Day by day we are bombarded with the idea that, to be happy, we must find a perfect relationship in every way. These messages partly work: from adolescence onwards it is normal to fantasise about nothing less than princes and princesses, which for the child mind is the pinnacle of social and economic success.
However, at the moment of truth it is perfectly normal to be happy with people who are not exactly the model bride or groom. We notice that there is something in the other that in theory we would like to change, but we are also sure that in practice, if we were to alter that, the result would not necessarily be positive. In fact, maybe even one of the things that makes us happy in love is having an imperfect partner . Why does this happen?
Reasons why imperfect couples make us happy
These are some of the aspects that explain why in love happiness can come through our partner’s imperfections.
1. Romantic love and perfect lovers
Let’s pay attention to our surroundings. Through films, series, novels and even television commercials, the main message is mixed with a kind of propaganda of the romantic .
The ideal couple should be detail-oriented but independent, intelligent and responsible but that makes us live crazy, attractive in the eyes of everyone, but with a charm that only we find special. It is a concept of love based on marketing: the lover has to comply with certain “features”, such as a product, without these being accurately described at any time, as advertising does today.
The idea of idealized love is to put together a bunch of personal traits and characteristics and imagine the supposed perfect person resulting from this mixture. However, real life doesn’t work like that, and obviously perfect people don’t exist either, but that doesn’t exactly mean that when it comes to finding a partner we are satisfied with little.
Intuitively, we learn to ignore those rules that dictate how the ideal partner should be, and often completely betray those preconceived ideas about what is attractive to us in a person.
Although we may not realize it, this is surely the most rebellious aspect of love, which breaks our patterns and, therefore, makes the experience stimulating , because the story we will have with that person will have nothing to do with those dreams of perfect love that we have already gone over a thousand times mentally.
2. A love centered on the relationship, not on the person
Romantic love is based on the idea that there is a person who is right for us, someone who is the embodiment of everything we are looking for in a human being. In some particularly delusional versions of this conception of love, that person is predestined to know us, since both he and we are incomplete until the moment the relationship begins; this is the myth of the better half.
In other words, in romantic love everything that explains the romance is attributed to each person, their essence; something that exists beyond time and space, encapsulated within each individual.
However, the love that exists in real life , outside the tales of the princes and princesses, is not based on essences, but on what actually happens in everyday life. It is totally irrelevant that a person is very intelligent if he does not even listen to what we have to say, and it is just as important that he is attractive if he uses that quality to betray us by seducing us.
If we were all to face relationships as romantic love dictates, our obsession with the imperfections of potential partners would make us lose sight of the fact that the emotional bonds that are really worthwhile come through the interactions of everyday life: we are what we do, after all.
3. Vulnerability attracts
If our partner is already perfect, what role do we play in that relationship? We usually assume that perfection implies total self-sufficiency, and this, applied to love, is negative.
Of course, healthy relationships are those in which there are no asymmetrical power relationships or ties based on dependence on the other, but the opposite of that is a person who simply has no motivation to be with us. And after all, wanting to be with us is not a personal quality in the same sense as being able to speak several languages or being fit, but in love we act as if it were.
According to the Greek philosopher Plato, people are characterized by experiencing beauty and attractiveness from the way they experience perfection, purity. But we do not find this perfection in the physical world , since everything in it is changeable and imperfect: people are never exactly the same as the ideal of beauty, and at no time do they stop growing old, approaching their death.
This is embodied in what we know as platonic love, a sentimental state in which the intuition that in an ideal world perfection exists and the certainty that we will never have access to it – at least in this world, according to the Greek thinker – coexist.
But Platonic love only makes sense if we first accept some of the ideas proposed by this philosopher, and one of them is that reality is not matter, but theory, pure ideas. Very few people today deny that reality is made up of matter and not ideas, so the search for pure perfection does not work if we try to apply it in our daily lives. That’s why, while unrealistic expectations about love frustrate us, accepting in advance that our partner is imperfect allows us to really enjoy his presence, instead of pursuing chimeras.