A Relationship is:
Acceptance at the Worst, Loving at the Best
By Frank Kermit
At a workshop I hosted I issued one of my famous Frankisms that seemed to really resonate with the attendees. I was trying to convey the importance of sticking to your own rules and boundaries when you are in a relationship, to the point where, you may very well have to walk away from someone you care for deeply (maybe even love) if you are unable to accept the worst parts of your partner.
Frankism: "If you are unable to accept your partner at his or her worst, then it does not matter how much you love your partner at his or her best."
Sometimes we end up dating people, and fall into committed relationships without meaning too. We start dating casually, not really sure if there is any real future, but being with somebody is better than being with nobody. Then you show up at a party together, and someone puts you both on the spot asking if you are a couple yet or not...and not wanting to sound pathetic or inappropriate, you both confirm that you are in fact a couple (regardless that neither of you spoke about it beforehand)...and there you have it!
You are now in a relationship that really hasn't got there on its own merit. But again, being with somebody is better than being with nobody. Maybe if you get more serious, you will end up liking each other more and your partner will change all the things he or she does that you hate. Sounds plausible, right? Wish it were as plausible as it sounds my dear reader.
It is easy to base the success of your relationship on all the things you love about your partner. That is where most people start to fantasize (er, um, we mean plan right? Right? Planning, not fantasizing right?) about the kind of future you can build with your partner.
The reality is that loving what is best about your partner is not where the success of your long-term relationship solely grows from. The success of your long-term relationship is just as rooted (if not more so) in being able to accept your partner at his or her worst.
So, what is the worst thing about your partner? Does your partner forget to bathe regularly? Does your partner refuse to take better care of his or her health? Does your partner get annoying on purpose because of the "fun" way the veins pop out in your neck? Is your partner unable to keep a job? Is your partner a nail biter? Does your partner get snarky to the point of being abusive when feeling under the weather? Does your partner act like a people pleaser and then blow up at you unexpectedly in public? Is your partner simply unable to be sexually faithful to you? Does your partner drink excessively, or is a drug addict of some kind?
Forget about what is great about your partner; Find out what is the worst of the worst in terms of what you will have to deal with if you continue seeing your partner. If you have any doubt about what you can handle, stay out of a serious relationship with that person.
A broken engagement is better than a happy divorce.
A part of the workshop also covered the topic of how:
"Understanding does not Equal Acceptance".
Just because you can understand that your partner may treat you poorly because your partner had a rough upbringing does not mean that it makes the abusive behaviors any more acceptable. You can intellectually understand the source of your partner's pain and the roots of the bad repeating behavior patterns, however, that does not demand that you fully accept it, and invite that aspect into your life through your life partner.
When the worst, is worse than the best-of-the-best you are getting, then the end result of the relationship is that it is still worse to stay with your partner than it would be to find someone better
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