Are You A Good Partner? Probably Not.


In an article in this month’s Psychology Today, Rebecca Webber writes that “At some point in every relationship it’s natural to ask whether your partner is the right one for you. But if that’s as far as you go, you’re missing the opportunity of your life.”

“Sooner or later, there comes a moment in all relationships when you lie in bed, roll over, look at the person next to you and think it’s all a dreadful mistake,” says Boston family therapist Terrence Real. It happens a few months to a few years in. “It’s an open secret of American culture that disillusionment exists. I go around the country speaking about ‘normal marital hatred.’ Not one person has ever asked what I mean by that. It’s extremely raw.”

What should you do when the initial attraction to you partner wears off? “I call it the first day of your real marriage,” Real says. It’s not a sign that you’ve chosen the wrong partner. It is the signal to grow as an individual – to take responsibility for your own frustrations.”

Finally, one other thing that caught my eye:

“Although there are no guarantees, there are stable personal characteristics that are generally good and generally bad for relationships. On the good side: sense of humor; even temper; willingness to overlook your flaws; sensitivity to you and what you care about; ability to express caring. On the maladaptive side: chronic lying; chronic worrying or neuroticism; emotional overreactivity; proneness to anger; propensity to harbor grudges; low self-esteem; poor impulse control; tendency to aggression; self-orientation rather than an other-orientation.”

Sound like anything you may have read before?

Read the entire article here and you’ll quickly see that it’s everything I try to teach myself. Accepting your partner. Being more patient and understanding. Taking responsibility for your own actions. Not getting too caught up by chemistry. Finding your own humility.

People who get these concepts can create a healthy relationship; people who don’t will find that long-term romance may not be in the cards.

Seriously. Do yourself a favor and commit this piece to memory.

Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.

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  1. 21

    @ Teresa, exactly! Hardest decision I ever made. But worth it, long term.  
    Many of our family friends were shocked when I moved out, because we had been pretty good at keeping up appearances 😉 Maybe that’s why people assume that other couples divorce on a whim — because they don’t know what really goes on behind closed doors.

  2. 22

    I’ve been commenting lately wondering … what is the  reason for  all of this?   You need to live to please your partner, who chose you because they liked (whatever), but for what end?   It’s not that I disagree with the article, I just honestly don’t understand what the purpose of being married or in relationships is if your only purpose is to go through the motions without much enjoyment?   I guess to run a stable “business”  of raising children?

    1. 22.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Hey Pineapple…I missed the part where it said that happily married couples were “going through the motions without much enjoyment”. Please send me that section and I’ll consider revising my thoughts on the benefits of a good relationship.

  3. 23

    I just agree that patience and love in life can create a healthy relationship in the long term. I have experienced this myself in my own life. People will have romance in their life all through if they follow path of longanimity. I read this article and it is really fasinating. I taught me how to be patient in my relationship.

  4. 24

    <a href=”″>@Raymond Bork # 19</a>
    Wow. Thank you for that – just the sort of thought I can, <i>and will</> start using.

  5. 25

    Interesting article.
    I think it is a very good idea to take responsibility for our own part in a relationship, and I try very hard to remind myself of that.   However I think Goldie #16 has a good point.   We can’t take so much responsibility that we do it to our own detriment.
    I did that in my marriage, when actually my ex husband really needed to step up and do some self examination of his own, but he just didn’t love me enough to do that.   He was already emotionally involved….with himself and his addictions, plural.   I am still doing that today, always apologizing if I cause my boyfriend even some slight inconvenience (or what I perceive to be an inconvenience)   I am trying to teach myself that nobody can carry all the blame or responsibility in the relationship.   The old saying is that “it takes two to tango” and I try to keep that in mind always.   Yes, there are times when the responsibility totally lies with one person, cheating, abuse, addictions, etc.   But not all the time.

  6. 26

    I wasn’t disagreeing … I just don’t understand.   I’m not trying to argue — just looking for posters to help me make sense of relationships in general.   I simply “don’t get it.”

  7. 27

    Oh yessiree, so good to read this when I’m going through this exact questioning process 13 months in.   I’m 47 never married/no kids, he’s 58 divorced for 5 years/3 grown up kids.  
    We’ve got a conversation scheduled for this weekend to discuss our “isshews”.
    This is great food for thought.   What I need to take away…
    The only elements that identified those who eventually divorced were negative and self-protective reactions during discussions of relationship difficulties and nonsupportive reactions in discussing a personal issue. Displays of anger, contempt, or attempts to blame or invalidate a partner augured poorly, even when the partners felt their marriage was functioning well overall, the researchers report in the Journal of Family Psychology. So did expressions of discouragement toward a partner talking about a personality feature he or she wanted to change.
    Firmly stand up for your wants and needs in a relationship. “Most people don’t have the skill to speak up for and fight for what they want in a relationship,” he observes. “They don’t speak up, which preserves the love but builds resentment. Resentment is a choice; living resentfully means living unhappily. Or they speak up–but are not very loving.” Or they just complain.  
    The art to speaking up, he says, is to transform a complaint into a request. Not “I don’t like how you’re talking to me,” but   “Can you please lower your voice so I can hear you better?” If you’re trying to get what you want in a relationship, notes Real, it’s best to keep it positive and future-focused.  

  8. 28

    I agree with this in principle.   However, in practice, it seems (at least to this single woman, looking at marriages from the outside) that there is always one person making the vast majority of the compromises, and the other person is remaining inflexible.   Heck, sometimes that role even switches back & forth between the couple through the years.  
    I think the article’s advice is beautiful and true IF both people are truly trying to practice it.   Otherwise, it’s one person contorting him/herself to be kind and accommodating while the other pushes the boundaries further and further and further.  

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