Avoid This Massive Relationship Mistake! (They’ll Change Because of Me) - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

Avoid This Massive Relationship Mistake! (They’ll Change Because of Me)

There are mistakes that can and should be avoided from the get go when it comes to relationships. Mistakes that can doom a relationship no matter how much effort you put into it. Today, we’re going to look at one of them so that its one mistake that you don’t make.

When we are first getting into a relationship with someone, we are gradually confronted with things that we like about a person and things we don’t like about a person. Things that are compatible to us, and things that aren’t. It’s during this process that we decide where someone belongs in our life and doesn’t. It’s during this process that you can make a crucial mistake and that is to believe that a person will change into what you like and want and thus become more compatible, by virtue of being in the relationship with you. 

Without explaining further, I’m going to give you a couple examples of this. Emmanuel fell in love with Taylen. He had known Taylen for years because they ran in the same social circles and she had dated a friend of his. He observed Taylen in this previous relationship and had noticed how flirtatious she was with other men. He also noticed how often she openly revealed intimate details about her relationship and confronted his friend in front of everyone when she was upset. For Emmanuel, a feeling of exclusivity and privacy is very important in a relationship. But Emmanuel saw how poorly his friend treated Taylen. And he knew that he would be a better partner for her or to any woman for that matter. He told himself that the only reason she exhibited those behaviors is because she was in such a bad relationship. He told himself that with the right man, she would become faithful in her behavior, exclusive, discreet and happy. At first, they were happy together. That is, until one night at a party when Taylen started flirting with another man, despite there being nothing wrong with their relationship. Emmanuel started a downward spiral because of the incident. And that downward spiral caused him to withdraw in the relationship emotionally. And what do you think this led to? Yep… Taylen was soon complaining openly about Emmanuel to other people, confronting him in front of them and revealing intimate details about their relationship. Rather than considering whether he could be with a woman like Taylen, if nothing about her ever changed, he decided that his influence could change her. Of course, when Taylen figured this out, she felt like she was just some fixer upper project for him and like she would have to be someone different to be loved. Emmanuel finally owned up to the incompatibility between them and ended the relationship, but not before they both had already gone through unnecessary emotional damage.

Janiya is often teased by her girlfriends because she seems to be irresistibly drawn to bad boys. And recently, she met one such bad boy, Angelo. When she met Angelo, he was on parole for a drug distribution crime. A few times when they were first spending time together, she would notice shady behaviors, like stepping out to run quick errands, but not telling her what the errand was. Always ending up in the same place as other men he knew by “coincidence.”  And a few times, she showed up at his apartment to find him high. But Janiya wanted the American dream. She wanted the house in the suburbs with the man who has a stable job and the kids and a Labrador retriever. She wanted a life and a marriage that she could be proud of. Janiya has a huge heart as well as a rescue complex. So, when Angelo acted how he acted, Janiya fixed her sights on that little inner child in Angelo who was neglected and who was never loved well enough. She became convinced that it would be her loving care that would awaken Angelo’s potential to be a good man. She imagined that his love and gratitude for how well she loved him would make him clean his life up, step up in their relationship and become the man in her vision for a happy life. Rather than considering whether she could be with a man like Angelo if nothing about him ever changed, she decided that it was her love that could change him. Of course, this did not happen. They ended up in a re-traumatizing three-year relationship from hell. Janiya ended up completely depleted because her efforts to reform Angelo never lasted. She was trapped in a tormenting intermittent reinforcement cycle.

Angelo was in the same conditional love dynamic he was in as a child, only this time with a woman who only loved him for what she knew he could be one day and for what she wanted him to become for her. He didn’t even want the same life she wanted. He didn’t want a quiet life in the suburbs. He wanted to own clubs one day and buy a penthouse. The constant pressure to do and be better caused him to feel rejected and therefore lonely, which only increased his drug use and avoidant behaviors. And he ended up back in jail. Because Janiya was never able to do and be enough to make Angelo change his ways, her self-esteem went to hell and so did her health with it. She was so emotionally damaged that she became bitter about men. And her house was even raided because of her association with Angelo. 

There are potentially many reasons that we fall into this pattern. But to give you some examples, we might want a relationship with someone so badly that we tell ourselves the other person will change by virtue of being in the relationship with us, so that we can avoid the torment of saying no to what we desperately want. Or we might be trying to re-create the relationship we had with one of our parents with the subconscious intention of achieving a different and healing outcome. Or we might be attaching our sense of self-worth to another person changing for us or by virtue of being with us. Or we might decide that it is more meaningful and a bigger statement of love if someone changes to be a certain way for us or by virtue of being with us, rather than if someone is already that way. Or we might be needing to prove to ourselves that nothing and no one is beyond saving; that with enough love and kindness, people can change for the better or even be saved. Or we might be tapping into and answering to the truths, needs and wants of a specific vulnerable part of a person while ignoring every other part of them.

I want you to remember this. When you meet someone and you are getting into a relationship, you need to ask yourself this question: How do I feel about this person knowing that nothing about them will ever change? A variation of that question is: How do I feel about this person knowing that them getting into a relationship with me will not change a single thing about what they think and say and do? And based off of your answer to those questions, ask yourself, could I be with them and be happy? Where are the compatibilities and where are the incompatibilities? And based off of that reality, where do they actually belong in my life?

People tend to feel a lot of resistance to the idea of getting into relationships with people with the assumption that nothing will ever change about the other person, especially by virtue of being in the relationship with them. After all, people can change and they do change. On top of this, we all hear those stories and speeches about how someone’s love or care or influence made all the difference to someone else’s life and brought about such positive change. For many reasons, most of us would love to play that role in someone else’s life. But before you go down that path, consider being on the flip side of this pattern. How would you feel if someone got into a relationship with you with the idea that something they don’t like about you or are incompatible to about you, will change by virtue of them being with you? Because of their love or care or influence on you? Does it feel like they value and love you or something else they think you should become? Would you want to be in that relationship?   

There are some mistakes in relationships that are completely avoidable. Getting into a relationship with the idea that a person will change by virtue of them being with you, is one of these. 


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