I used to be a "changer." I would date someone, thinking I was going to be the person who would help them see the light. Instead of showing them the way to a great relationship, I just ended up frustrated. It turned out that changing someone was very difficult.
There are several reasons you shouldn't try to change someone. The best choice is to try to deal with an imperfection you see in your mate or try to ride it out until they decide to change themselves. If something serious needs to be changed, and the person doesn't decide to change on their own, then you should take off. Also, don't try to change someone too early in a relationship. If it's even possible to change someone, you need to earn that right.
Here are five reasons not to try to change someone:
People Hate It
Who likes being nagged or hearing constant suggestions for change? Being too vocal about changing someone will most likely cause that person to rebel. Just step back and realize that if someone is behaving or living their lives in a way that annoys you, it's not going to work out — whether you try to change them or not.
Your Differences Should Complement Each Other
Because I don't like planning, and do things by the seat of my pants, I annoy girls who are more "together" in their thinking. A girl who is more organized may try to change me. But if our personalities complement one another, then my seat-of-the-pants nature makes her laugh and keeps her loose. Her organized thinking helps keep me structured. We may think differently, but there's really no need to try to change each other. The differences actually turn into positives.
You Look Like You Don't Love Them
If you're trying to change someone, you are indirectly telling them that you don't love them the way they are. You are in love with the person you are trying to turn them into.
It's a Waste of Time
Suppose you waste a year or two, staying with someone thinking they will change. Finally, this stress on the relationship culminates because you've been trying to change them. So, the relationship ends, and you have wasted a year or two. Somewhere along the way, you just have to tell yourself that, if the person doesn't change something on their own, it's not your responsibility to change them. Sometimes, when you do get out of there, they change on their own and come back because they didn't want to lose you.
There are very few people in my life who I will allow to change me: my close friends and family. They've earned the right to ask me to change or to tell me that I am doing something the wrong way. After I've dated a girl for a long time, she'll have that right too. So, if she wants to change anything, she needs to wait until she's earned the right to suggest change.
Sometimes this change just happens naturally once you're close enough. One of my close friends in college was a pretty wild guy. He liked to party and liked to skip class. He started dating this geeky, sweet, chemistry major. The two of them hit it off really well, and one day I realized he was going to class, working hard, and doing all the right things. I never once heard her tell him to try to be more like her. He just decided, or was inspired by her, to start applying himself.
Have you ever tried to change someone, or had someone try to change you? How did it turn out? Do you agree with my thinking, or do you have a different take on changing significant others?
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