Why does relationship reflection mean ‘The End’? Easy answer really, it puts it to the test.
When you start think about your relationship, you’re taking yourself out of that blissfully happy lovey-dovey state you were in. You start to look at the relationship from a realistic point of view, which for most relationships is bad. You start to look at whether you can have them around in your life constantly, leading to your noticing of all their strengths and flaws (we naturally tend to notice flaws more than strengths). Most relationships, sadly, won’t stand up to this kind of test. We all have flaws (and if you don’t well, that’s a flaw). We all have a crack in our Liberty Bell. But how does one solve this “we all have flaws and flaws end relationships” dilemma then?
By accepting flaws, and not settling down.
Yes, there’s a difference, a BIG difference. When you settle down you’ve reflected on your relationship and deemed yourself, in a word, unworthy. While settling down you’re thinking “this is the best I’ll get [for now/in the near future]” and “they might not be entirely right for me, but who is”. If you find yourself thinking this, end the relationship. It will go nowhere and if it does, it will be down a dangerous path.
Now, when you accept flaws you’re not self-judging, you’re judging them. You’re seeing if they, with their flaws, are worthy enough to be in a relationship with you. You’re thinking “I can get anyone I want” and “I accept I have flaws, but I won’t let them put me down or hold me back”. If you find yourself here, and still deem your relationship worth having, then congratulations, it’s worth having. Whether or not you break-up down the road, you’ll know that you didn’t lower your standards (which will help you move on a to better relationship if you break-up).
And the happy side-effect of doing the latter is that it actually helps the relationship along. For when you realize that technically “you’re the shit,” and that your partner is “the shit” as well, you’ll fall back into that blissful lovey-dovey state you were in before you reflected. The difference being that you’ve now already reflected on the relationship, so you’re not being blissfully ignorant, just blissful.
And trust me, you can both sense when the other has accepted your flaws and is still madly in love with you and when they’re just settling down.
Okay……I’m not even sure where to go with this. So I’ll just start:
1) The overall frame of this piece is incredibly self-centered, which is the complete opposite of what being in – and strengthening – a true relationship is all about – selflessness. Strong, healthy relationships are about selflessness, dedication, hard work, and sacrifice. The evaluation should not be that of your partners flaws and deciding if you can handle that; but of whether or not you have it in you to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices for the relationship. Never As written, your position comes across as incredibly conceited.
2) The over-generalization that “most relationships”….blah blah blah is presumptuous and pompous. Now, I know your rebuttal will be national divorce stats yadayadayda. But initially looking at relationships with a negative lens only leads to self-fulfilling prophecy. If you expect that “most” relationships ” can’t stand a thorough evaluation, then guess what, YOU’RE RIGHT! And if flaws and weaknesses supersede positive qualities, then that’s a problem with you and not the other person.
3) There’s an inherent danger in defining things as they are not. And a corollary is that when you focus so much on what you don’t want, rarely do you know what it is you really do want. If you are focusing on flaws as a standard of judgement, you are never going to have a clear picture of what it is you really want – especially when it comes to relationships. It’s better to focus on the things you want. The reason is that by focusing on negative attributes, your power to eliminate an option is much higher than if you focus on positive attributes. The result is that you often eliminate good/suitable options in favor of the hope for the perfect (which may or may not exist).
4)This concept of “not settling down” just sounds like a recipe for loneliness (perhaps “lowering your standards” is what you meant). Because you will never be able to satisfy all of your expectations. Human nature is that we are rarely satisfied with what we have materially – we want bigger houses, nicer cars, more expensive vacations, etc. However, the one area this doesn’t seem to happen is with relationships – they become enriched the more effort we put into them. Look at a relationship as a startup – the more work (sweat equity) you put into it, the more you value it, and the more fulfilling it is. But the idea that you’re not going to settle, and you’ll find the perfect person and you’ll be “the shit” and not have to work is absolutely ludicrous. A line from The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” comes to mind.
5) “You’re seeing if they, with their flaws, are worthy enough to be in a relationship with you.” Really!?! Are you serious!?!
Finally, I don’t know you from Adam so I don’t know what kind of relationships you have been in, but to be completely candid your post suggests a pretty immature perspective on them. But I can tell you from experience (I’m under 30 and have been married for 7 incredible years) that you never get to the point where you think you are “the shit,” because A) IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, BUT RATHER ABOUT “US,” and B) strong relationships are an exercise in hard work, humility, and service. I don’t think you get that (at least this piece suggests that you don’t).
But guess what – for all the hard work, sacrifice, selflessness you put into a relationship, it’s absolutely worth it.
Arsene Hodali says
Hand clap for you sir. You deserve an applause. Seriously.
I wrote this with one intention: to see if people agree with me.
I decided to play a game of sorts where I sounded like some of the “relationship experts” I’ve listened to. The point being that the the basis of it is COMPLETELY wrong, but the post is filled with just enough self-clarification and vagueness that it has the potential to persuade people over.
It’s my way of mocking fake “relationship experts”.
I’m truly glad/honored that you put forth the time to write such an amazing response, and that it’s the first one (this has the potential to work out better than I presumed. I’m hoping people read the post, then read your comment as a follow-up.
I can’t match your comment in passion or length, so I won’t try. I’ll just leave you with these last few words, “Don’t believe everything you read.”
First, Scott: thank you for expressing, succinctly and powerfully, the various problems with this post. I found myself vehemently disagreeing with the article as I read it, but would never have been able to break it down so articulately.
Second, to Arsene (and whatever editors approve posts for this site): your readers aren’t here to be experimented upon, nor are they here to satisfy your curiosity. And you can make grandiose claims about trying to challenge people, but if this was truly some sort of gambit on your audience, then it shows great disdain for your readers – and massive arrogance.
I won’t be returning and I suspect I’m not the only one.
Graham Phoenix says
Do we believe Arsene? Is his response to Scott just a convenient cover for writing crap? What waste of time!
Arsene did not advance the argument at all, he wrote rubbish and clearly doesn’t understand relationships, despite his later disclaimer.
I eventually left my long-term marriage because my ex-wife would not look at our relationship or herself. Without growth it could not continue. I am now in a new relationship, we are about to get married, which is based on on us both constantly improving ourselves and the relationship. We take nothing for granted and don’t accept any ‘shit’ from the other. That is why we are together and strong.
Arsene, stop being a prat and write something to either help people or that illuminates your own life.