Some of this is a little scattered......and I so don't mean to sound preachy or that I know it all. I just want to share what I've learned in this area or what I believe because I know it's helped me to enjoy the healthy and happy relationship that I am in. Here goes:
So often we look at other people's lives or read their blogs and think that what they have is perfect. I have fallen into this trap on many occasions (not just in blog-land, but in 'real-land' too). I am getting better at recognizing the falsity of the thought when it comes up and recalling the understanding that we all have 'issues, problems' (whatever you want to call them), there are potential pitfalls in every journey, and whatever that person has or doesn't have comes with it's own 'price.'
As far as my partner being perfect - he'd say NO and I'd say "He's perfect for ME because I CHOOSE for him to be." Oh, we've had our troubles. Most of them are far and away, but resurface every once in awhile. There were a lot of 'dreams' I had to give up for the health of this relationship, myself, my partner, and my daughter. My husband wasn't my dream husband (are they ever? perhaps sometimes for some people - but I'd venture a guess that for the most part they aren't). After a few years of torture, I realized that that dream guy may look tasty, may say things that melt my clothes off, and may be strong in spirit - BUT HE ISN'T REAL and even IF he was, perhaps he'd have other qualities that didn't allow me to live my best life. For many years, I chose that type of guy and IT NEVER WORKED OUT. I spent my time being upset for one reason or another - he lied, he cheated, he ignored me, he ignored my daughter, he only wanted sex, things changed between us because he couldn't keep up the act (because he wasn't being his real self, only a self that would get me in bed), he was jealous of things I wanted to do, he pushed me away, he was controlling, abusive mentally, emotionally, physically....and the list goes on.
Here's a brief synopsis of how we got together: We worked together for years. He liked me from the first moment he saw me. Then he realized I was dating another co-worker. We became friends and remained so for several years. It took me some time to recognize his feelings, but we never spoke directly of them...until one night we were hanging out. I was single at the time. We hung out a few times, but I wasn't ready yet. I asked if we could go back to being friends. We did. I went back to the co-worker. We reached a place again when it wasn't working out. So, I began to think - instead of getting together with someone who I like and trying to get them to like me.....why don't I get together with someone who likes ME for Who I Am already and see what happens?? That singular idea is where this 'perfect' relationship began.
My husband allows and helps me to live my best life because he knows, understands, embraces, and even likes Who I Am. I can't ask for more than that. But I had to choose to allow it first. I had to decide that the heart, the soul, the character inside of him is more important than the rest.
When we first got together, no one would have believed that we are as happy, as solid as we are. I was really into the idea that we choose partners who remind us of our childhood relationships. We choose these people in order to resolve the painfull parts. I shared this idea with him. We talked a lot about things like that. Both of our families are fraught with relationship troubles. And WE DIDN'T WANT TO REPEAT THEIR MISTAKES or LIVE THEIR F'ED UP LIVES. We'd seen how it turned out and instead of doing the same stupid things, we did something else in hopes that it would work out better. (and I'm happy to say "It has." :)
I would imagine people (even my so-called friends and ex-family) thought/said the following: The bitch with the nice guy. She's using him. He'll do whatever she says, she's going to use that against him. She's going to control him. She's going to get bored of him being so nice and leave. She's going to cheat on him. It will never work. She doesn't love him (that WAS said to me). I feel bad for him (which was also said in a conversation about us when I wasn't present).
Stu and I spoke about that 'stuff' over the years and honestly, we laughed at them all because they really had no idea what they're talking about. They didn't KNOW us. They didn't spend time with us as a couple. Their own relationships were either in a smoking pile of rubble (way beyond repair), well on their way to a smoking pile of rubble, or none existent. Who the heck were they to judge???
My friend says I have to have "the patience of a saint" with him. The reason: he does a lot of things that appear 'dumb' to me. For example, last night - we're cooking dinner together (cause he doesn't have a problem doing or helping to do anything around the house - that's one of his really good qualities). I was going to ask our daughter to cook the rice, but I asked him to do it because "she'll ask me a million questions even though the directions are right on the box." He said, "I'll probably ask you a million questions too." I said, "The directions are right on the box." So, I'm cutting veggies (cause I wouldn't ask him to do that - I kinda like him with fingers) and I see, out of the corner of my eye, him at the sink directly filling the pot up with water. I said, "What are you doing?" He said, "It says to boil the water." I look at the box and see the table which clearly displays a certain amount of rice and a certain amount of water. I say, "What, just water? Not a certain amount of water?" He looks at the box....."Oh." Now, what he did wasn't a huge deal, but piled on top of a million other similar situations ~ sometimes it gets annoying and I usually don't hesitate to tell him so - which is why I said, "We have to have the patience of saints with each other.' I'm no picnic all the time either.
There are other 'issues' in our relationship that are much too private to go into, but believe me, they are there. We just don't allow them to ruin the rest. Other people probably would. The past me would have and tried to. But because we got together at the 'perfect' time for me- when I was ready to get out of the fairy tale idea of relationships and get into a real relationship - and he is just one of those 'nice guys' who always wants things to work out....it has worked out. Where we will go from here - I have no idea - but I have a feeling that it's only going to get better and better.
I also have the feeling that the choice to remain in this relationship will be made again and again because that's how Life goes. The re-cognition that what's good here is really good for us and the 'bad' parts just come with the good package will re-turned to and re-examined and re-membered. It's like going to a restaurant and seeing a steak with a baked potato. Well, perhaps you wanted fries, but it doesn't come with fries, it comes with a baked potato. So, you think, "Do I want that steak enough to have a baked potato and not fries, OR do I want the fries so much that it's worth changing to something else???" I'm loving the steak...so baked potato it is!
So often our society is concerned with LOVE. Love is complicated - I believe I read this idea in Conversations with God: Love is like white light. When it shines through a prism a rainbow appears. All the colors that are contained in that white light show up....red, blue, orange, purple, green, yellow. I believe many of us are confused about what LOVE is. Not that I know exactly or that I haven't been or will be in the future....but I know this, fighting is in there....it's part of the Love. I suppose I concern myself mostly with the liking of my partner. I like him. I like Who He Is. I don't particularly care for all of his characteristics and I'm sure some of mine get on his nerves (he just doesn't say so because it's not his nature)....but still, I like him. Love is like the ocean....ebbing and flowing, rippling, ever moving, even in the smallest way. Like is still. I either like someone or I don't. The way I determine that is through their actions. Has he done things that have hurt me emotionally? YES. YES. Mentally? YES. YES. Physically? YES. YES. (like when we wrestle - not talking physical violence here) But the thing about it is this: Because I know him deeply, I understand that there is no 'on purpose' in his 'hurtfull' actions. So, I do not interpret him as trying to hurt me. Anything he does is accidental or perhaps he wasn't thinking. These things are 'easily' let go.
I see our entire relationship as Divinely Planned. Throughout both of our separate journeys we were prepared, we were taught through a series of painful situations. The purpose ~ so that we would know how to appreciate the GOOD and gracefully accept the bad that surely comes with it.
Basically, in my experience, there are no perfect partners, only ones who are perfect enough. Check out the movie "The Story of Us."