The idea of wanting to change our partners sounds deeply disturbing, because collectively, we have been heavily influenced by a particular aspect of the Romantic conception of love. Two people should see a relationship as a constant opportunity to improve and be improved. When lovers teach each other uncomfortable truths, they are not abandoning the spirit of love. They are trying to do something very true to genuine love, which is to make their partners more worthy of admiration.
The School of Life
Yes, I completely agree. And I’m totally guilty of the whole wanting to ‘change my partner’.
I just got off the phone to my sister for an hour long phone call in which she covered positive and negative qualities about her current partner. One of the negatives that made me laugh is that he pays too much attention to his xBox.
That made me think about certain qualities about my ex which I didn’t always like.
First of all, let me say that I’ve realised that I’m probably an idealist when it comes to relationship. I more than likely hold certain ideals in my head of how a relationship should be.
Now back to my ex…
She really enjoyed drinking in what I considered excessive amounts of alcohol. For her, it was her de-stressors — pleasures that took away her stress. She had full awareness that these things may not have been healthy options but I shouldn’t have tried to force them out of her life and instead have had the patience and allow her to change those things in her own time. Instead of focusing on those certain habits or what I might have considered flaws, I should have focused more on her good qualities. Ultimately she was a perfectly great person and little things like smoking and drinking were miniscule in the grand scheme of things.
Might I add though is that the only reason I wanted her to change those habits was because I wanted a healthy version of her and an unhealthy version of her ultimately didn’t align with one of my ideals — which is, I wanted us to be together for as long as possible which meant I needed for both of us to be healthy.
I truly do believe that relationships are an opportunity for two people to want to improve and grow.
I remember being in a relationship with someone ten years my senior and when we were on the verge of breaking up. I tried to hold onto it, I asked her, “but don’t you want to grow and improve together? Don’t you think that’s what relationships are about?”
It makes me laugh that at 23 years of age, I would say that to a 33 year old like… umm she has years of knowledge and experience and can understand things a bit better than I can. But I asked her that at the time because she had changed my life for the better, she had made me a better person on so many levels and I think with the little knowledge and experience I had, I probably couldn’t reciprocate; she probably was ‘t going to improve or grow because I had very little self awareness at the time.
Even to this day, I still think that relationships are about improving, evolving and growing as a person — becoming more wiser and mature, and having more self awareness.