Health

Fixing Relationships: Change Might Not Be What You Think

Imagine being a psychotherapist who specializes in helping people fix broken marriages. You spend all day listening to ‘he said, she said’ scenarios. You know what couples need to do to change their circumstances, but you wonder if they know it. It could be that they do not. It could be that what needs to change isn’t even on their radar.

Relationships are as complicated as the people involved in them. When things are not working, it is so easy to step back and point fingers. It’s easy for each person in a broken relationship to blame the other. And when that happens, the tendency is to believe that the other person has to change in order to fix things.

Relationships Take Two People

Sometimes a broken relationship truly is the fault of just one person. But, according to the counselors at Relationships & More in Rye, New York, that is the exception to the rule. It takes at least two people that have a relationship. More often than not, they both play a role in tearing things down.

The difficult thing in couples’ therapy is getting each one to admit their individual roles in creating their current circumstances. Again, it is easy for both parties to point the finger at the other. He says that she has to change X, Y, and Z. She says that he has to change A, B, and C. Meanwhile, the therapist can see plain as day that both need to change.

But guess what? The most important thing each one needs to change is often not a behavior. It is a thought. In many cases, the key to changing what’s broken in a relationship is changing the thoughts associated with that relationship.

No One Is Perfect

Have you ever read advice columnists in the newspaper or online? If so, you are familiar with the idea of people writing to ask what they can do to change someone else. There are numerous flaws in such thinking. First and foremost, no one is perfect. No matter how far and wide any one of us searches, we will never find the perfect person with whom to share our lives.

The second major flaw is assuming that the other person has to change. On some occasions, such is the case. But most of the time, what we really want in demanding that someone else change is for the other person to be more like us.

The third flaw is assuming that we can actually change someone else. Even if one person in a broken relationship legitimately needs to change their behaviors, there is nothing the other one can do to force that change. People need to choose to change on their own. Until they make the choice, change will not come.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Relationships

This brings us back around to the idea of changing thought patterns. Over the years, more than one relationship expert has explained how changing thoughts can change relationships. If you change the way you think about your relationship and your partner, you may find you are less judgmental, critical, etc. The same goes if your partner did the same thing.

Changing your thoughts changes your expectations. When you change your expectations, it is a lot easier to invest yourself in a relationship with someone who isn’t exactly like you. In the end, this is really what it boils down to.

Broken relationships do require changes to fix. But oftentimes, the necessary changes are not what the two parties are thinking. They are changes of thought rather than changes of behavior.

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