Love Is Seeing Her At Her Worst And Still Thinking She's The Best

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Love Is Seeing Her At Her Worst And STILL Thinking She's The Best

The beginnings of relationships are magical. You're both on your best behavior most of the time, trying to show off how impressive you can be. How clean your bathroom is, how stable your bank account stays, how often you floss your teeth.

The goal is to make it seem like you always have all your crap together — like you're a really functional person who never screws up in a big way, who's emotionally stable and always makes the right choices, but still has a catalog of hilarious stories about their wild "once upon a time" antics to illustrate how charming and impulsive they can be.

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In short, everyone starts out a relationship with the best intentions, even if those intentions involve blurring the truth a bit.

The truth is we're all kind of screw-ups, and even the best relationship advice around won't tell you that. Because when you're trying to figure out how to love someone, you need to realize that all of us have blind spots in our lives, and none of us have our crap together all the time. And eventually, if a relationship is going well, we have to deal with that coming to light.

It can be terrifying and traumatic the first time your new favorite person catches you in less-than-stellar behavior. When they see you pigging out on Cadbury Creme Eggs right before bed without brushing your teeth, or in the case of one charmer I knew in college, yanking an old t-shirt out from under the bed and smearing it with deodorant rather than doing some laundry.

All of these quirks we have, we don't have to be proud of them, ever. And yes, it's good to keep working on them: To remember to floss, to always pay your bills on time, to wash your dishes instead of letting them soak.

But they are nothing compared to the inevitable bad moment, the day that will come when it's not just about the little things but when you truly and royally lose your cool. When road rage takes over and your partner watches in horror as you tailgate some schmuck who flipped you off for ten blocks of a residential neighborhood. When you scream your head off at a telemarketer. When you tell them to f*** off after they've told you your new haircut is fine.

When this time comes — when you truly and royally lose your cool — that's when you know how solid your love is. Because that's when the person who loves you doesn't see a psychotic break, they see you.

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They see a person they know tries hard every day of their lives, but is having a hard time right now. They know that you've been having drama at work, or that you lost a parent, or that you're dealing with a chronic illness. They know that no matter what it is that's happening in your life to make you into a temporary jerk, that's not who you are.

True love is when you each see each other as flawed people, yes, but as people who can always do better, and always try, and sometimes simply can't anymore.

True love is when your partner doesn't yell at you for losing your cool, but gives you a hug, and tells you they love you, as little as you think you deserve it.

True love is when they see that nobody is more upset about your horrible behavior than you but that you've reached a breaking point where it's still literally the best you can do right now.

True love is when they hold your hand and tell you that you're being a jerk but that you don't have to fix it right now. Right now, you need to feel better, because they care more about whatever's wrong in your life that's causing a scene than the scene itself.

Seeing somebody at their worst can be ugly, can make you embarrassed to be around them while they're acting that way, can make you wonder where the wonderful person you were with yesterday went and who the hell took over their body and is making them act this way.

But seeing somebody you truly love in these moments is always more about concern than it is judgment. And true love is knowing the right moment to offer a kiss on the cheek and a whisper in their ear, "Whatever's wrong, we'll get through it together."

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Lea Grover is a writer and speaker living on Chicago's south side whose work has been featured in numerous anthologies and on sites ranging from Cosmopolitan to AlterNet to Woman's Day.