One of the most common difficulties in relationships stems from investing in the idea that things will be better when your partner changes. That's right. It's one of the most self-defeating, unrealistic premises that undermines individual happiness.

Why? Well, firstly, because the notion is rooted in the future - "Things will be better when..." - which means that the wishful person is not focused fully on how things really are in the present. Secondly, it is futile because the illusion of that future happiness is reliant on the other person changing.

Want a recipe for relationship disaster? That's it.

Mary Darling Montero, a fellow LCSW, posted an article on the HUFFINGTON POST a couple of weeks ago, entitled "CAN YOUR PARTNER REALLY CHANGE?," in which she describes "the mother mistake in relationships" as "loving or falling in love with someone's potential, rather than who he or she is."

Here's more from Montero: "In every relationship there are things that bother us about the other person. Problems tend to arise when we ignore these things, hold onto hope that eventually they will disappear or change, or believe that we can find a way to force them out... that somehow if we just communicate, nag or wait it out, our significant other will eventually become what we want him or her to be." She concludes: "The bottom line is that a relationship in which potential is more valuable than reality is a precarious thing, because potential is never guaranteed. The only guarantee is that the person we're with today might be the same person months or years from now, with the same attitudes and behaviors. That leaves us with this question, which requires an honest answer: Do I love who this person is, or do I love what he or she could become?"

Okay, now let me do some refining here. It's not that people absolutely can't change, though for all intents and purposes, some people actually can't. If one is stuck in a character structure and well into adulthood and not doing any real self-work, that person is not changing in this lifetime. Also, if one is a young soul in this incarnation, it's extremely unlikely that that person is suddenly going to become an old soul without going through the other stages of soul development. Some people - like your partner, perhaps? - might be clear about this if you ask them. Go ahead, ask them. They might say in response: "Hey. I'm fine the way I am. I don't feel the need to change." And when you hear that, folks, you can take it to the bank. It's a done deal. And believe me, no brush with cancer or financial collapse or even a tornado on your block is going to change their position.

But much more important than whether or not your partner can change is - back to this! - YOU CREATE YOUR OWN REALITY! Yes, it always comes back to that. Sorry. But shit never just happens to you. Including in relationships. If your partner doesn't meet you in ways that matter to you- emotionally, mentally, spiritually - it is your creation, a reflection of something unresolved in you. If you're waiting for your partner to hand you the solution to your issues, you better settle in for a long road of disappointment and frustration.

Which takes us to the good news! You can change yourself! You can do the self-work necessary to break through your character structure and to accelerate the evolution of your soul if you want to. You can do that, and no one can prevent you. You don't need anyone else's permission. The fact that your happiness is completely your responsibility is the greatest privilege of adulthood. It is true freedom. And from that place, if your partner can change, and desires to do so, you may be an inspiration to them, as long as you're not invested in their change. And if not, you will surely attract someone new who is ready, willing and able to meet you at your level.

There is no wishful thinking involved in this.

It's just relationship physics.

In the real world, no true intention goes unrealized.

Think about it.

Glad to be back on the blog, now that baseball - for all of us Yankee fans - is over!

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