“I want a man who I can put on a pedestal, and devote myself to.” Whoa, way too much pressure, was my reaction. I actually read this recently on an online profile. It got me thinking about all the ways we put too much pressure on others and ourselves.
There are two common ways we put too much pressure on other people in romantic situations—the qualifications we put on someone and the situation we create. A broader topic that also adds pressure that I will likely go into in another blog is neediness and acting like there is more to the relationship too quickly.
“A man has to be okay with cats” or “Being okay with me riding my motorcycle is a must.” These statements are deal breaker statements. These are good to put out there really early. Whether it is about kids, lifestyle needs, or even personality traits, saying up front what you’re not okay with is a good thing. If someone isn’t okay with it, you should know that soon. “I want a man who is really funny who always has me laughing” or “I want a woman who has a natural beauty that she just wakes up looking good.” These are statements that put a lot of pressure on someone. If you really want something like that, keep it to yourself and if they are not that, then find someone else.
By voicing your qualifications, you create a pedestal for that person. They will be worried whether they can even make it onto your pedestal, and if they do, when will they fall off of it? In our workshops we talk about how disqualification can help you avoid the problem of qualification altogether.
The situation we put people in can also be a tremendous source of pressure. Understanding all the ways we set up people to feel pressured can be a very difficult thing to understand and correct. Identifying common situations first is the key. Let’s take the common example of the dinner date. This situation puts way too much pressure on both people, especially for the first date. The man is often expected to choose the restaurant, which will likely reflect on his financial situation. If the date is in an unfamiliar place, then the pressure increases, choosing a restaurant neither may be familiar with. If he picks one where he goes often, she is left wondering if he takes all his dates there.
A woman has to very carefully choose what she will wear, hoping it will be appropriate to the classiness of the restaurant. Also her outfit should not reflect poorly on her date, either by being overdressed in relation to, or be risqué. Of course with all of that she wants to still look beautiful and attractive. Of course then who is expected to pay? Is going Dutch okay these days? If he does pay and it’s on a first date, what does he expect in return? With this being the stereotypical first date it is no wonder people have dating problems. Meeting for coffee or drinks for a first date is much more of a low-pressure situation. Dinner can come later when you both feel more comfortable around each other.
Think about what qualifications you voice to other people and what situations you get into that put pressure on yourself and others. There is a pressure relief valve in any situation; the challenge is to find it!