Some people begin relationships with the conscious expectation that they’ll be able to change their girlfriend/boyfriend into the person they want them to be. This is nuts.
True personality change is rare. Communication skills, conflict resolution skills and an appreciation and respect of each others differences can be modified and improved. Temperament, attitudes, work ethic and character (or the lack thereof) cannot. Find someone you can accept as they fundamentally are, not as you wish them to be.
Some people begin relationships under false pretenses. Their girlfriend or boyfriend is pretending to be someone they’re not in order to secure the relationship (i.e., love bombing). This is nuts. You can’t hide who you really are forever. Eventually, even the most practiced masks crack.
If you’ve been deceived, it’s up to you accept that you were, in fact, deceived and make a choice:
- (a) Accept him/her as they are and stay in the relationship.
- (b) Stubbornly dig in your heels, nurse your resentment and demand s/he become the person they pretended to be.
- (c) Become a people-pleasing doormat in the hopes that s/he will become the person they pretended to be.
- (d) Cut your losses, understand how and why you were vulnerable to the deception and find a relationship partner who is as they appear to be.
Options (b) and (c) are nuts. Option (a) is also nuts if who they are involves emotional, physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse.
If you can’t accept your partner as they fundamentally are (regardless of who you thought they were at the beginning of the relationship) and they can’t or won’t change, is living a life choking on bitterness, anger and resentment better than making a clean break and starting over.
You can be angry the Shitzu that wore a Great Dane costume is, in reality, a Shitzu, or you can go find yourself a Great Dane. (*I’m a dog person who prefers Great Danes to Shitzus!)
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to email@example.com.
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