Nobody’s perfect but you couldn’t tell my exes that. They considered me their “perfect woman” and inevitably dumped me when they realized I do indeed have faults. I used to wonder what was going on until I realized it was a classic case of projection.
I’m their perfect woman… at first. When I first start dating someone, things are generally fantastic. They constantly tell me how wonderful and perfect I am and our relationship seems authentic, honest, and like it’s going somewhere. Then I turn left instead of right and suddenly they see they’ve made an error in their selection and decide to leave. This has happened to me more than I’d like to admit.
I fall for the romance every time. Who could blame me for falling for the corny, sappy, honeysuckled romance? Long walks hand-in-hand, flowers, unexpected phone calls, sexy texts, the works. I’m their goddess, Venus directly out of Botticelli’s painting, a nymph by the seashore they’ve found. This goes on for a month or two, then BAM! They ditch me.
I never understood why this was happening to me. I used to constantly ask myself why this was happening to me over and over again. I know I’m a catch and certainly worthy of having a long-term relationship so I just didn’t get it. I’d get upset, wondering what I was doing wrong.
They were projecting who they wanted me to be, not who I really was. It took me some time to realize that my dates weren’t really seeing me. They were seeing a projection of what and who they wanted me to be. Like a celebrity to crush on or obsess over, they didn’t actually want to get to know who I was.
They wanted me to be their movie star. Rita Hayworth used to say, “Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda and woke up with me.” Gilda was Hayworth’s most famous role and these men weren’t really interested in her. They wanted to get to know the movie star, not the real, flawed woman behind her. It seemed that this notion of going to bed with or spending time with one person and then waking up with someone totally different was happening in my life.
They weren’t seeing the real me. That sucked because I’d often get accused of being someone I had no intention of being just because they weren’t able to deal with their own personal drama and emotions. I was always authentically myself, they just weren’t paying attention.
I started wondering if I was projecting too. In psychology, projection is known as a defense mechanism that a person uses when they don’t want to deal with their emotions or feelings. Instead, they start projecting those feelings and emotions onto other people. With all of this projection happening, I started wondering if maybe I wasn’t seeing something about myself either. Was I projecting too? Were these people acting as a mirror for me? What was the lesson here, if there was one at all?
I was in a state of denial. I didn’t want to see the lessons these dates were teaching me. I was too blinded by the pedestal they were putting me on to see what was really going on. First of all, I was putting my entire self-worth into these relationships, but I’m worth more than what the people I was dating were projecting onto me. It was hard to see this because I was constantly being rejected for reasons I felt were beyond my control, and I allowed the rejections to take center stage instead of the truth, which is that my self-worth should have been my top priority.
I’m already perfect. While I certainly don’t shirk away from compliments, I realized that I don’t need someone putting me on a pedestal. Eventually, I realized the praise was getting in the way of my actually getting to know someone because these it wasn’t genuine. They were derived from a fairytale in which I was playing Snow White. When I finally woke up, I understood that I’m already perfect the way I am. While I do encourage compliments these days, I also make sure they’re genuine and that my date is actually commenting on me and not a figment of their imagination.
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