Changes & Relationships
Often when individuals come to my office to work through the pain of a relationship ending, they begin by saying, “I really feel lied to. How could someone change so much? I thought I really knew her.” They express a sense of feeling disillusioned because what they thought they had for a relationship or what they’d hoped they’d had for a future with this person turned out to be something else. This can really throw a person for a loop and leave them feeling off balance until they can figure out what happened, if that is even possible.
So how does this happen? How do people change to the point that you don’t even recognize them anymore? Well, first off, we have to accept that we are all in a state of flux, always changing. Hopefully that is because we are always in a process of some kind of growth. Unfortunately, sometimes that state of change isn’t related to personal growth. Sometimes we develop an idealistic illusion about the object of our affection that is based more on what we want from a relationship than it is on who the person really is. Then, as time passes and the illusion is peeled away, we are faced with who that person really is. We like to blame the growing discontent within the relationship on them and not accept the reality that we didn’t go into that relationship with our eyes wide open. I can’t begin to tell you how often I have heard, “Now that I look back, I saw those characteristics. I just thought he’d change if I loved him enough.”
Other things people have shared with me are statements such as, “I didn’t think about the future, I just thought she was really hot and I wanted to be with her.” Or, “I really didn’t find out much before we got involved. I was just so lonely that being with any one was better than being alone.” I could devote an entire chapter of a book on all of the after-the-fact observations people have.