By Eric

Everybody is either breaking up or getting married. Hyperbole, perhaps, but it certainly feels that way.

From the outside looking in at these crumbling or (theoretically) burgeoning relationships, it seems to me that the success or failure is rooted in change. Specifically, change in the people involved. And while I am the antithesis of a relational expert, I have become a self-appointed expert on personal change over the last year or so.

People change. People change constantly. But people also change at different times, rates, and in a myriad of ways. It is how one deals with their own change that allows them to deal with the change in others.

Everybody who is old enough to have experienced the post-college, early-twenties lifestyle—a lifestyle that can only be described as an enigmatic mystery riddle—says the same thing: Nobody knows what the hell they are doing in their twenties, but eventually you begin to figure it out.

Everybody who is in the midst of experiencing the post-college, early-twenties lifestyle is coping with the realization that they have no idea what the hell they are doing while, with as much confidence as they can muster, doubtfully proclaims that it’s okay, because eventually they will figure it out. Cuz that’s what them old folk say.

And while them old folk may be right, everyone is so caught up in the mess that is their own life, that they’re too busy to get caught up in the mess that is anyone else’s life.

Basically, you have a group of people who have no idea what they’re doing, assume everyone else does, and are trying to process the changes they are experiencing in their own lives. Difficult, no?

Now add another person to the mix.

Beyond just romantic relationships, any sort of bond becomes stretched, weakened, and possibly broken by how you cope with your own changes, while simultaneously dealing with the changes in others. While changing in perfect unison is the perfect scenario, the reality is that perfect change doesn’t exist. Change is imperfect. Change is human nature—the most imperfect of all natures.

The problem is that self change is a wholly selfish construct. It’s rooted solely in yourself and your own experiences. And while, generally, selfishness is bad, sometimes it is necessary—as problematic as it can be.

Now consider a relationship. Something that should be selfless is tainted by the necessary selfishness of those involved. It seems like an insurmountable problem. It seems like we should all hole up to discover ourselves and re-emerge upon self-realization to unite with others and form friendships and relationships that are confident and solidified.


However, the fact is, periods of change and self-realization are good things. The key is surrounding yourself with people who understand what self-realization and change are. Not because you will be changing at the same time and in the same way, but because you will be realizing your changes together. Finding out if the people you are becoming are people who want to be together.

In some cases, the relationship will become stronger, while in others it will completely collapse. Neither is wrong. Moving apart is natural. As people change and mature, the people who are unwilling to accept the changes in others will be the ones that will see their relationships fail.

The ones, however, who realize the changes in themselves and others, and decide to move on anyway, aren’t experiencing failure. Those relationships didn’t fail, they just didn’t evolve, and as painful that discovery can be, in the end everyone is better off—even if one of them doesn’t believe it.

Change is a good thing. Change, like the people involved, is an imperfect thing. How you accept the changes in yourself and others, is how you become a better person for yourself and others.