If I run into you in the checkout line at the liquor store, who am I to judge you for buying liquor? When you are in a committed romantic relationship with someone, both of you are, by definition, shopping at the same liquor store.
Good One vs. Bad One
When couples see me for couples counseling, they often present one member of the couple as the “good one” and one member as the “bad one.” Maybe the so-called good one is responsible with money, faithful, flosses every day, goes to bed early, etc. Maybe the so-called bad one spends too much, cheats, drinks heavily, stays out all night, etc. Many times couples think the point of couples counseling is “fixing” the bad one. But this isn’t how relationships work.
Relationship dissatisfaction stems from seeming imbalance. The idea that one of you is essentially better at relationships doesn’t really hold up. If I’m truly great at relationships, then I will be wise enough to choose a partner who is equally great at relationships. If I choose a partner who is bad at relationships, then this says a lot about my own relationship issues. Like it or not, your partner holds a mirror to your own level of relationship development.
Couples counseling is about finding balance within your relationship. It’s about learning to recognize hidden patterns. For example, maybe the good member learns to recognize she unconsciously relies on her partner to repeatedly make mistakes, as this allows her to feel self-righteous or superior. Maybe the bad partner learns to recognize he puts his partner on a pedestal as a way of not taking responsibility for his own life decisions. Put simply: The good partner at some level needs the bad partner to be bad, just as the bad partner needs the good partner to be good.
When one member of a couple is genuinely more evolved relationship-wise than her partner, she will eventually leave that relationship. Ultimately, like attracts like. Rather than focusing so much on your partner, learn to recognize and resolve your own self-defeating relationship habits. Whether you’re the good one or the bad one in your relationship, fix you first and the rest will follow.