Don’t Fall For An Ideal, Fall For A Person

The goal of a relationship shouldn’t be that the person we’re with lives up to being on the pedestal we’ve put them on. The goal should be a connection with who that person really is.

I know that when I first started doing videos on Youtube I was very over-the-top positive.

I had learned growing up that if you want to be an expert – especially in the world of self-help – you have to be happy all the time because that’s what influences people and shows you’re ‘perfect’.

‘Self-help = let’s all walk around smiling all the time’, I thought.

But that’s not what it is. And if you’re in the mindset, you’re missing the point.

People don’t have to be one way all of the time. Sometimes you’re not supposed to be at a peak level of happiness.

I like authenticity. I like seeing someone raw and uncut. That to me is where the real excitement is and where you really get to know and learn from someone (not from the polished, media version of them).

In our relationships we’re often looking for the ‘polished media version’ of someone.

We want our partners to live up to an idea we have of them (a fantasy we’ve created), instead of what they really are.

In doing this we end up enforcing all of our own personal rules, not allowing our partner the flexibility to express who they are authentically.

“You either want a relationship with the REAL ME, or you want a relationship with the idea of me.”

I see so many “gurus” begin to take themselves so seriously, losing their sense of humour.

I began changing my Youtube videos from over the top happy to the REAL me (sometimes funny, other times serious, occasionally earnest…). I did this because I didn’t want to be seen on some pedestal.

It doesn’t allow you to be human. You create a false perception of who you really are and I never want that to be the case.

I hope you can take the same stance with your relationships.

Stop trying to have a relationship with the IDEA of someone, and instead see them for who they really are.

When you allow yourself to do this, it’s far more interesting.

We get depth, diversity, and a whole range of emotions with someone.

My challenge to you (a challenge I’ll be taking up myself), is that when someone does something that doesn’t fit with your exact expectation of them, ask yourself whether you want a relationship with the idea of them or with the version of them that actually exists.

The latter will lead to a constant state of conflict any time they do something that goes against the way you think they should be.

Question of the day…

Have you ever felt people didn’t understand the full breadth of your personality? Tell me about it in the comments section below…

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198 Replies to “Don’t Fall For An Ideal, Fall For A Person”

  • I have thought about this concept a lot, and I know it is part of my problem in the dating world. I have this IDEAL DREAM GUY in my head, and have yet to find him. I don’t allow the time to get to know guys even; as soon as I find something that doesn’t fit my ideal I shut them out. It’s so hard for me not to continue this, but I’m trying. I’m working on my confidence and trying to “keep it real.” You’re videos really help, so thank you!!

  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamen.

    People tell me stuff like “you’re always so positive” or “you’re always so happy”. I’m sorry, say what now? Not true, but you know, I’m supposed to take a compliment with grace and all…

  • i’ve always have this tough, uptight, strict image on the outside. and people always assume that i’m a dependable person. like, i should be their leader in certain curricular clubs like that.

    but the truth is, i sucks big time in those kind of area. i’m not a great leader. i’ll never will. i’ll never want to.

    like the other day, during this one class, this guy suggested me as his assistant. i was like ‘oh fuck’ but thank god, i didn’t get the majority vote. fiuh.

    i don’t know why, i set that uptight image on the outside.
    i can’t remember since when i had that image on me.

  • To be in a relationship it is the guy himself (as his characters and personalities) that you fall in love with and definitely not what you perceived of your ” idea of who he is”..I totally agreed that there will be alot of coaster roller rides if you are into a relationship having the idea of your idea version of him..

  • First person to pop in my head is one of the guys on RFL. The show portrayed him as polished, polished, polished, but I remember one interview of him saying he was the math team, dorky kid, wasn’t amazing at athletics and loves comics & video games. I’m still waiting to see that side of him because I’m like that as well. Obviously, I’ve had the opposite happen to me; I’ve put someone on a pedestal and I wanted a relationship with the idea of them than the version of them that actually exists.

