We’ve all been there – he’s the perfect guy, except… Some of these complaints are relatively minor; he throws his sweaty workout underwear on top of your bath towel, or he leaves the razor stubble all over the bathroom sink without rinsing it down. And some are much more serious; such as infidelity, physical abuse, or substance abuse. As far as the second category goes, as long as marriage and children are not yet involved, it’s best to walk away and stay away. If a man cheats, it does not get better with time; in fact it usually gets worse. If he’s done it once, and you stay with him, he knows he can get away with it and it will most likely happen again when the opportunity presents itself. And as far as both physical abuse and substance abuse, well, they’re both best left to the professionals. Unless he’s actively seeking counseling or rehabilitation for his problem, this too will only get worse with time and will bring with it a lot of heartache. But for the majority of us, it’s those little complaints that fall under the first category – traits in your partner that you find irritating or annoying – that we want to know what to do about.
So what do you do when the guy you’re with is perfect in every way – he’s attentive, not only remembers your birthday but your families birthdays, he treats you with respect and kindness, is very romantic – but he has one or two traits that you just can’t take. Maybe at home he’s a messy marvin or clutterbug – he leaves his clothes lying around, has stacks of papers and junk mail around, and his sink is perpetually full of dirty dishes, and you’re more of the neat and orderly type. This is where things get really tricky.
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This is the type of situation that occurs in nearly every relationship. There’s no such thing as the perfect person. Even if (and I should say especially if) the other person is just like us, there will be things we don’t like, because there are things we don’t like about ourselves. In fact, it’s usually the things that we most don’t like about ourselves that we readily dislike in others. Without getting too deep into the psychology of it all, suffice it to say that in relationships, like in pretty much all of life, there is no Shangri-la. There are always trade-offs. The question you should be asking is “Will I grow to love this trait, or at least tolerate it?”