The Push to Change

My very best friend wrote this post yesterday that made me think about a lot of things. In her post she talks about people changing. She wonders weather a grown adult can somehow learn things that should have been learned long ago in childhood. I find it hard to be objective, because I know her situation so well, as well as I know my own life. Sadly, I think that long term change in this case, is not likely.

In every relationship, there are inevitably things that we wish we could change about our partners. That is basic human nature. In a long term, mature relationship, we realize that the only thing we can change is ourselves. Not who we are, but how we react to others. Ultimately, we decide how to handle things we don’t like, and what we are willing to tolerate. If we are the kind of person that needs the emotional daily affirmations of love, we have to be able to decide if we are going to be able to be with someone not as outwardly emotional, for example. Likewise, we need to be able to identify personality traits that we can not and will not tolerate. I think to try to overlook these things will only make both people miserable.

I don’t think that change can be taught, any more than you can teach a person to love you. What I think the real question in her post is is can you teach maturity, and I am afraid that my answer to that is no. Maturity comes at different times for different people. There is no magical age that maturity kicks in. Tinkerbell is far more mature at 16 then people I know in their 20’s and 30’s. Lack of maturity doesn’t make you a bad person, just perhaps not equipped to handle the responsibility that comes with a long term relationship. No matter how much we may want to, we can’t push someone into maturity, even if we feel that it is long overdue.

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