THE QUICK CHANGE ARTIST
by Gilda Evans
So…you’ve decided to move in together or even get married.  And then some time goes by.  And suddenly, the person you thought you were married to, begins to morph into someone you never knew.  The true colors – personality traits, irksome quirks, idiosyncrasies – that bother, irritate and are downright adversarial begin to surface and you wonder how you could have been so blind.  Well, maybe you weren’t.  Maybe they’re just very well-versed in the art of “quick change.”   It’s amazing how many people are capable of hiding the true nature of themselves if it inures to their own selfish schemes.  If getting you to say “I do” was one of them, then you fell into their trap – and now it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to do about it.  If you are unfortunate enough to find that children have come into the mix in the meantime, then you’ve really got your hands full.  Why this person chose to hide their true nature in the first place could be one of many reasons – they’re escaping from an old relationship and looking to you to “rescue” them.  They’ve been around long enough to learn what others want in a relationship and have learned to play the game until they get past a certain point and can let their guard down.  They are lonely and desperate and will do anything to get someone to commit – and then watch out!  Who knows?  So, what do you do?  Do you stay in a bad marriage if there are kids involved?  Do you go to counseling and try to make it better?  Personally, my belief is that a leopard really can’t change its spots.  Once they reveal their true nature, no amount of counseling is going to overcome a basic character that just doesn’t mesh with yours.  (A lobotomy maybe – just kidding!)  That’s not to say that counseling is never an option – but that usually works best when the issues in the marriage are more specific, and not just a general conflict of personalities.  And if there are kids – that’s a tough one.  While you don’t want to deprive your kids of a parent in the house, it’s also not good to have them be witness to a relationship that isn’t working, is adversarial and creates tension and a negative atmosphere to grow up in.  The best advice I can offer in that circumstance is to do what your heart is telling you.  For what it’s worth, at this point in my life I can tell you that if I have even the slightest inkling that the person I’m with is hiding something – either about themselves or about their life in general – that’s my cue to exit, stage left.  I have absolutely no interest in being used, misled or treated in a fashion that is less than I deserve.  A relationship that’s working is honest from A to Z.  It’s easy, comfortable and any work it takes to maintain the relationship (and they do take work) is a joy to perform.  If the relationship you’re in is anything less than that, then you may want to consider the alternatives.  After all, a life is a terrible thing to waste…especially if it’s yours!
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