Some of us feel more comfortable with people who share our backgrounds and beliefs, even our personality traits. Many friends grow up in similar circumstances, and that helps them to understand and to appreciate each other. That reality expresses itself in marriage, too. Different studies show that between 14 and 40 per cent of people who marry have met their spouse at work. Similarities matter when it comes to happy relationships, but what about differences? They can be appealing, too.
Parents are sometimes charmed by children who simply do not resemble them in characteristics or appearances. Their naiveté and lack of guile as youngsters allows adults to find the children to be “charming.”
Adults can feel this way towards other adults, too. Each person in the relationship gains insights that would have otherwise escaped them. They can reach a level of accepting each other’s worldview and personality with including the quirks and charms that are part of the package. Sometimes, though, those differences in outlook can seem to be irritating. If the irritation becomes problematic in daily life, that’s a problem. Nobody needs to feel as if they’re walking on eggshells or a minefield as they struggle not to offend the other person in the relationship.
Acceptance is an attitude, not an invitation to abuse. It is also not a valid reason to analyze why the two of you aren’t interacting more happily more often, then to tell the other person how to change. The illusion that we can change someone into our idealized version of them is not a realistic goal.
If your relationship tends to end up with tense, frightening scenes of challenging each other to change, or any form of abuse, then it is dysfunctional or heading into serious dysfunction.
People who tend to be “givers” and “sympathizers” can be prone to making such mistakes. Their tendencies might be coming from a sense of fear or neediness. But no matter the reason for their thinking process and behaviors, such people tend to carry the burden of a problematic relationships. Ever heard of someone who laments that “I’m both spouses in this marriage!”? They’re not quite aware of an immaturity problem expressing itself. It’s coming from both people in the relationship, not that they’re necessarily aware of the missing depth of maturity.
Relationship expert Jerry Wise has identified the problems in such situations. His realizations about the problem can be especially valuable for people who are prone to analyzing anyone as a habit, and especially prone to analyzing intimate acquaintances such as friends, family members, and colleagues. People who over analyze relationships tend to give too much of themselves in many situations. That leaves the other person feeling ashamed, indebted, and/or insufficient. That leads to resistance of all suggested behavior changes; an avoidance of admitting that “I’m not good enough.” Both types of personalities tend to take a quite destructive path, leaving the over-analyzers clueless as to why all their offered solutions didn’t “work.” They couldn’t have succeeded. The immature person had to reach those conclusions on their own, so that they could catalyze desired changes in their behavior and thinking, not the Do-Gooder to a Fault trying to force such changes on them.
Listen to this recording of 12 Steps to Let Everybody Around You GROW UP, and find out how the life lessons can help you to change as necessary.
In today’s world of instant gratification, we need more than ever to step back and to realize that good relationships take time to nurture, and that they depend on our having nurtured ourselves, first. You can disrupt a chain of disappointing relationships by investing in the time and effort to sort through your thoughts and values, then to adjust them for inner and outer harmony. Keep at it for increased success over time.