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Questions for Dr. Amy

Dear Dr. Amy:

Iíve been married for thirteen years and my relationship with my spouse is a very loving one. At the same time, we continue to do things that upset and disappoint each other and despite many efforts to get past these hurdles, they remain. It seems our best intentions arenít good enough. Is this just something we should expect to live with for the rest of our lives or is it is just a matter of time before we get past them?

-Name Withheld
Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your question, and for sharing that you have a loving relationship! I will try to answer your question as simply as possible, given the complexity of relationships. First, even in the most loving, caring relationships there will be times when one person hurts and/or disappoints the other. This is inherent in imperfection (of which we all are guilty). Your question is not uncommon. There are certain situations that are often discussed amongst couples wherein one party is hurt and/or disappointed by the other. Sometimes one partner does not realize the other person is either hurt/frustrated/annoyed about a certain behavior/situation. In this situation, you need to tell your partner the behavior/situation is bothersome. Communicate your feelings. If you donít communicate that a certain behavior bothers you, you canít be upset with your partner. People donít have ESPóeven those with whom you have lived the majority of your life. People canít rectify a bothersome situation if they donít know it is causing heartache. When one partner makes the other aware of something that bothers/frustrates them, the loving/caring response is to try not to engage in the annoying/irritating behavior. If you know your partner is making effort not to hurt/disappointment you, then you must make effort to forgive the personóit doesnít mean the behavior/situation wonít bother you. It means you donít get frustrated with the person because you know that they are trying, and you accept and love them for it. In this situation, you acknowledge that you may have to live with X behavior for the rest of your life, and you live with your partner, accepting their flaws and their efforts to change behavior, because you love them. Unfortunately no one is perfect-so yes, you can expect to be hurt or disappointed by your partner from time to time but in the context of your loving and caring relationship, I suspect youíll get past itówhatever Ďití is.
Wishing you love and happiness!

-ABT


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