through a lot – I thought she’d appreciate all the love I gave her”, I want to yell “STOP THE MADNESS!” and have it reverberate just like when Ross in Friends found out that his boss ate his turkey sandwich. Or hit the wrong answer buzzer.

wrong answer
I’m a firm believer that we all need some base assumptions that we operate with. This allows us to enter into situations with a reasonable amount of trust. How much assuming equates to how much headache and illusions you have equates to how deep you’ll get into a relationship for the wrong reasons.

What you need to do with any assumption is to 1) have a basis for it and 2) crosscheck it with reality and adjust accordingly. And therein lies the problem. Most assumptions that I hear people bandy around have very little basis for them and pretty much amount to a fantasy.

No one thing or even a few things ‘makes’ a person and what many people are doing is taking something and using their beliefs while giving themselves too much credit for their judgement, and then extrapolating it and correlating it to the rest of the person and giving them qualities, characteristics and values they don’t possess.

At the end of the day, whatever it is that you’re saying it should mean doesn’t matter if it’s not what it actually means. There’s no point bleating “But they’re so popular! I don’t understand why they’re treating me so badly!” And that’s where you can learn the danger point of assumptions – often we make an inexplicable link between our assumption and a perceived value and then struggle to fathom what can be crap behaviour that actually has no relation to the assumption.

“But he was married for ten years and lived with another ex for five years! I don’t understand why he won’t commit to ME! What did I do?”

Using past information unrelated to you to determine what you think you’re owed in your present relationship or as a way to bust your own proverbial balls is nonsensical. Values change and adapt, as does emotional state and capability and even characteristics and qualities – it’s all about the person in front of you.

Dating is a discovery phase where you also sanity check any initial assumptions against what you discover. We all have certain things that we’re attracted to and that we deem ‘important’ for a relationship. This is all fine however it’s important to recognise that some things are superficial secondary values such as appearance, hobbies etc and some things are your core primary values that are governed by your beliefs about what you need in order to be happy.

It is time to stop the madness. You just cannot latch onto a piece of information and run with it.

At the end of the day, you can choose ANY reason you like from a stratospheric IQ, to bank balance, to penis or breast size, to whether they drink alcohol, to their religious beliefs, their ethnicity, their work with charity, their profession, their family relationships etc. but you still need to ensure that 1) what you think is important and that they possess is actually in existence and 2) that aside from whatever it is that you value, that you are in a mutual relationship with love, care, trust, respect and shared values.

Not all people that get married are committed – some are still ‘dating’…

People get married for all sorts of reasons. Many do it for the right reasons and are genuinely committed, and some have a different agenda. Getting married doesn’t automatically give anyone an increased level of intelligence, emotion, status, or even happiness.

Being married doesn’t make someone a great or changed person. Abusive people aren’t averse to walking down the aisle… They’re just not that special! A marriage (or a relationship) is only as good as you make it and is the sum of the two people in it. It takes more than a title people!

Being of a certain age doesn’t mean someone should or will want the same relationship that you do. People are individuals. Long gone are the times when it was the norm for sixteen year old girls to be getting hitched and starting families, just like not everyone over the age of 50 is looking for a companion.

Some people are close with their family but it doesn’t mean they’ll be a great partner for a relationship. Just ask the many women that write to me and can’t get their man to move out from their mothers…

A few days ago, the same woman who assumed that because her guy was 70 that he was looking for love, also told me that she assumed that he was bitter, tightfisted, mean, and at times abusive because of all the previous women he’s dated that she assumed had ripped him off and ‘wounded’ him (cue the violins). She assumed he’d appreciate all her efforts and she could show him what a good woman she was. It never occurred to her that he may be bitter, tightfisted, mean and at times abusive because he’s bitter, tightfisted, mean and abusive.

Real love happens in the real world. We’ve got to, quite frankly, stop making sh*t up as we go along.

Do you want a relationship or do you want to be held hostage by your imagination proclaiming “I don’t know what was real and what was fake”? You never have to worry about such things when you’re a fully paid up resident of the real world on The BS Diet. Some of you don’t want to take the risk of asking questions, of actually getting to know someone and crosschecking information because you don’t want to emotionally engage to that level and be vulnerable.

Until you have enough facts and consistent evidential experience of what you believe to be true about someone, you’re in no position to be making assumptions and predictions about your relationship or them. Ultimately, none of the things you’re assuming or valuing in someone make a blind bit of difference unless you experience them and they add value to your relationship, because trust me, if your relationship isn’t working, it means you’re not getting the effect of these ‘wondrous’ things, or they’re worthless. Stick with substance and reality – it’s where happiness lies.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop .

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