“Hi Anna, I hope you’re doing well. First off I want to say I love your content. It’s very real, raw advice and I’m here for it. I was wondering what your opinions are on loving a partner unconditionally. I’m 26, I had to end things with my partner who is also 26, because of lack of transparency, lies and as he hid a lot of conversations with other women when we were in our relationship. He said to me that he needs to seek out professional help ( which he has started) as he believes he’s dealing with some addictive tendencies with dating apps and porn. While I believe I did the right thing by ending things with him as the standards of trust and openness we agreed to for our relationship was not met, I also believe that he held a lot of other core values that are important to me. I also believe that you stick with the ones you love through thick and thin. The question however is, to what extent?”
My Dearest Bad Biddie,
Unconditional love is many things, but of those things, what it is not is an excuse for bad behavior. And, while it’s true that most of the people we love, including those with the best of intentions, will hurt us at one stage or another, there is more than a fine line between your partner not doing the dishes when he said he would and lying to you about his conversations with other women.
When I think about the phrase “for better or for worse”, I don’t think about my partner hiding a sex addiction from me. I think about how I would love him even if he were to lose his job tomorrow, or become sick, or, on a lesser scale, forget how to wrap the leftovers properly even after I’ve taught him how for the millionth time. And, while your partner may hold many of the core values you’re searching for, the truth is that he didn’t have, perhaps, the most important core value of all: trustworthiness. Trust is the foundation of a relationship. The rest of your relationship, much like the rest of a house, is built upon that foundation. You don’t get to the framing, the tiling, or the pretty light fixtures without a solid foundation to build off of. I don’t know what other core values he held, but, for example, it’s not very useful to the health of your relationship if he has strong family values and wants the exact number of children you want one day, but also wants to live a double life with other women on the side.
To your question of “to what extent?”, I say this: To the extent that his shortcomings do not become your sacrifices. There is a difference between compromising in a relationship and sacrificing yourself for the sake of one. You can compromise on what city to live in, what car to buy, which holidays you spend with which side of the family, but you must never sacrifice your sense of mental and physical safety for the security of a relationship. After all, how secure would you really be if you were to get back together with him, only to spend those nights apart wondering if he’s with another woman?
While I don’t know if his addiction will ultimately be a dealbreaker for you, I do know that we oftentimes go back to the ones who hurt us because we don’t believe there’s someone out there who, in some capacity, won’t hurt us. This is, perhaps, the greatest lie of all. By choosing to not go back to him, you are not choosing another set of problems, addictions, or lies in another partner, you are choosing to believe that there is a person out there for you that won’t lie to you and possess the core values that your partner had. If given the choice, I hope you choose to believe that not only is there a better person out there for you, but that you also deserve this person, because, really, you do.
Your internet hype woman
PS. Today is Halloween, hence the aggressive photo above.