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Relationships: What Should You Put Up With?

What should you have to put up with? It’s no secret that other people can get under our skin. Where do you draw the line? This is what we’ll discuss in this post.

Warning: This post is my opinion. You’re free to agree or disagree and accept the consequences of your actions, just like me.


businessman making decisionWhat should you tolerate in relationships – romantic and platonic – with others? Here are some ideas.

Do Not Tolerate

Abuse. If someone is physically, verbally, emotionally, financially or sexually abusive, you should not tolerate it. It is advisable to get to a safe location with support from people you can trust. Draw a firm line and leave these kinds of dangerous relationships.

Betrayal. When someone betrays your trust, you have every right to make an exit. If you choose to stay in the relationship, you can demand resolution to your satisfaction.

Crime. Criminals should be tolerated as society tolerates them, with criminal penalties. They should suffer the legal consequences. It is not your responsibility to protect or enable them. If you choose to be in a relationship with a criminal, then it’s best to do so in conjunction with the criminal justice system.

Chaos. Chaos may consist of financial irresponsibility, erratic behaviors, addiction, extreme passive aggression, blatant lies, broken agreements, manipulation and other forms of disruptive living. Who says you must live in chaos?

Major incompatibility. This is a no-fault category. You may be in a relationship with someone who holds very different values. You may have significantly different interests, life dreams or communication styles. Major incompatibilities do not lend themselves to well-adjusted relationships.

A great assessment of compatibility comes with the online education program Dating, Relating and Mating.

Personal deal-breakers. This vague category is your list of deal-breakers, based on your preferences. Religious differences may be an example. Emotional availability might be another.

spiritualpracticeLearn to Tolerate

Minor incompatibility. No relationship is perfectly compatible. There are going to be minor differences in even the best matches. If you can’t tolerate minor incompatibilities, then you’ll find it hard to be friends with anyone.

What is a minor incompatibility? It’s up to you to draw the line between major and minor incompatibility. Major differences are often deal-breakers, even when we don’t want them to be. Minor ones are workable.

If your friend or partner likes sports and you don’t, is this something to take a stand on? Perhaps not. If you love mornings and your partner likes to sleep in…should you make a big deal of it? No. Etc…

Imperfection. And this is the kicker. Even when relationships are good, imperfections exist. Are you allowing the people in your life to be imperfect humans? Embracing imperfection is a path to inner peace.

I noticed years ago that I tended to expect perfection from others. When I didn’t get it, I was bothered. You can imagine how much I have been bothered in life!

• My wife loses her cool and I’m unforgiving.
• My kids act like kids and I’m incensed.
• My friends are unresponsive and I’m hurt.
• My parents are just people with their own struggles and I’m offended.
• My co-workers don’t get something right the first time and I become self-righteous.
• A driver violates a traffic law and I’m pissed.

Expecting perfection from others is a set up to go through life all twisted up in emotional knots.

Let it go.

Here’s a great perspective on accepting others’ imperfections, written by Dr. Amit Sood at It’s short and worth a read.

If you find yourself unable to go with the flow of imperfection without getting tied in emotional knots, then you might consider learning about self-sabotage. Imperfection is one of those realities we’ll never escape. If you allow it to rule your emotions, then you’re getting in your own way.

Relationships: What Should You Put Up With?

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2015). Relationships: What Should You Put Up With?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Oct 2015
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