This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

Dear Neil: Over the past two years, my lady has increasingly gotten on my nerves, and it has made me question whether I want to continue in the relationship with her. In a nutshell, she keeps her apartment cluttered and in great disarray, she talks way too loud (people stare at us in a restaurant) and she has a hard time warming up after we have had a fight.

But she is also a sweetheart: warm, affectionate and caring, and she has been very good to me. I have every reason to believe she is wild about me. But these annoyances have increasingly gotten under my skin, and I can’t let them go. Every time I think about them, they make me upset. She and I have never talked about these issues, because I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

So what do I do? It’s hard to be around her flaws, but she is also a great person, and I am reluctant to end a relationship with a lady who is so promising. Can you advise me?

Torn in Vancouver

Dear Torn: You don’t want to talk about any of the things you’re irritated about because you don’t want to hurt her feelings, but you’re thinking of leaving the relationship over those issues? Do you think that leaving her will hurt her feelings less than telling her that something is irritating you?

You have a choice. You can either pay attention to (and even magnify) your lady’s negative traits and behaviors, or you can appreciate (and even celebrate) her positive qualities and the “gifts” she offers you.

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Tagged: appreciating the positive and the hopeful  

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