How to Change for the Sake of Your Relationship: Why it’s Not as Taboo as You Think

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We’ve been taught that changing for the sake of another person is in direct conflict to the preservation of our own identities. Changing to make someone else happy won’t make you happy, just as you can never truly change someone else to make yourself happy. But to sustain a mature, productive, long-term relationship with someone, both parties need to grow. Pride and stubbornness often get in the way of a relationship that still needs to develop in order to last, and if you’re unwilling to make a few changes in order to keep your loved ones close, you may end up losing them altogether.

The following are some tips on analyzing your personal development for the sake of your relationship, and reasons why making small changes for someone else isn’t as bad as you think.

  • Put yourself second. This change is all about your line of thinking. Try to alter your perspective a little bit by putting your relationship first and yourself second. Consider what the best course of action is to sustain the relationship instead of figuring out how to make yourself “win” every argument or confrontation.
  • Compromise. Making compromises is one of the cornerstones of any successful relationship. And making minor, occasional allowances for the benefit of a long lasting relationship is more important than being right all of the time or getting what you want all of the time.
  • Reevaluate your goals. When you began your relationship, your goals were probably goals that primarily involved yourself: the job you wanted, the place you wanted to live, and the trips you wanted to take.  While there is nothing wrong with setting personal goals for yourself even as you enter into a more serious relationship, over time, the goals may start to shift, or at least broaden in order to include another person. Reevaluate your goals and the things that are most important to you to avoid holding on to ideas that are no longer as important.
  • Grow together, not apart. Your relationship involves two people, and it takes two people to make the relationship work. Just as you have pledged to make some changes, talk with your partner about the changes he or she can make, too. The important thing is to grow together instead of forcing one person to make all the changes.

Have you changed or the sake of a relationship? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Photo by Sean McGrath