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“I keep hoping that this is the one. No, he still doesn’t talk that much. But he’ll open up. Sure, he’s not that interested in doing anything. But I’ll shake him up a bit. He’s kind of closed off emotionally, but I know I’ll get to him. He’ll change and he’ll be just perfect!”

So you have connected with someone. You want this to work, but you can’t seem to shake off a feeling of unease and dissatisfaction. Yet you’re certain you can make it work. You’re sure that you can change them. You know you can make them who you want them to be, checking off every item on your list.

Despite our fervent wishes, our partner is unlikely to check every box on our list. In the best relationships, there are often lovely surprises. Our partner brings things that we may not had even thought of. However, there are also items on our list that it helps to release.

If we go into a relationship with the intention of molding our partner to our desires, we are likely setting it up to fail. While in relationships, we do change each other in some ways, like, for example, introducing each other to new things. However, we don’t really change fundamentally. The essence of who we are remains the same.

The most satisfying relationships happen when we accept our partners for who they are, just as we have worked to accept ourselves. We can enjoy them for all their great qualities. Doing this, we can find joy in our current relationship, or we can decide to move on.

“So sorry it’s been so long. He doesn’t like it when I leave him too long. He worries about me, isn’t that sweet? Oh, he’s calling right now. I guess he misses me. He wants to know every step I make all day long. Isn’t that cute that he cares so much? Sorry I have to cut this short, but he wants me home.”

So you have found someone else. You want this to work but you feel uncomfortable about something. Yet you shake it off, believing you can make them happy by giving them all they want. They seem to want more and more, but you keep going along to get along. You make sure that you keep doing the things that they want you to do and avoid the things that they don’t.

We might want to ask ourselves if it’s fair for one person in a relationship to make all the decisions. We might ask if what our partner is asking from us is based on caring or controlling. We might wonder whether we could seek a relationship based more on trust.

We could build a partnership where each party is respected for who they are and what they want. It could be based on compromise and give and take instead of one party doing all the giving, while the other does all the taking.

It may take time to find that kind of a partner, and we may have to let go of a relationship that does provide some positives. Doing so, though, opens the door for a relationship where we don’t have to give up ourselves or try to make someone give themselves up. Win-win relationships will come from each person being and sharing who they truly are.

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