Love Advice on Playing Fair, Change, and Expectations
In case you haven’t yet found out the hard way, expecting your significant other to do or say things the way you would is a recipe for disaster. You try and you try and you try; but for some odd reason there is no real change.
Truthfully, the reason isn’t that odd at all. The reason is because she or he is not you. Each person in a healthy relationship is a separate but equal individual.
A lifetime of influences have shaped you into the person you are today—outgoing or introverted, ultra-sensitive or thick-skinned, stubborn or submissive, expressive or composed. However, unless you only want a healthy relationship with yourself, you’ll need to accept that your way is not necessarily the right way and it’s definitely not the only way.
Various elements of your personality drive your expectations; and, if you’re not careful, your expectations can drive your mate right out of your arms.
If your boyfriend doesn’t hold you or say “I love you” enough, there are a few ways to look at it. You can assume that he’s not that into you, he’s negligent, he’s not ready for love, he’s emotionally unavailable, etc. With such an outlook, you likely do one or more of the following:
- Breakup the relationship
- Try to change him
- Nag him until he really does fall out of love with you
- Feel miserable and unloved
- Cause constant arguments
- Lead him to feel unaccepted
But why not consider that the reasons for his actions (or inactions) are a lot less personal. Maybe he’s just not the touchy feely or lovey dovey type. Maybe it’s difficult for him to show affection because of his upbringing. Maybe he’s worried that you’ll think he’s too soft.
The list of maybes could go on forever, but your best bet is to openly communicate. Be careful though. There is a huge difference between talking with someone and talking to someone. So, don’t substitute “communication” with verbal assaults or insults to your mate’s “flawed” personality. What seems to you like a flaw in your mate may actually be a reflection of what you need to improve in yourself.
Maybe you’re more emotionally needy and touchy-feely than he’s comfortable with. Maybe you don’t recognize the many ways that he tries to show his love for you. Maybe you’re being too demanding by trying to turn him into you. Maybe you could be more understanding. Again, the list of maybes could go on forever; but the bottom line is to alter (not lower) your expectations and to take responsibility for your role in the relationship’s issues.
If you love someone, don’t give up hope just because you have differences. Treat each other with compassion and patience rather than judgment and intolerance. Look for the opportunity to better yourself before you try to change someone else. Change is hard and sometimes the only thing that really needs to change is your attitude.