Today, a guy asked me this – he felt that his boyfriend has changed and that he felt that he never really did understand his boyfriend. He said that in the past, his boyfriend and he would compromise on things. But now, his boyfriend would choose to do what his boyfriend wants, and when he wants his boyfriend to change, his boyfriend wouldn’t. This caused him to “nag” further, which he said his boyfriend would then get angry about. At the same time, he would also get angry when his boyfriend wants him to change about things his boyfriend didn’t like. He also started feeling that his boyfriend would behave in one way in front of him, but in front of his friends, his boyfriend would act differently. I’m sure many of us would find this familiar.
So, I asked him – why does he feel that he couldn’t accept his boyfriend and why does he think that his boyfriend should change? I asked him too if he felt that his boyfriend is willing to change, or could change.
I also asked him – did he think a couple should try to change each other?
Also, did the two of them get to know each other well before they decide to start a relationship?
He continued to say that he doesn’t think that his boyfriend could change, but that he is uncomfortable when his boyfriend seems to act differently in front of him, and with his other friends.
And, I told him this – always ask why.
Why do you find it uncomfortable that he seems to act differently?
Why do you think that you cannot accept him?
What do you really want in a person?
He furthered by saying that he doesn’t actually know his boyfriend well, which was why he might be uncomfortable, and that he might not be completely accepting. He shared that he had got together with his boyfriend, because they felt that there were “feelings”. He also heard from others that for a relationship to work, a couple has to compromise. However, he felt that it was hard to compromise and accept. He said he felt selfish because a part of him felt that he wanted to leave his boyfriend, yet a part of him was happy to be in the relationship.
I added that he shouldn’t think in terms of whether he was selfish or not, as that shouldn’t be the question. I told him that we have to think for ourselves, because we have to do what’s best for ourselves. At the same time, we shouldn’t do it at the expense of hurting someone else.
He then said that he had read in one of my blog posts, that he understands that you would need to love yourself before you can love someone else.
I ventured further by saying that only by loving ourselves would we know what we know, and thereby we would be able to bring the right person into our lives.
He continued by saying that he still found it hard to accept the differences with his boyfriend.
So, I asked – “Is it then a question of knowing whether these are differences you can accept?“
He agreed that this could possibly be the question, and left to think on his own devices.
I concluded with the following:
You have to understand the context of how you entered the relationship. You might have started off not knowing each other well enough but had still decided to get into a relationship. So you could only get to know each other after you had started the relationship.
Ideally you would want to get to know someone, and find out if he is the one you want to be with before entering the relationship. But at this point, you’ve done it the other way around by entering the relationship first, then get to know the person.
But the same rules apply. When in a relationship, we should ideally accept the person for who he is. But what if there are things or differences which we find we do not appreciate? Then the question is are we able to accept?
Thing is, it’s complicated by the fact that we are already in a relationship, yet we are still in the process of truly understanding if someone is right for us – in that sense, we’ve jumped the gun. Of course when we are not in a relationship, we might think that if we are not able to accept, we could choose not to enter the relationship. But when we are in a relationship already, the question then is – do we want to let the relationship go, or to accept our partner? However, we might feel that because we are already in a relationship, we might feel that we should make it work – because we think that’s what a relationship is about.
It’s true that you should try to make a relationship work and learn to accept the person you are with, once you’ve decided to make a commitment to the person.
Then there are deeper questions. What is a commitment? How long do you need to know a person before you can decide if you want a commitment with the person? Does the duration matter? Or does knowing the person for who he is matters?
So, you have to think about whether you know the person, whether you can accept the person, whether you want to make a commitment or have made a commitment to the person and whether you want to accept the person, and decide whether to make it work.
A relationship is a commitment that we make to someone. There are some things we need to think about before we make that commitment. But first, we need to know what we want. And we can only do so by loving ourselves, and understanding our needs. Only then will we know who to invite into our lives. We should ideally get to know a person well before we decide to start a relationship. Otherwise, when we only start to really know a person after we get into a relationship, it would make it difficult for us to see the situation clearly as we feel that there are certain expectations that we have for a relationship, when the relationship that we have hasn’t actually reached that stage yet. Finally, when we truly get to know someone and decide that this is the person for us, we have to decide if we want to commit ourselves into this. Before we do so, we would need to understand if this person is someone whom we can accept and embrace for who his is, just as he would for who we are. And no matter what happens, we would then have the commitment to each other to make things work for ourselves.