“I used to love that about him and now it drives me crazy!” This is one of the more common things I hear when working with couples. Feeling like the things you once adored are now what drive you crazy is actually really normal…within reason. When we are single, often what we look for is someone that gives us that butterfly feeling, someone that adds excitement into our lives. This is part of the reason that opposites attract. The person brings something to the relationship that you don’t already have. For example, you will find the introverted home-body often attracted to the person who is really outgoing.
Overtime, however, what was once exciting and fun can now seem tiring or irritating. Going to yet another party if you are the introvert who loves cozy nights at home, can seem dreadful.
So what can you do about it if you find yourself in this situation?
Find A Common Ground: You may not always want to go out and your partner may not want to always stay in but there are bound to be things that you both have in common that you enjoy doing together. Spend some time thinking of the things you guys each love to do and then try to find a compromise. Perhaps it isn’t always a big e
vening out but rather dinner at a great restaurant with another couple. Maybe both of you have been wanting to get more exercise as summer rolls around. Create a weekly fitness plan that gets you guys out together doing something fun. Bonding over the many great things you can do together will help you focus on all that is going well instead of what isn’t.
Accept…Don’t Change Your Partner: I had a friend once tell me that the only time you can change a man is when he is in diapers. I can’t say I totally agree with this (nor do I think it only applies to men!) but what I can say is why try? What I mean by this is that your partner isn’t you and doesn’t have to be. There will be certain places where some small changes may be needed with both of you but overall it isn’t healthy to try to make your partner someone he/she isn’t. Instead of trying to convince your partner that your way of doing things is right (or that his/hers are wrong) open up to what his/her differences have to offer. Try to focus your thoughts on the positive attributes your partner has and ways you can learn from him/her. You can never truly change anyone but yourself so work on changing yourself in ways that make you happier and accepting your partner for who he/she is.
Determine Your Bottom Line: Spend some time thinking about what you really want from your relationship both now and in the future. Sit down and write out the things that are important to you and then rate those based on your willingness to compromise. Some things, you will discover, you will be comfortable giving up and others not at all. We all have values and morals in which we live our lives by. If your differences violate these values and morals and you can’t come to a healthy middle ground that you both agree upon you may need to consider ending the relationship. In the long term it is important you have a partner that you can grow alongside with.
Remember, opposites do attract but your differences don’t have to separate you. Work together to understand and tackle your differences and you may discover you’re actually more similar than you thought!