Why Picking a Partner With Flaws Is Key to a Lasting Relationship

woman annoyed by man

We head into the world thinking that we should be looking for Mr. (or Ms.) Right. You know, that person who's as close-to-flawless as we can get. Well, sorry to break it to you, sister, but that advice is so lame that Cinderella is probs divorced from Charming and long gone with her glass slippers by now.

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"Many people make the mistaken assumption that finding love is only the act of seeking, not avoiding," explains Venus Rouhani, MA, LFMT, a psychotherapist and author of The No-No List: How to Spot Mr. Wrong So You Can Find Mr. Right. "They assume that if they find what they seek, there's no point looking for problems with what they have found."

But the truth is, says Rouhani, that all those interests and hobbies and shared values you have with a partner will never hold you together if the negatives that lie outside that common area are deal-breakers.

... Which many of us don't acknowledge until we're already in an LTR. And which can lead to some pretty depressing consequences.

"By then, we've invested so much time and affection in the relationship that we still try to hold onto the dream," Rouhani says. "[But] eventually, the issues grow too big to bear and one or both decide to give up."

See? Depressing.

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Here's how, for the greater good of your relationship, you can stop overlooking your partner's flaws.

If you're single:

Get a clear definition of what a "flaw" is. It's not a scratch on their car. "It's a trait that you cannot tolerate in the other person and cannot live with," says Rouhani.

Instead of waiting for these flaws to reveal themselves to you, go ahead and make a list of 'em. That way, "you're more prone to see them when you're not yet emotionally attached and can easily walk away," Rouhani explains.

If you're in an LTR:

Time to make another list! This time, of any traits about your partner that are giving you problems.

"It's critical to understand that you can't change another person, nor should you want to," clarifies Rouhani. "You'll resent your partner for not changing, and your partner will resent you for trying to force that change."

What you may be able to do, though, is relabel the traits or habits that are making you grit your teeth. For instance, maybe your perfectionist partner takes two hours to pack the car before every road trip. Instead of inwardly seething that he's "too slow," can you start to recognize that he's actually meticulous and detail-oriented?

Understanding your partner, accepting them "as is" rather than trying to change them, will make you happier, says Rouhani.

But that strategy only works for minor grievances, FYI, and not for serious deal breakers on your list. Unfortunately, the fix for those isn't that easy.

"You either stay in an unhappy relationship or go your separate ways," says Rouhani.

As you become more aware of your partner's flaws, though, remember that you've got some, too. And it's pretty crucial that you a) recognize what they might be and b) accept them.

"You must know the truth about yourself," says Rouhani, "or no relationship will ever work."

 

 

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