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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
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Be Yourself

October 2002


Billy Joel once sang, “I love you just the way you are”. Excellent advice to remember in a relationship. I recently received an e-mail from a young woman who was trying to mold herself to what she presumed that her boyfriend wanted her to be. Not surprisingly, she began to become resentful and her boyfriend lost interest anyway.


When we begin a relationship, we often think that the only way that we can hold on to this partner is to change. Of course, we may change those very things that our partners were attracted to in the first place. We become someone that our partner doesn’t even recognize, much less like. Have faith in yourself that you are who your partner wanted.


If we do try to change, we may be wrong about what it is our partner may be asking for. Perhaps our partner stated that he found this buff woman attractive. It may not mean that he wants his partner to be more muscular than he is! Never assume that you know what is going on in your partner’s mind. Ask if he or she is happy with the relationship. If there is anything that he or she wants to change or feels that both of you need to work on. By the way, you get to say your requests back to your partner.


Even after all of this, if we do chose to change to please our partner, but it is not something that we really want, we will not be happy and resentment will build. We will be sabotaging the relationship that we were trying to preserve.


So, in essence, be yourself. If your partner can’t love who you are, then find someone who can. Only make changes that you feel are important for you to make. Beyond everything, create happiness.


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