I have lots of clients who declare they will not be “putting up with” various different things. They say this proudly, and somewhat angrily, as if they would just love to get into a fight with anyone who even thought about suggesting they “put up with” anyone who did that. It’s time to address this confusing issue!
First of all, if you are in a relationship long enough, you will be putting up with something. There will be something that is a trial, something that is irritating, something that is wearing, etc. No way around it. Take your B vitamins and think of England.
Some things you decide you cannot put up with will be worked out within the relationship. However, some things you will not put up with (and should not put up with) will mean that you will not get into the relationship in the first place. This does not mean you are judgmental! It means you are protecting yourself in a healthy way. It means you understand your own and other people’s limitations. It doesn’t mean you are casting them into utter darkness. You’re just not going to get involved with some stuff.
What stuff is that? What is it that I shouldn’t put up with?
Everyone’s list is unique, but some things to consider are…
- Someone who is addicted to drugs. How can you have a relationship with someone who really isn’t present? Also, the addiction is the most important thing, so the relationship will only be there to assist the addiction.
- Someone who is abusive. I am not talking about someone who got angry and did or said something wrong and hurtful. I am talking about someone who regularly hurts people, physically, or emotionally. There is a difference.
- Someone who is so vastly different from you that you would not be suitable. Yes, opposites attract, but there is a limit. For example, if you are a certified neatnik, don’t marry a certified hoarder. If you are an extreme introvert, don’t marry an extreme extrovert. I’m not saying you should find someone exactly like yourself. But be honest with yourself about how much you can tolerate over the long haul.
What should you put up with?
- A good man who doesn’t know how to order wine.
- A good woman who has different political views.
- Someone who does not think the same way you do.
- Someone who does not celebrate holidays the same way you do.
I did not mention differences in sex and money issues. Yes, they are pretty huge, but you generally have to start your relationship before you find out a lot of things. There really are going to be some problems in any relationship. It doesn’t mean anything is “wrong”. If you are in a committed relationship with any human being, you’re going to have some difficulties. Back to the sex and money issues, though, if you know you are conservative in the sex department, don’t get involved with a bisexual! If you know you are extremely frugal, don’t get involved with someone who spends extravagantly! It’s ok to be cautious. Once you get involved with someone, just know that it’s no one’s fault when problems arise. It’s not that you didn’t listen to your intuition, etc. It’s that relationships are not easy. And that’s ok. You can change, and you can grow. You can love someone who isn’t perfect.