“My Partner is a Reflection of Me”: Partner Choice as Self-Referendum

a white pier with a marina. on the water, there is a reflection (a shadow) cast of two people who are standing on the pier (but can't be seen in the image)
Image by Simon Yeo / CC BY

“My partner is a reflection of me,” she said.

“Oh?”

“What he does,” she continued. “Who he chooses to spend time with.”

“And your metamour?” I said.

“She’s not someone I’d have chosen for him. Not someone I’d choose for myself. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes,” I said.

And it was an honest answer. I remembered the first time Seth introduced me to a girl he liked, after we had opened. My mind spun into overdrive. I was frantic, searching for clues in her of what he thought of me.

It was a hard habit to shake.

I looked at Seth’s partner selections as a referendum on me as a person. To the brain weasels of my anxiety, every time Seth chose someone to date, he was giving me secret messages about how he viewed me. The things he wanted to tell me but couldn’t bear to be honest enough to say.

I knew exactly what she was talking about.

And I knew how powerful the instinct was. How much it convinced you of its rightness, of its importance.

And I knew most of all how incredibly misguided it was.

“You know,” I continued. “Do you remember what you said about your mother?”

“You’ll have to be more specific,” she said. “Part of being in the crazy mom club.”

I laughed. “Well, about how she wouldn’t let you be you. Said you were embarrassing.”

She nodded. “And that people judged her by what I did.”

“That everything you did reflected badly on her,” I said.

“Which is so stupid by the way. We’re different people.”

“Exactly,” I said. “Why should your partner be any different? Remember that the next time you’re thinking that he’s a reflection of you.”

She frowned.

“It’s not a quick fix. And it might not work right away,” I continued. “But personally I’ve found a lot of success by trying to think differently than my parents did.”

She laughed. “Okay, I’ll try it.”

Further Reading:

The New Party Guest: Trusting Our Partner’s Partner Selection

 

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