Stop Trying to "Fix" the Person You're Dating

I love you: perhaps the three most important words in a relationship. They signify a commitment. They comfort in times of sadness, and they even ease the tension post-argument. Yet so often, these I love you’s are followed by the conditional “but.” “I love him, but he never stops complaining.” “I love her, but she never tells me how she feels.” “I love them, but they have no solid goals or aspirations.” And I am here to remind you that love is unconditional, there are no but’s, there are no if’s, no matter how frustrating it is.

Now, I am not suggesting that your partner is perfect, nor am I suggesting that you should view them as flawless. What I am proposing, however, is that we should love our partners as if they would never change. You should not go into a relationship, hopeful that your girlfriend will eventually be more verbal about her feelings. Just as you should not go into a relationship with the belief that someday your boyfriend will stop being opinionated and argumentative. People are not projects. People are people--ones with flaws, bad habits, and less than desirable qualities. And that’s the just the way it is.

While it is likely that the people we date will outgrow some of their bad habits, the lazy boyfriend will find ambition, the irresponsible girlfriend will settle down, we can’t count on it, or only love them because the possibility exists. We must, instead, love them as if our partners are finished products. We must pick the people whose flaws we can accept, and love, as if they might never change.

And you might be thinking, how can I love the fact that someone is aggressive, or too talkative, or a failing student? Well, because, behind every flaw is a strength. Sure, your partner may be aggressive to a fault, but with a confrontational personality, comes passion for everything they do. The girlfriend who is “too talkative,” will be the same person who asks you how your day is, and tells you everything they love about you, the moment it comes to mind. And the failing student, may very well be the man who puts his family, his friends, and his relationship before any homework assignment.

So with that, don’t love a version of a person that doesn’t exist yet, or one that might never exist. Don’t stay in a relationship where you have to comfort yourself with the thought that someday, they might have some eye-opening epiphany, and change for the better. Instead, pick the flaws that you could live with forever. Pick the faults that aren’t “hard to deal with”, but rather, are things that strengthen your relationship, and give you yet another reason to love them. 

Sources: 1, 2