Nobody is perfect.
We all have problems, flaws, and insecurities.
Most of us have baggage from previous relationships.
And some of us are simply impossible to please.
So why is it so difficult for us to recognize that this may also be true for our partners?
By making the decision to be in a relationship with someone, you agree to accept the person for who they are and work together through any issues.
But often someone (usually the woman) sees the “potential” in the other person.
They see the possibilities and look to the future and imagine who their partner might be.
Why is this a bad thing?
Well, it’s not necessarily, as long as you don’t develop huge expectations and project them onto the other person.
But inevitably, this usually ends up happening.
It puts tremendous pressure on the other person and the relationship and can lead to resentment on both sides.
One person may feel that the other is not trying hard enough.
The other may feel that nothing he does will ever be enough.
Personally, I’ve been on both sides of this.
I was once the nagging girlfriend, constantly pushing for change, complaining incessantly about one thing or another, only to be disappointed multiple times and see my relationship fall apart as a result.
I was also on the receiving end.
Feeling inadequate, not good enough, judged…
It recently occurred to me that giving unsolicited advice, suggestions or criticism is not only unconstructive, it can actually be very harmful.
Unfortunately, some do not realize the error of their ways until it is too late and the relationship cannot recover from the damage.
Or they don’t realize anything and spend their lives repeating the same unfortunate mistakes.
When is everything okay? Support is acceptable. Push is not.
Everyone chooses to change in their own time and on their own terms.
Before you judge someone, criticize them or pressure them to change, take a good look at yourself.
Are you everything that person wants and needs?
How would you like to be approached about the change?
And how would you feel if you were getting that?
Sometimes we don’t realize the damage we do when we ask someone to change.
Depending on the problem and how you present it, it might feel like you’re not good enough.
You need to change because you’re making me unhappy.
Men and women simply communicate differently.
Could it really be that simple?
Women are more emotional, they like to talk.
They often exhaust a topic until they feel they have reached an acceptable conclusion.
Men often hear the first few sentences, and when any sort of criticism is detected, they fall apart and separate.
Nothing is really resolved and the seed of resentment is planted.
A seed that can grow to infest a mind like a weed in a garden.
What is the solution?
Well, I’m not a relationship therapist.
All I have is my experiences, and from them, all I can say is that the only way to keep a relationship working and healthy is to accept each other for who they are.
Change is good and necessary, but it’s always a personal choice.
Someone may inspire you to change, but in the end, that choice is yours.
And when two people are in an adult, mature relationship, they will feel what the other wants or needs.
They will ask and do their best to be the best partner they can be.
And these efforts should never go unnoticed.
It’s important to make a list of the things you need in a relationship; e.g. monogamy, respect, affection, quality time, etc.
If your boyfriend isn’t meeting your basic needs, it’s time to move on.
Generally, these things do not change a person’s character.
If you’re unhappy with who your partner is today, stop being unfair to them and yourself, because it’s a waste of time.
But your wants are very different from your needs.
If you want your boyfriend to buy you flowers every month and remember your birthday every year… clean the sink after he shaves or chops up his fried chicken, counts yourself lucky.
Do not worry about the little things.
And while this may irritate you, ask yourself if your relationship is really worth destroying.
Am I saying to be the passive-aggressive type?
I’m saying don’t take this thing too seriously, because if your fundamental needs are being met, you’re a lot luckier than a lot of people out there.
Change takes time, and yes, a little nudge can help set things in the right direction.
But the only way to make change backfire faster than saying “it’s all over” is by criticizing and nagging.
The illusion of potential that you see in the other person is just that – an illusion.