  • Dear Matthew,

    I dont know where to ask you questions, so im writing it here ;)

    I’ve been dating the same man for about 2-2,5 years now, and throughout these years close to all of our big arguments have been based arround the same thing, my past. I really am the perfect girlfriend, but he simply cant get over my previous men. Whenever it comes up in discussions, he keeps glorifying himself and how he has been, his principles, how he was brought up, and then compares it with me and my situation.

    He says that it makes him sad that I’ve slept with so many in the past, sad because I’m such an amazing person. But he also says that he is very shameful and brings it up every chance he gets.

    Its gotten to a point where I ALMOST FEEL BULLIED IN MY OWN RELATIONSHIP. It has started affecting my self confidence arround other people. I avoid people and social gatherings not to be judged. How can I make him stop? It cannot continue like this.

    1. Soph,
      I think you should voice your concerns about his habit to shame you about sleeping with other men in the past. Did he think you’re gonna stay celibate until you meet him, even if that takes you 50 years, or what? Just tell him that his behaviour makes you feel bullied and hurts you. If he doesn’t change his attitude and keeps shaming you, just dump him. The right man is right for you exactly because he doesn’t judge you, especially about something that intimate. I’ve been in several relationships, where men kept telling me I’m not good enough, and I can tell you – nothing has ever destroyed my self-esteem that much as the hurtful words of those I cared about. I was stuck in a circle of emotionally abusive relationships, until I realised that no man has a right to edit my personality and make me feel bad about myself. So best of luck to you! And remember-self-love comes first. If someone deliberately hurts you, knowing you love them and will most likely forgive them – its time to get out. P.S. Also my golden rule is not to tell “the number” to a man I’m dating and not to ask for his “numbers”.

    2. Soph, He IS bullying you, and if he has done it throughout your relationship, guess what – he will probably never stop. I was in a relationship with someone like this for many years, and it wasn’t until after the breakup that I realized the relationship was abusive.

      New supportive friends pointed out to me that I was hooked into trying to prove to him I was not the bad person he made me out to be. I learned that I had to distance myself from him, and let go of proving him wrong, in order to move on with my life and regain my happiness and independence.

      You deserve someone who is not passing judgment on you and shaming you for your choices.

    3. Hey Soph,

      When he brings up the topic like that again, let him know that by continuing in a relationship with you after he knew your past, he gave up any right to use that against you.

      It’s as silly as punishing someone for an argument you dreamed about in your sleep.

  • Laney same goes with me!

    I feel like I’m being rude to men just because they don’t fit my ideal man. So whenever someone out of my category ask me out, the answer is a instant no.

    1. I know! I just feel awful, because the guys are usually being really nice and sweet, but its just so hard to get the ideal guy out of your head. I’m really trying to be open, but its still very hard for me.

  • Oh My GOD Gracious!!! This the third time I am going to say this to you – because it is not my thing to blurt this out to any guy. However Matth, you are looking so damn sexy in this color. It is as good as your coral shirt and you cut your hair too… ok that’s cute.
    Hey you too watching Phil Robertson I bet…. HAPPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!!!! If you have an Amazon account, try to watch Duck Dynasty, Season 4 episode 1 (Till Duck Do Us Apart). Their wives did exactly like what you taught us to do. Let me know what do you think.
    PS: prepare some tissues because at the end you might cry some tears. They have such a beautiful ending. I am sure you will love it, as much as I do.

    1. great video Matthew, thank you! I also believe we should be natural and don’t hind behind the mask of perfection, which is not always attractive image. it is better to be ourselves otherwise we lose not only the person who fell in love with our fake image but mostly we lose ourselves.

