Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

Are you and your SO up front about each other's perceived flaws?

Asked by nikipedia (27481points) June 17th, 2011

No one’s perfect. If there’s something you perceive as a flaw in your significant other, do you tell him/her? Does it matter what the flaw is? If so, what determines if you acknowledge it or not?

For example, suppose you have a good intellectual connection with your partner, but you know that objectively s/he isn’t especially bright. Would you ever bring it up?

What if you’re attracted to him/her, but you know objectively s/he isn’t really that good-looking?

What about things that can be changed, like weight gain, skin problems, or clothing choices? Laziness, procrastination, or lateness? Do you just accept flaws like these as part of your partner and never bring it up, or address them somehow?

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27 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I wouldn’t call any S/O stupid and homely. LMAO!

zenvelo's avatar

My significant other has no flaws. She has personality quirks. I would never critique her, we do talk about our unique characteristics, but not in a critical way, more like trying to understand each other more.

marinelife's avatar

I have flaws. My SO has flaws. I would not say that we never talk about them, but I don’t dwell on them or try to “fix” them. If they were’nt acceptable to me, we wouldn’t be in relationship.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Bascially, I wouldn’t bring anything up. I am not perfect, so I cannot expect another to be perfect either….however….

I have been in relationships where in an argument he makes the mistake of going for the jugular. If that happens, and he goes there first, then the cork is off the bottle and usually the person who has lobbed the volley is left wishing they never had….because I take no prisoners. I will go for the best push back….from small things like being amazingly boring in conversation to pointing out the “tiny bits” that are really much more insignificant than the reputation that has preceded them…..gloves are off. And yes, that will usually mean it’s all over but the shouting. If any relationship goes to that point, then it’s not worth it anyway.

No one puts Darling in the corner

lol

Vunessuh's avatar

If I want to have a healthy relationship and not emotionally abuse my partner, why would I tell them they were stupid and ugly or point out skin problems and weight gain when most people are perfectly self-aware of how their own body is changing? I don’t nit-pick and I wouldn’t want to cause distress to someone that I care about.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t get why I’d think they’re not bright if we have a good intellectual connection being that that would mean I’m not bright either. I don’t get what ‘objectively isn’t that good-looking’ means anyway since there’s no such thing – one can say what society deems to be good-looking. Anyway, enough of nit-picking over your details, :) – yes we’re very upfront about our flaws in ourselves and each other – we know how we complement each other, as well. He knows he’s not all that aggressive sometimes and that he is naive about people. I know that I can’t shut up at times and am tactless, etc.

Aster's avatar

Yes, we’re very upfront (makes it sound like an asset ) with one another’s flaws but the difference is I give out compliments and he doesn’t. Which makes me more vocal about his flaws than if he were complimentary. He sometimes says his dinner is very good but that’s about it. While I tell him he’s cute, he’s so strong, he’s so smart , he’s right (this one hurts) he handled that perfectly but all I hear is “this is very good.” Luckily I don’t base my self worth on his comments. I think he knows and may resent me for being aware of my good points and for knowing I don’t need his compliments. I also think that he believes I’d somehow take advantage if he flattered me. haha

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Hey if they’ll put up with a skank like me I ignore everything.

wundayatta's avatar

Telling someone they have a flaw, in my opinion, is very cruel. It suggests that whatever negative you are pointing out is an integral part of their personality.

What I prefer to do is deal with specific situations. You’re moving a bit slowly on the washing machine project. Is there anything I can do to help move it along? (Ok, I don’t usually act so helpful, but I probably should. As long as she wants to go to the laundromat, it’s not a big deal for me. It gets her out of the house.)

In any case, unless it’s a positive, I would never want to tell someone that a negative is part of their makeup. It isn’t helpful.

So I try to take a problem solving approach. It’s never helpful to tell someone they are lazy. Let’s figure out how we can move the project along.

So my wife has a low libido and I have a high one, and sex is what tells me someone really means it when they say they love me. I’m not going to tell her she’s a refuser. She’s not going to tell me I’m a sex maniac. We’re going to counseling and we’re going to see if there’s some way to work through it. I say we have a mismatch in libidos.

