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One problem I keep seeing in my marriage counseling clients is a loss of interest in staying together.  And many times, it comes down to thinking that there’s a better partner somewhere out there:  “If I left this passionless marriage, I would have the opportunity to find someone that actually made me happy.”  Other examples include “other women like sex more than my wife,” or “I’m pretty (or successful, or charming) enough to do better.”  Sometimes people who say these things to themselves are right, but many other people are disappointed to find that the perfect mate portrayed in the movies (or much worse, in pornography) does not really exist in real life.

Everyone has faults.  But there are three things that you should always keep in mind:

  1. Many times those faults occur in the context of a relationship that needs fixing.  Changing the way you both interact with one another can sometimes have a drastic positive effect.  And if the problems that you have with your partner are at least partially a result of the nature of your relationship, it is likely that if they are not dealt with, you will find the same faults in your next partner.
  2. Sometimes faults in your partner (being a little overweight , less than good in bed, or less fun in general) are only faults because people in our culture are frequently compared to idealized people in the media.  The average woman is not as skinny as the media would have you think, and even charming, funny guys lose some of their charm and whit when they’re under stress.
  3. People who you are not dating or married to will often show you their best side.  And you might be surprised to find that they are not perfect when you are in a long-term committed relationship with them.
If you are in an abusive relationship, don’t take what I say as an excuse for your partner’s behavior, or a reason to just accept it.  But also don’t let normal faults and unrealistic expectations ruin your ability to enjoy your life or to have a good relationship.  Your goal should be happiness.  And sometimes that means finding happiness right where you are.