Relationships, Part 5: Getting behind the masks

maskYou know the drill. You start dating someone and they seem like the most wonderful person in the world. Then you become familiar with each other and, all of a sudden, they are the spawn of the devil.

You know the reasons. People are polite on their first dates. They’re putting their best feet forward. They want you to like them. And you are doing the same thing. When you begin to date, you are not getting to know the real person, you are getting to know that person’s masks. And they are only seeing yours.

I believe that the masks you choose are as authentic a part of your self as what lies beneath. Appearances do matter. The fact that you select, for instance, a bragging, audacious persona versus a reserved, deferential one says something, even though both may hide a fragile ego.

However, the mask is not the whole story. Sooner or later, in any meaningful relationship, the hidden person shows up. Then you have a choice. You can:

  1. Split up and start the whole process over again with someone else.
  2. Try to change your partner so that the inside of him matches the outside.
  3. Deal with the reality of the situation and learn to respect your partner, even the things you don’t initially like.
  4. Put on a new mask and collude as your partner puts on a new one himself.

Number 4 is a common choice that people make. It leads to trouble. In the next post, I will show you how.

Click here to go to the entire Relationships series.

Published by Keith R Wilson

I'm a licensed mental health counselor and certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor in private practice with more than 30 years experience. My newest book is The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. I recently published a workbook connected to it titled, How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again. I also have another self help book, Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments. I’ve also published two novels, a satire of the mental health field: Fate’s Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic, and Intersections , which takes readers on a road trip with a suicidal therapist. If you prefer your reading in easily digestible bits, with or without with pictures, I have created a Twitter account @theshrinkslinks. MyFacebook page is called Keith R Wilson – Author.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: