As Meghan Markle rides through Windsor in her specially chosen horse-drawn carriage, clothed in the gown of her dreams, with a real life prince charming, to most it seems like a fairy tale in every sense of the word. But, the events of the past week, specifically surrounding Ms. Markle’s father backing out of attending the wedding for some questionable medical issues, shed light on a critical issue that should be considered at the beginning of every relationship, and certainly before the long walk down the aisle. How well do we know each other?
Ms. Markle is bi-racial from a divorced home and American born. Three key differences from any royal marriage in history. While the Royal Family seems to have accepted all this with grace and dignity, they might not have done so had it been withheld early on. To many it seems that Ms. Markle has eagerly embraced her “new” family, some even commenting she is severing ties with her past. I do not think this is possible unless Ms. Markle wants the Soap Opera instead of the Fairy Tale.
Today, couples find each other in many different ways. Carefully written profiles may draw a picture of the perfect match, but sometimes you may be swiping in the wrong direction due to easily omitted “less than flattering” details. An on-line version of oneself can often be a way of “re-creating” rather than creating. More directly said, we are putting ourselves up for sale in the hopes of finding our own Prince or Princess.
But, there are many risks that come with an edited version of ourselves. We often promise to open up or “come clean” at a later date. We vow to eventually unpack the baggage we are bringing to the relationship. Unfortunately, this gets harder and harder as time goes on. It is difficult to cast light on details about yourself, your family, or your past, that 1) are a flat out lie from what you previously shared or 2) could cause conflict in your budding relationship.
The fact is we all have baggage. We all have a past. We do not enter a relationship neatly severed from our past, nor can we really ever hope to do so. Even if you vow to start fresh and leave all behind you; live in a bubble of bliss. I can assure you that bubble will eventually pop and leave quite a mess.
The best way to handle this?
- Do you research. I”m not saying start with distrust and secrets in a relationship, but it is naive to think people don’t have them. Check their on-line profiles with facts. If something about his or her past just doesn’t seem to add up, ask. If your instincts still say you don’t know the whole story, push until you get it. Remember, trust is earned
- Accept your own past. It is only possible to move into the future when you’ve resolved any past conflicts.
- Share facts about your family even if you do not have an ideal relationship with them. No matter how you cut it your family is part of you. You may not see them, but they helped to shape you. Life is long. Even if they are not involved now, you never know when and if they will reappear. How will they fit in? How will your partner react? The more your potential partner knows up front the better chance you have of staying on the same side in any future situations.
Remember, a Fairy Tale does not just happen. While a spark may be ignited and even continue to burn at the beginning of a relationship, if the foundation is built on half-truths, deception, and unresolved history, the electricity will go out long before your happy ending.