I don’t clean dishes unless I’m yelled at to do them, and I’d rather eat pasta with a knife than scrounge around for a fork. I leave my slimy bar of soap in the sink after I wash my face because I don't care enough to put it back on the counter.
I can be overly sensitive to criticism and a bit impulsive, and I have a habit of reaching over the table towards somebody’s food while – not after – asking if I can have a bite.
Okay, I think you get it: I’m flawed.
I like to believe that some day, someone out there will find these traits endearing. I like to believe that someone will love me because of these flaws and bad habits, not despite them. However, I understand that some people’s flaws are really difficult to love.
I don’t mean flaws like, “I have a gap between my two front teeth,” or “I have a flabby stomach,” but flaws like “I will make you wait hours for me because I am habitually late.” Let’s face it: Having a tummy can be cute. Making someone wait can be (and usually is) infuriating.
Human beings are obviously imperfect. We are all victims of vices and fundamental personality weaknesses. But what do we do about these flaws when it comes to the people we’re dating?
To have successful relationships, must we find our partners’ flaws endearing, or do we simply have to tolerate them? And, if we simply tolerate them, does that mean we must choose to ignore them? Will ignoring flaws hurt our relationships in the long run?
During the preliminary infatuation stage of a relationship, everything is perfect. Pheromones are in full swing and chemicals from sexual attraction cloud your already lovesick vision. Your boyfriend or girlfriend can seemingly do no wrong and you adore every quirk and flaw.
Once those initial euphoric feelings wear off, though, your boyfriend’s once-lovable arrogance might become unbearable, and your girlfriend’s penchant for chewing with her mouth open might ascend from a barely-there nuisance to an insufferable aggravation.
What happens when this occurs? Do these quirks become deal-breakers?
As Adam, everyone’s favorite (slightly sociopathic) hero from HBO’s “Girls,” once stated, “I’m a difficult person; everyone’s a difficult person. [Hannah] was accepting of my brand of difficult; she was okay with it.”
The best relationships flourish when we don’t simply tolerate flaws, but when we love and accept them.
What if you found things like your boyfriend’s tendency to get jealous or your girlfriend’s tendency to forget to wear deodorant genuinely endearing? What if you allowed yourself to love these flaws as part of the bigger package? Yes, jealousy and body odor can be annoying and gross, but so is impulsiveness and leaving slimy soap bars in sinks. Does that mean I’m unlovable? Hopefully not.
If we choose to love and accept our partners’ flaws instead of merely tolerating them, our relationships will thrive. We’ll be able to mentally entwine the “bad” qualities with the "good" qualities until they become indiscernible.
When we do this, we won’t see our boyfriends or girlfriends as clusters of contradictions of bad and good or flawed and unflawed, but rather as unique, multifaceted individuals. We won’t see them as disconnected parts of the whole, but rather as the whole.
Tolerance will satisfy moments, but love and acceptance will fulfill the long haul. Which do you prefer for your relationships?
Photo via We Heart It