I recently heard from a client I hadn’t talked to in several months. She was almost in tears when she said, “Lisa, I just want to know one thing. I want to know how to spot a lie.”
When she was 28, Camie was in a car accident that seriously injured her back. She spent several months in intensive rehab, but in the months and years following the accident, she never really got back to “normal.” At age 37, she was just coming out of traumatic breakup. Camie looked in the mirror-- she was, single, unhappy, and 100 pounds heavier than she wanted to be.
In that moment in front of the mirror, she vowed to change everything – and she did. It started with a personal trainer to get in shape. She also hired a relationship coach to help her avoid another bad breakup. I told her she needed to build a life she loved before bringing someone else into it. Her personal trainer told her getting fit had to be fun and a way of life.
Several months after hiring her trainer, not only was Camie thinner, but her entire life looked very different, because she was much more active than she’d ever been before in every way. Camie learned she loved sports, ranging from kayaking to running. She joined a volleyball league and her local running club. Camie had done exactly what we set out to do. She had friends, lots of activities, a strong and healthy body. She had a life she loved. So, it was time to start dating.
She began online dating and, within a few days, found a profile that caught her eye. He was her age. He said he lived for outdoor activities. He said he played in a basketball league. He wanted someone to travel and camp with. He claimed to be a self-professed “fitness fanatic.” Given her recent lifestyle changes, she wanted someone who shared her passion for an active life.
On their first date she noticed he was a little heavier than she’d pictured him being. He told her he wasn’t playing basketball right now because he’d injured his ankle several months before. For their fourth date she invited him to go for a Sunday afternoon jog at her favorite park followed by a picnic. He couldn’t keep up with her, not even close. They only ran for a few minutes before his ankle was bothering him. He really enjoyed the chicken sandwich.
Image: carnagenyc via Flickr
He was really into her, though. He pursued her in a big way. She loved the attention.
Nine months later, she called me. She’d just found out he’d been in “very close contact” with his ex-girlfriend for most of their relationship. She’d also learned that he didn’t actually have the position with his company she thought he had. Also, although he’d claimed to be close to his family, she’s learned there had been a falling out and he hadn’t even spoken to his own children in years. She felt blindsided by the revelation he was still in very close relationship with his ex. She ended up putting almost 30 pounds of the weight she’d lost back on.
What happened?? In retrospect, the writing was on the wall from the very first few dates. This was a man who wasn’t who he said he was. Bottom line, he wasn’t the fitness fanatic he claimed to be in his profile. Don’t get me wrong-- I don’t care that this man was a few pounds heavier than she thought he’d be. The issue was that he’d sold himself as something he wasn’t.
Who you actually are in the world is 1000 times more important than who you say you are.
I always say you want to be in relationship with someone who has one personality, one that is awesome in private and in public. They are exactly who they say they are no matter what’s going on around them. We like to give people the benefit of the doubt. We don’t want to be “too picky.” However, if you want the love of your dreams, be uncompromising. Choose like your life, or at least the life of your dreams, depends on it, because it does.
The people we let closest to us need to be worthy of risks we take when we fall in love.
Compassion is the key to happiness, in equal measure with honoring a hard line when it comes to your heart.
When someone doesn’t behave in a way that’s consistent with who they say they are, the behavior trumps the words every time. There is no such thing as a small dishonesty. (Tweetable!) Inconsistencies matter a lot. If you want to know how to avoid another big break up, start by only starting relationships with people who are worth keeping around.
The Love Whisperer
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