Ask him about his parents. Or his exes. Or his boss. People who are emotionally charged for him.
Then sit back and listen.
If he paints a world in which people are either good or bad, saints or sinners, then watch out.
He may not have what psychologists call “healthy object relations,” which are crucial for lasting love.
In a moment, I’ll tell you why seeing in black and white can sabotage lasting love, but first, here’s a quick and very basic run-down on the theory.
As children, we see our parents as good when they’re doing something we like and bad when they’re doing something we don’t like.
It’s not until we grow up a bit that we realize our parents are neither good nor bad, but rather complex people with some traits we like and some we dislike.
That’s a mature point of view.
We can see that, even though we may dislike someone heartily, that person still has some good traits.
We can see that, even though we idolize someone, that person still has flaws.
But not everyone has this seemingly obvious insight.
Some people continue to see others in black or white … and that doesn’t bode well for romance.
Take this example.
Have you ever met a man who put you on a pedestal from the moment he met you?
He made you feel amazing. You were the center of his attention. His attachment to you was so intense you felt a bit blown over. You wondered whether he was seeing the real you or wearing some serious rose-colored glasses.
But it was flattering. So you went along with it.
Then, a few weeks into the relationship, or a few months, or even a few years, something shifted.
You disappointed him in some small way.
Maybe you said no when he was expecting you to say yes. Maybe you asked him to change something, and he took it as criticism. Or maybe you did nothing at all. He just woke up one morning and looked at you differently.
From that moment on, you were a disappointment to him. You could never measure up to the woman he thought you should be.
You could try harder, of course. But why would you? In his eyes, you were either the ideal woman or a flawed human being. Hopefully, you left the relationship and didn’t look back.
That’s the consequences of all-or-nothing thinking. A man who can’t appreciate a complex, interesting woman who’s got a bit of saint AND sinner in her isn’t one who’ll stay the course.
Now, let’s turn the tables. How can this theory help you spot a winner?
Glad you asked.