love

Falling in Love With Potential

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Julie Zantopoulos

When not acting as Vice President and Senior Editor at The Indie Chicks, Jewels is a writer at heart and most likely writing for her own website According to Jewels or working on her first novel.In her free time she's loves heading to concerts, taking road trips, reading, and doing anything crafty. Don't hesitate to reach out...she loves chatting with our readers.

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I wrote a piece at According to Jewels a long time ago called Falling in Love With Potential. It was a piece that sparked a lot of conversation in the comment section and it got me to thinking…why do we self sabotage so much? This is not a gender problem; this is a universally human problem. There is nothing more detrimental to a relationship’s success than falling in love with potential.

Remember that college boyfriend who you thought you were so in love with, but who gamed all day/night while smoking pot and eating crap food? Remember how you thought that would change when you guys graduated? That guy who could take over the world if he applied himself but he just didn’t have the desire to ever do more? Remember how nothing you said motivated him? That wasn’t just me, was it?

Falling in Love With Potential: The Beginning of the End

We’ve all done it; don’t deny it. We’ve all fallen in love with somebody for who we thought they would/could/should be instead of who they are at that very moment. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when change, growth, and a bit of bending are essential to the evolution of a relationship and a person, but to be constantly judged on the merits of who you ‘could’ be is exhausting. You see a guy who’s all but perfect ‘if only’… It is those ‘if only’ thoughts that signal the beginning of the end. Those thoughts imply that the person isn’t good enough on their own, that you wish they’d change x, y, z about themselves and we all know that’s not fair.

Why You Do It

Maybe you meet the guy/gal when you are young with the expectation that one day they eventually spend more time on work goals than gaming. Or, maybe you were hoping that he’d eventually bore of working in retail and then 5 years later he’s still selling people sweaters by day and gaming until 2am. Suddenly you are screaming at him day and night to get a real job, to get off his ass, and do something with himself. All the while he’s rolling his eyes, shutting you out, and calling you a nagging bitch. You mean well, right? You just want him to be the best version of himself, right?

falling in love with potential, the indie chicks, love, relationships, potential, elizabeth gilbert

Why it’s Cruel

What could be more soul crushing for the other person than realizing they aren’t good enough for your love as they are? Isn’t that all that we want out of love, to be loved for who we are? Yet there we are asking others to be more, do more, and change to suit our expectations. There is a limit between what is fair to ask for compromise on and asking somebody to change what is fundamentally them. Sure, you want what’s best for them, to see them succeed, but there is a difference between motivating, demanding, and tearing down. Supporting your loved one is essential and making them want to be a better person and encouraging them while they make changes is GREAT. What’s not great is demanding they change.

Why It Will NEVER Work

You are asking somebody to change who they are when they are perfectly happy with who they are. More to the point they’ve never claimed to be anything but who they are, it’s you who made these goals and aspirations for them in your head; not them. They never wanted to change. They are happy the way they are. They may change in short bursts, heck they may even attempt long term changes to keep you around and happy, but resentment will build. Falling in love with potential is YOUR problem, not theirs. They’ve always been them, you’re the one who thinks they should be more. They’re happy with the way their life is.

What To Do

Get over it or move on. Asking your significant other to change isn’t fair and it isn’t right. It isn’t their fault you fell in love with who you think they should be instead of who they are. If you can’t resign yourself to the person they are right now, if you are constantly looking for ways they could improve, do yourselves both a favor and walk the hell away. Once away, stay away. Then take a long look at yourself and decide if you’re so perfect you have room to judge like that. Everyone has flaws, room to improve, and character cracks…and I’m sure you’d hate being asked to change who you are. We all just want to be loved for who we are…so return the favor.

Have you ever fallen in love with somebody’s potential? We want to hear about it.

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  • Becca Cord

    Story of my life. You hit the nail on the head with this one Jewels. Glad I read this. I am still holding out to find and fall for someone who I don’t feel the need to “fix”.

    • http://www.accordingtojewels.com Jewels

      Glad you are holding out. It’s better to be alone than with the wrong person. Happy to hear this article confirmed that for you. Believe me, it’s a lesson I’d rather have read than lived. haha.

  • http://www.weezafish.blogspot.com/ weezafish

    Aw man, I so did that when I was younger Jewels. Glad I learnt to stop!! There’s a certain element of love bringing out the best in folk and it’s great sometimes to see and encourage potential (I’m almost still doing it as you can tell) BUT you cannot ‘expect’ of others. It’s just not fair. Especially when they’re perfectly lovely as they are, just maybe not ‘you’.

  • http://www.fantasydatinggame.com/ Suzanne Casamento

    Guilty! Yes, I have fallen in love with someone’s potential. And the whole debacle was my fault. I was in a low place emotionally, so I let all the not so great behaviors (like the weed and all night gaming) slide because I was lonely and wanted a boyfriend. I rationalized that he was “good enough” and “nice enough” until all the laying around and “whatever dude’s” created a time bomb like tension and I bailed.

    The thing is, like in your case, he did nothing wrong. He was just being him. I, on the other hand, was being an ass.

    • http://www.accordingtojewels.com Jewels

      Exactly and admitting that, facing that the whole disappointment and relationship failure was my fault for creating something that didn’t exist in my head, that sucked! Live and learn, right?

      • http://www.fantasydatinggame.com/ Suzanne Casamento

        Yes! Live and learn! That’s what this is all about. ;)

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