Dealing with Change in a Relationship

Dealing with Change in a Relationship

Humans have a natural tendency to get attracted to each other. This is why we cultivate friendships and fall in love. We find something attractive about other people and that is what draws us to them. Most of us can identify what it is that we appreciate in a good friend, a roommate or a spouse by the time we become adults.

As time passes, we grow and have life experiences that change us. With that change may come a different perspective about what we find attractive. Some of the attributes that we found attractive previously may change, or they may not.

Change is inevitable. Be careful with long-term decisions

It is important to prioritize our preferred attributes and acknowledge whether or not they are change resistant and how likely are they to change. Attributes like character and sense of purpose are less likely to change than attributes like looks and interests. Also, many of us are guilty of overlooking attributes that we do not like about a person for the one or two attributes that we like a lot. However, when the one attribute that we are really attracted to changes, we have a problem. In such case, decisions like buying a house, getting married or moving to another city become more intricate. Understanding that change is inevitable and on some level will happen to us all is important when making decisions. Do not make long-term decisions based solely on how you feel at this moment.

Change is unpredictable

When we agree to be a part of someone’s life, we should be aware of the possibility of a change. The problem is that change does not happen when we expect it to happen, it also does not happen all at once. It is a gradual unpredictable process that often goes undetected until we encounter a problem. So what happens when one day we wake up and our best friend is the most selfish person we have ever met and our spouse isn’t nearly as entertaining as they used to be?

Don’t Panic!

It is okay that things are not exactly the same as they have always been. It can still be a relationship that you appreciate and enjoy. Different does not mean bad. Remember, NOTHING stays the same.

Focus on the positive aspects of the change

Certainly, there were things you did not like before. Perhaps those things have improved? Maybe there are some completely new and awesome aspects of the relationship? Do not stay focused on what is missing, look at what you have as well.

Be willing to acknowledge that the change that has taken place is not any one person’s fault but more of a life change that has taken place for both of you.

Identify what you have, figure out if it is what you want and then be honest about what needs to happen next.

Be patient and understanding with those you love because you would like them to be patient and loving with you. You probably feel mostly like the person you have always been, so do they.

Kimberly VanBuren
Therapist & Life Management Coach, MA, LMFT, LPC-S
Kimberly is an experienced Marriage and Family Therapist who understands the importance of a healthy work-life balance. She and the Balancing Act team provide training and support to organizations, small groups, and individuals by evidence-based techniques to alleviate stress and anxiety and improve sleep health, to name a few. Kimberly served in the United States Air Force for eight years and continues to provide ancillary mental health and work-life balance services to active duty men and women and their families.

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