Sometimes I see the same movie twice with a large gap of time between view­ings, and I under­stand the char­ac­ters, thoughts, emo­tions, and actions very dif­fer­ent­ly each time.

A few days ago, I came to the real­iza­tion that I’ve been a dif­fer­ent per­son in every rela­tion­ship through my eight year dat­ing peri­od. Not all of me has changed, but there are a few aspects which I believe would be impor­tant in such a bond.

I’ve gained more matu­ri­ty and more con­fi­dence. I’ve gained a fair amount of intel­li­gence (though I still feel like I have infi­nite­ly more to learn). I’ve changed career goals, rela­tion­ship goals, and hap­pi­ness goals. I’m more out­go­ing, more tol­er­ant, more secure, less pre­ten­tious (I hope), less arro­gant, and less igno­rant. I’ve changed my opin­ions on chil­dren, abor­tion, and reli­gion. I’ve even changed my actions based on these shift­ing beliefs.

Although I view most of these changes as being good things, they may put strain on a rela­tion­ship nonethe­less. After all, change is change, and unless a rela­tion­ship is strong and flex­i­ble enough, it can­not endure such stress. It’s a lit­tle scary to think that I may be bring­ing extra strain into a rela­tion­ship, sim­ply by being myself.

At one point in my inex­pe­ri­enced youth, after hav­ing changed a fair deal already, I believed that I would­n’t change any more. Now I real­ize how stu­pid­ly obliv­i­ous a com­ment that was, and am of the belief that I’ll nev­er stop chang­ing.

The most impor­tant thing to keep in mind through all of this is whether the change is for the bet­ter, and as Tom has helped me real­ize, rela­tion­ships (friend­ships or oth­er­wise) should form around this idea.

Whether or not a rela­tion­ship will work out in the end is not based on one per­son, but the foun­da­tion and dynam­ic of two peo­ple.

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