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Are you trying to change your man? Here is some advice

By Faeza
13 January 2017

I SPENT most of the festive season doing the same thing that I have been doing with

my boyfriend for the past five years. We went out and partied. We had fun, drank and

celebrated life. But with the start of the new year, I'm asking myself this question: is this as good as it gets? Is this the best that life has to offer? Surely, there is more to life than this. Or am I crazy to be expecting more out of life than looking forward to partying every year in December? Don’t get me wrong. There’s no real problem with the relationship. I just hate the fact that life is so empty throughout the year and all we have to make up for this emptiness is the partying in December. I keep trying to explain this to my boyfriend and he doesn’t get it. In fact, I’m not even sure if I’m making sense right now. Are we

on different paths? Should we be re-evaluating our relationship? The last thing I want is to be doing this again in a year and in 10 years’ time.

Lind Yenda responds:

BEFORE we try to understand what you want to do, let's start by trying to understand what you are unhappy with. Then we can take a look at a plan of action. The beginning of the year is a time for reflection. It’s a time to look at your life and see what’s working

and what isn’t – and perhaps leave behind all that didn’t work for you in the previous year. It sounds like that is what you are doing right now.

THE HIDDEN IMAGE

Have you ever looked at those pictures that have a hidden image in them? Everybody tells you that there is a horse in the picture and you just don’t see it. And once you have seen

it, you can't unsee it! You have seen the picture and you are battling to show it to your

boyfriend. It may not be clear yet, but you see it. You see, one of the things that come with making a living and trying to stay afloat is that you give your life and your soul to it. We put our lives on hold five days a week, rest for two days, then go back to work again the following week. On top of that, we still have duties and household chores to take care

of in those two days off. So, really the natural inclination is that when we get leave from work, we want to squeeze out as much ‘fun’ as we can from that. And for most people, that

fun involves partying and drinking non-stop. It is our only relief from our day-to-day routine.

THE BIGGER PROBLEM

This is what your life has been like and clearly you now want more from it – and you want your boyfriend to start wanting more too. This doesn’t mean that you don’t want him in

your life any more. The truth is, he really isn’t the problem. The problem will probably

still be there even if you break up with him. So rather work on fixing the 11 months in the year. I promise that is the bigger problem.

What do you do for fun throughout

the year? And what would you rather

be doing?

Let’s take a look at your entire life in

general. How is your life in general?

How is your career? Do you find it

fulfilling? Are you being adequately

compensated for your efforts?

These questions are not the kind

of questions that you can answer

immediately, but they will help give

you clarity regarding how you feel

about the rest of your year.

Your problem is not December.

Your problem is dissatisfaction with

the whole year and you are using

December to try to make up for the

emptiness of the entire year.

ACTION PLAN

It seems like you and your boyfriend

are progressing at different rates,

but it's no one's fault. Anyone who’s

been in a long-term relationship,

grown apart from someone he or she

has loved, and seen it end will likely

recognise the familiar contours of

your story.

There’s a chance you can spur

this guy into action. But there’s also

nothing wrong with outgrowing a

lover, just as long as you have at least

made the effort to give him a chance

to catch up.

Sit him down and tell him about

your goals and all the things that

you believe would make your

relationship better. Do not do this as

an attack, but rather as an evaluation

of your life in general.

Tell him about the changes that

you personally plan to make. Tell

him about the things that you

think would make your life more

enjoyable. Give him options.

DON’T BE UNREASONABLE

Saying to him, “I’m tired of partying

like a teenager”, is just not enough.

Don’t tell him what you don’t want.

Tell him what you want and give him

time to take all this in and decide

whether or not he thinks he wants to

see his future looking like that too.

It’s not unreasonable of you to

expect him to make some changes,

but you need to start by being

willing to make changes yourself.

More importantly, do not be

surprised if he is unwilling to make

any of those changes. Change

should never be forced on anyone. It

should be a personal decision.

Nobody can force you to see the

hidden image in a picture. The best

they can do is to tell you what to look

for. So don’t try to force him to see

what you are seeing.