First, you know there is no such thing as perfect, right? Of course we all have tastes and preferences and what we gravitate toward, what we find sexy and attractive, from the external to the internal, from body types to personality to confidence and emotional intelligence and so on and so on.
Yes, we all have preferences and that’s a good thing but if you’re chasing perfect, you’ll be disappointed and ultimately lonely. Because perfect doesn’t exist. It’s a mirage created by advertising and a fantasy we’ve been holding onto since we were taping posters of our teen crushes on our bedroom wall.
There is only perfect for you.
And that depends on where you’re at in your life. What’s “perfect” for you will change as you change. What was perfect for you in your twenties probably isn’t what’s perfect for you today. Unless of course, you haven’t changed, grown, or evolved. But I know you have so let’s talk about what’s perfect for you today.
Wait, so how do you know what’s perfect for you today? Okay let’s put away the word “perfect” for now because it’s stupid, overused, and dangerous. And let’s start with the word important. What’s important to you? What matters? Think about all the relationships you’ve been through and all the things you’ve learned from them, about what works, what doesn’t work, what you want, what you need, about love and lost, and all your unhealthy patterns. With all that information, ask yourself what’s important to you today?
Does your person have the things that are truly important to you? Not every single little thing because again, no one’s perfect. But the big things that matter. The deal breakers. The things that you are not willing to negotiate because you learned your lesson last time. The things that drive the engine of the relationship. If they do, then they have perfect in them. Read that again. And it’s your job to find it.
If the big things that are important to you don’t exist in your partner / relationship, then this article isn’t for you. You need to read a different article, one about when to leave or stop investing in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere or making you happy.
This article is about having an engine that runs but not performing at its best. It’s about fine tuning the engine instead of trying to find a new one. Because most of us do have “perfect” partners. We just haven’t done the work to discover it. Yes, perfect has to be discovered.
Perfect lives in imperfections.
In every person / relationship, you will notice imperfections. There will be cracks. It’s just a matter of time before you wish your partner did something differently, acted a certain way, was more patient, driven, understanding, thoughtful, and so on and so on. And if you only focus on what’s lacking, that lack will grow and it will become the sun and you will start looking in another direction. You will start getting curious about what else is out there.
Many stray and ruin something that could have been beautiful because they don’t accept people for who they are. And if they don’t change that mindset, it becomes a pattern and they will never experience lasting love. They will only experience short lived honeymoons. Get addicted to the fleeting potent shot (which isn’t love) instead of the life changing stretch. This is why we must find “perfect” in our partners, instead of seeking perfect.
So how do you find perfect in your partner? Well, let’s examine the things that are not perfect. Because you have no problem with the things that are obviously.
This is the gateway in.
She’s always late. He leaves the seat up constantly. She forgets his keys. He’s not as affectionate as you would like him to be. His crooked nose. Her posture. The way he chews. His nagging. Her parents. And the list goes on and on on what you wished would be different about someone.
Fine tuning your relationship engine means to accept someone’s imperfections. It doesn’t mean you can’t express what bothers you, assuming you’re not referring to their physical appearance or things they can not control. It means you accept them as they are. Not what they could be. It means you understand their story. It means you see them as a whole complete person. Not someone you can mold into your idea of how they should be.
Accept everything about your partner. Everything. How they behave. How they dress. Eat. Workout. What they say. How they see the world. (Remember, assuming that what you don’t like about them are not deal breakers). Know that you can’t modify your order. Whatever is on the plate is on the plate. Either take it with a smile or return it. You can’t taste it then ask them to modify it or cook it differently. People are not meals.
Stop comparing who you’re with to your exes. This is a common pattern we all tend to do, either consciously or subconsciously, unless we make an effort to stop. There is no winner in this game. It’s a trap. There’s a reason why your exes didn’t work out so why do you want who you’re with now to be like them? Look like them? Act like them? This thought pattern will prevent you from seeing all the beauty in the person standing in front of you. You’ll also be living in the past. You have to see every new relationship as a brand new single serving experience. And that’s the key word, “experience”. Don’t you want a new one? If he/she was like them, there won’t be a new one. If you tie what you have now to others, it won’t have a chance.
Instead of trying to change them, see if you can change yourself. Ask yourself if there’s something happening on a deeper level. Are you comparing because you’re afraid of commitment? Abandonment? Rejection? If you follow the thread down, you’ll see that it’s usually not about what you think it’s about.
They are already aware of what you don’t like about them. You have expressed it. If not verbally, in energy and attitude. So instead of putting all your energy into trying to change someone, put all that energy into being a better version of yourself. Ask yourself what you need to change about YOU, YOUR THINKING, HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD & RELATIONSHIPS, WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE YOU WANT, so that you can accept them for who they are.
Step three and a half.
Remind yourself of all the relationships that didn’t work and why. Play back documentaries instead of highlight reels. Remind yourself that tracing old relationship blueprints will only kill your current one.
This is the most important step because everything we’ve talked about is only 50% of change / growth. The other half of the growth coin is execution. Okay, so you’ve decided to seek the perfect in your partner instead of the perfect partner. Great, ask yourself what that would look like in every day action. How do you need to think? What fears must you conquer? What new way must you see your partner? What do you need to change about yourself to see him or her in that way?
I’ve been in many many long term relationships, including a marriage. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve compared. I’ve looked over the fence. I’ve loved soft. I’ve been selfish. I’ve searched for “perfect”. I’ve tried to change people, control people. I’ve lost. I’ve learned. I’ve grown. I’ve gone to therapy. Even became a therapist. And even through all that, I am still learning. I still struggle. I still get confused. I am still afraid. I still don’t know all the secrets to love and dating and relationships. But there is one thing I know for sure, and that is no one’s perfect.
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