She Said, He Said: Be careful with that unicorn during the honeymoon
June 11, 2018
Dear Lori and Jeff,
I recently met a woman who may be the "one." She is kind, beautiful and independent with a promising career. The only problem is I'm starting to think she's too good for me. I'm worried she'll eventually realize she can do better and want to move on. I find myself increasingly on edge, constantly trying to analyze what she's thinking and where I stand — things I've never really done before. How do I navigate this situation and not lose the woman of my dreams?
Maybe Not Enough
In your mind she's the ultimate catch — you've found yourself a unicorn. So, is the problem that she seems too good to be true or too good for you?
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Be careful in the early stages of any relationship not to put your new partner on a pedestal. During this honeymoon phase, they are giving you their best, and still have the energy to filter out their less-than-positive qualities. And, in your desire to deeply connect, you may be feeding into the fantasy notion of her perfection. How many times have you gotten into a relationship believing this person was different than anyone you've ever met, only to discover, several months in, that this new partner is a lot like the last. We can thank the hormones of the honeymoon phase for this trickery. The important question is whether you're seeing her clearly, imperfections and all, or only what shines.
And where do you fit into the tale? Clearly you haven't written yourself in as a unicorn-worthy character. You're not a knight in shining armor, or even the irresistibly witty squire. Are you the pauper, the fool?
Writing a negative role of yourself will create a self-fulfilling prophecy — the good woman will always be too good for you. Clients we work with who have a "less than" mentality often have to develop their inner foundation and learn to own their worth. In order to do so, you'll likely have to get on the horse and make some changes in your life, or grow some acceptance and grace for your flaws, or perhaps a little of both. The real magic of your unicorn is she can help you determine what needs to be done. Right now, you're seeing yourself through her eyes — at least how you think she sees you. She is acting as a mirror for you to have clarity on the areas of yourself that you judge or reject. Those parts of you that you don't think are good enough for her are really the parts that you, deep down, don't think are good enough for you. Your fairytale ending can only come through feeling you're your best self.
Commit to becoming the guy who deserves the unicorn — the healthy, confident man who knows what he has to offer in love. Work to change what you can, practice acceptance for what you can't. If you find yourself struggling to change the story of your worth, we encourage you to reach out to a coach or therapist.
Lori and Jeff are married, licensed psychotherapists and couple-to-couple coaches at Aspen Relationship Institute. Submit your relationship questions to info@AspenRelationshipCoaching.com and your query may be selected for a future column.