SINGAPORE: An NUS alumnus shared on social media that he has been reconsidering his relationship with his partner after noticing some “really strange habits and thoughts.”

“Along the years, I experience reoccurring things that have bothered me: 

  1. Often say to me: My mother do this for me, why can’t you? 
  2. Usually do not bathe before going to work. Reason being everytime, bathing would take at least 1 hour. May choose to only wash hair and nothing else for several days, with no soap applied to the body. 
  3. Fear to get disease just from sharing food or saliva from friends/strangers.
  4. Extremely dependent and sometimes I am required to spoonfeed information that can be easily found on Google without trying first.
  5. Family has history of mental illness, but has not share what exactly to me yet.
  6. Have fear of red droplets or red stains as they may be blood and think that it can spread incurable disease by going near it,” the alumnus wrote on the NUSWhispers Facebook page.

The alumnus shared that he met his partner at NUS, and they’ve been dating for a few years. They also applied for and obtained a BTO and look forward to moving in three years. As time went on, however, he began to discover certain habits and thoughts about his partner and wondered if he should be more accepting and less judgmental.

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Netizens: ‘No one is perfect’

In the comments section, some suggested that he should learn to accept his partner’s imperfections. 

One netizen stated, “No one is perfect. It takes years of association to truly know someone even when he’s apparently perfect when dating. If you cannot accept the risks of marriage then either stay a spinster or a bachelor. As a side note, you’ll be surprised he/she might have reservations about you too.”

Another netizen also suggested communicating with his or her partner and telling them about their concerns, adding, “If she doesn’t want [to change], then see if you can accept it. What makes you want to be with her? Are the good points good enough and whether you can accept those not so good points. Think about it carefully because you all will be together for many years down the road once married.”

One netizen also advised: “Being able to list such issues as your concerns … means you cannot get around it. When you can’t change yourself…Don’t think that u can ever change the other party.”

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How to navigate differences in relationship

One of the main causes of arguments in most marriages—and occasionally the root of serious problems down the road—is differences. While we’re bound to notice a lot of peculiar and unlikable characteristics about our partners while dating, this gets particularly severe once we live with them. 

We may even come to the point when we think that our partners are deplorable when they “do this thing” or “say that thing,” but is that grounds to break off the relationship? 

Will you stay with your partner and work through it, or will you choose to leave everything you’ve built together behind? If you’re choosing the former, then here are some tips to help you:

Communicate with your partner. As with everything, this problem can be solved if you and your partner are willing to talk it out. During the conversation, be a good listener. Don’t interrupt or argue with your partner when he or she is explaining. 

Understand each other’s perspective. Seeking to understand your partner is the goal of communication; therefore, failing to do this will make the exercise of starting a conversation pointless. 

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Even if, after listening to their story, you still don’t agree with how they act or think, it’s still important to try and understand the “why part” with an open mind.

Establish a common ground. Finding common ground for your differences is a great way to resolve the issue. If you only focus on what you disagree on, the distance between you will increase, and it will be much more difficult for you to come to a resolution or understand each other.

It’s okay to ‘agree to disagree’. People will never always agree on everything, even if we are romantically involved. In cases like this, keep in mind that it’s okay to ‘agree to disagree’. 

Reflect on your and your partner’s mistakes. After the conversation, have a little time to yourself and reflect on both of your mistakes. Getting to the root of the issue and thinking about it is essential because if you just brush it aside and don’t think about it, there is a chance that you may be repeating your arguments with your partner over the same issues that you just talked about.