In the beginning of every relationship, we often tend to be intoxicated by love. We view our significant other as our perfect partner in crime: the missing piece to our unfinished puzzle. It is in this period of time, maybe a few months or so in your average relationship, that we see nothing wrong in this person. They have “quirks” instead of bad habits, they have “unique characteristics” instead of flaws, and they have “areas of improvement” instead of issues. This intoxication is almost always mutual between the two.
Then one day, you’re watching a movie with your partner and he suddenly asks you “Why are chewing your popcorn so loudly?” It is in that moment that the veil is broken. Once you begin to feel that mild annoyance at some minor bad habit, it snowballs. Getting irritated at their loud chewing eventually turns into “Why didn’t you text me?” or “Stop texting me so much!” or “That shirt is ugly on you” or “You sound so stupid!” You begin to nitpick your partner’s quirks, unique characteristics and areas of improvement. At some point in this craziness, you will lose sight of why you liked this person in the first place.
Even worse is that you will try desperately to improve everything you consider “wrong” about your partner. You will pick on the things that they wear. You will tell them not to buy popcorn. You will get mad at them for being 5 minutes late to your date even if they were stuck in traffic along EDSA. Your relationship will turn into a grudge match – throwing punches at each other until you’re both knocked out. After the end of the fight, you will both end up worse for wear and actually no better than you were before.
That’s the thing – relationships can’t be about trying to forge your ideal partner. It can be toxic if you focus on everything bad about the other person; it will reach a point where the relationship becomes a suffocating mess. Becoming a better person and improving for your partner isn’t a bad thing – it’s what you will strive to do once you become mature and committed. However, improving oneself is a self-motivated process. It needs to be “I am going to be better for the sake of my partner” instead of “My partner told me to be better so I have to do it now.” That improvement will come naturally – you hear stories about other people who become sober or quit smoking once they get married.
Focus on the good rather than the bad. If you are in a relationship right now where you have lost sight of what you love about your significant other, then take a few minutes to think about it. Remember your first date. Remember the way that he or she charmed the living hell right out of you. Think about the way that he or she finds a way to text you good morning and good night without fail every single day. There are many reasons why you two are together – make sure you keep those reasons at the top of your mind. The relationships that last the longest are those where the people in it always remember the reasons why they love each other from start to end.