Bill and I spend a ton of time together, but we accept each other’s limitations every day. Being in a good relationship requires that. Heather Havrilesky answering question posed by Natasha Lun in Conversations on Love

So…

Do we have to accept our partners limitations? Why or why not?

I think we must accept our partners as they are- the good and the bad. It’s all part of the package.

What are my husband’s limitations?

  1. He hates putting towels back on the rack after he’s used them. He will just leave them wherever. If I were to get mad about this I would be irate twice a day. While it used to irk me I’ve realized that he is never changing and I have to accept that
  2. My husband is a dropper. When he works in the office he comes home and starts getting undressed in the front hallway, and he leaves a trail of clothes throughout the apartment. I now just call him Hansel.
  3. He will “lose” at least three things every day, and expect me to find them. Yesterday it was his keys, which he had left in the front door…FYI- he also has ten pairs of cheap reading glasses scattered around the house- I figure we should be able to locate at least one pair when he needs on
  4. My husband will want to leave for something given the amount of time he needs to walk there, which is about twice as fast as I walk. Occasionally I get passive aggressive about this. Recently, we had friends over for pre dinner drinks. we had a 7 pm reservation, I know it takes my husband 15 minutes to walk there, me 25, and I knew (from prior experience) that it would take our friends at least 35 minutes to get there. At 6:15 I said five minute warning, which my husband ignored, and I just smirked and let it go. Of course we were late to the reservation and my husband was itchy from the stress. Call me being passive aggressive a limitation…

But you get the idea. If I was to get made at him for every annoying trait he has with regards to being a hard working lazy person, we would never have a civil conversation. I, sometimes begrudgingly, accept that he will never not be a dropper nor as organized as I’d like, but I have to basically deal with it. And then complain about it on my blog, because I know he’s not changing. Just like he needs to accept that if we are doing something I need an hour to get ready. Period. If he wants me to do something outside the house, that’s my thing- I know exactly how much time I need. he has to deal with me getting up at 6am and not whine that I’m up too early. These are the deals we make in a relationship- know what your partner needs and don’t complain about it if it isn’t too egregious…

But what do you think?

Do you have to accept your partners limitations?

Discuss

73 thoughts on “Limitations

  1. No-one is perfect, not even us 😉 so if we want them to accept our limitations too, then yes. If we expect that they will change, then we probably shouldn’t have committed ourselves to them. That’s not to say that change can’t happen at any time of life, it can & does, but having an expectation – that can be a problem. The key is making sure that their limitations aren’t something which goes against your core values before commitment yourself to them, otherwise you’ll never be able to accept it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yep…and he has had to accept mine. We own a business together and the past three years have been the most growing times of our marriage. We do things differently, which took us both a year to not only recognize but accept. Now we try to utilize each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. We still get annoyed with each other at times, but overall, I wouldn’t trade him in. He’s a keeper!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m going to be the voice of dissent on this one. Yes, we have to accept small quirky things with partners, but…we also have to give credence to how those small quirky things get defined and I’m not sure that works the same for everyone. The towel thing, the dropping clothes thing, the “find my stuff” thing would be way beyond small acceptable irritations for me. I see that as being simply inconsiderate and lazy. I assume that you then go behind him and finish the job? His limitation has now become your responsibility. He’s an adult. When will he be expected to be responsible for himself? It’s like teaching a child that your role as a mom is not to cater to them as they grow up but to help them become conscientious, caring, responsible adults who work alongside their parents. If the other behavior takes precedence then did they want a wife or a 2nd mother? Yes, we all have to accept flaws and limitations, but each couple should probably set down and figure out what those things are and how to avoid either side being only the giver or the taker and what are simply deal breakers.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have to accept that he’s not going to change. If I didn’t I would walk around pissed off every day. But every partner is going to be flawed…if I want to be in a relationship I have to accept good with bad. I totally get all your points…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree with Deb about this regarding responsibilities. The thing about him walking too fast and leaving early would drive me crazy, especially as we get older and the hip does not move as fast. As far as leaving the clothes, I sometimes do that but have changed. I am still working, not retired and leave before 7 am each morning. I know I leave a mess but I try to improve and appreciate my husband’s stand. Yes, he has time to clean up but just because I might change my outfit 2 times doesn’t mean he is not put off by things, so I try. He is obsessive about hangers and order of things which drive me nuts but I can also appreciate he keeps my eclectic self more organized which makes my working and home life easier. Give and take.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Keeping house is a mixed bag if two people have different ways of how they want things. I’m Uber organized but I’m not a manic cleaner. He’ll do more of the bathroom scrubbing and such. I’m sure my lack of cleaning the toilet rim drives him crazy