Are we upfront? I wouldn’t exactly say we are, but then again, some things are hard to identify (libido), and other things seem pointless to identify (slowness on purchasing washing machine).

You mentioned a number of issues. My advice is to take them as behaviors. If you think he has no taste in clothes, you don’t tell him that. You say you’d like to dress him in a way that pleases you more. If he is chronically late, you don’t tell him he can’t ever keep an appointment, you talk about what you can do or what he can do to make sure he stays on time.

If you think he’s not very bright…. What the hell are you doing with someone who is not very bright? Can you spell “deal breaker?”

I don’t know what you mean by up front, but I think communication between SOs is pretty subtle, and it is important to take care of feelings. One does not want to rub an SO’s face in some negative opinion. One wants to build the relationship, not tear it apart, so one finds a way to do that. Being “up front” is not necessarily a way to do that.

SpatzieLover's avatar

We’re extremely upfront. My husband knows his intelligence is more logic based while mine is emotional.

geeky_mama's avatar

We’ve been married long enough that we now realize every positive attribute we admired in each other has a negative (yin/yang) flip side that can aggravate. I could call them “flaws”—but I guess I prefer to just consider it traits. This is how we’re wired…for good AND for bad.

For example, when we first met he admired me for my independence and organization. I admired him for his loyalty and easy going nature.

After 10 years of marriage he’s annoyed by my wanting to do it “my way” and by my wanting things planned out, neatly picked up and arranged “just so”.

I’m annoyed that he’ll (loyal to a fault) stay with an employer that is taking advantage of him (not paying him!) without pushing back to demand being paid fairly, and I’m annoyed when he won’t push back on absolutely ridiculous requests from his ex because he “doesn’t want to rock the boat”.

See how that goes? Overall the flaws are minor and can be worked around..but every positive has a negative, and vice versa.

nikipedia's avatar

@Vunessuh, I don’t mean going out of your way to criticize someone, but in a long-term relationship, sooner or later, flaws come up. Like I said, everyone has them.

For instance, I’ve been seeing a guy who has a minor speech impediment, and one day he asked me why I had never asked him about it. We ended up having a really important conversation about it, and I was glad we discussed it (and he would have been fine with me bringing it up to him).

Vunessuh's avatar

@nikipedia You weren’t just talking about minor flaws like speech impediments and clothing choices. Your details provided examples regarding if we would ever tell our partners that they weren’t that bright or that objectively they aren’t very good looking. How is that not going out of your way to cause someone you care about emotional harm? I do not believe that is okay to do to somebody and that is what my answer reflects.

funkdaddy's avatar

She’s more aware of her flaws than I could ever be, and extremely hard on herself. So I only mention those flaws she’s aware of when I’m trying to get her to look at it objectively.

I’ve definitely got 4 or 5 things that I’m aware of, and working on, and she does a pretty good job of leaving those to me as well, while still helping me keep them in perspective. She’s especially sweet in that she’ll notice when one of those things improves, I try to do the same for her.

For everything else, we’re pretty up front. We try to mention the “little things” as soon as they start to bother us. It’s a lot easier to have the discussion before someone is angry, so we try to keep that in mind.

I think the only faults/flaws/quirks that can cause problems are the ones where we either don’t have control over them or we disagree on. An example: She thinks I need to bust balls more often. I need to get angry and get after people. I disagree, I think for every person that responds to being intimidated or forced to do something there’s one that appreciates you not doing so and will go out of their way to help.

We’ve agreed to disagree. ;)

nikipedia's avatar

@Vunessuh, I really don’t want to fight with you since you’ve made it clear you think I’m heinously unpleasant and you don’t intend to give thoughtful answers to the questions I ask. Nonetheless, I’d like to point out that I explicitly mentioned minor flaws, and asked what factors would influence whether you would bring the flaws up or not (such as whether it’s a major vs minor flaw, if it’s changeable vs permanent, etc.)

