Recently, I’ve taken inventory of my less-than-desirable habits in dating””the ones that sometimes led me to feel so uncomfortable in relationships that I began to sabotage them.
I’ve broken most of my habits through self-exploration (I dug deep to discover the why behind these pesky default choices of mine), but there’s one that’s been harder for me to break: I still put the people I date or am in relationship with on a pedestal.
This habit doesn’t serve me. And, if you do this too, it doesn’t serve you either.
And if you’re in the habit of wanting your partner to put you on a pedestal rather than you putting him or her on one, the result is the same result as you putting someone higher than you. That result? Separation from your partner.
In this type of dynamic, there’s a perceived inequality. When we put our partner above us, we stay in proving energy. We might over-give or overwork in order to “earn” that person’s love.
Or, worse yet, we might not be our full, authentic self. If we think the person we’re with has more power than us, we tend to “hide,” consciously or unconsciously, the parts of ourselves we think he or she won’t like. This type of guarding leads to a disconnect between partners, especially down the road when the pedestal starts to crumble and the person we once thought was “perfect” begins to become real.
Loving like this feels like walking on eggshells, always waiting for the other person to change his or her mind about us. There is no peace or groundedness in this type of dynamic.
Some are addicted to this kind of love thrill and feel a lack of “spark” when it’s missing. But what’s underneath this craving for “spark” is sometimes a need for uncertainty. If your unconscious mind doesn’t feel worthy of true, connected love, an eggshell-walking relationship may feel more “normal” to you, and a relationship where you put the other person on a pedestal will keep you in this uncomfortable “comfort” zone.
It is also unfair to the partner who’s placed on the pedestal, since it creates unrealistic expectations of how they are supposed to be. One crack in the rose-colored filter and we’re more likely to judge them more critically than we would someone we just saw as our equal.
Being the one who likes to be placed on a pedestal is no better for creating a mutually honoring relationship. If we are the one who prefers to be placed on a pedestal, we will expect our partners to work in order to prove their worth to us. Some may call this the “diva syndrome.” It, too, is a way to keep distance between you and your partner.
This dynamic places unfair expectations on both parties: if we’re the one on the pedestal, we’ll be afraid to show our flaws, lest they give our humanity away. For our partners who have to scramble for our love, it’s an exhausting uphill climb.
There is no true intimacy in either of this pedestal-type love, as both approaches build walls between the partners.
I suggest navigating relationships a different way, one where we take our blinders off and let our humanness””in all of its imperfect glory””lead the way. Where we show up ready to allow the other person to just be, and we drop into our own authenticity.
As relationships like these unfold, they deepen from a space of openness and vulnerability. That’s the kid of relationship I crave. How about you?