Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Choose Love and Stop Complaining

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Mar 3, 2013 3:24 PM

I have heard a number of relationship complaints lately, including "he works too much," the usual moments of insensitivity, too little sex, not liking the same activities, wearing himself out, and "she doesn't appreciate me enough." All of these people are deeply loved, though. However, none of their spouses or significant others are perfect. Surprise, surprise.

After the initial hormone-driven throes of romance, once total reality sets in, couples don't spend all their time talking, sharing, touching, and listening. They do all these things sometimes. Each needs space, too. The trouble is when one needs more space or togetherness than the other and expectations differ. It's easy to stew about unmet needs but necessary to think of the partner's needs, too. What if he still needs to prove himself at work, despite your craving for him to relax or play? What if she has a backache or infection and just can't frolic under the sheets with ease? What if he doesn't really know how to empathize or show interest the way you do?

Reflect on the effort made in the right direction and the presence of your partner when he/she is there, not when she's missing. Give understanding and you'll get love and appreciation back in the way the other knows how to give it. Cherish what's real, instead of pining for your romantic fantasy to come true. Be glad to share what you can, to connect when you can and to struggle together to make a relationship work. Even if there's room for improvement, and there usually is, what you have is so much better than what you would have if you mess it up with expectations which make someone feel unworthy, rejected, unhappy or wrong. Expect human strengths and weaknesses. Be realistic. Be grateful.

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