I spend time each day perusing different articles around the web regarding relationships and see many things regurgitated over and over and over. One of these common themes I’ve seen circulating is to “date someone who brings out the best in you.” I have a small disagreement with this.
Now I’m not saying go date someone who makes you feel absolute shit miserable and only brings out your insecure, chaotic, depressed side. Or someone that seriously hurts you or belittles you. But is it really so bad to date someone that doesn’t always bring out the best in you if you think about it? Part of what makes me love my boyfriend as deeply as I do is that he’s constantly, without effort mind you, bringing out the worst in me. He pulls to the surface all of my difficulties and problem areas and I’m forced to confront them. In a healthy relationship this can be extremely beneficial to personal growth.
I’m stuck in my ways as everyone is and I need doses of tough love and reality at times. Specifically when I’m pmsing (women that say they aren’t/don’t feel like they’re crazy people I’m extremely jealous of, because I definitely feel a shift in my rational judgment at least once a month every day of the month).
Within a healthy environment, having a partner you can look up to shows you your shortcomings and hopefully inspires you to fix them. I see my communication errors clearer, because my boyfriend is (usually) better at communicating than I am and shows me that I’m not. When I see him express his affection or feelings to me verbally, I see by my inability to respond that I’m not up to par with communicating my love for him. When he remains calm and unmoved by stress put onto our relationship he shows me not that he doesn’t care, but that he has faith we’ll be fine and won’t stress about things out of his control. I stress about everything in my control and out. Seeing him staying calm doesn’t necessarily set off the light bulb in my head and show me how to positively work through my issues. Sometimes I just want to shake him and scream because I can’t understand him. But when I have a moment to reflect, I appreciate the times my shortcomings come to light so that I can work on them. He shows me these things not by hurting me or harping on my negative qualities, but simply by being himself and being there.
If I only dated someone that brought out the best in me, I’d imagine we only had a surface relationship or I’m already a perfect person because I know no one who is in any form of a relationship with someone who only brings out the best in them. Conflict is important when dealt with positively. How can we mature if we’re only around people that nurture our good qualities. I want my horrible qualities brought into light and confronted. I want someone who does show me what I’m failing at and supports me changing. Support is an important part of this. It’s important that not only does my relationship show me the good and bad in me, but that it’s full of enough support that it nourishes me as I strive to improve. There’s also no greater feeling than being with someone who sees the potential for positive change in you and is there beside you through the process. You can only improve so much on your own. At some point, whether it’s an honest friendship or romantic relationship, you need a human mirror to give feedback on who you are.
I would hope my strong points pull out his less than stellar qualities too and shows him what needs improvement. That I think is the greatest gift we can give each other, bringing out the worst and trying to make it better. In that way I think we do make each other better people, which is a regurgitated dating necessity I can actually agree with.