One of the many things that I enjoy about giving readings is the interesting variety of questions from callers. One question in general crops up regularly – the desire that a woman (or man) may have for their significant other to change (and when this may occur). This may cover the habits that the other one has, their typical emotional reactions, or simply the desire for unconditional acceptance of one’s own qualities.
Most of us have an idea of who our “perfect match” is in our minds. Right away we can say we would like someone who is attractive, good-natured, has a good sense of humor, trustworthy and is financially secure. We can also say with certainty what we definitely do not want. We don’t want someone who is still hung up on their ex. We don’t want someone who lies to us, cheats on us, or someone who wants us to be solely responsible for them financially. But what I have noticed, in particular, which is rarely mentioned, is the wish for the other person to be accepting of our traits and characteristics. This does not come to light until, the caller may say, the other begins stipulating what they should do in order to be the “perfect” partner or mate.
Understandably, none of us want to be considered not quite developed, not quite grown, not quite finished or just not quite acceptable. But all too often our significant other leads us to believe that we would be “perfect” if it were not for the one (or two or three) annoying habits or traits that we have (that we would be better off changing).
Well, I’m here to tell you – unless things that are really, really minor are involved, what you see in another person is most often what you get. (I could never even get my ex-husband to quit throwing his dirty clothes on the floor. I won’t say that nobody ever changes. I will say that, first of all, what should attract you is what the other person is, not what they may or could be. Because selecting someone to be a companion or mate should involve, ideally, who or what that person already is. Hardly anyone presents themselves to others as a blank canvas, ready and willing to be made over to another’s specifications. And if they do so – well, that’s just not normal.
Sometimes the other person has many positive characteristics, almost all of the traits that we would want in another. They run the whole gamut, it seems, from remembering our birthday to being kind to animals to being attractive to being a hard worker. But then, something jumps up and snags our attention about them when they reveal some behavior that really crushes our expectations.
A friend of mine married a man who seemed to be absolutely what she wanted in a husband. He was a regular, all around good type of guy, she really thought. One day, though, she came to realize that he had one very ugly characteristic – he really just didn’t care about helping others. It didn’t matter if it was wallpapering his elderly mother’s kitchen, giving an affordable donation to the Katrina victims, or cutting her disabled mother’s grass, he just absolutely refused to put himself out for other people. He said that he wasn’t going to be a “sucker,” that people could help themselves and that he thought that most people just wanted to take advantage of others.
My friend couldn’t believe that the man she loved was like this. It ate at her. She discussed this with him, but he said that this was the way he felt and that he wasn’t changing. He definitely didn’t see any reason to. She pointed out her belief that what one put out into the Universe is what one received in return. He pointed out that he was this way before they married and things had not changed. He was right.
You could say that any dissatisfaction was her problem, not his, as he was perfectly consistent with his behavior, both before and during the marriage. It was her failure to see this before. But the bottom line was that – he was happy with the way he was, and not only saw no reason for change, but did not intend to change. She expected him to mature in his behavior, and he would not. Three years after they married, they divorced. Her ex-husband said he was sure he would have no probably in finding a wife who liked him as he was.
Good luck to him was what I thought. Not that I had extreme negative feelings toward the man, but how many of us really do find someone who accepts us for who and what we are, “warts and all?” Sometimes I think that the very best we can hope for is someone who has most of the positive qualities that we wish for.
As to the negative qualities, it could be that they will have very minor ones that we can live with, that don’t totally overshadow the good.
No-one, I have come to think, should enter into a relationship seeking change in the other person or, conversely, enter into a relationship with another person who wants them to change. The key to happiness is acceptance – knowing what is there, and knowing what one can live with. Any change in that person may occur, of course, but that will be the result of their own desire – not ours. And that is what we should realize from the beginning.