There is a saying, often overly romanticized, that if you’re in a relationship with someone, you shouldn’t expect them to change. This does hold some truth to it. Going into or staying in a relationship where you’re expecting a superficial change (i.e. career, personality traits like becoming more social or liking golf) is deceitful to yourself and your partner.
However, that doesn’t mean “change” should become a relationship taboo like it has over recent years. Rather, it should be embraced. When you think about middle school or high school, you cringe a little, right? That’s because you’re not the same person, and neither is your SO.
Welcome change by challenging each other. I don’t mean with fights or by being demeaning or overly critical. Those do the opposite. What I do mean is by challenging the other person to become who they’re truly meant to be, to grow into their greatness. This can be easier said than done.
Even if change means embracing something better, there’s still a part of us that goes kicking-and-screaming. That’s human. But you won’t be alone. Lean on your partner and let your partner lean on you. Even if the change is easy for you to accept, your partner may struggle with it.
For example, over the last year I decided to drop one of my degrees I was working on because I didn’t click with the people. Josh understood and knew that whatever I did, great opportunities would come my way, but I struggled coming to that mindset on my own. I pinned this particular degree in mind as my financial safety net after college. My other degree, my language degree, was more of a fun add-on until that point and I felt like I was leaning an unsteady future on it. Josh consistently reminded me “You’ll be okay”. He encouraged me to start writing and begin painting again; something I’d neglected in the last couple of years because I felt like I couldn’t study science and be an artist. Eventually, I began feeling comfortable with the notion of graduating with a language degree. The fact that Josh was consistent and present with love and support helped me trust the process and be less anxious. It also made me trust that if I change and come more into my artistic self, Josh wouldn’t go running for the hills.
Expect change, otherwise you won’t respect the change and you’ll lose on both sides. As you are now, you are not the same person you were when you were 13. You won’t be the same person you are at 50 that you were at 25 and neither will your loved one, which I think is a good thing and something to look forward to.