“My clients all love me because I’m easy to love.”
Horsefeathers. Client relationships are very similar to dating, and we won’t talk about the intimacy components but merely focus on the relational dynamics that are similar in both situations.
In the initial stages of a relationship, be it romantic or business based, people are putting on their best behavior and trying their darndest to get the other person to like them. Not necessarily Laing’s False Self psychotic interactions, but more like a covering of our flaws and enhancing our better components while giving extra weight to what the other person is representing, a bias towards their not truly reflected preferences. So we are seeing the best, most interesting parts of the other person and doing our best to interact with what they present, subtly altering our own actions in a dance of illusions. This is the Seduction stage, where both sides are trying to get something without necessarily being authentic and can’t be true to the other due to the duality of misrepresentation. Both are lying to the other and themselves at various levels, and it is rare (and requires great emotional integrity and personal awareness) to resist the “giving in” on all the little things in the initial interactions to prevent compounding falsehoods that repeatedly destroy nascent partnerships because of an over eagerness to please and be pleased. Saying “No” to a seemingly good thing is difficult, especially if the current situation is not good and there is any form of desperation or unmet need. Experience is one of the critical factors in seeing through the other’s illusion and preventing us from playing the same game of fantasy and delusion.
If this relationship proceeds, there must be a discovery of the truths and acceptance that neither were sincere in the initial stages of flirting (professionally or amorously). Now if the entire idea is a one-time transaction/fling, Seduction might meet the short-term needs of both sides, but to have a lasting situation that leads to growth and sustainability a more fundamental and factual foundation must be built. Sometimes a partnership can move into the next stage even without the proper groundwork, but as with a building holes in the support structure will inevitably lead to catastrophic failure.
The next stage is where we see the “All my clients love me” or “I’m easy to love” or “I can’t believe how perfect they are”. Anyone that has been married knows the Honeymoon stage: all is good, flaws don’t exist (or are cute instead of annoying and red flags). Early in the client development process we see this, the potential but not the problems that will become headaches and eventually nightmares if not addressed. The “oh she’s just a little restrained” is actually “she’s emotionally devoid and covering”, or “he’s just a big kid all the time” covering his lack of development and assuming the responsibilities of adulthood that can sabotage the relationship. As we say in ethics: “just” is a dangerous word because it is a slippery slope to crossing lines that should not be crossed. If you haven’t been in many many relationships (professional and personal), the Honeymoon covers the issues with makeup that can hide the hideousness that we would never accept over time, and many divorces (business and marital) occur because these traits are uncovered and become worse if unaddressed.
Honeymoon periods vary but in interpersonal relationships tend to be over in six months or so, when the stark reality of life messes with the fairy tale. In professional relationships it depends upon the cycle of the business and the number of interactions, so anywhere from a few months to a few years before the love that was there early is forced to confront the difficulties of actual actions and tough choices. If you have a habit of jettisoning partners (or clients) when it starts getting intense, it could be a reflection of the flaws embedded in the relationship from the outset and a signal that you should re-evaluate how you present yourself during the Seduction stage of opening interactions.
If the couple (business or erotic partners, even merely intense friendships with no physical component) can get through the Honeymoon phase and start showing resiliency and adaptability, can address the flaws and have the difficult conversations around the misrepresentations presented early that the dynamic is built off of, there is a possibility of them building honest communication. Going back to Laing, they have stripped away the False Selves and are interacting on more of a True Self to True Self basis, even if it is not as pretty or exciting. It is real and more powerful, lasting but potentially explosive like a semi-permanent nuclear fusion instead of a chemical reaction in the outer electron levels that can easily be reversed via outside influences. These sort of highly intense communications and relationships (think Twin Flames if spiritual is your realm instead of nuclear physics or interpersonal dynamics) are NOT easy, they are volatile and require immense and ongoing effort but are true, powerful, and can last a lifetime if both parties are willing to admit their flaws, their issues, and look to themselves and the partner for the last pieces of their fulfilment in a well-grounded assessment of both themselves and the other without neediness or fear.
True friends tell each other what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. This is for lovers, business partners, and providers. The ability to have early difficult conversations, to not chase because you know what your own limits are and are comfortable waiting for the right One (person or client) instead of going for “good enough” and repeating the mistakes of the past based upon experience and confidence in your own value (even if others can’t yet see it) is the strong bedrock that long term relationships are built off of. It might not be as exciting or sexy as the game of Seduction, it might not be as intoxicating as the fantasy of the Honeymoon, but it is deeper and stronger and can last decades by being real. And that is the greatest relationship of them all.