Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

psychotherapy for disappointments in marriage west los angeles

Even the most beautiful flowers lose their luster!

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Did you know that most people rarely settle down with a partner that matches their ideal mate characteristics?

Are you shocked that despite this mismatch between ideal partner characteristics and actual partner characteristics couples are content and have comfortable relationships? How can that be? Does time change your expectations or were those expectations just an artifact of the rose colored glasses you wore during the height of the romance and courtship?


How does it work for those of you feeling betrayed and disappointed in your partner after the novelty of life together has worn off?

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the most ideal of blooms that smell so sweet, but fade so quickly!q11i

cklphotograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.y

Jacque seems to fit Moira’s ideal partner characteristics

Moira and Jacque were going through an unusually long rough patch in their relationship. Moira felt cheated out of her right to the partner she believed she had married. He was so full of promise, fulfilling all of her ideal partner characteristics when they agreed to make a life together. He was of the same community and faith. He had the right social status, was finally well off, came from a good family and most of all he was thin! Moira liked thin men, who worked out like Jacque did. It meant that he took his health seriously and in turn it spoke to her regarding how well he would take care of her and any family they had together. He had a good nose and bone structure ensuring a good genetic pool from which their future children would come. Jacque was attentive, reliable, romantic and smart. He had traveled a lot making him alluring and wise. Jacque had all the ideal partner characteristics Moira could wish for. She had no hesitation in accepting his offer of marriage.


Moira seems to fit Jacque’s ideal partner characteristics

Jacque was overjoyed when he found himself attracted to Moira. He was getting on in years and it was time to settle down. He had never quite a woman with most of his ideal partner characteristics.  There was always something missing. They were too fat, had bad teeth, were of the wrong faith, or were too clingy. Moira was the answer to his prayers. She matched his ideal partner characteristics almost perfectly. She was skinny, had beautiful hair and teeth, shared the same faith and had a refreshing sense of independence. She was willing to explore life and try new things.


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orchid flowers match expectations, but don’t last forever!

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

None of the ideal partner characteristics pan out for Moira and Jacque

A year or so after their marriage, Moira and Jacque both felt that their ideals had been lost. They both felt cheated and trapped in a relationship where they had to live with a spouse who each day showed themselves to be nothing like their ideal partner.

Jacque’s ideal partner characteristics fall short of Moira’s actual characteristics

Jacque felt cheated as Moira became dependent on him for everything, demanding that he do his duty and take care of her. She didn’t want to go places or be with people. She ate junk food and her body looked unattractive. Her physique, hair and teeth were of little significance at this point.

Moira’s ideal partner characteristics fall short of Jacque’s actual characteristics

 Moira was bitterly disappointed when Jacque didn’t use his wealth and status to improve their lives. She was furious that his ‘good respected family’ didn’t treat her like one of their own. The fine upstanding romantic man she believed she married turned out to be lazy, and expecting her to wait on him hand and foot. His bone structure and good standing in the community wasn’t an advantage any longer.


 flowers of acceptance spread and cover up disappointments 

flowers spread out and cover the bad patches of shattered expectations!

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Research indicates that ideals never match the actual partner characteristics

A study in the September 2010 Journal PLoS ONE, found that most men and women express different mating preferences for body morphology than the actual morphology of their partners. There was a bigger gap for women between their ideal partner characteristics and their actual partner characteristics than for men. The likelihood is that the same applies for personality features as for body type.

Men are less idealistic than women and come out less disappointed

So women are more likely to get disappointed, feel cheated and betrayed. Women are more likely to feel like they got the raw deal and have to put up with it because they don’t trust their chances of finding another man who would fit the bill and stay the same.

 Men are less disappointed when women don’t match their ideal partner characteristics body types. Their ideals are a little bit more realistic, making the crash less painful. However when it comes to personality and social standing, the gap feels just as wide and uncomfortable.


psychotherapy for heartbroken couples West Los Angeles 

razzle dazzle bush flowers tolerate the shining and fading of their blooms

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Jacque and Moira find their way to valuing their actual partner characteristics

Moira and Jacque got past their heartbreak and letdown after a long bout of blaming and shaming one another put their relationship in jeopardy. Following a sustained period of couples therapy and individual work, they came to value what was real, reliable and unique about their partners. They discovered that ideals need to be updated, and retrofitted to suit their lives as it exists, not the way they dreamed it would or should be. Once they accepted reality they were able to see beautiful and lasting features in one another than transcended any body type or personality ideal. Together in couples therapy Moira and Jacque fostered and nurtured the positive qualities in one another and acted in ways that complemented rather than detracted from their relationship.


Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.