Should you change for others?

» Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 | 10 comments

Should you change for others?

They say you shouldn’t have to change when you get into a relationship, your partner should accept you exactly as you are now, and you them.

I don’t agree.

Being in a relationship will change you, so will a great friendship. It will force you out of your comfort zone, and grow you into a bigger and more vibrant version of yourself. Otherwise what’s the point?

Of course you won’t become something that you aren’t, you’ll become more of who you already are. Aspects of yourself that aren’t as visible when you’re alone will come to light more when you’re in a close relationship, for example your generosity, your sense of humour, your great listening skills.

This works in both directions – if you get into a relationship with an addict, or a workaholic, or a cheapskate, these behaviours are likely to become bigger and more problematic. This can lead to new problems as the person uses maladaptive coping strategies, such as avoidance, to deal with the conflict. Again, aspects that might not be much of an issue when someone is on their own become magnified in a close relationship. 

butterfly-emergingYour Starting Point

Before embarking on a new relationship, ask yourself: Is the person I’m being right now someone I want to develop further and grow into?

For instance, if you have good boundaries, you’ll probably need to exert these more while in a relationship. If you practice good self-care, you’ll draw on this more when you’re interacting closely with another. Your interpersonal skills and assertiveness will get stronger the more significant friendships and relationships you experience.

However if you have some unresolved insecurity or neediness, a relationship won’t make you feel secure. In fact you’ll probably start to feel more insecure and even jealous because you’ll feel like you have more to lose. There are many people who are very organised and successful in their personal and business lives, but whose levels of self-confidence and integrity change significantly when faced with the demands of a new relationship.


Who Do We Want To Become?

Likewise you’ll want to make sure the person you choose to enter into a new relationship or close friendship with is someone with qualities you want to see grow. A partner who is optimistic about becoming a parent but feeling a little apprehensive about it can turn into a wonderful and confident parent once they step out of their comfort zone and into this new role. Whereas someone who doesn’t want children now is likely to become more adamant or fearful about not wanting them when you want to start a family down the track.


Even good qualities can become too much when magnified – a great sense of humour becomes someone who can never be serious, the life of the party becomes someone who is never home.

When you enter a new relationship, you’ll both change. It’s ok to be very clear about what changes are acceptable and which are not. Make sure the changes you bring out in each other are ones that make you more of the people you strive to be. 


Want to get a new perspective on your life story? Check out your Sacred Story to see what you can do to grow into your best self.

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  1. Hi Leanne,
    I love change as it means I am growing, I look at relationships that i would call boring, stagnant even where there is maybe a fear to change and complacency kicks in.

    I know I have friends who don’t understand my zest for change and i have a partner of nearly 25 years and we have grown and changed and we are still looking forward to more change and change also deepens love
    Thanks for a great post
    Suzie xx

    • Hi Suzie, I love change too – glad to hear your relationship allows room for change and growth – that’s powerful!

  2. Changing to please someone else, is a horrendous mistake. Changing to please yourself is the greatest gift you can bestow upon you! I changed in my 23 years of marriage, but not to a better version of me, but into one that I did not like. Needless to say, that marriage is over and I am now returning to the person I am meant to be. :) xx N
    Nikki@WonderfullyWomen recently posted…For The Love Of Cake!My Profile

    • Hi Nikki, so glad you were able to realise you were changing in the wrong direction and were able to make a course correction – that takes courage!

  3. Hi Leanne,

    I so agree! You are right, change is inevitable and even necessary in relationships. Its where our greatest changes occur, where our strengths and weaknesses are highlighted and our tolerance levels exercised :)
    I heard Wayne Dwer say that soulmates are not the ones we feel all great and complacent with but the ones who challenge us to the core. I’ve had a few soulmates in my life for sure.
    Reallly love your take on it Leanne, we become more of what we are (like it or not, we do :)
    Thank you
    Caroline x
    Caroline Kirk recently posted…Hello Beautiful SoulMy Profile

    • Hi Caroline, yes I’ve come across that quote too – soulmates force us out of our complacency and it may not always be comfortable but they always teach us something. Fortunately some of them move on at that point, otherwise it would be a little too challenging to cope with in some cases!

  4. so well written! I hadn’t thought about it that way, but you are so spot on with that article, loved it!

    • Thanks for reading Lee :)

  5. I love change because I don’t like being bored. I never really knew that getting into a relationship would change me until I was in one. I loved learning the new parts of me, and I loved learning what I liked and didn’t like. I ended up liking the changes that happen. Friendships as well are an interesting fun way to change and grow :) I love this.

    • Hi Sierra, sounds like you have a great attitude towards the good and not so good parts of the whole process :)


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