In my prior post I spoke of the three options you have when there is something about your partner that you do not like. The three options were:
- Accept that this is your partner and learn to live with the issue.
- Accept that this is your partner and end the relationship.
In this post I will delve into option 1.
I will start with “Accept that this is your partner.” What your partner is doing is not personal. It is your partner doing their thing. Even if your partner is deliberating setting out to cause you discomfort, that is your partner doing their thing. Remember, that, short of physical violence, your partner cannot hurt you without your participation. An insult or criticism only hurts if you allow it to hurt. If you ignore the insult then your partner is incapable of hurting you. This is the first part of acceptance. The second part of acceptance is equally important. This is who your partner is. Who they are isn’t going to suddenly change. While their behaviour may modify slightly, there will not be any big changes.
Let’s take an example. You have a partner who is an addict. They might be addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or watching porn. They promise you they will change, that this was the last time, but the behaviour continues. You think, “If only they would join a 12 step program and quit. Then things would be so much better.” Then one day, your partner joins a 12 step program and quits. But wait, things do not get better. Why? Because the basic person hasn’t changed. They are still an addict. The only things that change are what they are addicted to. Now, instead of sitting at a bar drinking, they are at 12 step meetings.
and Live With
Accepting your partner for who they are, does not mean you have to want them in your life. Many move through acceptance and decide that this is not someone they want in their life. However, if this behaviour is an annoyance as opposed to a ‘show-stopper’ then you have made the choice to live with your partner and their behaviour. This requires a major shift in you. Now, instead of complaining, pleading or begging your partner to change, the onus is on you to work through your feelings about the behaviour.
Let’s continue the addiction example from above. You may have decided that the benefits of living with your partner are worth the annoyance of the evenings they spend at the bar. This means that it is now up to you to find ways to fill those evenings when your partner is away. Or maybe the two of you decide that the evenings they are not at the bar are evenings that you are free to go out and engage in an activity that you enjoy.