Friday, February 3, 2012

Why What We Love Becomes What We Hate

Too often the characteristics of your spouse or significant other that make you fall in love with them end up being the same traits that irritate the hell out of you once the newness of the relationship wears off. Unfortunately, most of us may not realize that. If we do, we may not understand why that trait is now so irritating.

OK, so saying we now "hate" it is extreme. But those characteristics can drive us wonky. Why? I am no expert (well, I am kind of. I have been married for decades), but I read something several years back that made sense of it for me. I wish I could remember where I read it or who wrote it because I would like to give them credit. It has helped me understand and hold my tongue on many occasions during our marriage.

When we fall in love, we tend to look for someone who has strengths we don't necessarily have. Usually unconsciously. Hence, the cliche "opposites attract" (this is far different from having opposite morals or interests, which can hurt a relationship). That is because it will balance us, make the unit a whole. If we are afraid to voice our opinion, we find  someone who can gifted. If we beat ourselves up with guilt over never getting enough done, we admire that fact that he/she is relaxed and laid back. If we have trouble asking others to help us, we find him/her great at delegating. If we are wall flowers, he or she is the toast of the party.

We fall in love; time goes on. Now that person is a human instead of a god. All of a sudden, "gifted" becomes "opinionated". "Laid back" becomes "lazy". Forget "great at delegating"! They are just plain "bossy". "Toast of the party"? They are a "show off"!  Those very qualities we love turn into warts we would like to burn off.
Why? That article explained that it is because those qualities are so foreign to our sense of self. Those traits are not naturally part of us and so they feel "wrong". Plus, we are a bit jealous. Our partner are things we are can't be; at least not naturally. It eats at us that they can be things easily that we either can't be or have to work at. Now again, this is not conscious. Most of us don't think we are that small minded or that jealous. It is human nature to feel threatened or irritated by traits that are not innately us, though.

If we keep that in mind, all of a sudden those traits are not so irritating. After all, those things are the very reasons we fell in love in the first place.  Keeping that in mind gives the person we love permission to be the person they are. Remember, they fell in love with your for your characteristics.  Those characteristics are as foreign to them as theirs are to you. You drive them crazy for the same reasons. Isn't part of love acceptance and admiration of what the other truly is?
As long as you are both sharing responsibilities, you are fine. Chill out and let you partner be the person they were meant to be. Be the person you were meant to be.  You will both be a lot happier for it.  You will also find that you compliment each other very well.

No comments:

Post a Comment