See how this can cause problems over the long term? I had analyze why these “old” behaviors bugged me so much in the present – what had changed? I discovered it’s usually one of two things:
1) YOU have changed. Change is a requirement of time. You grow, you learn new things, you take on new expectations of what you’d like to see in your spouse. I admit that I have become much more ambitious and driven and yes, a little bit more anxious as time has marched on. I push myself a lot harder now and that comes with heightened emotions. When I don’t see that reflected in my husband, I panic a bit, wondering, “Am I all alone in this?” But the truth is, I’m not. Allowing him to be himself, regardless of where I am on my journey, is the best thing I can do for my marriage.
2) The SITUATION has changed. Like in the first example I posted, cleanliness is one thing when it’s just two adults that live in the house together. But when you add toddlers to the mix, things can change. Like with the marathon example, it’s easy to support your spouse’s endeavors in the beginning, but at a certain point you’re going to ask, “Okay, babe – how many marathons are you going to run – for real?” Acknowledging that different situations evoke different expectations and reactions will help you from flipping the script on your spouse late in the game.
Figure out what’s different about your situation now versus then – and address it calmly.
Has your relationship suffered from “I thought you liked that about me!” syndrome? Share your experiences in the comments.