Own You Existence (Rough Take)

Posted: February 24, 2019 by Isaac Cross in Advice, Learn Something, Rough Take

This “Rough Take” post has been published without review, editing, or revision. Rough Take posts are designed to communicate thoughts and ideas that haven’t been fully developed in order to spark discussion and responses which may fuel later, more refined articles. 

How do we change our partners when they don’t want to change? How do we get what we want from them when they aren’t willing to give it? The quick answer is, you can’t.

I gave someone some advice yesterday that I’m not I’ve ever given before and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. So I’m going to try to distill it here and find a way to capture the idea I was trying to express in a succinct way.

The person I was talking to shared that she loved so much about her partner, but he was really busy and not a great communicator, so while she loved the time she spent with him, she struggled to get enough of that time or connect with him in-between those times.

My first questions were the usuals: Have you talked to him about it, have you been able to express what you want him to do different, etc. To my surprise, she had done all of that. As she described the conversations they had, I got the sense, she had communicated well and he had understood, but that he basically said, while he would try to be better about what he could, that some of it he wasn’t able to do and some of it he wasn’t willing to do.

Again, I was pleasantly surprised. I told her that she should appreciate that he was honest with himself and with her, about what he had the capacity for, rather than promising to be better when he knew he couldn’t.

But then, I stumbled onto what, I think, is an important thought.

I told her that, at this point, she needs to let go of the idea of him being better on those things he said he couldn’t be. He knows he isn’t going to change, so she needs to accept that, as well. And at this point, she needs to decide whether the good things about him outweigh those challenges. If not, than she should break up with him. But if so, then she needs to own that choice.

From this point on, those are no longer things he is doing “wrong”. Those are no longer things that he is “failing” at. She needs to constantly remind herself that she CHOSE that existence.

This isn’t to say she can’t later decide that it’s no longer worth it. But until then, if he was straight up that he wasn’t going to change those things about himself, then she doesn’t help anyone, especially herself, by feeling more and more resentful about those things.

You have to own your existence. You have to take responsibility for the choices you make.

Yes, I will always tell people to try to care for and accommodate their partners, because that’s what being a loving and caring person is about. But you are not required to make every person you date the most important priority in your life and you are ALLOWED to decide that other things are more important than that relationship, so long as your are honest about it and let them make an informed choice about whether to go forward.

I’ve began more than one relationship with some variation of “I am a difficult person to be in a relationship with.” and listing the reasons, including which things I am working on and which ones aren’t likely to change. This had made my relationships SO MUCH HEALTHIER. They know what they’re getting into and so do I. Our relationships are not based on our fantasies about one another, but rather in the reality of who we actually are.

Own you existence. Make your choices and accept that they are YOUR choices.

  1. Do I have one more choice??

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