Are You In A Relationship With Your Partner’s Potential?

AlysssaNobriga Portrait 112412Did you get into your relationship thinking you could “fix” those few things that you didn’t like about your partner? Do you find yourself seeing your partner as they could be and miss who they actually are? Do you feel they aren’t living into their potential or do you compare them to your idealized version of them?

This can be really toxic in relationships and I have found many of my clients bring this up, so I thought I’d share some points of insight for you to consider:

People can usually feel when you don’t fully accept them as they are.  On the other hand, being with someone who is in full acceptance of who you are is one of the most healing things we can offer one another.

“But if I accept them as they are, then they’ll never change” our minds tend to say.  What I have found is quite the opposite.  As we come into relationship with the one we are actually with, not an image of who we want them to be, a deeper experience of connection is available.  Coming from this place of acceptance first, we are available to make more effective changes in the relationship (if we still want change that is) because we are neutral within ourselves and move from a place of wholeness.

There are going to be things that work for you in the relationship and other things that don’t. I’m not suggesting you to be a doormat and ignore what’s true for you.  I’m inviting a different approach that may actually be more successful and fulfilling….

What if you were able to actually meet your partner with full acceptance of where things are for the both of you right now? In that intimate connection of fully accepting how they are, how you are and where the relationship is, from here see if there are still things you want to share or not.

I don’t mean to fake this acceptance because that’s also felt and won’t offer true healing. I am speaking of an acceptance that arises out of our humility to truly recognize that we don’t know that it would be better if they only changed.  

These judgments are an opportunity to use the relationship as a teacher.  To learn about yourself through it by recognizing your partner as your own mirror and looking at what unresolved material this situation is pointing at within yourself.  What part of yourself are you not fully accepting? Is there a part of you that you have denied, repressed or not owned?

As long as we’re trying to make our partner into something different, we’re in relationship with an image of who we want them to be, continuously getting disappointed and never truly meeting one another.

What if for a moment you met your partner with complete and authentic acceptance? Without necessarily sharing with them that you’re trying this out, see what happens in him or her when you shift the way you see them inside yourself.  Instead of thinking of ways to change them, see if you can discover who they are beyond your stories about them, as if you’ve just met them for the first time in this very moment.  See if you can stay in a space of discovery, of wonder…

What is it like to fully and intimately be with them as they are now? See if you can notice what opens up…

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” ~Carl Rogers         

Enjoy the discovery,



Alyssa Nobriga specializes in working with couples through a mind-body-soul approach.  She also leads yearly Wellness Retreats to Bali, supporting people in living more open, authentic, loving, and fulfilling lives. To watch Alyssa working with clients check out her website or to find out about specials see her Facebook page. For a limited time she is offering 50% off Couples Counseling in Santa Monica & 10% off July’s Retreat to Bali by mentioning Daily Love.

  • This is so true. I’d come to this realization over the past year. My relationship with my husband has grown as a result. I’m not saying I live this every day without fell (there are always setbacks) but even just moving in the right direction has given us a peace we didn’t have before.

    • Beautiful, I love that you have discovered this within your marriage and how you keep coming back to your intentions. In my experience that’s how it continues to deepen and grown. Blessings, Alyssa

  • “Truly recognize that we don’t know that it would be better if they only changed.”

    – Love that line! I know I, for one, fall into that egotistical trap of thinking I “know better” and if someone would just do or be as I think they should, everyone and everything would be better! But the reality is, I don’t KNOW that. My ego wants to believe it, but Spiritually… each of us is on our own path — me just as much as this person I’m in a relationship with. So it’s quite possible that doing things “my way” ISN’T, in fact, better FOR THEM.
    I’ve been working on letting go and letting people go down their own paths, separate from me. And not interfering or interjecting. Merely observing. Sometimes our paths coincide with someone else’s path. Sometimes that time lasts just for a few moments, sometimes for weeks, months, or years. But then often, with most people, our paths diverge again.

    I do love this blog! So many excellent points and lessons here!!
    I know I have been in relationships (my last one for sure) where I was more in love with the person’s potential, and what I thought they COULD be… rather than who they actually WERE. Once I saw that, I saw that the relationship wasn’t going to work any longer.

    This is such a great message… to just let go and let people be who they are! On THEIR path. Just stay in our OWN Spirit and Love. And SEE people for who they are, at this present moment. And love them for that. Love everyone AS they are, for WHO they are…. and stop focusing on who we WANT them to be or how we wished they’d be different in one way or another.

    THAT is true love. THAT is really living in love… when we can truly love and accept people for who they are and not who our ego wishes they were.


    • Sounds like you’ve got it and you’re livin it Sarah 🙂 What a gift

  • Christine

    Also, along with accepting your partner, focusing on those things you love above about him (or her) is great for the relationship.

  • tedge

    BEAUTIFUL!!!! I needed to hear that!!!

  • Momma Judy

    That’s a really nice reminder, Sweetie! <3 So accurate, too.

  • Hollie

    Other women make me sad. We r trying 2love ourselves and also love others, yet we r still so lost. I c the profile pic chosen from this “relationship” therapist and my heart is shattered. How sad. How truly sad.

    • Lily

      What do you mean?

  • heatherp

    I love this blog and the sweetness of it. I am finding that accepting all of me is challenging. Being non-judgmental with myself, is the reflection, the message I am getting in this mirror. Accepting his station, recognizing our paths may not be compatible for the long run and being okay. I want a family, he’s putting his life back together. I feel lost. I am not okay with how things are. I don’t want to hurt him. He gives what he can. I want more. All of my “shoulds” point their fingers at me. I should be grateful; I should be patient. I should…

  • megred

    The only piece that I think is missing is that while valuable to make the effort to love your partner unconditionally – once you are seeing them for who they are and not their potential – you are empowered to acknowledge that maybe this person is not the one for you. The qualities about their ‘potential’ you are seeking to extract, may not be in this person and it is loving to both of you if you can walk away and find someone you don’t have to change to find these qualities.

  • I couldn’t agree more! Nicely put that we sometimes fall in love with the image of who our partner “could be” rather than who they are. This is a tough one, but when the “right” one comes along acceptance is absolutely necessary and numero uno 🙂

    Love it!