Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Why Being A Secret Admirer Is Often Better Than Being A Partner

Lying in bed at night or waiting for the bus to take us to its destination, we often daydream about the potential of our love lives.

What if we were single and talked to the cute lady next to the squat rack who kept looking our way, what if we went on a date with our charming colleague who has a crush on us, or what if we were to reach out to our high school sweetheart, after all, we’re so much more mature now.

The desire to be with someone is almost always sparked by a handful of seductive thoughts. Images that we’d cherish forever if they actually happened. 

In these moments of downtime, we’re essentially writing the best chapters of a love story. And although our imagination sets the bar so high, we often believe that if our fantasy came to life, it’d be even better.

But that’s not necessarily true. In fact, it rarely is.

And we’d know this if we studied our minds more carefully. 

Our brains only imagine the highlights of a relationship with someone. Mostly ones of a more romantic and sexual nature. Consequently, our mental images don’t even come close to representing an actual romance.

Our imagination leaves out much more than it takes in. 

Yes, if we got together with our paramour we’d experience the things that our mind created. But we’d also experience so much else. So much that’s boring, disappointing, or unattractive.

They might have a wildly different taste in movies than us, they might handle their professional responsibilities poorly, they might nibble around the edges of a sandwich before eating the center, and they might be a little prudish in the bedroom. 

And most importantly of all, they might not be so fun to be with after we share our three hundredth Sunday morning together and eat buttered toast while discussing the colour of the new rug for the bedroom while our dog is barking at the neighbourhood cat in front of the window. This is what the majority of our relationship will look like. And that’s what defines grownup love.

To make things even more complicated, there’s something else that our fantasy overlooked that can ruin the whole thing.

Ourselves.

We’re going to bring all of our problems to the relationship too: our insecurities, our anxieties, our temper, and all of our other imperfections. None of this exists in fairyland. We can create perfect romantic scenarios in our minds because we don’t have to consider our shortcomings. 

But if we’d actually be in the car with our lover on a weekend trip to the breathtaking town of Mont-Saint-Michel, we’d discover that we’re no picnic to be around. And that no one would tolerate the whole of us with a smile. 

In daydreaming about our ideal partner, we might have already enjoyed the best that anyone can give us. 

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach