Infidelity in a familiar kitchen is the title I give to this second part of the topic: When you feel you have a wrong partner. This is because one of the consequences of such feeling, if not well managed, is disloyalty to the partner, especially in form of extra-conjugal affairs with people who may be very close to you as a couple. In fact, it begins with comparing.
We have established that there comes a time when you begin to wonder whether you have chosen a right person for your partner. And that’s normal. However, the consequence of such sentiments depends on what you do with them. And one danger is comparing.
Comparison, enemy of your relationship
You may begin to measure your partner against your beliefs about how a partner should be, consequently, you want your partner to fit in the pattern of your ideals. Worse enough, you begin to compare your partner with their friends to the point of entertaining the idea that you would have been, perhaps, better off if you were married to your partner’s friend. No surprise then that in extra-conjugal affairs, when there are frustrations in a couple, it’s not rare to find close friends involved. That’s why I talk about infidelity baked in a familiar kitchen. Women are more prone to such comparison than men, according to Marriage and Family therapist, William Doherty.
While it’s important to have ideals, and we all have them, however, it can be disastrous to be fixated to what you consider as ideal partner and ideal relationship. You no longer work to improve your actual relationship, but you are busy fantasising over what it should be. As a result, there’s a risk of being bossy as you try to force your partner to bend to your ideals. Your partner may not appreciate it, and so, you are likely to get it back into your face, in form of hostile reaction. A relationship that is worthy the name, is fashioned not by one person but by the partners involved. But, does that mean that every person is good for you for a partner? No!
Certain partner may not be good for you
For any relationship to work, there must be points where you cross paths as partners. Indeed, how do we talk of a relationship if you have nothing in common? They will be considered as wrong partners for you persons with whom you don’t share fundamental values and goals. With such persons it’s just impossible to advance together in the same direction. Here, the responsibility is on the one choosing the partner.
Before you can enter a durable relationship, you need to be mature enough to have developed your personality, that is, you discover who you are, and your fundamental values and goals in life. In that way, you have an idea what kind of person you want to spend life with, capable of helping you realise what’s core to your life. Getting into a life commitment without knowing where you stand, you risk passing from one relationship to another, thinking it’s the other person who’s bad, but in fact, you are simply still trying to discover yourself. And if you do not know who you are, and what you are looking for, it will be hard to choose the right partner for you.
The question as occasion for growth
We have established that, wondering if your partner is the right person for you, is something that every person may experience at a certain point. What will make the difference, however, is the manner you make use of such sentiments. The question posed, as a kind of disillusionment, can be an occasion of growth for you and for your relationship. That is, you come to know yourself better, recognising your needs especially the unfulfilled ones. In fact, it gives you the possibility of talking about your needs with your partner. It’s necessary in a relationship to be able to express your needs to your partner. Indeed, talking about your needs is like exposing your vulnerability, which is also important in a relationship. Telling your partner about your profound yearnings, what you would like to realise in your life and what you lack, contributes to knowing each other mutually. In that way, instead of complaining or planning straightaway to leave the relationship, you have the possibility of discussing how those needs can be met within your relationship.
What’s your focus?
Another way in which the disillusionment can be an occasion for growth, is when you change the motivation. You no longer focus on what’s good for you alone, which is self-centred, but you focus on the health of that bond that unites you as partners. Then, you become more accommodating than retaliating in the manner you respond to what’s happening in your relationship. It may not be easy, but if continuing the relationship is a value for you, you are likely not only to invest much effort, but also to make the necessary sacrifice, for the good of the relationship. On the contrary, if you have no intention to remain in the relationship, anything displeasing will only serve as an excuse to seek an exit door, out of your relationship.
Partner interested in the relationship
So, it’s not just about compatibility for the relationship to work; there’s need for a will and investment. “There is no such thing as two people meant for each other,” says Michelle Givertz, “It’s a matter of adjusting and adapting.” Indeed, a couple will most likely pull through its challenges if the two partners have interest in their relationship; that is, if they are ready to accommodate each other and make necessary adjustments. Doherty’s observation is pertinent for introspection: “We’re all difficult. Everyone who is married is a difficult spouse. We emphasize that our spouse is difficult and forget how we’re difficult for them.” So, I would say, we only need to accept the normal course of any conjugal relationship: first, the fantasy of idealizing the partner, and later, the shock of realising that your partner isn’t that perfect as you thought them to be.
Finally, what are you looking for?
In conclusion, I would say, while the question: did I marry the right person is likely to come up at a certain point, however, what will determine the future of your relationship is: what are you looking for, and how do you want to obtain it? I explain.
If it’s about your interest alone, satisfying your image of an ideal partner and ideal relationship, then, you will most likely manipulate your partner in the attempt to bend them to what you want. And given that you have no power to change them, you will most likely look elsewhere for satisfaction- such an attitude is a threat to the long-term relationship. It can lead to unfaithfulness, if not a complete break-up of the relationship.
Growing from your questions
On the other hand, you may wonder, all right, if your actual partner is the right one, and yet, you sincerely seek the well-being of your relationship. That is, it’s not just about what’s pleasing to you but rather about improving your relationship. And when they are mutually interested in the well-being of their relationship, partners will be motivated to make necessary concessions. In so doing, both partners become architects and bricklayers of their relationship. And so, discovering that your partner is not that perfect, is no longer shock that endangers your relationship but an alarm that awakes you to act in favour of your relationship.
I can’t emphasise it enough, it’s good to bear in mind that the fact of questioning yourself about your partner, and about your relationship, does not necessarily mean you have a wrong person for a partner. And, moreover, if it’s not for a matter of core values and goals; it’s not about having the right person that makes a relationship succeed; but having persons who are ready to accommodate each other for the sake of the mutual interest in their relationship.
If you have come this far, it’s because you are interested in your relationship, and I know that you will make the necessary effort to make your relationship grow and improve out of the questions that you may be posing yourself today.
For now, feel free to encourage and inspire others by a comment or a contribution in the comment space below the post.