These days our requirements for a partner can be extensive.
As we become more confident in asking for the things we want in life and as we witness the ever-growing possibilities of love, our expectations slowly begin to creep up. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with wanting the best from lovers, if we’re prepared to be the best ourselves, it’s important to be mindful of what really matters.
If you’re single and looking for a fulfilling relationship, you may want to consider what you’d do if your special person arrives and they look the part, talk your love language, appreciate the same things as you, but hold different values or beliefs.
Occasionally, what looks like a hugely different set of beliefs and motivations between two people can, on closer inspection, be a lot less significant than once thought. When presented with a partner who seems to have differing opinions to ones that are important to you, it’s essential you take the time to get clear on what you have in common and where exactly this begins to change.
So for example, if your partner identifies as an atheist, it may jar with your religion but not necessarily all aspects of your spirituality. Labels are a quick way to identify ourselves, however in a committed relationship where mutual respect and understanding are necessary, they can become lazy and unhelpful forms of communication.
Once you and your partner make the decision to stop being defensive and keep the focus on meeting each other halfway, it will become easier to express yourselves without fear of judgement or disapproval.
Your values have changed mid-relationship
If you’re in a committed relationship and find that your values or beliefs have changed, this can be a difficult road to navigate. The key here is patience, patience patience.
The first thing you need to acknowledge is that it’s unlikely your change happened over night. It may have been a slow process and whether you were consciously aware of it or not, your partner’s own life experiences may mean that they don’t immediately understand or appreciate your growth. In fact, they may never appreciate the new you that has evolved.
What’s most useful in relationships is not each partner holding the exact same views, but each partner respecting the other’s perspective. This means zero ridicule, maximum openness and a willingness, of course, to accept you for who you’ve become.
Once you know what your differences are, a good way to work out a plan moving forward is to establish what that difference in values or beliefs means a) for you b) for your partner and c) for the pair of you as a couple.
These are three very separate questions to ask and it’s a mistake to believe that they all amount to the same thing – they don’t. Relationships are made up two individuals, who have two unique ways of thinking and two separate sets of needs. When you both come together it creates a new entity in its own right, which you’ll need to honour if you’re to map out a way forward that suits everyone involved.
If the change you have experienced asks too much from your partner, perhaps you no longer enjoy the joint activities you once did, or you no longer wish to have children, then you can save yourself a lot of time by being direct and dealing with it head-on. Be honest and be kind with it, this approach will serve you best in the long run.
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