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Breaking Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

Secret Single Behaviors by Lisa K. Stephenson

Photo by lascot studio from Pexels

When does one change their Secret "Single" Behavior? Is it when you first meet that man or woman with whom you instantly feel a connection? Is it after the third date when you’re headed toward a more intimate stage? Maybe, it happens after you’ve decided to introduce your potential partner to your family. When do we, as single men and women, give up the bad habits that we inadvertently develop during our customary single lifestyles?

Many of you may be wondering, "What the hell is a secret single behavior?" A secret single behavior is not just one bad habit that you should kick because you are now considering settling down into a partnership. No, it encompasses a range of behaviors that we develop as single men and women when the people we care about aren't watching or judging us for doing it.

Examples of these behaviors may include using the restroom for personal matters with the bathroom door open, skipping a day of showering, spitting into the garbage, living in an untidy environment, snorting, obnoxiously belching during dinner, having loud and late-night gossip-filled phone conversations, throwing temper tantrums, and displaying overall bad manners.

I might have missed a few; please feel free to share your thoughts.

Now, these are all behaviors that, as a single man or woman, we are okay with performing, just not displaying. Why is that? It's because there's no one around to judge us within the confines of our home. But when do we relinquish these habits for good, or at least pretend not to have these bad habits while trying to court or impress the opposite sex? We've all heard the expression, "First impressions last a lifetime."

This still holds true. Are we all just our true selves hiding behind a mask of false interpretations? If so, when is the right time to remove this mask and hope that the person we've fallen madly in love with will not flee in horror? One may argue that delving right into their secret single behavior during the first encounter is the way to go.

Why is this? Well, you have nothing to hide or lose at this juncture in the relationship, and you are saving yourself a lot of time and energy, which may end up costing you in the long run should the person opposite to you choose that this is something he or she may not be able to handle or even accept.

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After the first few dates, would we be breaking the unspoken rule of dating "dishonesty" if we kept our bad habits a secret long enough to mislead the minds of our potential love interest? By the third date, you have pretty much disclosed a great deal of information about yourself - one would assume. But did you happen to mention that you clip your toenails once a week in the center of the bed at night and then simply dust the debris onto the floor once you are done? No, I did not think so. So truthfully, you're still hiding behind that mask of a distorted reality.

I find it easy to develop bad habits, sort of like driving before you take a road test (where you are placed in a position where you will be evaluated and judged), you are taught ten-two steering, and of course, you follow suit. Once your test is passed and you are awarded your license, the mask of perfection is removed.

Further down the line, you develop a level of comfort, and the ten-two slowly becomes a hand on twelve and another hand lounging on the armrest. The point is, we know the right things to do, yet we do the opposite unless placed in a position where we will be judged or evaluated. Hey, you're single and flawed, and that's okay! But to be single and flawed with no real motivation to change, now that is where the issues begin to generate.

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If we are dating with the goal of marriage, which signifies a lifelong commitment and, of course, love, when is the right time to confess our "single" behaviors, removing our masks of deception? Can we honestly say that all lasting relationships are built on brutal honesty when, truthfully, we're all just guests attending a masquerade ball, hiding behind an ornate mask, waiting for the right time to remove it?

I say no, we can't. I wear my mask very proudly as I am single and deeply flawed. I have my fair share of secret "single" behaviors, and the truth is I find it a little easier to reveal them one step at a time. Identifying my issues or differences in nature is the first place to start.

I would like to encourage many other single men and women to do the same. Let's not overwhelm our prospects or chase them away. Let's make our first impression the right impression: a piece of my flaw and a plan to change it.

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