For most long term couples, there will come a time where one or both people has changed. If your partner has changed, that can mean a lot of things. Ultimately, you may end up wondering what you can do with this change. Let’s break the answer down into a few different steps. The first thing is to establish what kind of changes are taking place.
Some examples of positive changes are:
- Branching out and making friends outside of the relationship, as long as adequate effort is still put into the relationship.
- Making new boundaries for themselves. If your partner has begun asking you not to do things to them or around them that they do not like, this is something to be celebrated. While it can be off-putting at first, or feel like they’re trying to put distance between you, setting boundaries is completely natural. If you’re concerned about the nature of these boundaries, it might be time to talk with your partner and ask about what motivated them.
- Discovering new things about themselves and finding joy in new things are both great developments! If your partner has found new things that they are incorporating into their identity, that’s completely normal. Years passing allows us to adapt to new interests and gives us time to think about who we are. It may even be more concerning if your partner doesn’t experience any personal changes over many years together.
Some examples of some negative changes are:
- Your partner seeming to close off and not talk to your or anyone else anymore about their feelings.
- Your partner losing their general patience and becoming short-tempered.
- Or, your partner seeming uninterested in doing things anymore. This is especially noticeable if your partner used to be very outgoing and ambitious. This can be a sign of depression or other mental health struggles.
- Your partner developing reckless hobbies, spending money frivolously, or abusing substances.
What to Do
Once you’ve figured out the nature of the changes your partner is going through, you can then determine the best steps to take.
If the changes your partner is going through are on the positive side of things, you may just want to talk to them about these changes. Communication is an excellent way of bringing people together. If you aren’t sure why your partner has changed, this area in your relationship may be lacking. Try talking to your partner about their motivations and what has inspired these changes. Maybe you, too, will get inspired to improve yourself.
If the changes are more on the negative side of things, you may need to get some help. Starting with communication is a good first step. Let your partner know that you are concerned. Without attacking your partner, let them know you are unhappy with some of the changes you’ve seen in them and would like to try getting to the root of things. If the solution is a simple one that is constructive to both of you, you may be able to resolve things by yourselves.
Sometimes, when your partner has changed, it’s deeper or more complicated than that. In that case, it’s time to call Esther Benbihy. Call us now if you need to schedule an appointment for couple’s therapy. We can help you and your partner get back on the same page again.