The Contrast

Deviant Art

Deviant Art

Every person deserves to be judged based on their merit. Sometimes, we make the mistake of allowing our past experiences to serve as a baseline or standard for which all future experiences are measured. It is wise to learn from our past but very dangerous to use our past as a litmus test. The juxtaposition of your ex and someone you are currently dating can produce a false narrative that will lead to disappointment.

You are not looking for someone who is the opposite or different from your ex. I don’t care how horrible he or she was, looking for the opposite or comparing differences can leave you blind to undesirable traits or characteristics you have yet to experience.

“You are nothing like my ex.”

It may seem like a compliment, but it isn’t. Essentially, what’s being said is that your value is limited to your ability to be different than the person who hurt me. So, what’s wrong with that? It’s a setup for failure. Eventually, the comparison will stop. Eventually, the person who is nothing like your ex will be required to bring something else to the table. Those characteristics that were romanticized because they were “different” start to lose their potency when you stop comparing.

Consider this: I offer you two glasses of wine. You taste the first one and you immediately hate it. You don’t like the taste or the aftertaste it leaves in your mouth. You describe the wine as “horrible” or “disgusting”. Now, I offer you the second glass of wine. This glass of wine does not have to be good, great, or extraordinary. It only has to be different than the first glass. As long as it doesn’t share any undesirable characteristics of the first glass of wine, the second glass of wine will automatically be “better” ... but can it stand alone? Will that glass of wine be just as good without the contrast?

When you meet someone new, don’t judge their value based on anything but what they show you. Don’t allow their different speech, style of dress, mannerisms, or even actions from your ex to award them extra points. They may be different, but you owe it to yourself to make sure that different equates to being better. Judge them solely on their merit. Focus on the qualities you like because you like them, not because they are so different than your ex.

If he or she is great, then there is no need for comparison or contrast to establish or maintain that greatness.