“You’ve changed.”

Have you ever said this to a woman? Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end?

It usually indicates some dissatisfaction with how things are going in the relationship.

It’s funny, really, if you think about how much we desire novelty. We get bored and crave the excitement and newness of, well, the new.

But we also want security.

We want to know we can rely on someone—to trust them.

This makes a lot of sense.

You’ve (hopefully) been very intentional about who you’ve let this close to the core of your life. This woman has a lot of access and power. You don’t want to suddenly realize that her value system is misaligned with yours.

How do we reconcile these seemingly disparate desires for novelty and stability?

By making our relationships based on growth, knowing that each person will continue to change throughout the journey together. This change will always be in the service of them becoming better people—the best version of themselves.

After all, the change we are unsettled by is typically negative change. She starts going out partying with her friends every weekend when she never did before (not a good sign, by the way).

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely people who will feel threatened by positive, constructive change. They will seek to sabotage you (even if they don’t realize that’s what they are doing).

Your new diet and exercise program starts to pay off, but she fears deep down that you will leave her so she doubles down on baking cheese casseroles for dinners.

But I digress…

If you both have the desire and understanding that your relationship will be a vehicle for the betterment of all, this is a powerful shared value.

It will require you, at times, to find stability in yourself instead of the relationship. Especially if you’re both going through a shift at the same time. It also requires the two of you to truly want the best for each other, and not just what makes you feel comfortable and safe.

When you can embrace this path, your relationship will continue to grow and evolve as you both become new and better people over time.

Who you were and what your relationship was will most likely look and feel different (in a good way) from what it did 5 years ago. She gets a new man. You get a new woman.

There is your novelty.

The more you facilitate and support each other in your growth, the more new you each get.

Now she can say, “You’re not the man I met!” But this time it will generate feelings of admiration, respect, and desire.

Not disgust and disappointment.