      I certainly felt often when people didn’t understand the full breadth of my personality because as many people on this planet that many different personalities exist in this blue round world. yep :)

      p.s. you look very nice btw :)love your smile

  • Your last question to Jamison, ‘how’s that for classy?’ regarding senior acquiring STDs. Yes, it happens. And sometimes that becomes a part of who this person now needs to share moving forward with a potential new partner. What a way for the pedestal to come crashing down. You think you know me? You have an image of me. Well, this is unfortunately a part of me, too. I don’t like it. It is my truth and reality. I may feel shame. Does this mean that I am no longer desring or desirable?

    How does this fit within the pedestal analogy, Matthew?

  • This is definitely something I need to work on. I’m finding out that the older I get, the less someone’s media face matters to me. It’s like when I buy a Justin Timberlake album and every song’s all about the joys of relationships and happiness and I can’t fully invest because my life will never be all party. Then he makes a song with Jay Z (one of the rappers on my top “ick” list) and sings about sacrifice and confusion and a moment of clarity and I’m hooked. I think sometimes, it’s easier to live in the always on moments because you’re afraid you don’t know how to handle slightly off. Anywho, yes, most people don’t get my personality, mainly because I’ll sit quiet and let them talk before I compete with them to be the center of attention. So most people initially think I’m a “quiet snob.”

    But then they talk to me.
    And that’s where I get them. =)

    Have a good week!

  • Love it:) Do you still coach men, Get the girl? I was thinking this vid would be just as useful for men too. Keep up the good work. I thought the old person clip was hysterical and your last comment made me smile too. Keeping a sense of humour keeps me going in the minefield of dating :)

  • thats the problem am constantly having in my relationship. I always expect my boyfriend to behave in a certain way but thats never the case…I guess his behaviour is the real him n I have to accept that now after seeing this

  • Okay, a guy here commenting on this. I think Matt here raises an extremely crucial thought about dating: not to hunt for ideals. I’d say that majority of people fall into this trap. Ideals are sold to us by almost everyone in our life: family, friends, media, and so on.

    Just check the internet for endless list posts of what your ideal should be, like “10 Traits The Perfect Man” or “5 Things To Prove That He’s Worth It”. Of course there are similar list of ideal women for men. The problem is that you can’t go out to real world with these lists. You’ll end up being extremely disappointed because someone didn’t meet your ideal, thus making you suffer and feel pain in relationships.

    The problem with ideals created by others is that once we achieve those ideals, there’s a high chance that we still don’t feel fulfilled. That is because we try to achieve the ideal out of a need to get approval and validation from others, and we end up living someone else’s dreams and ideals true.

    Here a challenge that I put out for myself: mindfulness in a relationship. It means to experience the relationship as it is, without comparing it to relationships of others’, without expectations, without ideals and without judging. It means to live the relationship in the moment and to be fully present.

    As a guy, I too struggle with ideals very often. Dropping ideas and ideals in a relationship means that you truly get to see all feelings raw like they are: confusion, fear, empathy, longing, connection, joy, gratitude, and so on.

    But for now, I’m dating a wonderful and beautiful girl, who is wonderful and beautiful in ways that most ideals don’t recognise. But I did. That required time and effort to get know her, and accept her like she is. I don’t know if it’s this new attitude I have, but dating her is the best dating experience I’ve had in my life. Her being a special woman might also be a factor.

    1. Thanks for this beautiful post. You are certainly lucky to have a beautiful girlfriend but she is very lucky to have you too! You’ve given me hope for the day! :-)

    2. Dash, I loved what you had to say about bringing mindfulness into a relationship:

      “It means to experience the relationship as it is, without comparing it to relationships of others’, without expectations, without ideals and without judging. It means to live the relationship in the moment and to be fully present…Dropping ideas and ideals in a relationship means that you truly get to see all feelings raw like they are: confusion, fear, empathy, longing, connection, joy, gratitude, and so on.”

      The times when I am able to step outside my own ego and be fully present to the person before me, I am bowled over by his or her own unique beauty. Each of us has a wealth of raw feelings behind the face we show the world. Being able to accept that – in ourselves and others – paves the way for true connection.

