"A relationship question about delusions"

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“I have a relationship question. In an article I read recently this concept came up, ‘Love means being slightly deluded. Happy people believe their partner is a little more awesome than they really are. Someone you think is great who also thinks you’re great — it’s one of the primary things you should look for in a marriage partner.’ I'm a bit of a realist and not sure I want to live a deluded life and have these types of relationships. Care to respond with your thoughts (maybe a post idea!).” - K

When I read your post I saw two separate but equal topics here. The idea of delusions in relationships and the idea that you are a realist and you’re not sure that you want to be in a relationship with delusions.

As to the first point, I refer you to my April 11 entry Delusions in relationships? I’m for ‘em. Just in the case the title doesn’t make it clear how I feel about delusions, I’m sure the column will.

Now, on to the second point.

One could argue – as a realist – that the reality of the situation is that delusions exist in a relationship. I guess what I’m saying here is that you can still be a “realist” and accept the notion of delusions. Of course, you can also choose to not accept them and remain a realist. I think the opposite of being a realist is being a fantasist. Fantasy and delusion are not synonyms. I think the article makes valid points, however, in the specific section of which you are referring, the author – Eric Barker - misses the boat in his word association.

In the article, Barker goes from optimism to delusion. Optimism is a tendency to expect the best possible outcome or to dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation. Delusion – as it relates to this situation – is the state of holding a false belief. The primary difference here is that with optimism one hopes for the best in regards to something that has yet to be proven true or false. With delusion one believes to be true something that has been proven to be false. Optimism is a concept of faith. Delusion is a concept of knowledge. To two are not related at all with the broad exception that both occur in the mind. It is quite possible to hope for the best while refusing to hold false beliefs. And vice versa. One could be completely deluded and be a pessimist. I see where Barker was going but I think he missed it.

I do believe that optimism is great in a relationship. I also believe delusions have a place in relationships. But just like my girl’s non-pooping in my April entry I KNOW it’s a false belief. I am choosing to believe a lie. If in fact, you make the conscious decision to not believe lies, I think you can still have a glorious loving relationship.

Those are my thoughts.

Thanks for your post.

Remember. No always. No never.

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