If You Love Him, You Have To Love All Of Him — Even The Unlovable Parts

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radical acceptance

If you want to have a long-lasting, happy relationship with someone, it comes with some unsexy parts along with those fabulous, good aspects. Being with someone long-term means letting go of all your insecurities and boundaries. It means opening yourself up to all of them, including unsavory habits. 

Personally, I cannot stand it when my partner trims his beard and leaves piles of brown fur all over the sink. I’ve tried to train him to rinse the sink, but it escapes him every time. He means well. It would be pretty offensive if he didn't. He’s not deliberately being disgusting to upset me. He simply forgets. I’ve learned to live with it. I’ve even come to find it slightly endearing because I love him.

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If your boyfriend picks at his nails with his teeth, you’ll just have to be okay with it, and practice radical acceptance and unconditional love. If he eats with his mouth open, you’ll have to deal with that too.

As Andrea Miller tells us in her book Radical Acceptance, you have “to just love him.” This means loving all of him, right down to the booger-picking and penchant for wearing the same socks every day. If you want your relationship to work, you have to accept all of the gross stuff your partner does. I mean all of it.

1. Accepting someone means understanding the value of love.

Love is the most powerful thing there is and in order for a relationship to have true staying power, you need to accept, internalize, and live that truth. Love is about radical acceptance, the ability to love without boundaries or limits — to love unconditionally.

“Radical Acceptance is about recalibrating the importance and value of love — for ourselves and for others. It is a call to action to elevate love and togetherness to their rightful high-priority status in all people’s lives,” Miller writes.

The importance of love is not some trite diatribe of hopeless romantics, it is a critical element in lasting relationships. To be able to love your partner, warts and all, is easier said than done. But no love worth having ever came easily.

2. Love is not a conditional thing.

“If everyone had the wisdom and the ability to offer unconditional love, the failure rate of marriage would be much lower,” Miller says. Love is not something you should give or take away with any given mood.

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Real love isn’t like that. You can’t expect to have a lasting relationship with someone who even inspires the ability to turn off your emotions. True love means that nothing your partner does, no weird habit, nor gross inability to put the toilet seat down could ever change that.

You should love your partner because of his flaws, not in spite of them. He is a beautiful, glorious, imperfect man. And you adore him.

3. You’re both just human.

Thinking that you’re going to do away with every gross thing is unrealistic and sets you up to fail. Instead, try accepting that the both of you are two people who have found each other and are just doing your best.

Aren’t we all just doing our best? Your partner isn’t trying to hurt you by being a piglet — he just is gross. He’s a weirdo and so are you. If you’re lucky enough to have a weirdo, never let him go. You’re human. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

4. You have to love even the worst parts of someone.

Sometimes, you partner does things that are just so weird and icky that you don’t think you can handle it. Well, that is not the way to have a long-lasting relationship. You have to love all of him, even the most unlovable parts.

This is Miller’s fourth step and possibly the hardest of all: “Love all of Him — even the 'unlovable' parts. There is no such thing as meeting him halfway when it comes to Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance means you always have his back — even when he's wrong. Radical Acceptance is unconditional love — even when it feels unbearably difficult, when you feel deeply hurt or disappointed, or when you feel he is at fault.”

Obviously, Miller wasn’t specifically referencing your boyfriend’s disgusting habits here, but they most definitely apply.

If you're upset or anguished because your boyfriend doesn’t listen when you tell him not to leave dishes on the ground or if you are distraught he never picks up his nail clipping: You have to choose to love these habits and flaws.

You must take all of that annoyance and put it aside in favor of your love for him. Remember that you, too, are not perfect. You may not be nearly as gross, but you still are a human being with human habits. He owes you the same level of unconditional love that you’ve afforded him.

Unconditional love goes both ways and it is a golden rule for making your relationship last forever.

RELATED: Changing This One Thing About My Own Behavior Is The Secret To Lasting Love

Gigi Engle is a writer. Her work has appeared in Cosmo, Marie Claire, Glamour and many other places. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @GigiEngle.