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The Good & Bad of Changing Because of a Relationship

The Good & Bad of Changing Because of a Relationship

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S & NMost relationships change people. I'm trying to figure out how a person changes for the better or changes in a negative way.

The best relationships I've seen balance people out. For example, my ridiculous clueless ways might make a woman laugh while her organized-understanding-finance ways would command respect and give me structure. And hopefully a girl who dated me woudln't take on any of my traits like getting lost going to the same place ten times, putting her foot in her mouth constantly, or becoming anxious about everything.

A few ingredients can create a volatile mix:

- At least one person in the relationship is already damaged before the relationship starts

- At least one person in the relationship is too dependent on the other

- At least one person in the relationship is not "complete" as a person, and they use the relationship to complete them

When people are in transitional periods, they are more open and vulnerable. If they meet the right person at the right time, things can be great, and they can grow. But if they meet the wrong person at this time, things can go very badly. Here are a couple of examples:

My Friend, The Suddenly "A" Student

My friend was a lot like me in college: skipped class, loved meeting ladies, low attention span (unless it was sports or a video game), and had a general heir of laziness. In fact, he once went to take a test and, after completing the test, he went to hand it in but the teacher asked who he was. He said: "I'm in your class." She said: "No you're not." He had gone to class so few times that he couldn't even identify content on a test that he was not supposed to be taking.

Toward the end of our college careers, he met this geeky (but cute) chemistry major. She whipped him into shape. He turned into an "A" student! He is now a responsible person. Of course, he seems to do better when I'm not around him, and he did mature naturally, but that girlfriend had something to do with his rebirth. He has since gotten married to a different girl but, to me, it is clear what role his college girlfriend played.

A Bad Influence

A friend, Cary, used to oppose drinking and drugs. In fact, she had never tried a drug in her life, even on Clinton level ("I did not inhale"). She started dating this guy who was a drug user, and she moved closer to his home town. Even though she was well beyond her "experimental years," she started experimenting with drugs. This straight-laced girl would never have touched drugs if she hadn't met this guy.

Eventually, she got into hard drugs and spun out of control. By the time she got out of the relationship and returned to her hometown, she was damaged. She had a nervous breakdown due to the concoction of drugs and stress. The relationship turned her life off course.

So how does it turn out that in one relationship the good influences the bad, and in the other the bad influences the good. It has to do with personal security, and self-respect. The two people in the first example respected themselves. On top of this, my friend had "sewed some wild oats" and straightening out his life was an intriguing option. He admired his girlfriend's intelligence, and felt he deserved to improve his life in her light.

In the second example, you have someone who doesn't respect himself (someone who is torturing his mind and body with drugs), with someone making concessions to partake in bad behavior. In this type of situation, a woman convinces herself that a guy is good for her, is not cheating on her when he is, etc.

Even if she had gotten him off drugs, people should not depend on relationships to cure serious problems. Too many people get into relationships to "save" or "change" a person. Major problems should be taken care of by the individual with those problems before getting into a relationship, or that person may damage another person's life.

What was different about the two situations that caused the different outcomes? Why didn't the girl in the second example act as an influence to curb the guy's drug use instead of the other way around? Why do some of us change for the better and some of us change for the worse? Do you have any stories about people being changing in a positive or negative way due to a relationship?

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/richravens

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