It's Not Me, It's You: When You Want A Partner To Change

dissatisfied woman in bed with a man

33% of people say getting a partner to change is a good way to reignite passion in a relationship.

When my husband requested a trial separation, his reasoning was that we weren't a good match anymore. He felt that we shouldn't have to compromise in order to find happiness, and that love should be easy.

I briefly considered the fact that I might be married to a delusional maniac, then rejected the thought and explained to him that marriage was all about compromise. Rom-coms and fairy tales might say otherwise, but they're not real, and they present a mostly unrealistic picture of what love and marriage are really like. People change over time and, as a result, relationships must shift in order to accommodate that change. 7 Lessons I Learned From Chick Flicks

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

According to the results of YourTango's Power of Attraction survey, 33 percent of people feel that "getting [their] partner to change" is a good way to reignite attraction.

The other 67 percent? I assume that they think the desire to change one's partner is a relationship red flag, and perhaps an unhealthy means of solving relationship problems. After all, should you even be together if you need your partner to change in order to be happy?

It's a valid question, but perhaps we should be taking a closer look at what we mean by change. Do the aforementioned 33 percent want to change the core of who their partners are? Are they just looking for a way out of a relationship rut—a little bit of excitement and pizzazz? Or are they just looking for some healthy compromise?

I did an informal survey of what people would most like to change about their partners, and responses ranged from the inconsequential to the silly to the serious:

  • "Her ability to close cereal box lids."
  • "His TV viewing habits."
  • "His self-esteem. I wish he believed in himself more."
  • "More romance/adventure... Or really just more inclination to suggest new things to do."
  • "I think we'd both change qualities about each other's communicative prowess."
  • "His stupid pleated pants. They need to go."

While some of the items were mere quirks that you could live with if you really loved someone, some of the items represented issues that could cause deeper problems down the line. 5 Things You Don't Need To Have In Common

So the question is, how can you tell the difference? And if you do pinpoint an issue that needs to be dealt with, how do you approach your partner?