Waiting for the Other Shoe to Fall

You know in every relationship, you start off only seeing the best of your partner. You're both on your best behaviour, actions are somewhat calculated and very often controlled. The pig is nicely perfumed.

But there will always be that one point in your relationship where that image of perfection shatters. Not that it marks the end of the relationship... but merely the end of the illusion.
You know it's bound to happen, it's just a matter of when. To me, it's like waiting for the other shoe to fall.
There are a few instances where I can remember this happening in the past.
One was with an ex BF a looong time ago. This ex BF I was with for 2 years, and one day, he screamed at me (he had a bit to drink) at three am, in the car park. He did it so crazily boomingly loud and like literally two inches from my face. It didn't scare me, but I remember thinking , "Shhhh!! My God... you're going to wake the whole block of people at 3 in the morning!"
But he wasn't going to stop, he was on a power trip, so he kept yelling in my face.

[P/s- I think I better clarify that it was NOT my ex BF Mark. This incident happened like 4 or 5 years ago]

I can't remember what we were arguing about but it was probably trivial. The point is, when he did that, I could just read what was going through his mind;
"If I scream damn loud in your face, I will seem more aggressive and stronger and maybe you will back down. Cos really, I am a scrawny loser guy who cannot sit down and talk this through with you. I shall use aggression because you are much smaller than me and it makes me feel superior! Hear my voice boom, bitch. I'm the man!"

When you see someone lose control like that, trust me, you will never forget that moment. That look in his eyes. And the illusion was shattered.

With Mark, I never had this moment of disillusionment until towards the very end of our relationship. Even when we broke up in September last year, I still saw him in the pretty package he presented himself in. No kinks, no chips, no rips. Still perfect.

But on our trip to Perth last November (this was when we got back together briefly to see if we could give it another shot), suddenly on that one trip, there were moments when the other shoe fell... and fell again... and just when I thought, ok, I've seen/heard it all... yet another shoe fell.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like Mark is a bad person. And I am sure there were many instances where I was breaking his illusion of me in his eyes as well.
Granted, there were moments too where he did things that made me think, Wow, he's a more gorgeous person than I realised. For instance, on our looong ass road trips where he had to drive for hours, he never once snapped at me for giving shitty directions. Not once.
But there were three instances where I kinda saw him differently, moments which showed me that he wasn't all that flawless afterall... moments of self-centeredness, and a moment of vulnerability. (But he was never aggressive towards me ever) [A bit too personal to share outright on my blog, since you all know of Mark]
But I replay them in my head some time. I think Mark knows of and would be able to pinpoint perhaps 2 out of the 3 moments. The third one, well, I will take to my grave.

Problem is... now the minute I get to know a guy, I anticipate the other shoe falling. It's like I am a walking shoe catching apparatus... waiting for him to fuck up/show me his flaws! eeks!

What about you? Do you have particular moments in your relationship where the other shoe fell? Like suddenly you see a side of them you never knew existed, or you see a moment of pure vulnerability, and it makes you realise that although you still love your significant other, you're no longer looking at perfection.


  1. We can do 1000 nice things but all it takes is one lousy display and it will overwrite all of that :)

  2. Anonymous12:36 pm

    having a perfect image/expectations of someone isn't realistic and a little immature if i can say so.

    everyone has flaws, idiosyncrasies but if you love someone, you accept his flaws, faults within reasonable limits (of cos!) and within whatever limits you have set for yourself to accept in a partner. not so much of waiting to see if the person fucks up YOUR PERFECT image of him.

    Take the time to get to know someone before rushing into anything.

  3. Emile Guertin12:54 pm

    Interesting post Holly. You describe it well.

    Just to add...

    You don't just expect to live in a relationship for as long as possible 'idolising' your partner as a picture of perfection do you?

    Waiting for the other shoe to fall off is something I actually look forward to. It means the purely romantic phase is turning into a reality that allows for some 'real' rooted decision making to take place. Spending months living in a dream world together is not something I really want to be doing.

    A famous psychiatrist, Dr Scott Peck, calls the other shoe falling off 'the ego boundaries snapping back'. It's very healthy, and forms the building blocks to know how to move on.

    Maybe saying you realise that you are no longer looking at perfection in your man is a reflection of your own 'fantastic' expectations.

    However, I don't think the other shoe falling off should arrive in the form of someone shouting in your face though. That's not the other shoe coming off. That's a huge release of pent up frustration finally seeing the light of day. I'd take a guess, that as a man, that was building for a long time.

    I have done that in a much milder form, with an ex I was being so patient with. But in the end, I could not hold in my feelings any longer. That was well over 2 years into the relationship, and it was not a show falling off moment. Just one of many a down moments.

  4. I've never thought they were perfect in the first place, just perfect for me.

    Everyone has flaws, but if you know all their flaws and u can still think, hey I can deal with that. Then it works :)

    I've been with my bf for 2.5 yrs now. He has flaws, many of them. Like for example, he never replies my smses, and he can be such a procrastinator.

