I don’t claim to be an expert on love, but here’s something I know to be true: the person you adore the most on this planet, the person you have the best relationship with, the great love of your life, will also be the person that bugs the living shit out of you on a daily basis.
True love is many things: kind, compassionate, forgiving, but it’s also human and therefore flawed and strange and incomplete. We are all deeply messy things with weird, broken parts.
As Anne Lamott says, “I’m not sure I know anyone who’s got all the dots on his or her dice.”
Being in a committed partnership means that you’ve agreed to show up for all that crazy. In the beginning, you willingly sign up for it. Because it’s kinda cute, right? The way they hog the covers in their sleep without realizing it? Or always leave their coffee cup out on the counter? But it becomes much less cute the longer your relationship lasts. Until one day, many years from now, you’ll find yourself shivering on the side of the bed ready to go absolutely apeshit on the person you’ve promised to love until eternity.
If you’re in a healthy relationship, it is not the big things that bug you. It’s the little things. It’s the way they get up to pee 400 times in the middle of the night. The way they leave their hairbrush in the sink, or the plastic razor cap on the floor of the shower for you to step on. It’s empty tea bags or half-drunk coffee mugs scattered around the living room. It’s the way they adjust the seat when driving your car and forget to put it back. It’s having the same stupid fight about the proper way to load the dishwasher every day for as long as you both shall live.
It’s not that you chose the wrong partner. You didn’t have incredibly bad luck and end up with the world’s biggest slob. This would happen no matter who you fell in love with because everyone has flaws. There is no such thing as a perfect partner, including you! In fact, I guarantee that your significant other can ramble off five things about you that drive them crazy in five seconds flat.
Because when you love someone, really, really love someone, you will drive them crazy. And they will drive you crazy. It’s part of the deal.
The sooner we realize this, the better. And as frustrating as it can be, it’s actually a good thing, because it means that you’re being seen.
It means your guard is down. The makeup is off. The niceties are done. You are letting each other see your weirdness. You are offering up your flawed, imperfect self on a silver platter. You are doing the most vulnerable thing you can do in this life, which is to let someone see your crazy up close and personal.
The best partners drive each other absolutely bonkers, but the glorious thing is, it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if they hog the covers or have weird road rage or burp in your face like a five-year-old instead of a grown ass man. You love this person. And you’ve chosen to love all of them, forever- batshit crazy or not.
The key isn’t to find someone who doesn’t drive you crazy. It’s finding someone worth enduring the crazy for.
It’s asking yourself who you want to get real with, who you trust with your ugliest secrets. It’s not about finding someone who you will never fight with. It’s about finding someone who is worth fighting for. Who’s bullshit are you willing to put up with day in and day out if it means you get a chance to spend the rest of your life with this perfectly flawed and completely human person?
The key to having a strong relationship is recognizing the crazy, the humanness, in one another and choosing to stay regardless. It’s saying “hey, you’re really fucking annoying sometimes, but I like you anyway, and I’m here for the long haul.”
It’s not a Disney movie, but maybe it’s better than that. It’s not happily ever after, but it’s real.