Hi Dr. Darcy,
What's the difference between giving up on someone and accepting them for who they are?
Fabulous question. I always tell my clients (and anyone who will listen) to think of their partner as a great dress at the Barney’s Sample Sale. Examine the person before committing. Make sure you can live with your partner’s imperfections. Both your partner and the dress should be taken as-is; not in the hope that either will transform into a different version at some future point.
A funny thing happens when you accept your partner for who they are: They feel good enough. They feel valued. Their self-esteem rises.
Ask your friends whether they’d want to be in a relationship if the stipulation was that they had to develop into a different version of themselves. Most people with a nice amount of self-worth would prefer to be passed over under those circumstances.
Here’s the thing: When you ‘give up,’ you’re not giving up on your partner. You’re giving up on your fantasy of who you’d like your partner to be. And it boils down to whether or not what you like about your partner outweighs what you don’t like. In the old days, we used to make 2 lists and see which is longer. Might be worth a try.
PS: Don’t leave without joining my tribe below!