The early days of a relationship are always a show of sorts. We put on our best faces for dates and try to paint ourselves in the brightest light possible. If we really like someone, we may even change our views to please them or tell white lies about our true natures.
But, when the relationship gets underway, that mask has to slip. In many ways, this is a good thing. When you let down that guard, true love can come in. Sure, the promise of your ‘perfect man’ might have caught your attention in the first place. But, you may not know he’s ‘the one’ until you seem him at a weak moment.
That said, this slipping of masks is often a painful process, and can be fraught with unpleasant surprises. It may be that there’s a habit or quirk to your partner’s personality which you really don’t like. When you think about it, it makes sense that they would hide this. Who goes on a date and grandstands their worst personality traits? Over time, you may come to realize that your seemingly gentle boyfriend has a nasty temper. Or, perhaps that attentive man spends more time on his phone than you first thought. The issue which makes itself known may be even severe, like a gambling addiction, or something like depression.
Sadly, this period is where many relationships end. And, believe it or not, that’s rarely due to the realisation that Mr Perfect is only human. In fact, most of the time, our attempts to change our partners put the nail in the romance coffin. You know how it is; you look past his temper because you think you can cure him of it. You assume that, because he’s with you now, his depression should evaporate.
But, here’s a horrible truth; love isn’t an instant fix. While it is a crucial part of life, it can’t just clear the way of problems. What’s more, approaching a relationship with thoughts of changing a person is the worst thing you can do. It suggests that you love your idea of them, not who they are. And, we all know that love is about accepting someone for their true selves. In fact, the only real time change would be the best route open to you is if this bad personality trait puts your partner at risk. Otherwise, you should attempt to help your partner when you notice these issues. It isn’t easy, but it may be the only way to keep your relationship healthy. And, we’re going to look at a few of the ways you can achieve it.
Recognize their triggers
For the most part, traits like these come with triggers. It’s likely certain things set off that raging temper, for instance. Equally, there may be certain situations which drive a gambler to hit the casino. As their partner, it’s your responsibility to notice. Do this without comment or judgement. Observe and accept the situation. Then, do what you can to help them avoid situations like these where possible. If you see your raging man getting mad, grab his hands and do a quick dance around the room, or something equally fun. This will distract his attention, as well as reinforcing your relationship. You may also notice that he’s more liable to gamble when worried about money. If you’re at the stage where you’re living together, do what you can to keep finances in check, or discuss ways to make more money. Again, this will help with communication, as well as distraction. It may be best, though, not to outwardly tell him about the triggers you’ve noticed. Making him aware of your observations could turn to a trigger in itself. He’ll also then be able to tell when you’re distracting attention, and that could drive him further towards the places you don’t want him to go.
Point him down a better path
This step is tricky. Get it wrong, and you could slip into the territory of trying to change your partner. But, if you take your time here, you may find that you can point him down a better path. The trick here is not to speak in definites. Merely make suggestions which you think would improve a situation. Do this subtly, so that your man doesn’t feel you’re preaching to him. It could be that leave a program on television discussing ways to deal with anger. Or, you may want to look at sites like Casino Guru which could at least recommend reliable casinos if he is going to gamble. If mental illness is the issue, talk to him about his treatment options. Through discussions, he may find he settles on a new approach which could work well. And, you can achieve all this without ever directly attempting to change the way your lover behaves. Instead, he’ll come to associate you as a reassuring presence who helps him make his own decisions.
Focus on the future
Focusing on the future is always a good idea in a relationship. If things start to stagnate, it can lead to frustration and disillusionment. But, it becomes even more critical in cases like these. If, for instance, your partner is depressed, a focus on your plans as a couple could be a considerable incentive for recovery. If it’s a mutual decision, a determination to have kids in the future could be all it takes to encourage your partner to get help. Equally, this could encourage them to face up to addictions, be they gambling or anything else. The knowledge of future parenthood could even help with anger management problems. After all, no one wants to be that parent who shouts all the time. Bear in mind that it’s essential you let your partner lead conversations like these. If they aren’t ready to discuss this kind of thing, pressure could push them further into a negative place. But, if you’re both in the same headspace here, the future could be the best tonic.