Why you should stop looking for perfection in relationships
I’m far from perfect.
Today I made my Son cry and frustrated the wife into shouting at me, many times. I’ll not sit here and pretend I’m this aura of perfection, my readers, scrabbling my website for snippets of advice that I feel I need to hand down to you. No, this is a learning journey from me, I blog about what I’ve learned, what I’m learning, every part of me is laid bare on this blog, for all to see. Not only am I laid bare to my wife, but most of me is open to you guys too. I am far, far, from a shining beacon of male-emotional perfection and self confessed pinnacle of society. Join me in my journey for balance.
Yeah, no, I mess up like every one of you. And lots. And sometimes more. Did you know that I shouted at my wife for waking me up today? Yeah, not perfect at all. And I apologise lots. Not obsessively, but I see the errors of my ways, apologise and try to make things right. My mother always said actions speak louder than words, and that’s what I try and do, make it right by trying not to do these negative things again. But I’ve found life is a cycle, rectify one mistake and then I seem to jump feet first into another, and all the while plodding through life, trying to achieve betterness, whilst restraining myself from the failures of the past.
Before I met my wife I managed to stumble onto some of the greatest information regarding relationships ever. I can’t remember if I was talking to a friend, or read it in a book, or a professional told me but it all boils down to this single point. Never view anyone or anything as perfect. As soon as you do then you fail. My previous relationships, I had always been looking for the perfect partner, the perfect woman to cater for my needs, and, imagine my surprise when they didn’t turn out to be perfect. The hurt was so much deeper than if I had expected both of us to mess up here and there. I had been seeing these people that I had been dating as awesome towers of perfection, and little old me, someone to be fixed.
It was later on that I finally found out the only person to fix me would be me.
And it’s the same with friendships. Our friends aren’t perfect, they fail at life all the time. They lie, they use, they get angry, and some of them may even cheat. And yup, that just means they’re human and prone to the same external stimuli as you and I. I rarely judge my friends, and I’ll definitely lend an ear or word of advice when asked, because who the hell would I be to judge with the sort of past I hold? It’s like a famous post in the Bible, one of my favourite,
“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”
And although I’m not fond of religion, that’s probably one of my most favourite quotes about judgementalism, because nothing, anywhere, is perfect. I can always recall times when I would receive unwanted advice from friends about the relationship I’m in, now, with my wife. And it’d be retorted with,
“Er, shouldn’t you be focussing on what’s happening with your relationship right now? Aren’t you going through a trying time?”
Because people do that. They annoyingly shift focus from their life to yours because it’s too painful to focus on their own mishaps. Our minds are funny old things, they like to distract, project, escape and a whole lot of other things to keep us away from what’s painful. Dealing with bitter reality is always really hard.
Do you know how excited I get? Running over my wife’s legs with my hands, and feeling all of those imperfections? The little bumps, crevices, and blemishes that makes her, her? Long gone are the days when I preferred a teflon, shiny woman. The ladies that go out to portray a feeling of physical perfection, and then you wake up, the very next day with not what you went to bed with? And god it’s not only women that do that, how many men have pretended to be someone they’re not? So it’s definitely not a blame game.
And yet something inside me wonders if older couples have been together longer because they aren’t looking for a perfect partner, they aren’t seeking instant gratification? They know that relationships take time to work through, and it’s not something like an instant-happy-relationship. I wonder if we’re so geared up in today’s society to look for perfection, to seek out instant happiness that when something comes up that’s hard to deal with we’re just not properly equipped to handle it? We’ve been surrounding ourselves in lives of insta-pleasure for years, why would we need to put up with x, y, or z’s behaviour when we can easily get rid of them and start again? And I see that the older generation, it’s viewed on badly because there was more issues that weren’t talked about openly, or even suggested. Marital rape being one of them (yes, that was a thing before the 90s!). But I can’t see that much has changed. The issues we experienced in the 80’s and before, they are still here now. And more violent, and more public.
Maybe it’s time we need to shift from the idea of
“If it’s broke, get a new one”
“If it’s broke, let’s see if we can fix it before we need to start again”
More and more men and women are feeling empowered to be unique and stand out than ever before, which in itself is a truly commendable and rewarding feat, but at what cost? Perhaps it may be time to try and understand the other side of the equation? Listen to their needs and wants, sit down with them and set a plan, try and understand one another. Because if we don’t do that, we’ll be forever empowering ourselves and leaving the others behind.
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