While visiting my grandchildren, I heard my daughter and son-in-law describe something from my own childhood…after we got the toy out of the box, we played in the boxes! I drove a tank, a race car, and a submarine. My grandparents had straight back chairs. My cousin and I would lay the chairs on their back and fly into the air in fighter jets. We flew in formation and shot enemy aircraft while dropping bombs and strafing aircraft carriers and enemy airfields.
Why is an empty box and a straight back chair more fun than a longed after toy??? I think the answer is so simple we tend to overlook it. The answer is “The Fantasy is Always Better Than the Reality”. Using my imagination is always more thrilling than objects which have specific functions that I might use occasionally. I can use my imagination anywhere, anytime, or any place. What gets me in trouble is when I permit my imagination to freely roam in off-limit or forbidden areas.
The fantasy of “relationship” is always better than the reality. Everyone enters relationships with expectations (some might call “fantasies”) of the perfect relationship. My partner will be like this…and I will be like this… and we’ll all live happily ever after. But like all fantasies, there is an evil something that creeps along and steals, kills, destroys our fantastic relationship. I’ve determined that evil something to be “REALITY”. I hate to say it but we live in a real world, not a fantasy. Infidelity happens when our fantasies are stronger than accepting the reality of our commitment to our partner.
Here are some tips to redirect your relationship focus:
1. He/She is the person you married. Get to know them.
2. Accept conflict as an opportunity for growth; not the first death toll of your relationship.
3. Disagreement is another way to view the same picture; hear the new description.
4. While you might be good at changing others, quit trying to change your partner; change yourself.
5. Realize your partner is unique and especially suited for your needs.
6. Make sure you communicate your needs, not what they have to do.
7. He/She is the person you married. Get to know them.
At HPCS, we work very hard to help couples strengthen their relationships and create a new fantasy where you both fight off monsters, fly your jets, and relax on the islands you build together as you’ve learned the real persons. Let us know how we can help.
~Stan Long, LICSW, PIP