There seems to be an awful lot of pressure on people nowadays to find the “perfect” relationship. I always get a kick out of those Match.com and Eharmony commercials. Don’t get me wrong–I’m sure some people find wonderful companions that way. My issue is that people spend an awful lot of energy looking for that “perfect” person.
There are reams of books and articles about how to make a relationship work, how to find that special someone, how to put the spark back in your marriage, you name it. What I think everyone needs is a reality check. Listen up, teenage girls! That gorgeous, wonderful, super-hot guy that you’re screaming and crying for? He throws his clothes on the floor and pees on the toilet seat just like all the rest of them.
I think that’s the problem (not peeing on the toilet seat, although that’s certainly a problem)–we don’t have any perspective. We think that our relationship should be perfect, but here’s the crux–no relationship is perfect, ever. We keep expecting perfection, and we keep getting let down. Even the relationship between a mother and her child–the most natural, instinctive relationship there is–is often rife with stress and aggravation. So how can anyone expect a relationship with their partner to ever be anything other than challenging? A relationship is work, folks. Hard work. Something else–that person you think you’re attracted to that seems so much better than the person you’re with? They have a whole laundry list of their own little quirks, too.
I’m not so old that I don’t remember what that first stage of infatuation was like. It’s always like that, for everyone, and it always fades into reality. The knight on the white horse from the fairy tale may come riding up to sweep you off your feet, but when you get home with him, you’ve got to fix his dinner and he’s got to go clean out the white horse’s stall in the barn. Maybe that’s why the fairy tale always ended with “They lived happily ever after.” I guess “Cinderella changed into her work clothes and started a load of laundry while the Prince cleaned out the barn” just doesn’t have the same ring.
Instead of trying to make our partners perfect (they won’t ever be, by the way) maybe we should focus our energy on lowering our expectations. No, sorry, just kidding. Maybe we should focus our energy on making our relationships better. It’s mostly the little stuff I think, like NOT throwing our clothes on the floor or peeing on the toilet seat (I’m just generalizing, I’m not implying anyone actually does this!) So give up on perfection (unless you’re me, of course) and go start that laundry. I’ll be in the barn.