Several years ago during a heated conversation that I was having with an ex-girlfriend she told me that “no one will ever tolerate [me] the way that [she] does”. Aside from the several other things that were said in the course of the fight this one statement really stood out. I never thought of myself as somewhat that needed to be tolerated in order to be with me. For several years I believed that I was so intolerable of a person that I was a burden as well. Well, here I am years later and I realize now that what that ex said to me was the biggest “fuck you” I think I’ve ever heard. The memory of that argument was stirred the other day at a work lunch when some of us were asking some personal questions. When two people that I work with stated that the most important attribute of their partner from their last relationship was that they were tolerant I got a little worked up.
Miriam-Webster’s definition of tolerance:
1 : capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina
2 a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own b : the act of allowing something
The discussion continued with me arguing that tolerance in an intimate relationship is not something that should play a big role in that relationship. It should play a small part, like tolerating that your significant other clips his or her toenails while in bed. I argued that I tolerate my co-workers and family because I don’t choose to be around them as much as I am forced to be around them. So if I am choosing to be with someone in a loving relationship then tolerating them is going to be the last thing on my mind. I want to enjoy their company, not endure it.
The conversation just fizzled because I was up against one guy in particular that knows everything and talks over everyone. I continued to talk and called him an asshole twice quite loudly but he didn’t hear me because he’s so self-involved and can’t be wrong. He proved my point in a way because I was tolerating him as well as I possibly could.