“I love you, but I don’t like” this, or that. Insert whatever tweaks your sensibilities. There is always some thing(s) you are not going to like about your partner. In fact, there are likely 10 of them. !0 things about your partner that just aren’t going to set right with you.
On the other hand, there are 10 things about your partner which you find absolutely fabulous. (If you’ve been with your partner for some time, they may be difficult to recall at the moment, but if you think back you can remember them.)
Because the truth is, every person has 10 amazing attributes and 10 things that are going to piss you off. This is the nature of people, none of us are perfect. It’s easy to see the 10 things you find so incredible about your partner in the beginning.
It is unlikely that you will be able to see the stuff you’d rather not see until after the honeymoon (Coupling) phase (2). Dr. John Gottmann (10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage) refers to your partner’s undesirable qualities as 10 Irreconcilable Differences.
10 Irreconcilable Differences
According to Gottman the areas you’re likely to have wildly opposing views are,
1. financial matters
2. sexual intimacy
3. child rearing
4. career vs. home
7. household chores
8. extended family and in-laws
9. communication style
10. personal habits
When you start to notice these inconsistencies, you’re likely to assume you partner has been hiding them from you. Yet, if you think about it, you will realize this is not true, because people are generally transparent, and had you not been projecting your best ideals onto you partner at the time, you would have seen the clues, if not blatant red flags about these irreconcilable differences.
Back then, all you really cared about was celebrating the 10 qualities youo found so exhilarating about your partner. They were so exciting, and you were so enthusiastic, that those other things just didn’t matter at the time.
Now that you are seeing things more clearly (because you hadn’t taken notice of those 10 things that are now creeping you out), you’re starting to think it might be time to cut run, and you might begin to notice there are other potential partners out there who do not have these 10 things that are gonna rub you the wrong way. Only, guess what? (Brace yourself.)
While that new prospective mate may not have these 10 irreconcilable differences, the fact remains, he or she will bring along his or her own set of 10 things that are going to infuriate you, as well as 10 things you will adore.
What will you do?
It’s up to you to decide what you want to do about it. There’s really no right or wrong way to handle this moment. If it’s not the first time, you can reflect back on how your precious decision served you.
In 90 percent of the time, when people have thought they could do better by ditching the present partner and switching to a new, more exciting partner, more often than not (as expressed to me in confidence) they regretted what they thought was a trade up.
What they realized was while the new partner was indeed exciting, complete with 10 new lovely qualities, he or she also came with 10 qualities which were often worse than the 10 irreconcilable differences that were traded out.
It’s impossible to see or imagine when you’re wrapped up in all the emotion of it, and you can only do what you can do, but when you realize you are where you are, take a minute and try to look at you and your relationship as if you were an uninterested (but compassionate) third-party.
What does it look like from this perspective?
What advice would you give to yourself?