Our culture does a great job selling us the idea of The One — the one person who is a great fit:
I hate to break it to you but The One is a myth. It does not exist.
If you want to be in a long-term relationship — and some people do not — but if you do want to play house with someone, maybe have kids, maybe blend your lives together then you must be willing to settle for some things that are annoying and bothersome. You have to learn to let that sh** go.
Dan Savage calls it “the price of admission” for being with that person.
For some people, the price of admission may be too high in which case, get out of that relationship.
But if you expect that there will be no price of admission, then you are sorely mistaken. That is a fairy tale that does not exist.
The grunt work of being in a long-term relationship is learning how to emotionally self-regulate — that means not storming around the house acting like a juvenile because you didn’t get sex or because the dishes weren’t done or because they forgot to pay the utility bill — and have a conversation with your partner about what is going on.
And here is another tough part — your job is also to get curious about what is going on for them.
Not pretend curious but really curious about what is happening in their world that they don’t want to be intimate right now. Ask good questions and LISTEN TO THE RESPONSE. And then ask more questions to understand more deeply. Do the same with the dishes or about the utility bill or about whatever the thing is that is driving you crazy.
Spend some time to understand your partner's difference. (Note: culturally we suck at this — just look at our current political system. Culturally, our SuperPower is *making people wrong when they are different* not trying to understand them — so it is no wonder this is also tough in our own homes.)
I’m going on 18 years married to my husband. We are both pretty clear about the *price of admission* to be in this particular long-term relationship with one another.
His price is having to deal with my anal retentive need for the house to be tidy. Piles drive me crazy and I can be resentful and curt when there is a pile of mail sitting on the table for days (or weeks), when laundry is left in the washer for hours or days, or when no one in the house does the dishes all day long.
I “work my own program” and usually implement the same things that I teach my couples to do — but some days, I can be a real ass about it. I can be unkind, impatient, and cold.
My husband (because he is probably a better human being than I am) has, over the years, become more and more patient with me about these things. And I (at least I hope) am much more patient with him now than I was at 25 years old.
I have learned to see the pile of mail not so much as an affront to my organization but a testament to his involvement in other meaningful things in his life — he is so relaxed that piles of mail don’t bother him and he can spend hours gardening and be in his own world without thinking about the “house tasks” that need doing. He can completely unplug and be in his own world — which frankly, is not something that I am all that good at.
PRO TIP: If you make someone wrong all of the time and don’t get curious even when it feels impossible, you will never unearth some little nugget of truth about them that may just be a huge game changer in your relationship!
What’s the price of admission that your partner has to pay in order to be in a relationship with you? What are you willing to let go and what do you need some help messaging so you can move forward in your relationship?
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