The Sunday News
WHEN we were growing up we were made to believe that one should get married to that person referred to as the “perfect partner”. But with time after celebrating few decades on earth, you then realise that there is no such thing called a perfect partner.
In your life journey you realise that the people you always fall in love with appear to be perfect at the beginning, but later on hurt and leave you heartbroken. Surprisingly, the hope of meeting that perfect somebody does not easily die as you will always be convinced that next time you will press the right button only to be disappointed again and again.
When you are in a relationship, you are bound to notice weaknesses of your better half and have the fantasy of believing that there is someone better out there. Some even go as far as listing what this perfect partner should look and be like, how they dress, complexion and even their profession. This whole thing of believing in the existence of perfect partners will keep you confused, stuck and not happy at all. From every relationship, you will be saying “but”. Wishing if only he was like this and that. You will jump from one relationship to another until you are out of “market no longer appetising” and happening.
After failing to get a perfect partner, you will then be left heartbroken and a bitter person. You will feel like people used you while in fact you were the one who was in search of non-existent species.
There is no perfect woman or man in the world. All human beings have weaknesses. So if you get into a relationship expecting your partner to be flawless, you will get surprises. Always bear in mind that love is not an easy thing. It is unfortunate that we were sold a false fantasy through songs, romance novels and movies that they lived happily forever after meeting the perfect partner. I think all movies must have an extra episode to show us reality of life that although it all seemed well at the beginning, they had some challenges in life.
The perfect partner issue often causes some people to have unrealistic expectations of others which then leads to a great deal of emotional pain in and out of relationships. I know someone is then asking, “So what’s the alternative if there are no perfect partners out there? Must I give up and just settle with anyone?” NO!
Knowing that no one is perfect, you can then settle down with good enough kind of person.
The good enough partner is an idea derived from the concept of the “Good Enough Parent”. The good enough parent is one who had sound nurturing instincts, devotion to the child and ultimately inevitably screwed up and “failed” as a parent in a way that allowed their children to experience disillusionment with them and the world in ways that felt manageable and tolerable.
In other words, they helped their children to learn how to cope with and face an imperfect world including themselves as imperfect parents — a key developmental task that children must face in their development and emotional growth towards adulthood.
A good enough partner is the one with sound relational instincts, devotion to the relationship, and who screwed up or “failed” in ways that actually helped foster your growth and development as adults. In real life, this might look like someone who meets most of your deep needs but not all of your surface wants.
It might mean a partner who, because of their imperfections, actually allows you to grow stronger in your personal empowerment and ability to navigate through the world. At least reframing your expectations from seeking out a perfect partner to a good enough one might allow you to more ease-fully connect and form relationships with others you may have previously disregarded because they didn’t measure up to the fantasy of “perfect.”
The good enough partner is that one whom you can tolerate and have that connection which can’t be seen by eye but instead felt through the heart and soul. In other words, it’s that person whom you describe to your friends saying, “We click very well and no matter our differences we always find common ground”. It also includes commitment to you and to the relationship, willingness to grow, someone who will not run away from the hard stuff of life and someone whose soul you love. The expectations of meeting the perfect partner creates, for many, hugely unreasonable expectations that might get in the way of connecting and experiencing the love they are longing for. I urge you to search for a good enough partner — someone who has the qualities and characteristics that you personally believe can provide a sound relational home for you to grow in. But even when you find or embrace a relationship with this person, I can guarantee you it won’t always be easy.
I think that another thing that causes pain for many people in relationships is the myth that love is easy. This is untrue. Love, specifically romantic love, I truly believe, is challenging. It’s hard. And it’s hard for a reason, whenever you get two or more people together, conflict is inevitable at some point. And if you throw those two people into a relationship where they live together, share the same bed, juggle work, have in-laws, sex, money and all the other triggering stuff of life, love is going to inevitably get tough sometimes. And that’s okay, that’s actually normal. But that’s not what the collective social message would have us believe so, inevitably, when things get tough, rough and challenging, many get scared and assume that they are in wrong relationship with the wrong person and should hunt for the perfect one.
No one is perfect and the best you can get is a good enough kind of person.
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