Round table: Honey, I love you - now change.

Fasten your seat belts - it's a long one.

There's all kinds of relationships out there. Relationships with your parents. Your friends. Your neighbor. Your peers. Yourself. But what about the relationship you have with your significant other? As I get older I tend to reflect more on what makes a relationship successful. It's an ever evolving roller coaster. A push, pull if you will. And if you know the person you are with isn't right for you stay and try to change them? Somehow alter their genetic makeup? Or do you gracefully bow out because life is just too darn short?


I was once in a serious relationship for quite a long time. We sort of grew up together. And all along I knew {and still believe} there were signs that we really weren't meant to be together for the long haul. And I ignored them. You could say I learned the hard way; climbed a major hill...ya know the big, scraggly one that no one wants to climb? Ya, that one. I think I somehow hoped he would one day be more glass half full. Or one day take more initiative in planning special dates. Or take the notion of starting a family more serious. Or maybe even stop comparing us to other couples and their financial status. And I became just as guilty because my outlook changed, too. In fact, I acquired some traits that I really didn't like. I lost myself and put my needs and wants last. And somehow became enveloped in his priorities. Unfortunately, that relationship ended and two hurt people parted ways. It was a difficult decision but one that changed me for life and I left with a huge box of issues that I had to work on...taking each on one by one. And the learnings were invaluable. For one, I learned that it is impossible to change someone.

Sounds like an obvious learning, right? Not so much. In fact, I see this false notion alive and well with several of my friends. I have the girlfriend that continues to date "the same man." He's tall, dark and handsome and never really stays in any one relationship. She takes care of him and he allows her to. Years later she is ready for the next stage in their relationship and he is slowly fading into the background. Why? Well, he never signed up for marriage or a family. He was perfectly content being taken care of.

I have another girlfriend who always meets men in bars, the social scene. She often asks me how I met my husband and what was our secret for maintaining a happy relationship. Well, for one...we didn't meet in a bar. Maybe that cycle needs to be broken?

I am no relationship expert. And this isn't a male bashing post. Women are just as guilty. But the common denominator is communication, I think. If someone doesn't meet your short list of life-long dreams or at least 90% of them...get out! Who cares how good looking/fun/successful he/she is. Unless of course, you are looking for a all means! That person will not change because you want them to. Take it from me.

People do change. I believe that. But only when they want to change. Fast forward to today and I have a healthy marriage with a man who possesses the qualities that are important to me. And in many ways, I have found myself again. We both value family. And children. And strong work ethic. And travel, good food, good wine. Strong friendships. We're a team. But you know what? I can't take credit for him. He was that way all along. I was just lucky enough to snag the finished product.

And that man that I parted ways with? He really is a good person who deserved to find his match. I wasn't it. He has found his happy place and a woman that makes him happy. She is a far better match for him than I will ever be. And truthfully, that makes me happy. There is someone for everyone, don't you think?

So I guess the secret to a happy relationship is to find someone who has already evolved. Find someone who has worked out the tough junk. Find someone who knows who they are. Then all you have to work on is yourself!

Have you ever tried to change someone to be someone they're not?
What happened?