This article was prompted by conversations, with various people over the years, who complained about having similar conversations with their significant other with the hopes the partner would make a permanent change. The accompanying video can be found here.
I’ve come across numerous people who griped about something, in particular, regarding their significant other. I’ll use the example of a good friend of mine. He has a high sex drive and his wife doesn’t. He said their sex life was great during the first couple years of their relationship. He became unsatisfied as time went on. He’d mention his desires to her and she’d listen. Sometimes, she’d give excuses. Sometimes, she’d change her behavior. Sometimes, he’d provide positive reinforcement when she did something he enjoyed.
I explained to him that she loved him and did care about him. He questioned why she wouldn’t change and why he had to keep bringing up the same thing to her. I told him if she didn’t care she’d never attempt to change in the first place. At the same time, the change was short-lived because she gradually reverted back to how she really was. I encouraged him to continue bringing it up because his openness did result in a positive outcome and enhanced his happiness within the relationship.
I’ve often heard the complaint, “I’m tired of having the same conversation.” Followed by the statement, “So, eventually, I decided to stop bringing it up and just do my own thing.” This always bothered me because it usually meant the person was doing something behind their significant other’s back because they thought their partner didn’t care. The contrary is true. The significant other does care and that’s why their behavior changed, albeit temporarily.
What the frustrated person failed to realize is there’s a difference between a person being who they are versus them not caring. A person who doesn’t care won’t bother trying to change to please their partner. A person who cares about their partner will implement a change. People revert back to their authentic selves regardless of how much they love another person.
Know a person loves you and recognize the effort they put in to change after you’ve had a conversation with them. You need to decide for yourself whether or not you can be content, and faithful, in a relationship with someone who genuinely isn’t wired to meet certain desires you have, or if they later change due to age, medical issues, or hormonal changes.
You have to figure out for yourself if being with someone you know loves you is worth periodically having the same conversation. Don’t assume they don’t care. Be honest with yourself, what your desires are, and if those desires are relationship deal-breakers or not. Your unmet desire is a deal-breaker if you think about cheating. Don’t resort to keeping secrets or being unfaithful; be responsible and end the relationship.
A person who doesn’t care is unwilling to make changes to meet your desires. If the person is incapable of meeting your desires, the question becomes “why?” If it’s the way their brain is wired, it’s up to you to accept them for the way they are or end the relationship. If they don’t care, I’d say end the relationship as soon as you figure that out.
Each person has relationship needs and desires. It’s important to be with someone who understands those things about us and vice versa. Open communication is necessary as well as being honest with one’s self about what’s needed, what’s negotiable, and what’s non-negotiable.
I’d love to hear if you’ve been on either side of what was discussed above and how you resolved differences of perception with a significant other.
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