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You always have to accept that people are different. We are not perfect. As far as I know, only one person was born perfect, and He got crucified. Our personal shortcomings as viewed by other are all part of what makes us, us.
    As for myself, I apologized to my wife years ago just on the off chance that I should ever do anything wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Randy and I were married over forty-three years. He had lots of habit that I found annoying – like never using up the last bit of ketchup and opening a new bottle, while leaving the nearly empty one in the fridge. He did this with all kinds of food items. On the 23rd it will be for two months since he died. I have to say I’d give anything to have his annoying habits bother me again. In the end these little things really don’t matter. What matters is all the small gifts of love such as the many, many times he would cook or make me a cup of tea. Yeah, that stuff is truly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. I think if you have a good relationship you work around each other’s limitations, Or quirks. I don’t think they are necessarily limitations, just the way each person’s brain works. I too need time to get ready and will wake up early to do what I need to do. My late husband accepted this. He was a bit OCD. He’d rearrange the pantry and fridge by color and size.if I was cooking I’d grab and go and when I put things back I’d just put them back. My brain didn’t accept his organizational style. I just couldn’t do it that way. It didn’t compute. So while his organizational style was annoying to me I accepted it and he eventually knew I’d never be able to follow it. I had my own system for stacking dishes in the dishwasher. And always reset whatever he put in. To me he loaded dishes facing the wrong way and from the wrong side. But hey, if he loaded the dishes I never corrected him. I was happy he did it!
    Another example of different styles….my sister came by to help me during my worst reaction days during chemo. She redid my linen closet one day when my nausea medication put me to sleep. She even made sticky notes labeling her system of how things were folded and stacked. But her system wasn’t my system. For instance, I like all my pillowcases in one area. The rest of my sheets are folded in sets. But I always wash pillowcases more often and change them more frequently. The reason? During menopause I realized I sweat a lot and needed to change my pillowcases. So I didn’t want to be searching through Sets. She told me that would drive her nuts. I joked and said it’s a good think we didn’t live together lol. Everyone has a way that makes sense to them. And I think people who live together can work it out reasonably. In truth no one way is right.
    The dropping the clothes would bug me. One of my sons did that. I picked the items up and used to put them in his doorway to his room. Eventually he’s wash them and put them away. So then I got him a hamper and put that in his door way. The irony is in his own home as a grown up, he doesn’t drop clothes. But he does keep a hamper in an area near the doorway to his master bedroom. I’m guessing that he throws everything in there until he washes it. Lol
    And it is true, even the annoying things about your spouse are missed after they pass. So perhaps compromising what bugs you is the best strategy to happy partnership. .

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I am a “loser”—despite the fact years ago my husband installed a key rack directly by the door from the garage. My husband was always very methodical about these things. I have to put more thought into putting them on the rack as soon as I come in. I blame it on the dog wanting attention as soon as I come in the door.

    I think being accepting of limitations is important—the fear of someone not accepting my limitations is one of many barriers to putting myself out there to date again.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For me the important thing is choosing my battles. If something is truly important to me, then it may be worth it to try to create change. But otherwise, best to have peace in the home. I know my spouse tolerates a lot from me, so I can do the same for him!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can totally relate. I used to get upset with my husband when he left his empty sweetener packet on the counter rather than throw it away. I started lining them up one week. When there was a week’s worth I pointed it out. It made my husband so angry, I realized it wasn’t a big deal for me to pick the dang thing up each day and throw it away. We put up with each other’s limitations and have been together for 40 years. I let the small stuff go.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, EA. I so wanted to comment here but knowing what I wanted to say was going to be viewed as a rant I held off. Respect is the exact word. You felt taken advantage of, his response was to get angry when confronted rather than simply listen and try to see your POV so you basically chose to give in or as I see it, allow him to be disrespectful to you. Of course you can pick up and toss the packets, but why is the expectation that you will? There is an imbalance in so many relationships and it seems that often the female chooses to be the one to acquiesce because as so many put it “it’s just easier”.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I think it’s both ways. I’m not as “clean” as my husband would like…I refuse to clean around the toilet because his aim is like a peewee basketball player. I a
        So make him deal with my early wake up times. So, while I agree that there’s an imbalance, I just can’t be fit for tat. I see relationships like that and it actually sort of scares me

        Like

  11. On the other hand, I can understand your husband’s messiness with wanting to get out of his work clothes and relax. Days can be very stressful and the home, for me, is a refuge to let go of the small stuff. The more important is that you are there for one another and get what the other is going through. My husband has dealt with some heavy work issues in the past during his military time and business time, so he brings a different perspective to me. I try to let go many of the small details at work as he keeps telling me if they keep giving you more, they trust you. We shall see. Thanks for listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Humor helps. Love the Hansel reference. I forget which comedienne it was who wondered aloud why men think that a uterus is some kind of detector to find things, and why they are always asking women to help them find things they have misplaced.

