When you have fallen in love with someone’s potential, you have fallen in love with who that person would be if he or she just didn’t e.g. drink too much, yell at you, say mean things, etc. This becomes a problem when no matter how many times and no matter in how many ways you ask him or her to change, the person continues to do those things.
Now, of course nobody is perfect, but if you can’t live with the things that you wish this person didn’t do, then you have fallen in love with his or her potential but not with who he or she really is. If your loved one agrees with you and is willing to make the changes—great. But if he or she won’t or can’t, then…loving someone’s potential continues and is painful and frustrating.
It is easy to fall in love with someone’s potential, because at the beginning of a relationship we often only show our best qualities. This is why it is important to really get to know someone before you get too deep into a relationship (see my post on building good relationships). Often this does not work when chemistry takes over, the relationship moves forward too fast, and we find ourselves head over heels in love with someone’s potential.
Once we are knee-deep in the relationship, love causes us to make excuses for our loved one. We continue to hope for change and hope that our mate will one day be the person we know he or she can be.
Deciding whether or not to stay in a relationship that is not working boils down to two questions: Is this person willing to make the changes necessary to make this relationship work? Is this person capable of making the changes necessary to make this relationship work? (And those are two very different questions!)
What do you think? Have you been in love with someone’s potential?