The Seven Deadly Sins: Part two – Gluttony and Greed

According to tradition, The Seven Deadly Sinsare: envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath.

This series of blogs looks into how these ‘sins’ can play into relationships. 

Gluttonyan inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Greed– “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed”.Mahatma Gandhi

In life, as in love, we want it all; wealth, good health, the perfect partner and everything in between. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting it all, the way in which we achieve this can sometimes lead to disappointment. 

Let us start by saying, this blog is meant to explore these ‘sins’ in the colloquial sense as opposed to the biblical. 

We begin first with dating. Some take the ‘more is more’ approach to dating. They date as many people as they can, as often as they can, rarely stopping to truly consider the feelings of the other person or their potential to be a long-term partner. They go into it with an ‘I want’ attitude and can sometimes forget there are two people involved in the dating process. Whilst ‘the more the better’ can sometimes be a helpful approach to ‘putting yourself out there’ and exploring as many options as possible in order to meet the one, we need to ensure we do not overindulge and miss out on the very thing we have been in search of through our own ‘greed’. Try to focus on the person in front of you and if there is any potential to the two of you dating, instead of listening to that little voice in your head which is telling you to keep your options open and to date as many people as you can as opposed to choosing to ‘settle’, keep focused. Most importantly, avoid keeping one eye on the door for someone else who may come along and instead try to imagine that the person in front of you may just be enough. 

It is also important to remember that both people on the date have their own ideas about what they want in a partner. Often we become so focused on what we want that we forget we will also need to meet the requirements of the person we are dating; we too will have to ‘tick all their boxes’ in order to succeed. Be aware of what you want from a relationship but also of what you can bring to the table. Avoid being short sighted and remember that effort and attributes are required on both sides to make a relationship work. 

The key to any successful relationship is compromise and this can start as early as the initial stages of dating someone. It is commonplace to have some kind of ‘list’ which we want our partner to live up to: age, height, looks, wealth bracket, job title and so on and so forth, but the overbearing need to fulfil this list can sometimes be to our detriment; we miss out on what could be a wonderful relationship because the person we are potentially going to date has failed to tick a box. Keep in mind what you are prepared to compromise on and allow this to encourage some flexibility in your approach to a potential mate.  

Having said that, it is of course wise to know what your deal breakers are in a relationship but also not to get these confused with the ideals you would like in a partner rather than the must haves. The ‘ideals’ are things you can and are happy to compromise on if it means you are with the person you ultimately see a future with, whereas deal breakers are things you absolutely cannot compromise on. These usually encompass things such as abusive behaviour not being tolerated, religious beliefs, values and long-term relationship goals such as your views on having children or getting married. 

Mark D. White Ph.D.writes in his blog The Pros and Cons of Dating Deal Breakers“You need decide what things about a person are truly important to you and demand those things, but not get stuck on lesser things that really don’t matter and will just stand in the way of fulfilment in your love life”.So in essence, don’t let the inner ‘greed’ of wanting it all in a partner to jeopardise a potentially great connection. As Dr Georgina Barnett in her blog Set Relationship Goals states “Once you have defined realistic goals, then you can work as a couple to put steps in place to make the relationship work. If you have different visions, you may need to work together, communicate and look at ways that you can both compromise”so compromise regarding wants and needs in relationships does not have to be one sided; it can involve both you and your partner. 

Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D  in his blog ‘Is Greed Ever Good? The Psychology of Selfishness’ stated amongst other things“Greed is about never being satisfied with what one has, always wanting and expecting more. It is an insatiable hunger. A profound form of gluttony”. So, if we use greed as a motivator when dating, it is possible that we will never find what we are looking for, as whatever we have will never be enough. We will forever be searching for the ‘perfect’ mate which in most cases is an impossible position to fill. 

In her blog Seven Qualities of an Ideal Partner Tamsen Firestone writes “while the reasons we fall in love are often a mystery, the reasons we stay in love are far less elusive. There may be no such thing as the perfect partner, but an ideal partner can be found in someone who has developed themselves in certain ways that go beyond looks, charms and success”.

Annie Wright wrote in her article The Myth of the Perfect Partner & The Myth That Love Should Be Easythat “The Myth of The Perfect Partner often causes us to have unrealistic expectations of others (and often of ourselves, too) which can lead to a great deal of emotional pain in and out of relationships”.Constantly wanting your partner to be the cardboard cut out of what you deem to be the ‘perfect mate’ and never leaving any leeway for them to be their true selves will ultimately lead to disappointment for both you and them. 

As Noam Shpancer Ph.D.said in his article Laws of Attraction: How Do We Select a Life Partner? “the final selection among all the worthy candidates is decided by a subjective internal process that is obscure and whimsical and does not necessarily obey the dictates of rationality, evolutionary mandates, cultural pressures, or even our own conscious will, plans or intentions. At the end of the day, as the philosopher Blaise Pascal said, the heart has reasons that reason doesn’t understand”.

Many of us are in search of our happy ending but in reality, does that actually exist? If you have ever been in a long-term relationship you will know there is no such thing as the conventional happily ever after, its not a case of meeting your dream partner who encompasses everything you have ever wanted and walking off into the sunset, never to argue or experience a problem ever again. Relationships of all kinds take hard work, commitment and compromise to reach the ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ moment, so its important to enter into them with clarity that as much as you would love to take the ‘I want, I want’ (greed) approach, this is not what will bring you the happiness you crave. Being open to change, taking off the rose tinted glasses to what you believe ‘perfect’ is and seeing someone for everything they can offer rather than instantly discounting them for what they can’t, may in fact bring you more success and ultimately help you find the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with.