Vunessuh's avatar

@nikipedia You’re so predictable. On a countless number of your questions, any answer that you don’t agree with and that doesn’t live up to your own personal standards automatically lacks effort and thought. So yes, I would say that kind of behavior does make a person rather unpleasant. I am pointing out your flaw. Happy now?

nikipedia's avatar

Can you just stop answering my questions?

tinyfaery's avatar

In order to have an open, honest, fulfilling relationship one has to recognize the things one’s partner does that can be a point of conflict in the relationship or attributes that can bother or annoy you. If you can’t be honest about these things I don’t see how a relationship can stay strong and positive.

My wife is a huge procrastinator and it becomes an issue between us at times. I tell her when her actions are starting to affect me and we work it out. If I wasn’t honest about it, I doubt we would still be happy after 10 years together, which we are.

BarnacleBill's avatar

It’s one thing to talk with your SO about flaws, but it’s entirely something else to bring them up with friends, family, and acquaintances who might encounter them some day.

ucme's avatar

Oh yeah, it’s essential to laugh at each others little faults. As well as at yourself, a touch of self deprecation is highly reccommended.

Cruiser's avatar

Why would you be with anyone you would have issue with something about them that you would feel the need to complain or criticize makes no sense to me at all. Everybody has flaws and some of them are kind of cute!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. We’re both from sales backgrounds and know it’s an advantage to know your flaws in order to make them less or to use other traits to compensate. We each see in each other strengths, weaknesses and where we each can help each other. For us, it comes more natural I think to work as a team to get what we want.

Being older then we aren’t afraid to point out and admit our flaws in order to not let them trip us up too often or to any great cost. When one or the other gets defensive then we just call it and keep trying to get to an understanding place or solution. We joke we are retarded together.

Kokoro's avatar

It depends on the “flaw.” Let’s say, my partner isn’t particularly good at sex – I will not tell him flat out that he’s horrible but I will give him hints or suggests new things we could try. If he’s not intellectually bright I would not tell him, because I know he has strengths in other things. I just don’t see the point in telling someone something like that, it will only make them feel conscious and/or hurt. It’s not even that I mind it at all, in fact, I like the balance. I am more book smart while he is more street smart. I can poke fun at a beer belly, but I honestly don’t look it as a flaw, just something about him I can tease him about. If I don’t like his clothing style I really don’t mind or even think it’s necessary to tell him, I don’t want to change him.

Plucky's avatar

My partner and I are extremely open. We don’t really use the term “flaw” though. We don’t really look at them as something negative. I think we see them more as quirks than anything. We are both willing and able to discuss anything with one another. The quirks we do have ..we are both aware of them. Also, we poke fun at one another but know when to draw the line. That does not mean that we don’t work on certain ones (the ones that can make things more difficult). We are who we are ..we wouldn’t be together if we couldn’t handle that.

perspicacious's avatar

No. I see no reason to point out flaws that my sweetheart already knows about. When he wants to talk about them we will. I’ll bring up my own as well.

@Vunessuh *** You’re my hero!!!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly, first off since no one is perfect, anything less than that is an imperfection. Just like in diamonds and imperfection is anything that takes away from the perfection so it is a flaw by default. Many don’t want to say flaw because they conjure up thoughts of negativity, a flaw is negative and undesirable. A scar could be a flaw but that doesn’t mean it makes a person worse or bad.

When it comes to my fiancée I told her straight off, if I see anything I think can be ”polished” I will speak. I am not going to deliver the fact in a snide or disrespectful way but I will be above board when I deliver it. I am not a good liar anymore, takes too much effort trying to keep all those false facts straight, so I told her if I just blew smoke up her butt telling her what she wanted to heard one day the truth would slip out and then she would not know what to believe. I am not going to sit around and tell her something she should logically know. If she is too large, which usually is never the case, top pull off a particular fashion, etc. I will tell her I don’t think she can and point out to her why. I will point out to her why those who can pull it off can pull it off and she cannot. I am not going to tell her she can pull it off just as well when she can’t.

I tell her all the time where I believe and where I know I am lacking. I know I am not perfect and nowhere near. I think that is part of being an adult, is you know you are not perfect. As Dirty Harry said, ”Man has to know his limitations”. If delivered from a point of love and helpfulness, having flaws pointed out can give you a chance to improve. That is how you learned anything in class; if the instructor always gave you a b or an A to spare your feelings, you would never know you kept mucking the quiz up.

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