Friday, 18 November 2011

Accusation and Acceptance

Go to the supermarket, walk through town, and soon enough you will hear a couple arguing - more precisely, bickering. Accusations are the currency of such arguments, whether small accusations or, eventually - in arguments we don't overhear - big ones: "You're having an affair with him", "You're always trying to undermine me".

It's a judicial currency of Right and Wrong, Plaintiff and Defendant. If you want, in the divorce courts you can actually pay for the privilege of trading accusations. In principle, any relationship where accusations are regularly traded is on skid row towards divorce.

Relationships work where there is a large measure of mutual acceptance. But sometimes acceptance turns into tolerating the intolerable. How can that be avoided?

The secret is not to get into a relationship with someone whose habits, values or personal traits you find intolerable. If you really cannot stand vain people, don't get involved with one - and, even more, don't get involved and then try to reform the offender. There is nothing more tiresome for anyone than a partner who is constantly trying to change them. It turns the relationship into a reformatory.

If you get involved with someone whose habits, values, personality you basically like, enjoy or admire, then acceptance is going to come easy. Maybe there is just one thing that is really hard to accept. Maybe he smokes. Then take a stand on it at the outset, and if he quits, make very sure that you do not promptly move on and find something else to disapprove of.

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