During readings with clients, one of the most common things people bring up when asking about their relationship is that they want their partner to change his or her behavior to make the partnership better. There is great danger in this.
When you ask someone to change who they are, to change who they are comfortable being, to change to please you, you are asking them to stop being who they’ve chosen to be and to become what you’ve chosen for them to be.
You are telling them that they are not good enough for you as they are, that there is some deficiency within them that makes them less desirable, and that they cannot be with you unless they become someone else.
You may think you’re being quite reasonable in your request. “But what I’m asking him to do will make him better! Why wouldn’t he want to be better?”
Maybe you’re asking your partner to eat healthier, to be kinder, to drink less, to spend more time with the kids, to help out more with household chores, to spend quality time with you doing something you love but which they abhor.
If you succeed in getting them to agree to change to please you, they have to deconstruct themselves and rebuild themselves in your image. They have to let go of their old way of doing things and become something they never intended to be.
This can lead to incredible amounts of resentment. “I stopped drinking for you, Ashley, and you’re still not happy with me. What more do I have to do to please you?”
What you must realize when you are in a partnership is this: People are the way they are because that’s how they want to be. It may baffle you why they want to eat junk food, or skip the gym, or play video games all day, or avoid your family like the plague, but your bafflement is not reason enough to ask a person to change who they are.
If a person wants to change they will.
If you have to force them to change, there’s a good chance it won’t stick, which may lead to resentment and an eventual break-up.
When you are in a partnership, love your partner for who they are. If you don’t like their habits, their personality, or their soul, then let them go find someone who will.
Do not impose your needs on them like there is some deficiency inside them. When a person shows you who they are, believe them. If you feel a strong need to change someone to fit your needs, consider that you are with the wrong partner and find someone who is a match for you just as they are.
You can’t turn a cat into a fish just by throwing it in the water. Let people be who they are, and if you don’t like them just as they are, then you are with the wrong partner.