If you are in a bad relationship, you have probably asked yourself whether you should stay or go. You have probably wondered whether your partner will ever change or if things will stay the same. If you are faced with this tough decision, you don’t have to roll the dice on your life. There are concrete questions you need to ask to determine whether your partner is likely to change for the better or whether you will have to deal with their issues for a lifetime.
If you answer ‘YES’ to all of these questions, be prepared to make peace with the situation you are facing, for it is unlikely to change. If you can’t make peace with the situation, be honest with yourself and carefully consider your options.
Is the Issue Intertwined With Their Identity?
While our identity is rooted in our nature (who we are), our behavior is rooted in our nurture (who we have been conditioned to be). The one question you want to ask yourself about your partner is this: Is the behavior they are exhibiting fused into their nature? If the answer is yes, they will not change unless something extraordinary compels them to change their very nature. For anyone to change their nature is not only very difficult, it normally takes a long time, and there is no guarantee of success unless God Himself intervenes.
In the 2018 movie, The old man and the Gun, Robert Redford plays an old man who cannot help but rob banks. He did this not because he needed money (he had robbed over 90 banks), but because it had become part of his DNA. He just did not feel alive if he was not robbing banks.
If your partner has become Robert Redford's character, it is time to leave.
Is the Issue Tied to Their Significance?
Everybody desires significance; everyone desires something that gives their life meaning. Some find it in religion; others find it in culture and tradition. Still, others find it in climbing the corporate ladder. This list is endless when it comes to what gives people significance and purpose.
The question you need to ask yourself is this: Is his or her behavior tied to what has become his or her life purpose? If the answer is yes, then it is unlikely they will change, because to change is to take away what gives their life worth.
A positive example of this is Nelson Mandela. There was no way he was going to change what he was doing. That it cost him 30 years in prison and time with his family did not matter.
Is the Issue coming from a Deep Pain That They Refuse to Address?
A wound that is not treated can become infected. Once the wound gets infected, the infection can spread to the body and cause major damage – changing the course and quality of the infected person's life.
The same is true of deep psychological and emotional wounds. If they are not dealt with, they will wreak havoc in our lives. Thus, the question you need to ask yourself is this: Is my partner willing to address the wounds that are causing all the pain and influencing his or her behavior?
If your partner is not willing to do this, it may be time to look for greener pastures, for you partner has chosen to be a victim in life.