Have a think about your partner at the moment and consider the positives and negatives about them. I’m assuming you came up with more positives than negatives otherwise you wouldn’t still be in a relationship but the thing is are those positives really good or are you turning them in to good traits?
A study by Murray et al 1993 found that sometimes people create stories about their partners to create a more positive image of them so as to avoid conflicts in their relationship.
This trait could stretch to long and imaginative tales about your partner which covers up parts of their personality or as small as little behaviours that they perform that annoy you, things like picking their nails or leaving the toilet seat up.
A very extreme example of this type of behaviour is when a woman is being abused and then starts to blame themselves for the beating.
You’ll sometimes hear women who are abused saying that they can’t leave their partner because they love them and then saying things like “he only did it because I broke the rules, he loves me really”.
It’s very hard to turn this into a positive characteristic but it shows that even in extreme circumstances some people can create stories to romanticize their relationships.
Another strange example of this type of behaviour developing is Stockholm Syndrome. This phenomenon is when someone who is kidnapped then starts to sympathise with their captor and even starts to develop romantic feelings for them.
This can often occur when the captor performs little abuse to their prisoners and so the captive starts to see lack of abuse as a sign that they are being treated nicely. This in turn could lead to captives creating positive stories about their captors and running romantic scenarios in their minds.
Obviously and luckily these situations are quite rare and for the most part these behaviours are restricted to minor problems in our partners. Mostly we use them to try and avoid conflict in our relationships.
We don’t bring up the negative because it is likely to cause an argument. Then after you have done that for a while you begin to turn the negative into a positive because what kind of person would you be if you settled for less than perfect, right?
Just remember that there is no perfect partner for anyone but you can feel a lot better about yourself if you look on the bright side of things and that means having fun in your relationships and not picking at every little thing about them that annoys you.
So just be aware that you are performing these behaviours but also know that they can be a good thing and make your life better.