In one of my classes Todd shared that he didn’t understand how women could be so hurtful. “I always give people the benefit of the doubt and trust them right from the start. If they wrong me I don’t let it bother me, but if they do it three times, then that’s it!” he declared. “Then I let them go and never talk to them again.”

Obviously, we had to talk about that. I explained my rope bridge analogy and it goes something like this: If, on a hiking trip, you were to encounter a rope bridge you had never crossed before, would you (A) see it as an adventure and run blindly across without checking to see if it were safe; or B) venture across slowly, checking the integrity of the structure with each step? Granted, option A is faster and more adventurous. However, finding out that the structure isn’t as sound as you thought it was when you’re half-way across is a little too late as you are falling to the great depths below. Option B is slower but easier to return to a position of safety if it begins to fail. And if the structure were to give way, you would be more prepared with options that you had planned for in advance. Option A is fine if you are a person who learns best from your mistakes or you find that old adage, “Hindsite is 20/20” to be your theme song.

The importance of checking the integrity of the relationship before diving in head first can’t be stressed enough. It is common for new relationships to begin with some level of deceit. When we first meet someone, we keep much of who we are to ourselves. We try to justify this under the guise of making a good impression, putting our best foot forward. But too often, this results in individuals putting on a false
front instead. And secondary to that is that each person is only seeing what they want to see in the other person.

So it goes like this: Person A meets Person B. Person B quickly figures out what Person A likes or wants in the relationship and she tries to show that she can fit into that framework. Person A follows suit and does the same. Persons A and B see the many positive and negative characteristics of the other, yet down play the negative and exaggerate the positive. This is sometimes the dance of new relationships.

However, all too often people enter a relationship and just plain lie about who they are, what their intent is and what they want from the relationship. So by taking a relationship slowly, you are more likely to see if what the person says and what they do are the same. Then if you find that this person comes up short in the integrity department, you will not have invested so much emotional or physical energy in this relationship making it difficult to get out, easily and safely.

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