There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.

~ Henry Kissinger ~

The Perfect Relationship Ain’t

February 28th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 58 secs

Not exactly purfect

What is a perfect relationship? Roll this question around in your mind right now. Now, keep these ideas with you as you continue reading.

Perhaps it’s something in the water, but seeking the perfect relationship appears quite common. Just how many feel they have it is quite a different matter, that’s dependent on when you ask the question.

At 6 to 12 weeks into a new love match, you wouldn’t be too surprised to hear both lovers say they are in the perfect relationship. It’s the honeymoon period, when your partner can do no wrong and halitosis… well that’s merely puppy dog breath! During this wonderfully exciting time you are immersed in pure, intoxicating joy. It’s delicious, but it doesn’t last.

Ask whether a couple’s partnership is perfect 6 or 7 years down the track and qualifiers start creeping in. “Perfect? Oh we are getting by fine, thanks. Mind you, if he’d learn to pick up after himself, I’d be happier.” Or, “Well, we’re doing okay. But I have to keep a sharp eye on the plastic!”

Fast forward some more and people either become brutally honest (read: cynical) or, more accepting and understanding of their partner as they really are. Either way, you can be sure the word perfect won’t be heard too much.

Does this mean that love dies as relationships mature? Must we be in an intense state of elation to keep being in love? And, how important is it for lovers to see each other in perfect terms?

Remember your own definition of a perfect relationship? Consider your ideas against common views. Many people’s ideal focuses on what their partner can do for them, rather than what they can lovingly contribute to their partner.  This emphasis about how “he makes me feel” or, “what she does to me” is sketchy at best.

True, feeling loved, and finding your partner hot is wonderful. But it’s not enough to build a lifetime of love together. Perfect impressions and supreme expectations of anyone are bound to fail. When they do, you’ll need something else to bind you together.

Which is actually a good sign. As relationships develop, that entire perfectionist thinking fails to fly, and we are left with the reality that we’re together with someone who, like us, has their strengths and weaknesses. At that point, deeper love can come. Or, we can deny intimacy, honesty, and vulnerability, and walk away physically or at a heartfelt level.

I am amazed how many relationships are so staid and ho hum. To me, it speaks of something missing that’s quintessential to a loving relationship. Could it be that some partners are refusing to let go of their expectations of perfection? Is self-centered idealism holding them back?

It could also be true that simply not knowing how to work through issues becomes a major obstacle too. As perfect views give way to more open perspectives about a partner, misunderstanding can easily revert from seething volcanoes to little molehills. So, if he refuses to even talk about it (suggesting he is in pain, feels hurt, angry, and fearful), she feels trapped by his unwillingness to communicate (which, funnily, mirror those same emotions). But when both understand the distance between is nowhere near so great, new and better bridges can start to be built.

As couples find more common ground and share more about how each person feels, love can reclaim a foothold. Talking together in ways that are safe and accepting of difference (in need and ideas), all sorts of good things can happen. Whether that requires professional help or couples can do it themselves doesn’t matter. Nor, is it a slur on a relationship to hit rocks.  Problems are a sign of life after all, and life definitely isn’t perfect.

Even if you aren’t married, the same perfect expectations can cripple any relationship. We all need room to be our messy selves, and show our failings safely. Acceptance, rather than presuming perfection, is the tastiest ingredient in relationship.

So, for all beginners in love, enjoy the perfect phase because it’s fun. Then look forward to growing and moving on. Because, if there is enough acceptance and friendship in a relationship love just gets better and better.

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