Table of contents:

"Our couple would be perfect if not for you." Why you don't need to change for the sake of a partner
"Our couple would be perfect if not for you." Why you don't need to change for the sake of a partner

By breaking yourself, you run the risk of getting depression and personality disorder, but you never get close to someone else's ideal.

"Our couple would be perfect if not for you." Why you don't need to change for the sake of a partner
"Our couple would be perfect if not for you." Why you don't need to change for the sake of a partner

This article is part of the Auto-da-fe project. In it, we declare war on everything that prevents people from living and becoming better: breaking laws, believing in nonsense, deceit and fraud. If you've come across a similar experience, share your stories in the comments.

Why change isn't always good

People change, it's inevitable. We are influenced by many factors every day, which can cause us to act very differently in different aspects of our lives. We saw a cute haircut on Instagram and went to the hairdresser. We stumbled upon a video about the dangers of sugar - they reshaped their diet. Thinking about prosperity in retirement - they stopped spending money on all sorts of nonsense.

In relationships, people also change, especially in long-term ones. Partners influence each other in one way or another. For example, if one loves hiking, and the other has never gone to them, then he may fall in love with this type of recreation and share the hobby of his half. You get fired up with an idea, or decide to try something new, or reconsider your attitude towards something, having received new data from a partner.

Problems begin when your couple is divided into a beautiful soul mate, who is good as is, and you, who are not ideal.

If a partner openly or covertly tells you: “I will not change, everything is fine with me, but you have problems, you need to work on yourself,” this is an alarming signal.

Relationships are a complex process, because they involve establishing close communication between people who, as a rule, already have a baggage of traumas and complexes. The stage of falling in love is often a projection: we like in the other what we like in ourselves. And when this period passes, a real person opens up with his own limitations. And we need to somehow deal with these restrictions - just like him with ours. That is, two people, making joint efforts, go through this path of attunement.

But when a partner refuses to accept responsibility and change with you, this is a reason to think about how interested he is in you at all.

At the same time, the very idea of changes is not discussed in the form of a dialogue, when both talk about their feelings, sensations, discuss inconsistencies. This is where pressure and manipulation come into play. The partner can constantly:

  • Hint, “I'm so bored. It's a pity that you are going to your friends again."
  • Compare: “You should go to the gym. Now Masha has gone. Look how great she looks."
  • Bargain: "If you dye your hair blonde, I'll marry."
  • Threaten: "If you don't stop watching football, I'll leave you."

And this is unpleasant, dishonest and destructive.


We've been together for four years. The exact moment when the relationship came "no, now you will be like this", I do not remember, but it was associated with my figure. I was fine with my weight and appearance. But one evening I decided to eat yogurt and heard: “You don't need to eat yoghurts, but go in for sports!” I felt hurt, but I did not attach importance to his words.

Then hints of my bad shape became more frequent. I looked in the mirror and saw fat there. For some reason I didn't think my boyfriend was crazy. I thought that he was doing his best for me, so he makes comments to me, makes me go to training and jokes about my fat hands in front of his friend.

Change yourself for a partner
Change yourself for a partner

Then, to the nitpicking about weight, claims were added to how I express my thoughts when we sort things out. It sounded something like this: “Oh, don't you, as usual, stretch out your speech for three hours. You have a minute to say whatever you want, or I won't listen to you! We quarreled, by the way, because he makes me go in for sports, but I did not want to.

To the attempts to make me an athlete (which eventually happened) was added the desire to make me beautiful and stylish. He ridiculed my things, said that my style was like grandma's and that I needed to change it. I cried, but agreed.

One gets the impression that I suffered all the time, but this is not so. I felt happy, just sometimes he said that something was wrong with me. Now I already know that because of my childhood and the problems that it gave rise, I tend to enter into a codependent relationship and merge with a partner.

I didn't tell anyone what was going on in my relationship, because everything seemed to be fine. Mom was the first to notice. She said so: "Is he pressing you?" I laughed it off. Then I saw the word "abuser" on the Internet, and many of the characteristics agreed. But I didn’t want to believe that the person I love could behave this way with me. I sincerely thought that I was bad: I slow down, I am lazy, I cheat, I am afraid of everything, I eat too much, I run too little, and so on.

Then I became a stoop. More precisely, I always slouched and knew about it, but the slouch did not bother me at all. But my partner decided to take matters into his own hands and remind me of this every day. He mimicked me, swore, in quarrels he mentioned that he does everything for me, and I "cannot keep my back straight." Once I asked him when we were getting married, he said that when I began to walk smoothly.

At some point, I broke down. I had an obsessive idea that I would be fat and he would not love me. I cried after eating, looked at myself in the mirror every day and hated my stomach. But the partner constantly repeated something like: "Look how I try for you, everything for you."

About three months before the breakup, I realized that I have nothing to do with this person. I didn't understand how we were going to raise children, because we have different approaches. But I was also afraid to leave.

Somehow it so happened that I decided to see a psychotherapist. I had 10 sessions, after which I started asking myself questions. Who am I without relationship? How independent am I? What can I do myself? Am I going to achieve something in life?

