Are there things that you love that your partner hates?
Chances are that unless you are in some perfect romantic dream in some Bollywood fantasy or an old fashioned Mills and Boons novel, you are likely to have a less than perfect overlap with the people you love. We are sold so much of perfection that we often do not see that our lives are not exact matches. Even the awe inducing full solar eclipse, complete with the diamond ring formation, isn't really a perfect overlap.
The reality is that we would often have atleast a few things that we hate about our partner and know that something about us that our partner hates. I mean hate - not just mildly dislike, or kinda annoyed, but downright hate it. Things that make you want to gag in revulsion. One might have mild annoyance for things like wet towels left on the bed, active dislike for an irritating habit like biting off one's nails (hopefully not toe nails! That would be really something for an adult!) or leaving hair in the shower drain for someone else to clear.
Active hate though is reserved for even more personal matters. There is no universal list of hateable aspects. You might hate the way they lick their plate, for instance, even though they are otherwise the epitome of etiquette. They might hate how every morning you call up your parents for a half-hour chat. Maybe it is how the family dog gets more hugs and kisses than the people. Or even how one haggles with the vegetable vendor while dishing out thousands without as much a blink of an eye for a meal at a fancy restaurant.
We may not have these hates when we start a relationship, but sooner or later, we start developing serious reservations about some habit or the other, maybe even some connections one has, or work or interests, or even political leanings.
Relationships can go to ways: the first where what we tolerate when starting a relationship can soon feel intolerable, or the second where we are able to make space away from the relationship for what we just can't take and the other just can't leave. Let's take a simple thing like going out for a few drinks with buddies from college, imagining that you just don't like drinking at all. At the start, you might accommodate it but later on you get absolutely mad about it, or you are able to carve out separate times where your partner goes out drinking and it doesn't bother you.
The difference between which path a relationship takes is often not about what you hate, but about how much you are able to love the rest of what happens in the relationship. Few things just turn deal breakers over night. Most of the differences we have in a relationship have generally existed anyway, and whether they now cross the limit of tolerance is mostly about how large and deep your relationship is, not what you don't like.
As written for The New Indian Express
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.