Wanting to change our partner is a very natural part of any relationship. Having said that, it still does not make it right or achievable. Let’s have a look at this conundrum.
Your values and conditioning
Who you are and what you believe has been shaped by your upbringing, your experiences, your past relationships, your social and economic surroundings, past and present. This is how you come to believe what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. Based on those values you evaluate the world around you, including the people, places and things.
But isn’t it normal?
Clients that I am working with in relationship development often ask me this question. ‘Isn’t it normal that…?’ and you can add any of your firm beliefs, for example ‘you ask questions when talking to someone rather than just talking about yourself’. I am sorry to rain on your parade but there is truly nothing ‘normal’, meaning ‘fitting the norm’. Any norm that you hold true for yourself is just a rule that you have either adopted or created to fit with you and your life. Every other person has got their own, some of which might be the same as yours, some of which actually might be quite the opposite or some do not have a rule around a certain topic.
You need to change
If you think that anyone, including your partner, needs to change, you assume that your rules are right and should be followed by them. A rule for example can be ‘putting the paper into the recycling bin rather than in the general rubbish’. This is a very simple rule and there are many of those that you might not even be aware or conscious of.
Imagine your partner would have the same expectation from you and wanted you to adopt his or her rules. How does that sound to you? I bet you would not want that, if you strongly believe in what you deem important.
Learning to accept differences
It is natural that in any relationship there will sooner or later be differences that are challenging. With some of those differences you will need to live and learn to accept them. Accepting does not necessarily mean that you agree with them, but you have to at least allow the other person to have their own viewpoint.
Some of the differences need compromises and will be topics of discussion. Remember that compromise does not mean that your partner always comes over and meets you on your terrain; it also means that you shift your perspective at times.