What makes change so hard in intimate relationships?

Many of us are in situations where we know change is needed in our relationship - either I need to change, and/or I feel my partner needs to change.

We may have tried all sorts of ways to make changes - perhaps even managed to achieve change for a while, before things fell back to how they used to be. Very discouraging!

Where this has happened, it can be helpful to examine what are our beliefs about change. For example, do I believe that change is easy? Hard? Do I believe that people are capable of changing? What are my beliefs about what makes change happen? Do I think it happens TO people, caused by circumstances outside of their control? OR that it's driven BY people, that they can take control of a change process? What are my previous experiences of change - in my family? In previous relationships? In this relationship? Did others show me that they were able to change, or that they believed in my ability to change? What were my own parents' stated or implicit values and beliefs about change? Did they think it was good or bad? Possible or impossible? Within their control or outside of it? How did they respond to requests from others to make changes - positively? Negatively? 

My answers to these questions will greatly influence how I approach making changes - for myself or my relationship - and how I respond to efforts from my partner to change themselves or the relationship dynamic.

Next time you commit to trying to bring about changes, it may be useful to step back and think about how your attitudes about change might shape how you request change, how you develop and implement change strategies, and how you support your partner's efforts to do the same.

 

 

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