Is Your Relationship Changing?

accepting changes in the relationshipEverything was going great. Karen was happy. Really happy. Her relationship with Doug was three months old. They’d enjoyed a thrilling, fun period of getting to know each other, and that’s when the trouble started.

“What’s the problem?” a friend asked her.

“Life,” she said. “We both have big projects coming up at work. His schedule is going to get crazy, and I’ll be super busy. We’re in this routine, and it’s all about to change.”

Her friend nodded.

Karen sighed. “I just like things the way they are.”

That’s the way it goes. We crave success, especially in relationships, but once we’ve found it we discover the unexpected enemy. Change.

It’s inevitable. Your relationships will evolve over time. You can’t stop that from happening. But when you find yourself in a comfortable place, the idea of change becomes very uncomfortable.

The kind of change doesn’t matter. Any change is likely to be perceived as a threat. It could be the amount of time you spend together. Or the pull of outside influences and responsibilities, like your job, family or friends. Or even the adjustment from infatuation to a deeper sense of companionship.

Regardless of the source, change can feel threatening for one simple reason: because it makes it hard to see the future.

When we feel threatened by something, we tend to resist it. Makes sense, right? But with change, that’s a bad idea. Resisting change typically means either burying your head in the sand in an attempt to ignore it or forcefully pushing against it. Neither works.

As the ancient philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” In other words, change happens. Nothing you can do will make it stop. Ignoring it only means it’ll run over you, taking you by surprise. And fighting it is totally useless.

So what do you do?

I like Mike Gafka’s advice. “To be successful you must accept all changes that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like.” That last part is especially important.

accepting changes in the relationshipWhen you accept that change is inevitable, it alters your perspective. Instead of feeling only fear, your mental position shifts to a place of creativity, optimism and empowerment. Sure, it might still be scary at times. But when you choose to roll with changes instead of resisting them, you actually regain some control.

Take Karen, for example. If she can accept that change is going to happen no matter what, then she’ll be able to see the upside of change. Her relationship is growing. That’s good. She and Doug are learning how to be a long-term couple, which includes balancing their lives and time together. Also good. And navigating the change is something they’re doing together. That’s very good.

The key lies in understanding that relationships are like plants. They’re either growing or dying. If you want your relationship to grow, you have to be prepared for change to enter the picture because any kind of growth requires change.

It’s okay if you find change to be a little scary. We all do. But don’t run from it or fight it. Instead, accept it and find the good in it. When you do that, your relationship will thrive.

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5 thoughts on “Is Your Relationship Changing?

  1. Sara said:

    Oh James, thank you! I so needed that! I’m now in an exactly such a situation- after 20 months of infatuation our relationship is getting deeper and it’s growing, but there is a change I’m noticing and which is scaring me and I wish I could turn back time to our very beginning.
    My boyfriend is a freelancer and he is having very difficult times, he has to fight for his existance and he has to put all his energy and effort into his job. So this means I’m not seeing him as often I would like to and few times he said to me, it’s better we wait one day or two before he comes to me, because he is stressed out and exhausted and he wants to be fully with me when we are together.
    I always start thinking- well, probably he isn’t in love with me anymore, otherwise he would come immediately to me when my kids are at their father’s place like he did during our first months. He’s always explaining to me that it’s his stressful job sitution and he has to do his work first, before he can spend some more relaxed time with me. He’s missing me too, but I have to be patient and he really feels sorry that the things are like they are. He’s showing me his affectiong and bringing me presents to “soothe” my discontent, when I have to wait for him few days.
    But still, many times I start doubting in our relationship, although I know that we have to balance our life and time together, like every couple does after a while.
    I know that he loves me now even more, but I’m missing the amounts of time spend together, our frequently nooners during the launch break, no matter how busy we were.
    Instead of ripping our clothes off already in the floor, we talk a lot when he arrives, he’s asking me for my advices and my opinion, because I’m not only his lover, but also his companion and a best friend. Or he just needs some tender loving care, lying in my arms and relax for a while, to free himself from his tension and his worries and become my passionate and ardent lover again. Many times he isn’t in the mood to go out with me, he prefers to spend cosy evenings on the couch with me and watch movies or cook a dinner together.
    I know him and his life now very good, so I’m aware that things won’t really get better, he will always has to put so much energy in his unsure job and he probably won’t be as available as I would love to in the future. So I wish everything would be as in our beginning, when everything was more easy and spontaneous and I’m fighting against the reality and the change in our relationship dynamics.
    I’v read many times that men always put their career first. My own career is also very important to me, but I’m always putting my love relationship first, love is the ultimate meaning and the goal of my life.
    But probably it would be better if I stop seeing the change as an enemy, right? I noticed that sometimes he feels guilty when he sees my expectations, even if I don’t say a word to him.

    • Lee said:

      I am in the same boat, and yes, it is VERY HARD to be without your man when you want so much to spend more time with him. Truly though, there is nothing we can really do about it, but accept it. The alternative of course, is to end the relationship and find somebody more available. For women in love, that thought is impossible. We want to be his #1 priority and it IS difficult to fit in where he needs us to be. I would like to recommend you get Renee Wade’s booklet ($9) on What to Do When He Pulls Away. Ahh Men, such strange creatures to love. Hugs to you.

      • Jarrett said:

        I’m with you all too! My boyfriend travels and stays gone 2-3 weeks at a time then is back for a month then gone again. I just read Why Men Like Bitches. Read it!!!

  2. loletia armstrong said:

    I love this kind of reading,it also helps me to understand people in genarle better.

    • Glenda said:

      I understand what you all are saying.. I have several things going on in my life with my job. My fiance was not happy so he moved on without telling me. I found out later before I married him.

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