People often get into relationships thinking that they can change their partners. They want to enhance the good qualities and eradicate bad ones. The fact that this is rarely accomplished leads many couples to divorce court. Deborah Lange, a personal coach, speaker, and author, says the answer to relationship problems lies in one of three responses to the question: Are you willing to accept your partner exactly the way he or she is and never demand, desire, or design to have any changes in that person? Everybody has a choice—YES, NO, or MAYBE.
Lange believes that people who are willing to accept everything about their loved one, quirks and all, without hoping that someday they change, are on track for a YES. Being able to view the person you fell in love with as flawed, and being willing to commit to sharing the journey of life despite all its bumps, will signify acceptance and happiness. However, some people will not be able to do this unconditionally. If there are any contingencies to your YES, it might be a MAYBE. “I hate to give you the news, but MAYBE is a pretty uncomfortable place to be,” Lange says. Loving and hating things about your partner can put you in a difficult position, one in which you feel committed to stay, but only on your terms. People who fall into this category may benefit significantly from the guidance of a relationship expert or couples therapist. This type of professional can help both partners sort out reality from fantasy and clarify expectations.
The last choice in answering the question, of course, is NO. If you find that you cannot tolerate specific behaviors, especially if they are destructive, harmful, and abusive, then NO might be the answer you choose. Taking this route often requires looking well within to determine what attracted you to this type of person to begin with. Deciding not to be the target of negative attitudes and allowing yourself to be respected may be the first step toward insightful self-exploration. You must love yourself before you can allow others to love you. So even though NO may mean the end to your relationship with your partner, it may mean YES to a new relationship with yourself.
Lange, Deborah. The best relationship advice ever. (n.d.): n. pag. The Huffington Post. 13 Sept. 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-lange/relationship-advice_b_1881335.html
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