Sunday 18 August 2019

I am near perfect. But she needs to change

'Gamblers will gamble'
'Gamblers will gamble'

John Masterson

It is sometimes consoling how stable personalities are. And sometimes disappointing. I was struck at various school reunions how little people had changed, despite the great range of paths that life had taken them on.

I have seen big changes when people have decided that there is something about themselves that they do not like. I can think of quite a few people who decided to get fit and lost a lot of weight. It usually helped their careers.

The fit version was more attractive to employers than the fat version. Their confidence increased, though the fundamentals of their personality remained intact. If they were kind to begin with they stayed kind.

If rude, still no manners.

People give up smoking with long-term health effects. I admire them. It takes determination. Again the fundamental personality stays much the same. The generous smoker stays generous. The mean one stays mean. People who quit drinking probably become more productive.

And happier. I know the sober alcoholic can be a pain, but many ex drinkers regain their sober personality and everyone is spared the drunken version.

By and large we fall into a lifestyle with friends and colleagues and we all have our quirks and foibles. And we meet people and fall in love. We are never perfect. They are never perfect. Too often we believe that we can change people. That is where the trouble begins. Have you ever met anyone who said they left a relationship too soon? Not often.

But the world is littered with people who struggled on thinking things would change until the harsh reality dawns. Thoughtless people don't become thoughtful. Control freaks don't change their spots. Gamblers gamble. Lazy louts do not usually become industrious.

The person who never lifted a finger to help in the house will still be sitting with their feet up a decade later. Get out of the relationship or get used to it.

A psychologist talked to me about advice he gave to women who had been hit by their partners. In all cases he gave the same advice: "If he did it once he will do it again. It is your choice if you want to put up with it." Real change is difficult. It requires thought and planning. It requires putting support structures in place.

It requires a degree of self-awareness that is difficult to maintain.

In a relationship there is a big difference between compromising, and changing the other person. It is worth making a decision early about which of the two is going on.

There are a few things you should look for. Peoples' priorities are hard to change. And if you find yourself telling someone how they should feel, forget it. Their feelings are theirs and yours are yours.

Sunday Indo Living

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