    We know each other inside out, and really love each other for the way we are. Flaws and all. Don't think any shoe fell really.

  5. Anonymous2:03 pm

    i think if your going to put it out there, you should just do it. Instead of leaving us your readers with the feeling that you just want to tell us bits here and there. Am wondering if your bfs feel the same way about you? Mr. Jello

  6. hey babe.. yea the shoes always fall at some point.. some times it's a gentle drop to the ground but sadly some are like a big bucket of cold reality splashed all over you...

    i used to have a bf who was seemingly perfect.. until that is I found out (ok, i snooped haha) that he was visiting websites like sammyboy and googling for prostitutes online...

    i guess you can't really tell character flaws and skeletons in the closets until they bite you in the ass

  7. dee,

    i also surf sammyboy... for funny postings... :P


    ive found e one... so perfect... we understand each other and love each other so much.. its so sweet until........................

    she's married... sad*


  8. Anonymous8:42 pm

    Sigh talking about Mark again. Get over him already?

  9. Anonymous9:00 pm

    We just have to realistic that nobody is perfect and learn to appreciate the beauty of individuality.

    If I have to keep count, I swear by now I have already lost track of the number of times my husband's shoes fell on me, but I guess I prefer to remember him for the moments when my shoes fell on him and he stood there, holding my hands, unwavering and comforting.

  10. tigerlilee9:14 pm

    funny you should view what's natural progression in a relationship as 'the other shoe falling'. Do you think it could be reflective of how you view relationships and love? perhaps you have been looking for something that's not real.

  11. I like what Anon (2 posts before) says. As much as i understand where ur getting at... cuz at times i also know when my bf's shoe falls... i just have to think of the many times that my own shoe falls...its just abt like his or more. It's just abt being human and u won't ever be happy in any r/s if being happy means the shoe nv falls.

  12. Anonymous10:50 pm

    i never believed in perfection.

  13. Anonymous11:35 pm

    A falling shoe is not the end of the world..one has to learn to pick it up and continue walking on...a relationship is about compomise. Everyone has flaws and everyone defines the boundaries beyond which a flaw is deemed unacceptable. The narrower you've defined your boundaries, the more susceptible you are to walking away from it all..
    Learn to compromise, live, let live and forgive.

    Life's too short trying to find a pair of shoes that fit perfectly.As long as it's comfortable and can sustain wear and tear as you walk through life's journey, that's a realiable pair of shoes.

    Do not let your fantasy for Mr Perfect get the better of you..you could very well be letting slip of Mr Right.

    Time and Tide waits for no man..Be realistic about your choices!

  14. oh let me count the ways and times my partner throw his shoes in my face:

    1) yes he shouted in my face too

    2) I thought he was going to hit me... but he hit some board in the end

    3) I feared for my life and am learning a little self defense just in case (you never know man)

    4) my man is self-centered too - but i think that with powerful men, come powerful egos... this is something that i have come to accept and work around

    but, because his personality is such that he always has a strong front, it is beautiful to see his vulnerability exposed to me in the form of emotion, and need for my attention or hugs.

    he is far from perfect but striving to be perfect is... what's the point? at least he's striving for his passions in life, and that is sexier than perfection.

  15. thanks for all your comments. I have read throughall of them. won't comment individually.

    I do agree with what most of you are saying.

    But it's not like... (in my last r'ship with Mark) tht the shoes fell.. then I gave up on him. Not at all. Like i said, even after the shoes fell, i still loved him, just tht its a realisation tht he wasnt perfect.

    and its not like i went into the r'ship thinking he's 100 % perfect... but I meant tht in every new r'ship people dont let u see their flaws and dont expose the vulnerabilities etc at the start (well... understandably so).

    What I was getting at was tht, in every r'ship there will come a point where u will see an image of taht person u love, which u hadn't seen before. And tht first moment... can be the first fight, the first time he lies, or the first time you see him cry... whatever... it somehow gets engraved in your memory.

    I cant say tht those shoes falling caused our second break up. not at all.. we weere still together after. But perhaps my shoes falling on him was the cause of him pulling away from me... or the cause of him dropping his shoes. u get what i mean?

    and all the falling shoes just eventually wore away at our love for each other and we didnt want to put up with it anymore. It was just not meant to be I guess.

    Hope I find someone whose shoes I wld be willing to catch and vice versa.

  16. Anonymous12:32 am

    I've always believe a little bit of imperfection makes it perfect. However, if the bf is abusive (in my case, ex was physically and emotionally abusive towards me), being aware of the shoe falling is crucial. Throwing the fallen shoe at the person is necessary too!


