The Real Reason You are Finding Flaws in Your Partner

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Once, my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend) complained about the way I threw my bag of garbage into the garbage can. Apparently, it bothered him that I tossed it (in a lazy attempt to avoid walking down two steps), because that communicated to him that I "was trying to be cool." Needless to say, that relationship didn't last. 

When we pick at our partners, when we say things like our partners are too messy, they don't dress well enough, or they spend too much time playing golf - when we are dating people who are, for the most part, kind and loving human beings with different interests and perspectives from us - our minds will suggest that if only our partner would change certain aspects about themselves, we'd be happy, but that is a misperception. That is a learned way of processing love that is taught in the world and perpetuated in conversation amongst friends and family.

The truth is: the real reason we nitpick at our partners is because there is some part of us (often unconscious) that is afraid of receiving love or is not ready for a real relationship.

It sounds crazy, I know. No one would admit to being afraid of receiving love; not unless he is committed to a mindfulness practice and is self-aware of his negative patterns (that often repeat in relationships) and is willing to take full responsibility. It requires a tremendous amount of emotional maturity and self-awareness to recognize that when we are pushing someone away because of our own fears that get projected onto our partner.

Here's what it looks like: 

1)We meet someone and are swept away with infatuation in the early stage, as that a time of fantasy. That person is showing us his best self, as we are doing the same, and the mystery of figuring out who he really is intrigues us; the relationship is alluring and new.

2)We begin to become invested in the person, which is when all of our fears come to the surface. We become present to all of our irrational thoughts and insecurities (and we have so many!). This is most common stage for breaking up, as we project our insane thoughts onto our partner, and we decide that our life was better before we met him, when our deep fears and neuroses were unconscious and repressed.

3)If we choose to press on, we have to contend with the fact that we don't really know how to be in a relationship. We never learned what emotionally healthy love was from our parents, and the world teaches us that love is equanimity, control, and a list of attributes the "perfect person" has to possess. Our loving partner (who, somehow, looks past our many flaws) starts to grate on us. If only he'd stop leaving his shoes in the middle of the living room. If only he'd socialize more at parties.... then he'd be perfect.

So, what do we do? What's the remedy for such insanity? We take responsibility for our thoughts, our emotions, and our lives. We decide that love is not finding the perfect person or molding our current partner into a better version of himself. We commit to loving our partner (and ourselves) unconditionally. We meditate. We pray for God, the Universe, or whatever we call the energy that created all of existence, asking for help. We ask to learn how to receive love and how to be in an emotionally healthy relationship. 

Dear God, I am willing to view my partner through the eyes of love. I am worthy of receiving unconditional love, and I am willing to love unconditionally. Help me to perceive my relationship correctly.

Our relationships transform when our perception changes. Our partners become the partners of our dreams when we are willing to see the best in them and when we are at a level of maturity that allows us to understand that there is no perfect partner; there is only perfect love, and perfect love doesn't nitpick and find flaws.