When I was in college, I had a crush on a friend of mine. (OK this happened several times in college, but whatever). When he told me it wasn’t gonna happen (again, several times, I’m really painting myself as a winner), a good friend told me that the easiest way to get over someone was to focus on all their annoying behaviors.
This worked like a charm.
Since Peter and I broke up, I’ve tried to do the same with him a few times.
This did not work like a charm.
Though this seems obvious now, there is a big difference between getting over a crush and getting over a partner.
This did not seem obvious then.
On days that I found myself doting on him, I tried to focus on all the things about Peter that annoyed me. I was left confused about why I ever “settled” for someone that had these qualities.
Then, to make sense of it all, I would overcompensate, focusing on all of his wonderful traits, the best of times, and be left wondering how I ever left someone that was so amazing.
You can see where none of this was productive.
A few weeks ago, I finally realized something big. Peter is both all those wonderful amazing things and those kind of annoying characteristics. And it’s not that I sat there when we started dating, creating a list of pros and cons, doing some weird math, and deciding that I could “settle” because the good outweighed the bad. And it’s not that I sat there when we broke up doing a similar thing and coming up with the opposite conclusion.
I just went with what I felt.
I fell in love with Peter, and that included both his amazing qualities and his not so great ones. And it dawned on me that the same was true in reverse. He fell in love with all of me, not just my great qualities.
Again, this seems so obvious now, but it wasn’t to me until a few weeks ago.
I was so sure he was putting up with the bad in me, I can’t tell you how many times I apologized to him for some of my behaviors (I’m so tempted to apologize for apologizing, but I won’t, I promise)! I’m realizing now that, just as he always said, there was nothing to apologize for. He loved me for all of me, for the good AND the bad. Not for the good despite the bad. Not for the bad thanks to the good. He loved the whole package.
So there was no “settling” (I really hate this word), there was just love.