  17. Holly, To me it sounds like you try to Like people into Love. Almost as if the view point is that if you like them enough it must be love. The only problem I see with that is, of course, we all Like perfection, but perfection is just magic. All magic is just an ILLUSION. If you seek perfection then you only seek Delusion.
    I think this may be why your previous relationships have failed, you want magic and you seek to understand it, but when you understand it all that is found is smoke and mirrors. Because magic is just an illusion. David Copperfield isn't so good when you know the secrets of the trade.
    Wake up, there is no such thing as GOOD or BAD, just which side of the coin you perceive it from. How long will you flip coins hoping that one time it will land on the edge? If you want balance (libra), the only simple way to drop a coin and have it land on the edge is to spin it. What do i mean by that? You need to change, if you want a different outcome. Meaning, either start spinning the coins (become the magician [illusionist/fraud] yourself), or quit dropping coins waiting for one to land perfectly balanced on the edge, and start placing them.
    Can either have the magic, or the truth. The only way to have both, is if you are the magician, and that's just until somebody figures it out (the shoes fall off).
    Seems as if you try to Like someone into (until) loving them, but love doesn't work that way. You can like you way into lusting for someone... Lust only last until the crystal slipper falls off and the poor maid shows up (cinderella).
    Seeking somebody who's always on their A game is not seeking love, but liking (a lot).

    To me love is not a measure of how few mistakes they make (perfect) they are, but how well we can work together, work threw problems. bounce things off each other, and approach each situation with humility. If nothing is too serious to laugh at, then nothing is out of reach (off limits).
    LOVE the FLAWS, the little quirks, the weaknesses.
    Without having to worry if there is some mind game, something not said, Holding back, or being judged at all times.
    Being in a relationship without fear, one that you can ask questions without worrying about reprisal.
    I think that is love, is not being afraid to mess up (to be weak) in front of that person. To know that they will be there to laugh at your goofy ass when you fall, and help you back up. and visa versa. Do you worry about your family kicking you to the curb for making a mistake? No, Because they love you, in spite of if they like you. Liking and perfection is overrated.

    We are imperfect beings, and if you try to love perfection (try to view life threw rose colored glasses), then you may find yourself loving nobody (wearing glasses to dark to see out of).
    I think perfection can only be found when we learn to Embrace (like) people for their strengths, And LOVE them for their flaws. The only true perfection, is in being perfectly flawed, because the very concept of perfection is FLAWED.
    Perfection (magic) is only a trick our minds plays on us. The real measure of someone is if they are getting better or worse. Holly, i think you have a lot of bull shit ideals in your head, but you are getting better. =)
    Find someone who can make you laugh, even (especially) when the shoes fall off.

  18. Anonymous5:06 pm

    Just try to live your life without expectations... You'll see :)

  19. Anonymous10:21 pm

    Holly, you just don’t get it do you?

    Everyone reading this post understands your basic point. That people put-up overly good first appearances, that don’t last. This isn’t a new point, you know.

    What EVERYONE is telling you is that your expectations stay too high for too long. That you refuse to believe that relationships are anything other than a perfect fairy tale. Real life isn’t Alice in Wonderland you know. There is no yellow brick road when it comes to lifetime partnerships. If you don’t believe me, read again Jess, Anon 9:00, Tigerlilee, or Anon 10:50. These are real people trying to help you by writing a comment on you blog to say your expectations are way off from reality.

    Also, on a related point, Mark finished with you first (before the second attempt). Has is even entered your tiny mind to consider what he saw as the ‘foot dropping’ moment with you?

    Care to share that with your readers? Of course not.

  20. Anonymous11:47 pm

    HJ- you have a right to live your own life, expectations and.....but dont ever place any men on a pedestal. love yourself first before you love others.

  21. @anon10.21 - OF course it has crossed my TINY little mind that Mark has had "foot dropping" moments with me as well.

    I did say, "And I am sure there were many instances where I was breaking his illusion of me in his eyes as well."

    Of course we've had tiffs.. I've blogged about them before. Not as if I said tht I was perfect.

    I'm sorry if I don't understand everyone's point ( as you said)... but I do not think that I should lower my expectations or to only hold my expectations for a length of time that YOU deem suitable.

    WHile I understand that being with someone involves compromise.... Some things are deal breakers with me, some things are not open to compromise ( for example, an aggressive BF). I know what I want, I will keep looking until I find him.

    So, maybe some of you think I am looking for something that's not real. Well... I can only go based on how I feel and what is real to me, and not other people's reality.

    (Don't get frustrated over it la... you don't even know me)

  22. Anonymous5:35 pm

    Hi Holly!

    Argh, you can't please everyone! I totally understand what you're looking for and where you're going, it seems like a long journey but it will be worth it in the end. Just keep going!

    And anyway you're awesome. ;)


  23. Good post babe, and sometimes i thought this is liFe, disappointments, hurt feelings, failure etc, we all experienced that in various forms.

    The courage to accept imperfections and love is not the greatest, the power to forgive and continue loving then is.


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