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Should You Try To Change Your Partner?

At the beginning of a relationship, people feel their partner is perfect. It’s no wonder, since we all behave better and hide our flaws to win over the person we’re interested in. Moreover, new partners often tend to idealize their beloved. 
Love idealization happens because positive illusions play a vital role for romantic love and help us justify our arbitrary choice.  A similar phenomenon can be described in people who buy a product and start looking for advertisements and positive reviews to reassure them they’ve made the right decision.
Lover’s blindness doesn’t last forever and at some point, after getting used to your partner, you start noticing their flaws.
Obviously, you want to change them for the better, but trying to change your partner may not be such a good idea for a number of reasons.

People Don’t Magically Change Just Because They Got Married

Phrases like “He’ll start going to the gym after we get married” or “She’ll change her mind about having children after marriage” are common and terribly mistaken at the same time. People don’t become someone different through marriage, no matter how special this moment seems, and you can’t push your spouse to make a change if they don’t want to.

Understanding Is Often Underestimated

Forget about changing your partner or anyone else you feel needs to; consider understanding them better instead.
When you create a climate of empathy and understanding, people become more open to your needs and are more likely to change at their own will to make the relationship work better.

Do They Really Need To Change?

If you feel the need to change your partner after having an argument for a stupid reason, you are wasting your energy on insignificant issues. Surely, your partner may have some annoying habits, but should you get angry every time they forget the grocery list at home or make a mess in the bathroom?  Discuss irritating habits with your partner in a calm and respectful manner and accept the idea that some of them won’t disappear.

You Can’t Change Someone’s Personality

The best example is the relationship between an extrovert and an introvert. Extroverts feel better in other people’s company, while introverts need to be alone in order to relax and recharge their batteries. If you start a relationship with someone having an opposite temperament, make sure you can cope with it later and accept their need for social interaction or solitude. 

Pick The Right Partner In The First Place

Why do people who have had an unhappy childhood usually end up in unhappy relationships? Because they haven’t healed first and unconsciously look for a similar person they want to fix in order to make things right and get their own back. So, if you had a bad relationship with a parent, resolve your issue first with help from a therapist if necessary.

After letting go of negative feelings and healing your trauma, you’ll be ready for a fresh new start with a person you won’t need to change. There are also people you should avoid from the start, because some bad temper issues never change. For instance, explosive anger – if someone’s anger often seems out of proportion to the situation, chances are they’ll behave the same for the rest of their lives.
In conclusion, you can’t change your partner and the best solution is to choose carefully the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The good news is you can determine them to improve if you don’t need to tackle major flaws and if you work on your relationship through understanding and open discussions.

About The Author

By the Couples Clinic, a company of Winnipeg therapists (www.winnipegcouplesclinic.ca).

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