This knowledge won’t be available via a standard chat.In the absence of all this, we are led – in large part – by what they look like.The question is just where the problems will lie: perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us, or we can only relax when we are working, or we’re a bit tricky around intimacy after sex, or we’ve never been so good at explaining what’s going on when we’re worried.
A standard question on any early dinner date should be quite simply: ‘And how are you mad?’ The problem is that knowledge of our own neuroses is not at all easy to come by.On our own, when we’re furious, we don’t shout, as there’s no one there to listen – and therefore we overlook the true, worrying strength of our capacity for fury.Or we work all the time without grasping, because there’s no one calling us to come for dinner, how we manically use work to gain a sense of control over life – and how we might cause hell if anyone tried to stop us.But it’s like a novice pilot assuming they can fly after sending a paper plane successfully around the room.
In a wiser society, prospective partners would put each other through detailed psychological questionnaires and send themselves off to be assessed at length by teams of psychologists. The mystery will be why it took humanity so long to get to this point.
It can take years and situations we have had no experience of.
Prior to marriage, we’re rarely involved in dynamics that properly hold up a mirror to our disturbances.
Our brains are primed to take tiny visual hints and construct entire figures from them – and we do the same when it comes to the character of our prospective spouse.
We are – much more than we give ourselves credit for, and to our great cost – inveterate artists of elaboration.
Whenever more casual relationships threaten to reveal the ‘difficult’ side of our natures, we tend to blame the partner – and call it a day.