One day I was unbent like a spring. I looked at all relationships and realized that love is “I accept you for who you are and I don’t want to change”. I realized that “well, we’ve been together for four years” is not an argument and I want to be equal. A rebellion was brewing in me. It was scary to say: “I see no reason to continue,” but I was able to.

What do you get when you change yourself for the sake of a partner

Wasted time

At the beginning of a relationship, due to a hormonal surge, a person sees everything through rose-colored glasses: the partner seems charming, and his eccentricities seem cute. This illusion is also supported by the fact that people often want to seem better than they really are, and hide some habits and character traits. Gradually, the euphoria will begin to fade, and the partner will show his dark side. And if something in you categorically does not suit him, this is a reason to look for a more suitable person, and not to reshape yourself.


Ekaterina Matsapura

The period of falling in love and charm quickly passes, and couples are faced with the fact that ideal people do not exist. The prince has a wrong horse, but the princess turned out to be a dragon. And, for example, lightness and sensuality are transformed into irresponsibility and tearfulness.

If your other half is constantly unhappy with your appearance, character or hobby, then such a person is unlikely to make you happy. Harmonious relationships are built on the basis of mutual acceptance, support, understanding and sincerity. Constant demands “to be perfect, different as I want” never lead to good, whatever one may say.

Internal conflict

You can try to adapt to the requirements of your partner, but this will mean not only abandoning a habit, but also deeper changes. The totality of your character traits and views is you. When you begin your inner transformation yourself, it happens organically. And pressure from the outside destroys you, turning you into a somewhat different person.


Andrey Smirnov

Any change in oneself is violence, and any violence leads to tension in the relationship. Of course, you can change something insignificant in yourself if your partner asks and it's not very difficult. But serious things should not be changed even to please a loved one, since dissolution in a partner means the loss of oneself as a person.

By choosing change from under the stick, you are deceiving your partner. According to psychologist Kristina Kostikova, it will still be a mask that will not last long. At the same time, a person may be in the illusion that this is your real personality. When the mask falls off, problems will reappear.

But cheating a partner is the lesser evil here. It is much worse that you betray yourself.


Christina Kostikova

Changing for the sake of your partner means accepting that your true personality does not interest him. Putting on a mask, you instill tension within yourself, which will ultimately lead to personal conflict.

Moreover, if you do not allow yourself to be real and build an equal relationship with your partner, then you enter codependency with him: you begin to lose yourself and depend more and more on the other.

Decreased self-esteem

It is hard to maintain self-confidence if you constantly hear that something is wrong with you. And even if you start changing for the sake of your partner's approval, it won't fix the situation. So you just transfer control over your sense of self to another person: praised - everything is fine, scolded - everything is bad. The boundaries of your personality are blurring.


The guy was from St. Petersburg, I am from a city with a population of over one million, and this was my first serious relationship. It seems that he confessed his love, but he persistently wanted to change a lot in my appearance. For example, bangs. He considered it a sign of provincialism. He jerked me about this. And when I saw that my friends with bangs, it was so generally creepy.

Then, for some reason, he became attached to my thighs. He said that I have riding breeches. At 22 years old and with 52 kilograms of weight. The funny thing is that his mother literally a couple of hours after meeting me told me: “You know, you have breeches planned. This should be watched."

It was a shame that I was considered a redneck. He was born and lived in St. Petersburg. So what? First, in Kolpino. Plus, he was from a blue-collar profession, not burdened with special knowledge and education. To put it mildly, not an art critic at the Hermitage. Nor is it Mr. Olympia.

I remember, and it's still creepy. And then I had almost no experience in relationships and believed that everything was fine. This gave rise to a bunch of complexes. At first I did not understand: my current husband likes everything about me or he just keeps silent and then everything will start again. I was lucky that that guy just got scared when it was necessary to take the relationship to a new level, and merged. I was very worried, but then I realized that everything ended when it should have been.


Internal discomfort and tension, problems with self-esteem and boundaries, merging with a partner and codependent relationships - all this contributes to a depressive state with all that it implies. In such a situation, for a speedy recovery, it would be good to have an understanding and supportive partner nearby, but you do not have one.


In the last years of the university, I fell in love with a slightly older woman. In the first months there was euphoria, but then problems began. She was no longer satisfied with the fact that I was getting a not the most prestigious and monetary profession, that before graduation I could not get a job in trade (it was fashionable then), although I never had less than two jobs.

The further, the more irritants appeared: I do not live like this, I work in the wrong place, my outlook on life is different. It would seem that it did not work out - we must disperse. But I fell in love too much, and she tried too hard to mold me into the perfect man living in her head. So the stream of claims did not stop and was issued in "If you want to be with me, then …"

Change for a partner
Change for a partner

It seemed to me that very little separates me from joint happiness, you just need to fix something that traumatizes your loved one so much. But in reality, the more I tried to correspond to an incomprehensible ideal, the worse our relationship became, and my state of health - both mental and physical.

