This is a question I get asked on an almost daily basis, particularly from clients who are unhappy with the lack of affection, emotional expression or reassurance that they’re getting from their relationship partners.
But maybe a better question would be “why did he change in the first place?”
In most cases, the relationship started out on a good note, with the love interest pursuing ardently and the client expressing no doubts or concerns about his level of interest.
And then over time, something changed. Or more specifically he changed.
Of course when that happens, the natural response is to try to figure out what happened and what you can do to change him back. Especially if the man you fell in love with in the first place seemed to be a lot more like Prince Charming than the toad you’re stuck with now.
If you fell in love with someone like that — someone who seemed so perfect in the beginning and who was clearly so smitten with you that he pulled out all the stops to let you know it — it’s only natural that you’d be frustrated and confused when all that is taken away.
But you may have to ask yourself if he’s the only one who changed, or if more realistically you both just settled into what and whom you really are, which in the harsh light of day probably leaves much to be desired.
In the beginning you loved everything about him. He was putting his best foot forward because he was trying to win you over. You were doing the same. You probably seemed just as perfect to him as he did to you because at that point you were both on your best behavior.
Neither of you wanted to turn your partner off or scare them away, so you kept your “shadow side” under wraps until the relationship became more established. But that shadow stuff doesn’t come out early on anyway because there’s nothing triggering it. There may be signs that you realize later on you may have overlooked, but those generally don’t reveal themselves as signs at that stage anyway.
In the early stages of a relationship you have the unique opportunity to see yourself at your absolute very best. This is when you’re feeling alive and energized by the connection you’re creating. You’re so happy and so full of anticipation that you positively glow. By the way this “glow” is real: it’s a measurable energetic field that grows and expands when we’re feeling good about ourselves and becomes depleted when we’re not. We call it an aura.
Nothing will expand your aura more quickly than the act of falling in love. And since the aura is actually a magnetic field, it will automatically draw people toward it — much like a moth to a flame. This is why we see the “when it rains it pours” phenomenon rear its head so often in relationship. Have you ever noticed how when you fall in love with one person a multitude of others start coming out of the woodwork? This is why. But we’ll save that discussion for another day.
For now you want to think about the fact that both of you changed and that you did so in response to the changes you saw in one another. You could make the chicken vs. egg argument here, (“he changed first!”) but that just wouldn’t be useful. You have to look at the chain of events and concede that people do start to relax in their relationships and that once they do the relationship itself begins to change.
And so it probably went like this: He relaxed, and you responded by becoming more anxious. As you became more anxious, he became less reassuring. As he became less reassuring you became more needy. As you became more needy he became more withholding. And so on.
This seems like a vicious cycle and it’s easy to blame it all on him; after all he’s the one who slowed down in the first place. He’s the one who came on like gangbusters in the beginning and now can sometimes barely be bothered to look up from his video game.
Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at it — what you’re seeing now is about as close to the real him as you’re ever going to get. He’s not going to get worse (unless you get worse). He’s balancing you out whether you realize it or not.
He may not be the Prince Charming you envisioned him to be in the early days (but let’s face it, you’re probably not exactly Princess Aurora either). You’ve seen him at his best — the ardent, passionate, head-over-heels can’t get enough of you best — and you’ve seen him at his worst — the video games, dirty socks, lack of affection, or whatever. And in truth he’s probably somewhere comfortably in the middle. Just as you are.
I sometimes ask my clients, “What would I say to him if he complained to me that you always wanted to talk about your feelings or that you needed more closeness and affection than he was willing to give? Would I say ‘that’s ridiculous, she just needs to man up and stop acting like a baby!’ or would I point out that you’re really not asking for all that much and that maybe if he did offer more reassurance you’d relax and not feel the need to redirect every discussion you had back to one about feelings?”
By the same token, if I said to you: “Listen you’re too sensitive and too caught up in emotional drama. You need to detach a little and start trying to be more objective,” could you? The answer is probably no. Because this is your natural relationship paradigm, which from an egocentric standpoint feels like the way it should be.
