You know those types of conversations that are ongoing, the kind that never end…The kind of communication you share with a very close friend and you seem to pick up exactly where you left off. The sort of conversation that happens with a trusted and valuable friend in which you share a very deep connection and feel safe exposing even your ugliest truths. Well, I have a few friends like this… one of them and I have had a long conversation for the last few years about perfection and dating. We’ve each done our fair share, and we’ve both finally found some stability within ourselves and in our relationships.
One of the main quandaries we’ve bumped up against is the notion of perfection versus imperfection with relationships. We’ve both wondered about our “perfect person,” or that partner who truly gets us and has just a few (minor) flaws. Does this person exist?
Yes and no.
I think we (I) get so caught up in the belief that there’s one right person that I
- place a lot of stress and tension on myself,
- pressure the other person,
- sabotage the relationship,
- don’t see the greatness because I’m so focused on the flaws.
Have you done this? Here’s what happens:
Add Tension and Stress to Yourself
So things are going along swimmingly and I feel the inklings of what I should do, or how it’s supposed to be. This begins to make me nervous. I think about my friends’ relationships or the imaginary relationships I see on Instagram and wonder why mine are not quite as picturesque. Maybe my partner and I don’t take as many cutesy photos or we don’t look as cozy as the yoga teacher with the teacup dog and buff boyfriend. So this tends to cause stress and I then think the relationship I’m in is IMPERFECT and I should therefore find something better because I deserve more. I get tense and withdraw a little, and focus on what’s wrong. Never mind what’s right or great, instead I look and my role and get really angry at myself. So then it’s hard it come back to a close, loving relationship and it’s pretty much kaput.
Put Pressure on Your Partner
Another thing is the pressure I place on the other person. This doesn’t happen so much now, but when I was in my late twenties, it was definitely a thing I was made aware I did. Lots of my friends were getting engaged and I wasn’t. I had a boyfriend for three years and essentially asked him what he wanted. He freaked out and said I was putting too much pressure on him. Hello? What? THREE YEARS, bro. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I should have broken up with him that instant, but I waited until our relationship was really burned so I could leave. He said my asking and wanting to talk about this was a lot of pressure on him, and he’d have to let me know over time. More time! Three years is plenty. Heck, one year is enough to know. This was a good indicator he was not the right person for me, and these imperfections were enough to evacuate the relationship.
(Self) Sabotage the Relationship
Um, yeah. Sabotaging the relationship. Maybe you’ve gotten scared as you’re getting more intimate with the new person you’re dating. Maybe you’re concerned it will end one day so you might as well end it now. Rather than speaking about your worry or fears, you act out. I know someone who cheated on his partner because he didn’t know how to get close. This sounds so ridiculous to type, but he said he loved his girlfriend so much and knew she was the one but he wasn’t ready. So, instead of talking to her and slowing things down, he cheated. That was total sabotage and the relationship ended promptly with her feeling angry and hurt and him feeling remorseful and guilty. Don’t do that.
Focus Solely on the Imperfections
NOBODY IS PERFECT, but he seems great, perfect, handsome, charming and kind. How often have you said that? Then a few months in and you learn that his communication style is strange (i.e. he doesn’t really talk about problems and he gives you the silent treatment) or you find out she used to date women. Or, he’s wonderfully organized (yes!) but that also means he’s rather controlling when it comes to time management. Then, once you learn about this side of him or her, the blemish turns into a wart. The wart grows bigger and you can’t see the positive and favorable qualities in him anymore.
It’s the concept of “whatever you seek, you shall find.” When you look for problems, you will see them, and you’ll notice them grow exponentially. It’s like this: when your eyes are open to noticing the problems, you might not see the special and loving qualities in the person you’re dating. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting you wear blinders and ignore the red flags. Instead, I’m saying when you’re trying to find problems, they’ll shine brightly. Like when you’re car shopping and you identify the car of your dreams, and then you notice it driving all over the roads. When your eyes are open to finding imperfections, there they are! They appear right in front of you!
My friend and I have finally agreed on the beauty of imperfections. We now understand that imperfection is a form of perfection. Some imperfections are deal breakers, but most of them can be worked through and actually make the person more lovable. That minor imperfection might not work for someone else, but it’s totally acceptable for you. And when you accept and love someone’s imperfections, they no longer are glaring flaws in a personality, but quirky perfections.
My last blog was about communication and Terrible Texts.
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