Simon and I had a brief conversation this morning about the changes that so often take place in a relationship when two people begin cohabiting. Because we were both on our way out, it wasn’t a long discussion, but it got me thinking for a good part of the day as the dogs and I hiked up Maple Mountain
Simon’s experience has been that as soon as his girlfriend moved in with him, she tried to change him/tell him what to do. The way he explained it: now that she had him, she could let her “real agenda” take over.
I’ve seen this occur as well, mainly in marriages. Soon after the wedding, the kindness, regard and respect seem to dissolve into a sort of ownership mentality: i.e. now that I have you, I can tell you what to do and how to do it and it’s up to you to adjust to my wants and needs.
I did some self-examination. Have I been like this in past relationships? I don’t think so. My exes may say different, but I do know that I have never consciously tried to change someone. I can’t imagine being that disrespectful and rude.
We fall in love with a person for who they are. Why would we want to change them? Indeed, what gives any person the right to change another – or to make demands? I understand that compromises may have to be made, but they should be arrived at after good communication, genuine caring for the welfare of the other person and always, always, respect. This just seems like common sense to me. If two people are in a relationship that is serious enough that they want to live together, then surely they want the relationship to thrive, and that means respecting each other and seeing each other as whole, independent people.
Anything less seems counterproductive and downright absurd.
We all have boundaries and it can take time for two people to learn each other’s limits. That’s where meticulous communication comes in. I would hope that Simon would always feel free and safe to tell me how he feels and to point out my mistakes etc. I hope that I will also be clear and honest in my communications. We love each other and so I trust that everything we have to say, even if it’s hard, comes with the intention of strengthening the love we have.