We parted for almost a year. She left, then came back. Every time "forever". For several more years I "recovered" from this relationship and all this time I could not even look at women.

Wanting to please my loved one, I tried to radically change myself. And in the end - a severe depression with all the pies: my real essence, my "I" demanded one thing, and I tried to direct myself along a completely different path. I did not manage to turn myself around, but I still feel the negative consequences of those relations, although 10 years have passed.

Self destruction

Not everyone will respond with enthusiasm to a partner's call to change. As the psychologist Svetlana Bibikova notes, a person with adequate self-esteem reacts to attacks in his direction, even from a loved one, as an alarm signal. The self-preservation instinct says that his self-esteem, sense of integrity, is at stake. To requests and hints about changing himself, he replies: “I like to be like that” or “I don’t think so” or seriously thinks about who he is next to.

So the partner's pressure and manipulation should lie on fertile ground. If he succeeded, then the person was already vulnerable. Low self-esteem, emotional instability, complexes, fear of being abandoned played against him here.


Anton Andrianov

Wanting to change for someone else means a lack of self-love. And without her, no matter what a person is for another and no matter how much he changes, he will still feel different from what, in his opinion, his partner wants to see him. And this will cause anxiety and lead to a state where the environment seems to be hostile. Trust in the world is lost, and a person begins to look for ways to muffle this state. Usually through drugs, alcohol, or other addictions.


When your partner insists on change, it doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't like something in particular about you. Perhaps he is just testing boundaries, checking how much you are ready to bend.

Total control and constant criticism are part of the classic scenario of an emotional rapist. Only it is just for him that it is important not to achieve changes, but to destroy you as a person. Of course, this cannot end well.

How to distinguish your own desire for change from the imposed

It is not always obvious why the thought has arisen in you that it is time to change something. Psychologists in such cases advise to listen to yourself. Ekaterina Matsapura suggests assessing how much you want these changes, whether you really are the problem and what will happen if you change.


Ekaterina Matsapura

Remember: a person who requires changes will always have a reason to be dissatisfied. Most likely, all the partner's problems will be associated only with you. You will be the culprit of all troubles, because you are not like that. And as much as you like, you can follow the lead, and the list of problems will only increase.

When we ourselves sincerely desire something, we do it with a smile. We lose weight and thank ourselves for every gram we shed, learn the language and have fun, put things in order and dance. And manipulation tends to cause apathy, loss of interest in life, and feelings of oppression.

Clinical psychologist Evgenia Lyutova advises using the Lift exercise. She explains how to do it, using the example of buying tea in a store, when you cannot make a decision and think if you need it or you have become a victim of advertising.


Evgeniya Lyutova

If in doubt, mentally imagine that your body from head to toe is an elevator shaft, and in your head you have the elevator itself. In the booth, you mentally put that same pack of tea. The elevator slowly goes down, and your body experiences reactions that will tell you whether you really like the idea of buying tea or not. Are these reactions similar to those you feel when something cool happens to you?

The lift must go down and back up. During this time, you will understand what you really think. In the same way, you can do with any changes in yourself in order to understand whether you want to or not.

If you want quick fixes, you can always just ask yourself, "Why?" If only so that your partner does not stop loving you, praises you, does not scold you, this is bad motivation.

Why not all of your partner's requests for change are bad

A partner may have ideas, fantasies and wishes without the goal of making another person out of you. Behind the usual "Look, what a cool hairstyle, I think it would suit you" can hide different things. Perhaps this is just an exclamation and a desire to try on everything cute on you - well, on whom else, you are the closest. On the other hand, this may only be the beginning of the pressure. An innocent remark, then stories about acquaintances who had their hair cut like that and it suits them very much, and then reproaches: "Look how awful you look, there would be no haircut."

Sometimes a partner may ask you to make changes that will benefit you, not him. In particular, we are talking about neuroses that you cannot cope with on your own.

For example, if someone is very jealous and wants their partner to always and quickly pick up the phone, not go anywhere without him and not communicate with people of the opposite sex, these are very dubious requirements. By agreeing to them, a person not only breaks himself, but also feeds the jealous neurosis.


Maria Eril

But there is also a reverse story, when a partner says to another: “I would like you to change and stop being so jealous of me. I see how with your jealousy you harass me and destroy our relationship."

This is an example of a constructive change. Because jealousy is a feeling that relies on low self-esteem, and it will be necessary to work with it in order to become a harmonious person.

What to do if your partner categorically requires you to change

There is an old joke: "Our couple would be perfect if not for you." And if, under the influence of your partner, you recognize yourself behind this “if not for you,” this is a serious reason to think about whether it is worth maintaining such a relationship.


Ekaterina Matsapura

Run out of relationships in which you are the “wrong” person. Grow up as a person, develop and make yourself happy first of all. Take care, love, give warmth. Be sincere, don't play other people's roles. A strong relationship is work on oneself, it is respect for the interests of another and the recognition of his value as he is. Surround yourself with like-minded people, outdoor activities. Change for the better, but only for your own sake.

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