Right Recipe, Wrong Ingredients
Have you ever tried a new recipe, and it just didn't live up to your expectations? Maybe it was a cake that wasn't as fluffy as you expected, or a savory dish that wasn't as piquant as someone else who made the same thing described. It's a disappointing experience. Sometimes you may doubt yourself, asking, "Did I even do that right? Am I a terrible cook, or is this recipe not worth keeping?" That's what we do, after all. We question, we examine, and we make decisions based on the information available. If we get another recipe that looks similar to the one that failed, we might be hesitant to give it a try. After all, the last one was a total bust.
It's sort of the same with relationships. We use the information we have to draw parallels. We try meeting people through the same channels or doing things what we consider to be the right way, and if that doesn't work, we may try to force ourselves to change something—anything—about what we're doing to get a different result. Just like that bad recipe, we may be hesitant to try something similar in the future. It may take some time to realize it wasn't that the recipe was bad, but that we weren't using high quality ingredients.
In my latest novel, The Dating Alternative, that's sort of where we find Brie as we meet her. Things went badly in her last relationship. She has always been the solid girlfriend type of girl. She does what she thinks she is supposed to do, and when, time after time, it doesn't produce the right results, she convinces herself she can't try the same recipe because it will just result in another terrible dish.
Sometimes, it's not the recipe, though. It's the poor quality ingredients we use that produce the awful results. It may take some time for us to see that the same old recipe with new ingredients will produce a completely different dish—one more delicious than we could have anticipated.