Love is so complex, and yet at the same time it is actually quite simple. Either you love someone or you don’t. While someone may be able to check all the right boxes, and on paper you might appear to make a fantastic couple, at the end of the day after many failed endeavors, I’ve come to the conclusion that your brain cannot override your heart.
While we may make trade-offs in many aspects of our life, it has become clear to me that for those seeking real love, trade-offs won’t work. What do I mean by trade-offs? Well, let me be blunt, for those in our 20’s and 30’s that are interested in getting married and having kids, there are some timeline pressures that drive certain choices. If someone is smart, cute and kind enough that you can see yourself creating a family together, then you may ignore certain things that may be lacking in the package. In my own case, I disregarded the fact that my former husband was not religious, athletic or multi-cultural. While these things mattered immensely to me, at the time they seemed insignificant qualities to look for in a partner, as long as I had the three basics- smart, cute and kind. Overtime, however, I learned that I was wrong and not having certain core values in alignment was our downfall.
Over the years, as I have worked with many couples to help them through their divorces, I have seen first-hand how many of us have ignored the early signs that could have warned us things would not work out, and we are all smart people, so how did we let this happen? Because we were driven by certain life goals, and we were willing to make trade-offs. We all had our pros and cons lists, and as long as the good outweighed the bad, we plowed ahead simply hoping for the best, and sometimes not preparing for the worst.
Throughout many of the past blogs, I have written extensively about applying business techniques to our mergers with another person, and I whole-heartedly stand by the principal that despite our feelings, we need to logically think through the concept of combining forces with another human being. However, don’t get so bogged down in your analysis of all the little parts that you lose sight of the big picture. Much like you would want to appreciate a painting by taking in the whole picture, you need to step back from your check lists and take in the whole experience of the relationship you are in– and honestly, dig deep and ask yourself, does this mural move you? Do you feel like you are looking at a masterpiece that makes your heart sing?
For those of us now in our 40’s that no longer have the pressures of getting married and having children, I have come to see how the opportunity for true love is finally a real possibility, if we have the patience to hold out for it. I admit, when I tried to override my own heart, I failed miserably. The parts were all there, but the whole picture was just off. I could not understand how so many of my friends that have remarried kept saying “it is sweeter the second time around.” Now I get it– when you are not trying to force a square peg through a round hole everything is just so easy, and that is exactly why it is so blissful.
In the end, I’m definitely not suggesting you throw caution to the wind– know your “must haves” and “can’t stands,” but don’t let those checklists fool you. When it is simply all there, you won’t need to have your brain override your heart.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.