As they say, everybody’s got something — something your partner does that bothers you, upsets you, periodically even makes you think about pulling the plug. He’s too quiet, she’s too self-centered, he’s too controlling, she’s got a temper, he isn’t affectionate enough, she’s too involved with her family, etc. Learning to accept what particularly bothers you about your partner is one of the challenges of any relationship. But acceptance is not about resignation, settling, or about giving up because you feel that there is nothing you could do to make anything change. True, real acceptance is an active choice.
Kelly realizes that Jake is a slob but has come to accept it. Alan thinks Tanya is a slob, and it is driving him crazy so he’s always nagging her about it.
How can you be more like Kelly and less like Alan?
Ask Yourself These Questions
Here are some questions to help you sort through your feelings and perhaps change your perspective.
How much do these problems/issues bother you?
On a bad day, scale it between 1 and 10, where 1 – it doesn’t bother you at all, 10 – it makes you crazy. On a good day, how much do these problems bother you?
If there’s not much difference in your annoyance between a good and bad day for you, and the number is high, that makes a solid statement of how important this issue is to you. But if it varies depending on your mood, and especially if it varies a lot, that says something about you. That doesn’t mean that your problem isn’t a problem, but it’s clear that it also rides up and down on your moods, your own stress, making the problem a moving target of sorts. Look for the usual, the middle ground, the average day to judge how truly important the issue is.