When One Person Changes in a Relationship

When One Person Changes in a Relationship

written by: Irving Schattner
by: Irving Schattner
Couples2 Couples2

When a person who is in a relationship recovers from addictions (alcohol or drugs, food, gambling, shopping), anxiety and/or depression, it could be said that the person is following a new path. This path may feel scary at times, but when such a person has committed to the change process, their partner or significant other may not fully be aware of how their loved one has changed and how it may impact their relationship. Couples therapy from the comfort of home can help strengthen a relationship during the process of change.

In some instances, ones' partner or significant other may welcome these changes as a healthy outcome of therapy. They may feel liberated from their partner's constant need for support, validation, and neediness, and can now focus on establishing a more balanced, healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.

In other instances, one's partner or significant other may find himself or herself resentful and pushing back against the tide of what they see as a person they no longer know or understand. This occurs most particularly when their role as protector, defender or enabler becomes undermined through the change in their partner. As one partner changes through the therapeutic process, the balance of power can shift one of two ways; Equality, equilibrium, mutual recognition, understanding, and respect come to define this modified relationship; or one partner accommodates to this new arrangement while the other partner finds it difficult or is unwilling to make a corresponding, complementary change that recognizes the needs of the other.

Building a Healthy Relationship

Generally speaking, it is healthy and necessary for people to adapt to changing circumstances and life events. So, too, it is expected that relationships will change over time. But sometimes partners' needs change and are not complimentary. Partners may find themselves on different paths or life journeys.

So, what to do when you find that your needs, wants, desires, dreams, or life direction have changed from that of your partner's? The first thing you might want to consider is acknowledging these changes. Failure to be open and honest with your partner may only lead to a breakdown of the relationship. Perhaps you truly want out of the relationship and are fearful of confronting this fact. If this is the case, your complacency and lack of openness will passively move you towards what you truly want – dissolution of your relationship.

On the other hand, if you want your partner to share the "new you" and "your new journey," it is paramount that you share your thoughts and feelings with your partner. To do otherwise, is sabotage of your relationship. It is natural to want to grow and change, and if you want your relationship to survive, even thrive, it is mandatory that you engage your partner in healthy dialogue that lets them know what's going on inside of you, the personal changes you are making, and how that may impact or shift the dynamics or nature of your relationship. In turn, you should allow your spouse space, time and freedom to fully express their thoughts, feelings and needs relevant to the changes taking place.

It is worth noting that just because you may not be one-hundred percent on the same page, does not mean your relationship is doomed. If you feel like you are at an impasse, or simply don't know where to begin this process of reconciliation, couples therapy can be of great help in defining your respective wants, needs and desires and examining whether they can be accommodated in your relationship or it's time to move on.

There's No Need To Suffer

Depression, sadness, anxiety disorders, stress, and worry can make it difficult to find joy, meaning, and purpose in your life. Especially if you're in a relationship and are unfulfilled or unhappy. We all need support at different times in our lives. Most of my clients seek help when their current way of dealing with life's challenges no longer works for them. With a caring, non-judgmental and solution-focused approach, we will explore your issues and challenges in a safe therapeutic environment at my private practice in Delray Beach, Florida.

I also offer remote online therapy from the comfort and security of home that includes couples therapy. In-office and online counseling can allow you to learn more effective ways of creating and maintaining a healthy relationship.