"Fixing" Your Partner

Have you ever tried to “fix” a partner, or even just tweak the way they dress, or speak, or even what kind of work they do?

Or have you been on the other end with a partner trying to change YOU?

This is on my mind because I just saw a play about this very thing (“Pygmalion”, and later made into the movie “My Fair Lady”) wherein the sophisticated Henry Higgins bets his friend that he can take the “common girl” Eliza and train her to be seen as a sophisticated lady.

WARNING: Controversy ahead!

My own views on this kind of things (which is VERY common) tend to be kind of controversial.

Most people feel that you should accept your partner just they way are (and likewise they should accept you) because it’s wrong to try and change someone and next to impossible anyway.

Some people feel (and let’s be honest here: it’s most often women) that it’s perfectly fine to “polish” a partner who might be a little “rough around the edges”.

ADMISSION: I’ve tried to “change” quite a few of the women I’ve had relationships with, including my wife

Here’s what I believe with the benefit of hindsight and wisdom: * It perfectly fine (even advisable) to “train” your partner in how you like to be spoken to and loved. OF COURSE they should be doing the same to YOU. The point is that you help each other understand how to get what you both need. * You can’t “make” another person change although you can influence them. For example, you can’t “make” your partner love going out dancing with you BUT if you let them know how much YOU enjoy it AND you find a way to make it enjoyable for them (and maybe even reward them in some way for taking you out dancing) THEN (if they really do love you and care about you) there’s a very good chance that over time it will begin to grow on them.

If YOU’RE being dominated

Have a frank and honest conversation with your lover about it. They might not realize they’ve been doing it (not likely but possible).

My personal definition of love is not “blanket acceptance”. Love is something we do and something we give. In a relationship both partners do and give love, and part of that is understanding each other, appreciating each other and growing together.

The “Trick”

Well, there are actually two ticks.

  1. The first trick is that you come from a place of love, have a desire to understand and a goal of becoming closer.
  2. The second trick is that you’re both on board. That is, if your partner doesn’t want more from you but YOU want more (or different) from THEM then there’s an imbalance that can lead to hurt feelings, power struggles and resentment (and resentment is one of the “Four Horsemen of Divorce”).

The point of a lasting relationship is to create something better together than either of you could on your own, and that means growing.

Find ways to enjoy activities, hobbies and culture that your parter likes as much as you’d like them to enjoy the ones you enjoy.


It’s a bad idea to dominate and try to make your partner more like you.

It’s a good idea to share and grow together so you both have new ways of appreciating each other.

It’s a great idea to let your partner know how you communicate and how you like to be loved. These are two crucial aspects to a successful relationship that most couples get wrong because of assumptions.


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