Waiting For Your Partner To Change
By Frank Kermit
Can people change? Yes, people can change.
If you are in a relationship with someone, and wondering if the person you are with can change, the answer is yes, most anyone can change, if the person can make the commitment to change, the capacity to see it through, and the relative motivation to stick to it through the change process (which can be very challenging at times).
The question is not if the person you are with (or interested in being with) can change. The question you need to be asking is whether or not you wait for that person to change.
The focus is always best directed on the things you can control such as your decision to stay or go, and not on the things you cannot control such as whether or not your partner actually makes a change.
In my practice, I often find myself helping individuals shift their focus from trying to get a partner to change, to focusing instead on why the individual would seek out a partner that needs to perform some kind of change in order to make the relationship work.
It can be an eye opening experience, and a hard shot to the ego, for individuals to realize they may be self sabotaging their chances at being in an emotionally healthy happily satisfying relationship with someone new, by always choosing to date people that must change in order for any relationship to function.
When seeking a long-term partner, a key ingredient to relationship success is to find someone that you can take as is. If the person you are attracted too must change something in order to continue to be in a long-term relationship with you, it is best not to attempt to get serious with that person to begin with.
You do not get serious with someone because of who that person may become in a few years time. You get serious with someone because of who he or she is RIGHT NOW. And if the person he or she is RIGHT NOW is not good enough for you, do not commit.
Time is a resource that is irreplaceable and unreplenishable. When you hang around someone that is not ready or willing to change in order for your relationship to get serious or move to the next level, you are wasting your time.
The time you lose lingering is time you will never get back. More importantly, it is time that you could have used to find someone that is ALREADY the person that you can have a serious relationship with RIGHT NOW.
If you are dating someone that needs to change in order for the two of you to be more serious together, and your partner is dragging his or her heels about it, do not put your life on hold waiting for your partner to change.
It is OK to have hope that your partner will change, but do not cut yourself off from meeting and dating new people, while you hope that the person you currently favor will change to meet your needs. Use the time your partner needs to change to explore all of your other relationship options.
There are certain situations where waiting for a certain change in your partner to take your relationship to the next level makes sense. For example, waiting for both you and your partner to finish an education and get a career started before starting a family, is the kind of waiting for a partner to change that makes some sense, because there is already a willingness and existing commitment in place.
However, there are certain decisions are too important to wait on such as moving in together, getting engaged, getting married, having children, and other values individuals may consider very important such as moving to a new city, changing religion, getting sober, or legally ending a pervious relationship status.
When everything else has been discussed, and you have acted reasonable with realistic expectations, and it is just a matter of taking that next step, and your partner is either not able, nor willing, then you may need to take some time for yourself to evaluate if your partner is worth the wait.
FRANK KERMIT MA
EXPERT RELATIONSHIP COACH
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