  • Hey Matt,

    I agree with everything you said in this video. It is true people don’t understand the full breadth of my personality. 90% of the time I am easy going, quiet, positive, happy. But just this past Friday there was a situation at work that had my blood boiling. It was a culmination of events that lead me to swear and continuously take deep breaths (you would have thought that I was going into labor or something! Ha!) Anyway, the boss looked surprised and I continued to tell him why I was upset. I think being authentic allows for true connections and it pains me to see people walking around acting a certain way because they think that is the way they are perceived in these people’s minds. I was horrified when my co-worker told me she is teaching her daughter to wear a mask in order to survive in the world. Be yourself. It may be cliche, but truer words were never spoken.


  • Hello and thank you Matt,

    You bring a unique perspective to this concept of an “ideal mate”. Some may say you contradict yourself because, on one hand, you say to never settle for less than you want or you deserve. For many men and women, they may confuse “not settling” with searching for the ideal mate.

    Those of us who have been in one or two long-term relationships know that, after giving oneself time to be alone and re-center ourselves, that there are many different versions of the ideal. Through personal growth and sequential rediscovery of self, it is those less-than-ideal mates that cause us to grow into the most ideal versions of ourselves. I can truly thank all of my past loves for bringing me further enlightenment on what it means to “be me” and greater tolerance for appreciating the non-ideal in others.

    Thank you so much for your candor, your passion and your grounded approach to helping people in all matters. I find myself ready to discover love again and look forward to hearing and seeing more of your wonderful contributions.

    Warm regards,

  • Hi Matthew,

    I have always tried to be perfect and wanting people to like me, and I still do though I’m trying to be a little more ‘relaxed’. I do say what I think however, but always politely,
    but since seeing your video today, I’m going to totally allow myself to show another part of my character that I actually quite like and that you may not see again for a while…………………..

    Matt, you are fricking awesome, I love your work, your coaching, your coaches and I’m going to be sticking around for some time, following your posts, work etc if you don’t like that, then tough shit, I’m here to stay cos I love ya !!!!

    Now back to behaving myself :O)

    Angela K

    1. Darn, that felt so fucking good !!!! Maybe you won’t like me now but I don’t give a shit. Now back to being polite : )

  • Great post Matt, I often fail at the first hurdle on relationships because I’m too keen too quickly. So often I’ll say something that scares the girl off before she has had a chance to get to know the real me. But if I try very hard not tu o escalate too quickly, then I get stuck in the friend zone trap.. It’s so frustrating!!

    1. It’s a tricky line John! The most pivotal point between two people is when one decides they like the other, all the sudden we act a muck! Key is to stay focused on who you are at your core and also be conscious of the language you use. Instead of telling a girl she looks nice in something, say she looks ‘beautiful’, ‘stunning’, ‘ravishing’ even. You want to make your intent (ie. that you don’t see her as just a friend) without getting too intense right off the bat.


  • Yoehoooo!

    Well said Matt,
    Spread the word.
    Stop living up to the fake image created by society of being happy, positive and energetic, in control and on top of the world all of the time.
    And most important don’t ever let anybody see that behind all that there is a BIG LOOSER hidden in all of us.

    Ok, I agree in some situations it’s a very handy skill that makes interactions easier and I wish I was better at it.

    It’s easy for me to say, I’m at the other end of the scale. I’m autistic and that comes with an incapability of being fake. Very annoying sometimes for everybody involved and it takes a lot of effort to deal with authenticity.

    People always say to me ‘you’re so authentic’, which for me means; ‘you’re weird and don’t behave like everybody else.’

    But on the positive side. My relationships with people are never ever fake.

    1. Same here, Iris. Like you, I’m AS, and almost incapable of inauthenticity. However, although I am genuine, other people have trouble understanding me. I feel like they just don’t know what to make of me. Luckily, my male best friend is also AS, and we understand each other very very well.

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