Image: One Love Photo


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Friday, September 24, 2010

#93: Do you put your partner on a pedestal?

One of the most dangerous things to do is put your partner on a pedestal. Of course, it ain't healthy to perceive any mere mortal as a god or goddess. (Okay fine, I should take my own advice and stop squealing when Oprah says wise things or gives away trips to Australia. Easier said than done, though.) But putting your partner on a pedestal is particularly detrimental to your own mental health and to your marriage/ relationship.

Here's what happened when I put my ex-almost-fiance on a pedestal: When he decided I was not the woman for him, I crashed and burned. For realz. (Umm...did ya read this post?)

And here's what happens when you put your spouse on a pedestal: (1) You get so disappointed when he/ she majorly screws up or breaks down, that you yourself become broken; (2) you find yourself in the arms of a cute stranger who conveniently distracts you from the crappy parts of your marriage and (3) you kind of lose your sense of self apart from being a wife or husband. NOT good. Why? Because you were a uniquely special and independent person before you met your partner, and you will need to feel like a uniquely special and independent person when your partner is physically or emotionally out of your life (through death, or a midlife crisis, or experiencing a bout of depression, or seriously ill, or in the hormonal throws of menopause).

Now I know your partner is amazing and all - it's why you love them, why you see yourself being happily married to them forever and ever, and why you plan to make out with them tonight. That's all fine and dandy. But be conscious of the difference between loving in a healthy way vs. a fairytale way.

So how do you know if you're putting your honey on a pedestal? Honestly, it's tough to come up with general guidelines for this because it is, for certain people, a very subtle phenomenon that would require some picking of thy brain. But since I can't do my psychotherapy magic on you, here are 2 general warning signs:
  • You think his/ her worst qualities aren't that bad (Not to be confused with you being able to handle their incredibly infuriating flaws in a healthy way.)
  • You have yet to experience wanting to ring your hands around his/ her neck.
What do YOU consider signs of pedestalism? (I just made up a word. Whatchya gonna do about it??)

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  1. This is fascinating, and such a risky spot for me. I love my fiance like crazy cats. So much so that I can't even begin to describe it.

    But he does have some incredibly annoying, gross and just infuriating habits. We argue. I bang doors. And good golly why is it so hard to put a clean dish away in the cupboard that is directly underneath the countertop on which he stacked the damn thing?

    Because of the way (and reasons) we broke up when we were kids, we have both had to forgive one another for Very Bad Behavior. And because we've both been through some really horrible things in the last few years that caused us each to fall apart and have panic attacks and other less-than-perfect behavior, I think that helps make him more human, more approachable, and even more lovable somehow. It's so comforting knowing that we have each screwed up big time (and fallen apart) and loved each other anyway and through the mess.

    So, hmm. Yes. I put him on a pedestal sometimes, but I also feel free to knock him off every now and again when he deserves it. Not sure if this is good or bad, but if feels wonderful.

  2. Yeah, I definitely think there's an ease about a healthy and strong relationship, so *always* wanting to wring your partner's neck is NOT a good sign! And then there's the fact that people have different baselines in terms of their level of irritability vs. a patience and calm, so it's hard to tell the difference between adoring someone vs. worshiping them.

    You and your guy seem very happy and healthy. You know it's a good sign when someone occasionally infuriates you AND YET you can't help but be totally smitten. :)


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