It is Two Way Hump Day and the first day of the year! Given the circumstances, I thought I’d try something new. The first Two Way Hump Day of the month I’m going to write an advice column. I will answer anyone’s questions or pieces of advice they have. This is the first day of trying this, so I have written advice that I feel like giving.
I used the pronoun, “he,” throughout this for continuity’s sake. Please don’t think that I’m implying only men have a lack of consideration for their partners.
It’s never okay to ask your significant other to change his personality for you. If you can’t live with the flaws of another person, then that’s not the person for you.
On the other hand, there are certain actions that are extremely destructive to a relationship: dishonesty, emotional vacancy, selfishness. A relationship will not be fulfilling if one of the members has a habit of employing these traits.
It’s scary to assert yourself in a relationship. It feels demanding and even egocentric sometimes. But, if the actions of your partner are negatively affecting you, or causing you to feel shut off from him, you need to explain it and express your emotions.
One source of misunderstanding that I see in relationships at the high school and college level is one partner asking the other partner to limit his drinking or smoking marijuana. I always felt cynical towards these types of people. Being controlling is never the answer in a relationship, and it’s doomed to fail from the beginning if that’s the case.
I still believe those things, but on the other hand, habitual use of alcohol or marijuana will affect a relationship. It cuts the person off from his significant other and makes him less reliable. He’ll never be able to makes sacrifices and give a part of himself to his partner, unless he stops being enslaved by the substance. It’s not conducive to a good relationship if one partner is allowing a substance to dictate his actions.
Asking your partner to reflect on his habit is not the same as asking him to change his personality. It is something he does, not something he is. You also must be aware that you can’t ask him to give it up, you can only ask him to try to realize how it impacts you and your relationship.
If you’re in a relationship where this is the case, and you feel like it has really taken a toll on you, you have to set aside your pride, be vulnerable, and express how it truly affects you. Don’t expect immediate change and don’t think you have any power at all to change his actions. But, if, over time, your demands for a supportive and loving relationship are met with resentment and defensiveness, you have to get yourself out. You need to look out for your own needs first and foremost.
If the relationship is working properly, you’ll be able to have patience and your partner will have understanding. He’ll work to overcome his habits for the sake of the relationship and the person he cares about. And you will support him through that, however difficult it may be.