But don’t make the mistake of assuming your way is the right way, the natural way or the way we’re all supposed to be.
You have to be willing to concede that your love interest’s natural relationship paradigm is not necessarily going to be the same as yours, and that your way is not something he’s going to just grow into over time. Not even with all the patience, nurturing and understanding you’re willing to give.
That’s because it’s not necessarily a deficit. Just because it’s a natural response for you doesn’t mean that it is for him – or that it’s going to change over time. Yes people do evolve. They learn better coping mechanisms and they learn to make concessions and compromises. But they don’t change their natural emotional responses, because those are primitive characteristics that define who they are at their very core. If you’re struggling with this narrative, try detaching yourself from the belief that your way is the better way and see if you can change it in yourself.
In the early stages of a relationship we do “misrepresent” ourselves in some ways. Not because we’re trying to be dishonest. But because the process of falling in love brings those qualities to the surface. We know instinctively — somewhere in the midst of these primitive mating rituals — how to try them on for size. But as the newness of that experience wears off, we all revert back to our more comfortable baselines.
This doesn’t mean that those qualities aren’t still somewhere dormant within us. But they do not represent our natural responses and are unlikely to come back to the surface and stay for any length of time (that is until we fall in love again — which is not only possible, even in long-term relationships, but is why the process of falling in love is so compelling in the first place: remember it brings out the very best in you as well).
In general though it’s not sustainable. The process of getting to know one another over time not only fleshes out the relationship but it fleshes out the individuals involved. They become 3-dimensional people with quirks and flaws, and that giddy state of limerence evolves into a more natural and realistic homeostasis.
There are countless happy and fulfilled individuals out there whose methods of relating are going to be different from yours, and it’s not because they are damaged in some way or have just never learned to love the way you are there to teach them. And as difficult as this may be for you to accept, their way is the right way — for them.
By the way, if you really want to get a better understanding of your partner’s love paradigm, speak with an astrologer. A competent astrologer can not only tell you what that is — how this person experiences and expresses love — but can also tell you based on your own paradigm how the two of you can meet in the middle.
The Eggshell Skull Defense
There’s a rule in the law books that says that we have to accept our victims as we find them, in spite of their unique or peculiar characteristics. The idea is that if you bashed someone’s skull in, you couldn’t argue later on that the damage wouldn’t have been so severe if his skull weren’t made of eggshell. In other words you couldn’t blame your victim because his skull wasn’t like yours or anybody else’s.
Think about how we might apply this to our relationships. If we take our “victims” as we find them, we can’t fault them for being different than we are. Or different than we expect them to be. We could argue that they changed or misrepresented themselves to us in the first place, but only if we concede that we did the same.
In the end your Prince Charming is a multi-faceted individual who by now you’ve probably seen at his very best and worst. And no one would fault you for preferring the former. But what you’re seeing now is much more aligned with who he really is and his being able to change depends as much on your being able to change as it does on anything else.
The bottom line is that people do grow but they do not “change.” They don’t become what or whom they’re not naturally inclined to be, even if you could swear you saw glimpses of it once upon a time.
So if you want back what you had in the beginning (and what seems so woefully lacking now) you’re going to have to recapture the essence of newness that drew you together in the first place. It’s that essence that put us on our best behavior, but it’s also unrealistic in the context of a relationship — unless you don’t expect it to last.
If what you want instead is depth, commitment and longevity, you’ll have to concede that the newness you’re still holding onto is little more than novelty which will naturally fade away.
It’s what you’re left with now that counts, and what you’ll have to ask yourself whether it’s going to be enough. Rather than holding onto the hope that your partner will one day change, you’ll have to figure out whether you can do the same, whether you can accept him as he is, or whether it’s time to go your separate ways.
Why Won’t He Change?
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Want to read more articles like this? Visit my website: Ask the Astrologers
You can also read more of my articles right here on Psychic Scoop.
I also highly recommend The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown.