Relationships fail over and over because people are not honest with themselves regarding what they can and can’t tolerate. They convince themselves that either they can tolerate what actually isn’t tolerable to them, or that the other person will change or they can get them to change—illusions.
We each need to be deeply honest with ourselves and love ourselves enough to acknowledge and honor what we can and can’t accept. Very often, when I work with married couples who are in trouble, I ask them how long into the relationship did they know that the issue they were struggling with was, indeed, an issue. They almost always say they knew it was an issue before they got married. When I ask them why they got married knowing that this issue wasn’t tolerable to them, invariably they say, “I thought he or she would change after we got married.” This is unloving to yourself and to your partner.
Do yourself a big favor: Stop thinking someone is going to change or that you can change them. At some future time, they may decide to change, but don’t count on it. Love them or leave them, but let go of expecting change. That’s the only way to have a happy, fulfilling relationship.
Written by Margaret Paul, PhD
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