In an article on Psychology Today, clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone tellsthat so many come to couples therapy with a whole list of complaints about their partners.
And although everyone admits that there are no ideal people, the requirements for the second half are constantly growing. Psychotherapist and relationship specialist Esther Perel has captured this problem well in her interviewpointing out high expectations.
Previously, marriage was an economic institution that provided a life partnership for the purpose of raising children, obtaining social status, inheriting property, and companionship. Today, we want a partner to continue to provide us with all of the above, but also to be the best friend, confidant and passionate lover. And we live twice as long.
It is clear that one person is not able to satisfy all our needs. We easily agree that friends may have different interests from ours, devote a limited amount of time to us and not be in solidarity with us on some issues.
But when it comes to a loved one, everything turns upside down. Below we list seven signs that it is time to moderate the requirements for a partner.
1. You are looking for your soul mate
There is no person who will fit you 100%. This myth gives false hope that you can meet the perfect partner – someone who will give everything that is missing and make life happy.
Dating services only exacerbate the situation, creating the illusion of endless choice and starting a cycle of romantic “shopping”.
At the same time, almost all of our expectations and dreams come from past experience. We recreate familiar patterns and try to build relationships familiar from childhood. We are looking for partners who will help compensate for what we lack so much.
The problem is that the real person almost always doesn’t fit the pattern. Moreover, it will not solve your internal contradictions, will not fill the void and will not turn life into a fun carnival.
To end the eternal search, you need to recognize that no one person will become your soul mate. He can love you, bring joy, care and support, but he will not make up for what you lack. You alone are responsible for your happiness.
2. You distort words and provoke certain actions.
It is difficult for people to build relationships that are different from those they saw in childhood. The desire for habitual stimuli can make a person find fault with a partner, exaggerate his shortcomings, distort words and actions.
As an example, Lisa Firestone cited the situation of her client, who hated it when her husband talked to her like a child and wanted more trust from him.
Despite her demands, this woman often made mistakes that directly affected her husband. For example, she offered to pick up a prescription for medicines, and then forgot about it. Or fail to pay taxes on time. When her husband was angry with her, she answered him childishly or began to defend herself, provoking him to talk to her like a child.
It is worth learning to track such moments. For example, think about how you behaved before your partner did something annoying, or look for reasons why this or that behavior makes you so angry.
3. You merge with your partner into one whole and demand the same from him
When people first meet, they see each other as separate and unique individuals. But later the inner world of the partner loses its significance and the loved one begins to be perceived as part of the union: “we” instead of “you” and “I”.
At the same time, if you sacrifice your freedom and demand the same from your partner, feelings will be dulled, and relationships will lose their exciting charm. Merging will kill the person you once fell in love with, so that the person becomes boring and annoying.
If you perceive a partner only as a participant in the relationship and are not interested in what is happening inside him, it will not be possible to achieve understanding and maintain contact.
People often dwell on their grievances and do not even try to look at their own actions from the outside or put themselves in the place of a partner. They forget that a loved one has his own, separate mind, different experience and view of the world, and in his eyes the situation may look completely different.
Check if you see your partner as a separate person or see him only as part of the family. If the latter is found, try again to find in it the person you fell in love with. It’s still there, you just don’t see it.
4. You don’t respect your partner’s freedom
In intimate relationships, it becomes easier to make requests, cross boundaries, and criticize. We can force our partner to do things they don’t like, or insistently demand attention by distracting them from their favorite activities, friends, or interests.
Most people do not do this consciously, but still try to limit someone else’s individuality in order to feel safe.
When relationships narrow the space around partners, both suffer. If the world expands, relationships become more viable and sustainable. It largely depends on how much people value each other’s independence.
Support the desire of a loved one to communicate with friends and have their own interests. By giving each other freedom, you strengthen relationships and become closer.
5. You expect your partner to read your mind.
Many people believe that a truly loving person should guess all their desires and needs without words.
As a result, they are offended when a partner does not call, although they do not warn that this is important. Or they get angry when a loved one does not notice their bad mood, although they did not say a word about a bad day.
People don’t talk about their wants and needs because it makes them feel vulnerable.
But this is the only way to convey to loved ones what is important to you and what they can do to make you feel really comfortable in a relationship.
Train yourself to voice desires and encourage your partner to do the same.
6. You make your partner responsible for your well-being
Loving people care about each other, support and sympathize. This is a beautiful side of the relationship, which gives a lot of positive emotions. The key is that this process is two-way.
Firestone said that some of her clients can mope for hours or throw tantrums like little children so that a partner can put aside all their affairs and take care of them. Such stories always end badly.
The relationship of two adults implies that they give and receive equally. If one partner makes the other responsible for his well-being, he not only burdens him with additional worries, but also deprives himself of the opportunity to develop.
Growing inequality will give rise to resentment, quarrels and mutual dissatisfaction until it puts an end to relationships.
Think about whether you give and receive equally and whether you demand from your partner what you should do yourself.
7. You hold on to fantasy
Our past and first attachment experiences determine how we view relationships and what we expect from other people. This internal filter makes it difficult to see a person, hiding him behind a pile of our thoughts, fears and hopes.
The best thing to do in a relationship is to let go of fantasies about how your partner should be and see the real person.
Don’t try to become one with him. Strive to build a relationship of two equal people who love and respect each other, but are separate individuals. By following this principle, you will become more tolerant of your partner’s weaknesses and strengthen relationships.