Why Acceptance and Accommodation is important

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Bad behaviour vs annoying behaviour

How willing are you accept your partner’s foibles? It seems obvious to say: we all have personality traits and idiosyncrasies. Some of these are unacceptable, unfair or make a happy relationship impossible. Examples of these include:

  • Aggression
  • Addiction
  • Boorishness
  • Dishonesty
  • Dismissiveness
  • Quick temper
  • Rudeness

Other types of behaviour can be annoying at times, but these are not necessarily deal breakers for most of us. The following types of behaviour could be seen as annoying:


  • Bad table manners
  • Bossiness
  • Lateness
  • Nagging
  • Neediness
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Talkativeness
  • Whingeing

These could be behaviours we learnt as a child or as a young adult. If you bossed your brothers and sisters, you may be tempted to boss your partner; if your partner’s mother gave in every time she cried, she may expect you to do the same. Quite often, we may not even realise that we do this.

Why acceptance is important

Certain behaviours are just a part of who we are. This is why acceptance and accommodation are important. In any relationship you need to accept that you both bring personality traits to the equation. You need to accept your partner’s foibles, however, it is equally important to accept your own. Acceptance comes from the understanding of the ‘I’ that we each bring to the ‘Us’.

What do we mean by acceptance?

True acceptance goes recognises and understands that you come from different family backgrounds, and that these have helped shape the people you are. Accepting your partner includes accepting his or her family. You don’t have to love them, or even like them, but you have to accept that they are part and parcel of who your partner is and, at very least, tolerate them for your partner’s sake. Family gatherings are often a true test of acceptance.

Accommodation is the everyday expression of acceptance – the things you do to let your partner know that his or her social, family or romantic needs are important to you. Accommodation could mean making allowances for an overbearing sibling; time apart to spend with friends; or sticking at your partner’s side at a party if he or she is uncomfortable in large gatherings.