Stop Hoping That They Will Change

Photo by The HK Photo Company on Unsplash

I am not someone who sees the inherent value in sex and romance as most others do.

Sex is the greatest physical ecstasy one could have but that simply means it’s all downhill from there. Not to say that you must now suffer. It’s just the pinnacle of sensation so where else is there to go?

It’s hard for me to feel motivated for pursue something that is a temporary high. I’m the type of person who would pursue it because of societal expectation.

With romantic relationships it’s somewhat similar. There’s an expectation to be in a relationship but over the years I’ve loved a number of women. But I could see that we probably wouldn’t get together because they mirrored something within me that would’ve prevented a relationship from happening.

I could see that something was off about them but because everything else was so great, I would want to wait or even try to change them until they became the person I thought they could be.

While it was true that some of these girls were doing the same to me, once I saw myself doing this, it was clear who the bad guy was. Anyone who looks at someone and tries to change them is not being loving. I was not being loving.

So even though I didn’t feel secure enough in the relationship to want commitment, I would still hang around the woman in hopes that things would change in the way that I’d want. I think only one woman changed and that was after I decided to walk away.

The problem is that no one would’ve felt pressured to change and no one would’ve felt disappointed in the lack of change if there was nothing but acceptance of who each person was.

And what makes it so insidious is that I projected the self-improvement thing that I’m fascinated by onto them. I thought that there was no way a certain woman could continue living with a certain trait. It’d cause her so many problems. I assumed she felt the same and that it’d be only a matter of time before that trait went away.

The one instance of a woman changing a problematic trait wasn’t even because of me. Life happened and she decided to make a change.

Ultimately, it makes absolutely no sense to be hoping that someone changes. If you do this, you aren’t living in reality and so you’re not dealing with the truth. As a result, everything you do is going to be wrong and will lead to disaster.

Because when you live in reality, you don’t argue with it. You don’t wish it could be different. You simply acknowledge what is and make the decisions that you need to make based on the context.

In A.S. Byatt’s Morpho Eugenia, the protagonist William is smitten by Eugenia Alabaster, a young woman who had just lost her fiancé to suicide. William projects his idea of Eugenia onto her, thinking her to be sweet, lovely and innocent.

When they get married, William notices Eugenia’s sexual acumen but does not register that perhaps Eugenia isn’t as innocent as he thought. In fact, something is odd about the household and the servants who work for them.

William had to be tricked into realizing that Eugenia was sleeping with her half-brother, Edgar by walking in on them in the act. Edgar had been very rude to William ever since William and Eugenia became an item; he was jealous. Servants were being sexually abused by Edgar. Nevertheless, William misses all the cues because he’s too wrapped up in his own idea of how he thinks things are.

It should have been odd that none of the children Eugenia bore William looked like him. Also, Eugenia lost her fiancé but was able to move on. You would think she would’ve been more grief-stricken. It’s a red flag. The truth was that her fiancé killed himself because he also found out that Eugenia and Edgar slept together.

To make matters worse, William was adored by his work associate, Matty. They both loved nature and got along very well. But William’s single-mindedness prevented him from seeing the truth of how Matty felt about him.

Fortunately, Matty explains the error of his ways and reveals her feelings for him.

Do you know what’s better than a sticky situation that resolves itself over time? A situation that works from the start. Those should be the target.

Don’t get me wrong. There is no perfect relationship. But when you decide to focus on what’s real, you will stop looking at potential. And when you stop looking at potential and focus on what’s real, you will focus on what works.

The growing pains in a symbiotic relationship is far easier than the growing pains of an incompatible one. One of these relationships can actually begin while the other is still loading. The truth is that it is unlikely to ever happen, and even if it does, you will wish it hadn’t.

I see that now. The projection of what I needed blinded me from reality and therefore blocked me from being as loving as I could to the woman. Romance was not the relationship that was brewing. For some it was friendship, for others there was really no need to interact at all.

So I implore you. Stop trying to change people because it implies that the relationship between you two cannot work as is.

And if that’s the case, you should probably honor that.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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