I have noticed, over the years as a Psychotherapist, some of my clients start out with a partner and then try to change them. The truth is we try to change people, especially our partners. Think about whether you are trying to change someone.
The person being suppressed starts doing their hair differently for you, dressing differently, eating healthier, drinking less or changes their sleep routine. And you’re happy because you perceive their change as flexible and as a compromise. However, I have noticed, that as time goes by, the minimum a person can suppress who they are, without rebelling, is about three years.
What happens when you suppress something?
It’s like holding down a beach ball in a pool. It takes a lot of work and wiggling in trying to keep it down. As soon as you relax and let go, it comes flinging up in your face.
If you suppress somebody they will later rebel. They will later come flipping up in your face.
This is noted in marriages. Partners can tell themselves the change is okay, saying “I’m healthier now,” “I’ve made these choices,” “I like dressing differently,” “I don’t go out as much” or “I don’t spend as much.” Or sometimes you will suppress your partner and they aren’t aware of it. They may not even consciously know that they are being supressed. You may also not be aware. You want the best for them, and you love the new them! (which you had a big influence in)
Two things will likely happen:
• Resentment will build and they will eventually leave you because you’ve suppressed who they are.
• Resentment will build and they will be unhappy. It may not come at first but this sense of unhappiness will likely come. It often also impacts a sex life. Resentment kills a sex drive. Nobody wants to share their body with someone they are angry at.
• Spend some time thinking about whether you have changed your partner.
Ask yourself: when I meet somebody do I try to change them or am I open to accepting and understanding who they are and what they offer.
• Be open and find the gifts that make him or her different rather similar to you.
Ask yourself: If he loves enjoying the night life with you and you rather spend an intimate night in, try to see this as him bringing out a playful and more carefree side of you. Look for the positive, and you will find it.
• Have a conversation about how he has changed since you met.
Talk to him/her: If you’re in a relationship and have suppressed your partner or changed them but feel like they are okay with it. Sometimes they think that they are okay and they are actually not. Get them to think about if they miss going out all the time, or if they miss growing a beard. Even the small things matter. It’s important to get a dialogue going between you are your partner.
• Ask yourself: can you be more flexible? Think about how that would feel to you if someone was always suggesting you be different. What message would that give you?
No one likes to be changed because the underlying message is that they are not good enough as they are. This isn’t a good message to give the person that you love.