Bruno Mars told us “You’re amazing, just the way you are.” But do you believe it about your partner? Are you guilty of trying to change your partner to how you’d like them to be?
Of course, it’s natural and healthy to want your partner to grow as a person, to expand their potential, and to be all they can be. Growing and changing together, and working toward mutual (and private) goals is all part of a healthy relationship. BUT Insisting on change, forcing change, or manipulating your partner into change is another story. It’s just not healthy to force someone to change, if they don’t want to!
Before you met you were both individuals in every way – life, friends, hobbies, career, family, daily activity choices etc. So it always amazes me how often you see couples become locked into a more serious relationship and then try to change their significant other in so many ways.
This is often not healthy! A person’s potential and their choices, is their own.
Check out these situations below and see if you’re supporting healthy change or forcing your partner into your image of how they should be.
You Try To Dress Them
YES a favourite one for many couples. There’s a big difference between helping someone who needs a little help versus completely reinventing someone.
You Constantly Disapprove Of Their Friends and Family
If you don’t like your partner’s friends and family, you don’t have to be friends with them all. If they disrespect you, or they get your partner into trouble, you have every right to complain.
You Police Their Food Or Body
Another, fine line. When you mention that you wish your partner would eat healthier to be healthier, that’s OK. When you constantly criticise their eating habits, the way their clothes look, or the way their body has changed, that’s a subtle way of trying to change them.
You Make Jokes About Their Hobbies
So long as your partner is paying enough attention to you and their responsibilities, you can’t take their hobbies away from them. Video games, golf, manicures, pets, music, knitting, body building – your partner likes what they like. If you’re always putting those hobbies down, making fun of them, or complaining when they do them, what you’re really doing is trying to change the into a person who doesn’t do those things.
You Make Their Choices
Sometimes in unhealthy relationships, one partner will get the hint that they’re not OK as-is, and they’ll revert to the other partner for their decision making. If you find that you make all the decisions, you should ask yourself if it’s because you don’t like the decisions your partner makes or the way your partner lives their life. In healthy relationships, both partners make decisions, even if that means sometimes one partner doesn’t get their way.
Wishing our partner would be different in some specific way not only encourages us to ignore many of the positive aspects of the relationship, and of our partner, but it also inaccurately simplifies the way a relationship works.
Relationships depend on two people and includes each person’s strengths, weaknesses, fears, boundaries, expectations, experiences, etc.
Pressuring your partner to be different only leads to conflict, resentment, and at times, the demise of a relationship.
Remember, it’s two people who each want to be loved, appreciated, respected, and accepted just as they are. When partners try to change each other, the basic relationship needs, get buried by the couple’s need to each be “right”, and they become opponents rather than teammates.
Happiness depends on how we choose to see the world, ourselves, our partners, and our relationships. Put all that energy you’ve been using trying to convince your significant other to change, and instead, focus on being the best you that you can be.