I love you, but I can’t stand you
Sometimes we are so in love with someone, and yet we disapprove of their life choices and lifestyle. We so much want to be with this person, but they’re clearly driving us crazy. Constantly.
I often hear about this problem in a form of a question: “What should I do? I can’t leave them, but I can’t be with them either. Not this way. Not if they don’t change.”
It is hard to truly love someone if we don’t approve of what they do with their life. But we often fall in love, hoping our partner will change over time. Or we simply don’t see – or, even more often – ignore the signs that someone simply isn’t a good match to us.
Love is blind, so they say. Our desire to be with someone and strong physical attraction blurs our vision. It’s our heart that chooses, not our head.
But, we often find out love is simply not enough. And it doesn’t magically transform people.
If we don’t pick our partners wisely – our feelings towards them will change as we get to know them better, as the initial crush fades. We’ll start resenting the person we once admired, getting annoyed and hurt by their words and actions.
Why does that happen? Why do we fall in love with people we don’t really like?
Part of it is the nature of falling in love – attraction as we know is based more on biology and chemistry, than thinking and reasoning. I don’t argue with that, and I don’t think that will ever change.
But what can change is – what makes you tick in another person. What gets you attracted and excited about someone. You can cultivate that so that next time you fall in love, you fall for the right reasons.
You might say – no, it’s not possible. How can I change what I’m attracted to? Well, it changes anyway, whether you want it or not. It changes as you grow up and mature as a person.
Think about what you were falling in love when you were a teenager. What was important to you? If you are at least a few years past your teen age, that has probably already changed, at least a bit. Someone’s perfect smile or cute haircut is somehow not enough to make you fall for them any more.
We get attracted to traits we find desirable, and that changes a lot as our priorities in life change. When you are young we usually value looks the most, and we don’t have that many criteria on our list – because we don’t depend on our partners that much, we don’t live with them, we don’t pay mortgages together, or raise children.
As we grow up and become adults, our tastes change too. We get to know ourselves, life, relationships – so our preferences in partners change too. If we wanted someone adventurous and exciting in our early twenties, we might prefer someone stable and organised more in our 30s.
Love is not something that just “happens” for no reason. You fall in love with people whose qualities you value and admire.
When you fall in love with people you don’t like after a while, it’s because you don’t know yourself enough – and the things you really want and need to make you happy. It also happens when you don’t have much experience in relationships.
If you don’t know what it’s like to share a life and living space with a partner, it’s hard to pick the right one. It’s not the same as living with your parents. Not even close.
The best way to make sure you don’t choose incompatible partners is to get to know yourself better. What makes you happy? How do you want to feel with your partner? How do you want to spend your time together, and time apart? How do you see a happy and successful life? Answering those questions will get you closer to your right match.
Also, think long term. If you are looking for a life partner, think about what you could live with for 50 or 70 years. What will be left for you to love after all the good looks you both now have, and all the butterflies in your stomach are long gone. Because they will be. Sooner than you think.
If you are in a relationship that sounds like the one from the title, there is two things you can do.
The first one is accept your partner with all that they are, and love them in their totality. Understand them, support them, approve of them. You don’t have to like everything they do, but you have to like most of it.
Because you will never be able to change them, unless they themselves decide to do it. All of your critique, complaining, nagging, threatening, crying and shouting will not make a difference. The only thing that can make a difference and help them become a better person is your love.
But it’s not the kind of love that makes you martyr – you have to love them not in spite of their flaws and shortcomings, but because of them.
And to be able to do that – you have to approve and agree with most of what they are. Not just a tiny bit.
If you find you can’t do that, then you have to resort to solution number two – end the relationship. That way, you will do the best for both.
You will give yourself and your partner a chance for a new, happier relationship with someone else. Someone whose qualities will be closer to your heart, and whose flaws will be easier to love.
Maybe you were hoping there is a third solution – one that will make this person change and shape them into someone you would like to be with. Well, sorry to disappoint, but there isn’t one like that.
The only way you can be happy in love with someone is loving them for who they are. After all, isn’t that the only way you want to be loved too?
LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
Are you in a similar relationship right now?
How does it make you feel?
Join the debate and share your insights in the comment section below. Thank you.