So don’t fool yourself into thinking you can.
Ayoung woman told me she didn’t like her partner’s dress sense.
But when we explored her thoughts the problem was not his clothes — it was his behaviour on social occasions.
He could be opinionated and “rough around the edges” and that didn’t fit with the image she presented and wanted others to have of them as a couple.
“Am I being unfair?” she asked. “I know you’re supposed to let people be who they are. I just think he could try a little harder to rein it in.”
It was an interesting niggle, which often crops up when two people start to get serious about their relationship. They desperately want “their people” to like their partner so they become more conscious — even critical — of his or her appearance and behaviour.
But it’s not about being fair. It’s about being honest about what matters to you — for whatever reason. And it’s about seeing your partner clearly, accepting (and loving) who they are and recognising what you can change and what you can’t — and shouldn’t — touch.
Here’s a guide to help.
6 Things You’ll Never Change in a Partner
“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ― Deborah Reber
1. Their history.
We all bring “baggage” into our relationships. Not just through our previous experiences with partners, but all the drama, wounds and scars we’ve picked from the cradle onwards.
While our histories shouldn’t be life-defining, they are hugely influential in who we are now. They affect our psychological health, our emotional capacity, our communication and conflict styles and the ways we’ve learned to love (or not). And then there’s our people. Our families, for better or worse, our old friends and the way those groups operate. So look (hard) before you sign on the dotted line. And be honest about your partner’s relationship with their people. Is it estranged, close, too close, enmeshed? Can you live with that?
2. The stuff (and people) they’re drawn to.
We all have our own quirks and (sometimes weird) interests. We know who we like to hang out with. People will often say they don’t like their partner’s friends — which is fair enough, but you need to be wary of the consequences if you try to separate them, even if your motivation is sound.
I recall a young woman who hated rugby who wanted her sports-mad partner to quit watching it so they could spend more time together. He tried, but the loss of both his passion, and the time that gave him with his mates, caused resentment. The moral of the story? You can’t control what and who someone else is drawn to, at least not without kickback. The best you can hope for is that they’re open to other things as well.
3. Their addictions.
Drugs, alcohol, porn, food, cigarettes…if your partner has an addictive problem, it’s theirs to own and theirs to decide what to do with. You can provide encouragement and support, but if they’re not up for working on it, you’ve already lost the race.
4. Their choices and regrets.
The choices people make and the things they have (or haven’t) done with their lives often stay with them for many years — and can be a source of angst between couples.
You can help to make it up to them (e.g. if your partner regrets never having travelled, you can plan a trip.) But you can’t change their choices or the way they feel about them. You can’t free them of guilt or shame or loss. Those things are for them to explore, accept and overcome.
5. Their capacity for love
Some people have seemingly unlimited capacity for love. Others have very little, which is often the fallout of their difficult or traumatic history. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle — we do our best, but we’re flawed: we don’t always get it right.
I’ve seen decent, well-meaning people have their hearts broken by people who struggle to love — because they’ve kept hoping, kept believing if they love them consistently enough, they will change. People can learn to love if they’re up for it: if they’re open to understanding what has made them this way and getting help for it. But, when they can’t do that (or refuse to try), you need to understand this is the way they are, and either decide to live with it or step away.
6. Their brand of crazy
We’re all a little crazy. We truly are. We all have complexities (even if we try to hide or bury them), unhelpful beliefs; dysfunctional ties that bind; negative, recurring thoughts; things that tap our vulnerabilities and trip us up.
Here’s the cool thing, though. The fact that we are all crazy doesn’t matter at all. It’s our ability to “get” each other, to tolerate and forgive, and to love in spite of it, that makes all the difference.
Source : Medium