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People Don’t Change – 7 Tips For A Happy Relationship

People Don't Change - 7 Tips For A Happy Relationship
People Don’t Change – 7 Tips For A Happy Relationship

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal that people don’t change and offer 7 tips for a happy relationship.

First a quick update:

How To Overcome Cheating – Cheating is not gender specific – both men and women cheat and often for different reasons. What do you do when you find out your partner has cheated on you? Read my insights here

Women Stop Trying To Change Men – The biggest mistake women make is trying to change men! They waste their time and energy falling in love with the potential of a man and then trying to get him to change. Watch the video!

Now, let’s talk about how people don’t change and uncover 7 tips for a happy relationship.

“You know, if you would just change, we could both get along and we would have such a happy marriage!”

Perhaps you haven’t used those exact words; however, you probably have asked your partner (or demanded) that he/she change something about him/herself.

What was the result?
How did that work out for you and your partner?

Of course, I already know the answer: it didn’t work, it failed miserably or worse, it backfired and made the relationship worse.

People don’t change!

Read that again.

People don’t change!

That possibly sounds contradictory or hypocritical from someone such as myself, who as a behavior expert works to help people change their behavior.

The difference is that my clients come to me requesting to change their behavior – their thoughts, emotions and perspectives on life.

Your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t marry or commit to you in order to change their behavior. They actually fooled themselves into thinking you love them just the way they are. And you probably fooled yourself into thinking that when they commit to you, you will be able to change them!

Here are 7 tips to a happier long-lasting relationship:

1. People don’t change
“People cannot change their basic essence even if they try, and it is futile to demand that they do so. To love and marry someone, you must accept the essence of the other person; you must accept who he or she is. You can push for change at the periphery, but not at the core. Marriage is a package deal; you don’t get a line-item veto over your partner’s personality where you can discard the traits you don’t like.”
– Andrew Christensen, co-author, “Reconcilable Differences”

2. If your partner magically changes, it won’t be because you said so
You fantasize that with enough persistence, nagging or threats, your partner will change and then buy you a big, new house or book a special holiday to thank you for changing them.

Your partner isn’t going to admit that you are right, nor is he/she going to thank you for pointing it out.

People only change when they want to change, and your nagging, threats, accusations, criticism or blame won’t make them change – and if you choose to use coercion, defensiveness, avoidance and denial, you will only make the relationship worse. (Yes, while you must set your boundaries and limits, remember that you won’t change their core essence.)

3. Practice loving your partner’s shortcomings
What does it feel like when someone is constantly trying to change you? And what does it feel like when someone is trying to change everything about you?
Peace and harmony in a relationship come from a place of acceptance and change. Is every little thing that your partner does so serious that he/she must change?

You have to get to the place of perceiving your spouse’s shortcomings as endearing. Beware of interpreting minor bad habits or imperfections as felonies!

In the movie, Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon plays a troubled genius who was abused as a child and therefore doesn’t trust anyone and won’t let anyone get close to him. Slowly, he builds a relationship with Sean, a psychologist played by Robin Williams. In one scene, Matt Damon’s character Will Hunting has met a girl and he is struggling because he doesn’t want to allow himself to get close to her. Will Hunting tells Sean he doesn’t want to see her again only to realize that she is not perfect.

Maybe you’re perfect right now. Maybe you don’t wanna ruin that. I think that’s a super philosophy, Will, that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody….My wife used to fart when she was nervous. She had all sorts of wonderful idiosyncrasies. You know what? She used to fart in her sleep. One night it was so loud it woke the dog up. She woke up and said “oh was that you?” I’d say yeah…I didn’t have the heart to tell her…Oh God…

She woke herself up?

Yes…aahhh, but, Will, she’s been dead two years and that’s the shit I remember.
Wonderful stuff, you know, little things like that. Ah, but, those are the things I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That’s what made
her my wife. Oh and she had the goods on me, too, she knew all my little peccadillos. People call these things imperfections, but they’re not, aw that’s the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let in to our weird little worlds. You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn’t perfect either. But the question is: whether or not you’re perfect for each other.

4. Beware of hating what you loved
We often seek perfection in our partner even more than the other people around us, only to realize that they are not perfect and we then turn on them and rant about how awful they are. Get clear about what you want and stop seeking perfection in your partner.

“When you met Irving, you raved about his ambition…When you broke up, you called him a ‘self-absorbed workaholic.’ When you met Alex, you gushed about his free spirit. . When you broke up, he was ‘directionless and immature.'”
– Cathy’s mother speaking to Cathy in the famous comic strip “Cathy”

5. Avoid the extremes
Suffocation VS Disconnection
“Closeness can be so intense that one or both have little existence apart from their relationship or, at the other extreme, grow so far apart over the years that they live in entirely separate worlds. Couples must find their own level of closeness that fulfills their needs for companionship and intimacy without robbing them of their needs for independence.”
Andrew Christensen, co-author, “Reconcilable Differences”

Decide what closeness means (physical and/or emotional intimacy) and what is acceptable and suitable for the both of you.

6. Learn the three sides to every story
A skillful attorney will tell you that there are 3 sides to every story –his, hers and the truth. That also implies that there is a third perspective to every relationship. Develop the “third side” of the story that incorporates your partner’s perspective, as well as your own. When you make it obvious that you are considering and understanding your partner’s perspective and needs, he/she will be more open to making shifts to enhance the relationship.

7. Neutralize the power struggle
The most common fights in marriages and other relationships relate to money and the raising of children. Avoid this by discussing and sharing responsibilities and decision-making in each area.

“Paradoxically, when we feel accepted, we don’t feel defensive, are better able to understand our spouse’s feelings and concerns, and may change because we want our spouse to feel better.”
Andrew Christensen, co-author, “Reconcilable Differences”

If you need assistance to be more open to love, to improve your relationship or you want to be set free from the past, book a one-on-one session with me.

Read  People Don’t Change – they become more of who they really are and Why Don’t You Change?

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If you need assistance to overcome an issue, strengthen your relationship, build self-esteem or free yourself from a past event, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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