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Can you (and should you) ever really change your partner?

It happens all the time – two people meet, start dating and things seem to be going really well. Then, the flaws magically appear and one or both partners start seeing some aspects of the other person’s personality, style or looks they’d like to tweak. But is it ever right, or even possible to try to change your partner?

Nobody’s perfect, we all have our flaws. In some relationships however, those flaws can become deal-breakers.

The question is – do you leave and start again, or do you try to rectify the problems?

Perhaps it’s a simple as an unflattering haircut, a bad taste in shoes, or unkempt nails.

As petty as the issues may be, sometimes there’s that niggling question – can I really live the rest of my life with a person who I’m itching to change?

According to a recent survey by retail store M&S, half of women admit to throwing away their partner’s fashion disasters on the sly, and one in seven try even sneakier tactics by putting the offending items in the ‘wrong wash’.

While it may be possible to change the way a person dresses over time without insulting them too badly, is it ever possible to change the bigger things, such as an expanding waist-line, or an inherent laziness?

If you find yourself trying to reshape someone’s character or physical appearance, doesn’t that say something about the relationship you share? If you’re trying to stuff your partner into the ‘partner mould’ you’ve already created, is this not a hint that you should find someone else?

One married woman doesn’t agree with this. She believes constant improvement is a natural part of building a long-term a relationship. She said: “I feel like I’m constantly trying to change my husband – it’s an on-going thing […] I fundamentally like who he is – I love him and married him – but I can’t help seeing room for improvement everywhere. I just see it as part of marriage.”

Change is natural over a lifetime and, if you choose to spend that lifetime with another person then it’s only natural that you will not just change over time, but suggest and even push changes in each other. However, it is important to know when those changes are fair and attainable, and when they are indicative of deeper dissatisfaction and relationship problems.

To find out how a life coach could help you deal with change, improvements and relationship issues, please visit our Relationships page.

View and comment on the original Telegraph article.

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Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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