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Navigating the Imperfections of Relationships
Relationships are hard. It’s not usually what we intend for them to be. Most of us are looking for our soulmate, our perfect match, or the “one”. We feel excited and hopeful when we have met and connected with this person. We may also feel relief, that FINALLY, we are with the person we are supposed to be with. As much as “the couple” can be compatible on so many levels, there is also the reality, that in fact, the couple is entirely different. It can feel like a let down to have an image of a perfect person we have created, only to discover our partner falls short of our expectations. Chances are, they will have those feelings of us as well.
There is a theory, that whether it’s conscious or not, we seek out people who give us familiar feelings to that of our family of origin (the family we were raised with). This is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that we feel comfortable and secure, that sense of “being home”. The curse, is that our parents had both good and bad qualities, and we tend to seek someone who can make us feel bad in the ways our parents did. Seems kinda twisted, right? Or maybe not. If you’re curious to hear more about that, check out the video from Alain de Botton.
The truth is, no one is perfect. There will be times our partner does or says something, and it makes us feel bad/hurt/angry/sad, etc. This will happen with any person we would be in a relationship with, not just our current partner. If we wind up with someone who can make us feel bad in familiar ways, then we are able to handle the reality of their imperfections. Where things can really go south, is when communication breaks down, and we expect our partner to know why we are upset.
Taking a different approach to your relationship, you can begin to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone and conflict may begin to look different. Remembering that your partner is not a mind reader, is a great first step. It’s important to explain your feelings and perspective, because it’s likely they truly don’t know. It’s equally important to hear what they have to say back. Perhaps the feelings and thoughts this conflict has triggered, has nothing to do with what they said or did in the first place. The beauty of these moments, is that is can allow our inner child to heal from those hurts we experienced from our parents. Wouldn’t it be great to evolve to a place of understanding yourself so deeply, that you don’t need to feel hurt when your partner says or does something that is not intended to hurt or offend you? Let’s take that to another perspective-wouldn’t it be great to teach your partner about your own depths, so that they can shift as well!? Let’s work toward diffusing conflict altogether! If the love and willingness to work together is there, then why not evolve together? Creating understanding and fostering communication and respect is both healing and fruitful.
So perhaps the ideas you originally had are not the reality that is presenting itself to you. Examining your own thoughts, beliefs and expectations are all a part of the relationship reality.
Some relationships are abusive and conflict can’t be resolved - it is okay to leave a relationship that is unhealthy or making you unhappy, even if you feel they are “the one”.
** Please note: If your partner is abusive or you are unsure if you’re in a healthy relationship, check out the Red Cross Healthy Relationships video and information.
Carolyn is a passionate advocate for self awareness and personal growth and is loving her role as curriculum developer at mindyourmind! She is originally a child and youth care practitioner who has worked front line with children, youth, and their families. Carolyn is enjoying where life is taking her and cannot wait to see what happens next!
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