We are critical by nature. This is especially true when it comes to relationships, because we’d like someone as perfect as possible to accompany us on the journey of life. A large part of dating is meeting people, getting to know them better at a deeper level and trying to judge how compatible they are with us.
During this process, we might come across something that we consider a dealbreaker – that is, something that we find annoying, repulsive or unacceptable enough that we no longer desire that person. This may range from serious behaviours such as alcoholism or unfaithfulness, to benign but annoying behaviours such as chewing with an open mouth or being messy.
But with so many potential dealbreakers, how do we know which are legitimate and which are frivolous? Are we being too picky, meaning we will be forever alone, or are we trapping ourselves in a miserable, incompatible relationship, because we are not brave enough to leave the relationship?
An American columnist named Dan Savage answers this question with the concept of paying the “price of admission”. His process is extremely simple: if you cannot count the number of dealbreakers for you on one hand, then the problem lies with you. Choosing the right partner is a very important decision and you are encouraged to have a reasonable idea of what you want and what you don’t. But if your list of what you cannot live with is long and full of superficial things, then you will never find a happy relationship.
People are far from perfect, but we try to hide that fact. On a first date, we try to present an idealised version of ourselves to impress each other. We dream of finding “The One” – someone who is perfect for us. We set unrealistic expectations in our head and use it as an excuse, lamenting that we cannot find the right person while turning away potential partners because of trivial reasons. These delusions distract us from the harsh truth that no two people are perfect or fully compatible for each other from the get-go.
So if your partner has a characteristic that you dislike and it is not one of your core, serious dealbreakers, then ask yourself the question: is it worth it? Does this outweigh all of the good qualities they possess? If you believe it is, then you may leave the relationship, but you must accept that this was your choice and not your partner’s fault. If it isn’t that big of a deal, then this is a price of admission to this relationship. This is the price you must pay for the privilege of the joy, the laughter, the connection and the love your partner could provide you through the relationship.
When you see it this way, it becomes easier to accept their bad qualities. We can be angry and frustrated and annoyed, or we can choose to accept our partners for who they are – flawed, but wonderful people who are worth the trouble. Of course, you can communicate with your partner to see if you can compromise on some grounds, but this should not be an ultimatum and you cannot expect your partner to forcibly change who they are.
Lastly, remember that just as you find some qualities to be suboptimal, your partner will also feel the same way about certain parts of you. So hopefully, both parties can understand that every relationship has a price of admission that must be paid. Then, they can work on smoothing out the rough edges through communication and compromise to produce a strong, healthy long-term relationship.
The secret to a fulfilling relationship is not expecting to find The One, but instead striving to become The One for each other by rounding up.
(Image source: Puuung http://www.grafolio.com/puuung1)