October is a time of change. The seasons are changing. Summer vacations are over. Children are going back to school. Most changes we take in stride. But what happens when we see a change in someone with whom we are in a deep relationship? Dealing with changes in a relationship can be a challenge. Does your partner’s mood fluctuate? Do they seem preoccupied with their own thoughts? Are they doing little things that just don’t “seem like them”?
The first thing to remember is to not make it about you. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you are the reason for your partner’s change. People change for many reasons, most of which don’t involve you at all:
· People change when faced with an uncomfortable situation that will continue to be uncomfortable unless they make a change
· People change when they feel that there is “no choice” but to change in order to survive in a new situation
· People change when they are motivated by the possibility of a change creating a really positive outcome in their lives
These energies can manifest change in many different ways in a person’s behavior:
· Your partner discovers that a good friend of theirs at work has cancer. This triggers a lot of feelings in them about their own health. They begin to exercise and eat differently in response to their fear.
· A manager at work met with your partner’s team and said that lay offs were imminent for those who didn’t show initiative. Your partner has started going into the office on weekends and holidays.
· Your partner wins a writing contest, something they have dreamed of for some time. Now they get up very early in the morning to write for an hour before they go to work.
How do you approach these changes in someone you love?
As with most situations, the key is communication.
First, realize that they may think that they are”hiding” their changes so you cannot see them. So begin by mentioning that you do notice the change and are curious as to what caused it.
It’s important to remember that your partner’s change is their way of adapting to a new situation in their lives. And the particular change is probably the best that they can come up with.
Discuss how the change could be beneficial to the relationship overall. Could you begin fixing healthy meals together several evenings a week? Perhaps you could find time to exercise together. Or perhaps you could get up a little earlier to get the kids ready for school while your partner is writing.
Be supportive of healthy changes. Some changes may not be particularly healthy for your partner (or your relationship), such as drinking in excess or staying up into the early hours of the night to write. Talk with them about other options that will get them where they wish to be in a more positive fashion.
Be understanding that your partner truly feels the need to change and help them find what works best for them and the relationship.
You both have already made many changes in order to be with each other! When you approach these times of change as a team, you can create an environment where each of you feels comfortable trying out new behaviors knowing that you have the love and support of your partner!
Dealing with changes in a relationship need not be a challenge. It can be a fun time to explore new ways of enhancing your relationship making it even more amazing! Author: Mark Blair
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