Change Your Partner? Not Likely, So Look Within Yourself

Couple kissing

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.

Reference:
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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  • Arthur

    Arthur

    October 1st, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Sometimes its easy to say the other needs to change when things are not right.But the problem,the flaw could be within us! Not many people can come around the idea that they may be wrong and this is most often responsible for people to expect change in the other,therefore leading to conflict.It is the ego and sense of perfection that we carry about ourselves that can lead to a lot of conflict and disagreements!

  • faustina

    faustina

    October 1st, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    often those who are trying hard to change their partner are the ones that need to change.its easy to point fingers but tough to look into oneself and see if change is required!

  • Jess Mc

    Jess Mc

    October 1st, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    I find it highly unlikely that a relationship that you enter into thinking that this is someone who needs to change will ever evolve into one that is successful!

    If you are wanting from the very beginning to change things, then that is a very bad sign. Let that one go and try to snag another ’cause this isn’t going to last anyway.

  • Curtis oliver

    Curtis oliver

    October 2nd, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Why do we always make the asumption that it is our partner who has something wrong with him or her, but we often fail to look at our own personal downfalls and failings?

    Perhaps this is just human nature, this desire to always blame others for everything that is wrong and to assume that we are the one without fault.

    But the older I have gotten the more I have realized that this is rarely that case. There are always things I can do and ways that I can imporve myself. I don’t think that I should always have to change for someone else, but I have learned that they do not always need to change for me either.

  • Garrison

    Garrison

    October 2nd, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    It’s one thing if the behavior is hurtful
    but another if it is just annoying
    then that’s something that you just have to take it or leave it
    might not be any changing that

  • woodrow c

    woodrow c

    October 3rd, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    The part of all of this that I have never got is that you hear all kinds of stories about he needs to change this or she needs to do that, and this is right at the start of the dating. So I am thinking that if you already feel that there is something that needs to be changed, and you aren’t even this far in to the relationship, then I say that there is something that’s wrong with you.

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