“Why can’t he just accept me the way I am?” I guess this is one of the most common complaints for people in a relationship, especially those who have gone through at least one big argument. So, I sometimes wonder, is asking to be accepted “just the way I am” a sensible request, or is it something that can only exist in the realm of movies and soap operas?

Well, first of all, I think most people get the “just the way I am” a bit wrong. I believe that accepting people for who they are is more about accepting their weaknesses and limitations, appreciating their dreams and ambitions, and acknowledging their strengths and skills. But when we enter into a whole new environment—be it school, work, or in this case relationships—it goes without saying that we’re expected to adjust ourselves a bit. True, there are people that are overly demanding of their romantic partners, from the way they dress, how often they see their friends, and so on. But for the most part, being a couple means being in an ongoing transition from “me and you” into “us”, so it stands to reason that most couples are simply trying to find what works for them. And naturally, this will include some not-so-nice things, such as demands from each other, criticism for each other, and complaints about each other. But, hey, it’s all part of the process…

Expecting to be accepted “just the way I am” is not unreasonable—there’s no doubt about that; but let’s also not forget that couples will sooner or later need to find what counts as “just the way we are”…

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