    Yes, accepting limitations is part of the deal, as is realizing that if the person with limitations were to vanish tomorrow we would be bereft, and would probably give our eyeteeth to be asked to find something, to see the clothes strewn, or whatever else is seemingly irritating today.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Well I think that those things fall in the “for better or worse” category of the wedding vows. I mean, once you get past the initial irritation, it kind of becomes habit on your part to pick up after him, right? My problem is when he does things like leave the TV on in the house when he goes to the garage and stays there for hours and then yells at us for leaving a light on when we exit a room. That’s not fair.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You cannot, but it may not be a limitation that’s keeping them from doing it.

        I don’t like to clean, so I don’t. It’s not a limitation, though. I know HOW to clean. I just don’t. My husband accepts this and cleans.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. My wife tends to misplace her keys and phone often usually because she doesn’t zip her purse. She tends to leave lights on in every room too, cabinets and drawers open. It is annoying but I put up with it and turn off and close things.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think everyone is capable of growth and change, but it has to come from an inner drive to do so, not from being nagged. What I’ve learned from being in a long-term marriage is that you do eventually learn how to live with the things that once drove you nuts. You also both start trying to avoid pushing each other’s buttons. And you forgive your partner for the occasional lapse.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Is it reinforcing bad behavior or is it deciding what the small stuff is? Would you rather nag or just do something yourself/ignore the behavior and move on with the day? I think we all come to “crisis” moments when we have to decide whether to let something bother us or not. Carol’s perspective trumps all of the viewpoints in my opinion, but when you are in the middle of dealing with repetitive issues it is easy to forget that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always told me kids that before you pick someone you have to decide what you can accept and what you cannot accept and the rest is negotiable. I also used to tell my ex that as long as we could talk we would be OK. That worked for us for nearly 30 years.

      I also think that people change over time and this is what happened to us, too, till it reached the point where neither of us could or wanted to negotiate anymore. The final straw was when he wouldn’t talk to me and after that where I wouldn’t or really couldn’t talk to him. I had a bit of an epiphany re that this morning. As some alcoholics do, throughout most of our marriage, he wouldn’t take the blame for hardly anything whereas I took the blame for almost everything. Those positions seem to have flip-flopped which certainly contributed to the end of our marriage and relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah…I’ve been working on some thoughts about types of people and how they react in the world…I’ve identified narcissists and blamers and I’m looking at other types

        Like

  17. It certainly makes it easier if you accept your partner’s limitations. I used to chafe at waiting until I found a way around it. When I was ready before John, I played games on my phone until he walked to the door. It made me want him to be late, and I wasn’t sitting there criticizing him.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Our oldest daughter insisted I was a hoarder and made me sit through one episode of a hoarding show. I wish I’d told her that I got some good ideas.

    Fast forward ten years to John’s death when the same daughter swooped in to REALLY straighten up our house. She found out her dad was the problem, not me. Sweet victory.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I absolutely believe that we have to accept our partner’s limitations. Expecting people to do things they really can’t (or won’t) do just sets us up for frustration. I think if someone’s limitations are truly something you can’t live with, then you probably ought not to marry that person (or date them or whatever you had in mind.) Yes, we can encourage our partners to be their best selves and to try new things and expand their horizons. That’s the good thing about being in a relationship. But we can’t change who they really are, and we really shouldn’t even try.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. What I find interesting is how often people think certain things are cute or funny about the other person in the beginning of a relationship. But then those same things can sometimes become annoyances or irritations we find difficult to deal with. I think time can make us less tolerant of those limitations, which isn’t really fair. If we were willing to accept it in the beginning, we should be just as willing in the passage of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Absolutely agree. How can I not accept my partner’s little faults, yet expect him to accept mine!? And why waste time being upset about trivial things? I would much rather just roll my eyes and accept it. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

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