How to change your partner
One of my clients recently asked me to coach her on her relationship with her partner.
She was questioning whether she was wasting her time with him, or in her words, "trying to flog a dead horse."
She told me about how he's a commitment-phobe, never got any money (despite having loads), and has low emotional intelligence.
Not only that, but she was judging herself as having stayed in relationships that weren't good for her throughout most of her life, instead of leaving. She was questioning whether this was another of those times when she should really just walk away.
However, I saw that part of her issue was her way of seeing relationships in the first place.
She was trying to decide whether the relationship she was in was "a bad one" or one worth pursuing, as though there was a right answer to this question and she just didn't know which it was yet.
But I find this way of relating to relationships isn't very helpful for a couple of reasons:
There is no right or wrong answer, there's just what you choose to make it mean
Relationships are not things that actually exist
Relationships are not THINGS that we are either 'in' or 'not in'.
We just have ways of relating to each other.
And this is true for romantic relationships as well as all other relationships, like with our friends, parents, colleagues and so on.
In other words, we have an account in our mind of who someone is, and then we behave accordingly towards them.
And how we behave towards someone influences the way they behave towards us.
For example, my clients' way of relating to her partner included what she described above.
But this isn't who he really is, this is just who SHE thinks he is.
It's her story of who he is.
And that's all anyone ever is to us - our own story of them.
She said to me, 'I like him the way he is, except that he has no emotional intelligence'.
And even if she never actually says those words to him, most likely he can sub-consciously sense that she is relating him to that way, which is what has him withdraw and be unwilling to commit to her.
He can tell she's judging him and not fully loving and accepting him as he appears to be.
Which makes him more distant, she judges him even more-so as being a commitment-phobe, he withdraws more, and the cycle goes on.
Which is why the key to 'changing someone', is by asking yourself:
'How am I creating them to be this way?'
How are you relating to them, and what are you judging about them?
The key to transforming a relationship with someone, is by transforming how you are relating to them.
Remember, your partner only exists as a story in your mind, and so the problem in your relationship is not the person, but the story you have of them.
If you rewrite your story, you can rewrite your relationship.
Who would you love to see that person as?
What would you love to believe about them?
And start to see the evidence that your partner ALREADY IS those things.
By consciously choosing to look for the evidence that the person is already this way, your story of them will change, and in effect, they will too.