Turn a Blind Eye to Your Partner's Faults: Hard, But Worth It

Amy Keyishian
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Puppy Love
Flickr photo by Beverly & Pack
Funny things happen when you're with someone over time. For some couples, "familiarity breeds contempt." You forget the charming quirks that were so cute at first, and focus on the annoying habits that popped up later. Sometimes those charming quirks become those annoying habits!

Soon, all you see are the little day-to-day annoyances: the three bags of recycling, the two lonely bread-heels he always leaves when he opens a new loaf, the mysterious piles of clutter that spring up wherever he goes. But according to psychologist Sandra Murray, turning a blind eye to your partner's faults and focusing on his good qualities is better, long-term, for your relationship.

Why don't you ... put on the rose-colored glasses when it comes to your mate?

Don't get me wrong: If he's insanely jealous, horribly angry, or just a total pud, nobody's telling you to pretend those are noble traits. What Murray says, in a 2003 paper, is that "cold-eyed reality may not be the best thing for romantic relationships," and that since we're all "relieved by our ... spouse's ability to tolerate our faults," we can return the favor -- with the result being an uptick in happiness and satisfaction around the old homestead.

Which means you're more likely to deal with the recycling, feed the bread to the geese, and discuss the clutter without blowing your top. See how that works? It's not that you ignore or swallow the annoyances. It's that when you both feel better and are more lovey-dovey, you're more apt to work together to keep things rolling along.

Do you idealize or demonize your mate? How's that working out for you? Tell us in the comments!


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