As much as I would love to say, yes, if they love you, your partner will come on board in time, the reality is they may or may not.
Ross Rosenberg in his book the "The Human Magnet Syndrome - Why we love people who hurt us" talks about the continuum of self and how we form stable (though not always healthy) relationships based on creating a zero sum.
A person with a score of -3 on the Continuum of Self Value will partner with a person with a score of +3 to create a zero sum relationship.
Depending on where we were on the continuum of self value when we started our relationship will influence whether or not our partner will in time come on the journey to self-awareness and development or not.
The continuum of self value
refers to the way in which a person identifies with Love, Care and Respect. Some people are more focused on ensuring the needs they have for Love, Care and respect are fulfilled. While others are more focused on ensuring those around them feel Loved, Cared for and Respected. This will vary by degrees of intensity.
A person at a 5 grading will be totally and completely consumed by their preference. At the +5, a complete focus on self, we get people with narcissistic personality disorder. A person with -5 is a pure co-dependent, totally unaware that they too deserve to receive Love, Care and Respect.
Someone at a 2, positive or negative, will be able to see and adapt to both sides of the Love, Care and Respect flow. Both giving and receiving. Though they will still have a tendency towards either self or others as a default priority.
Now, with that in mind, whether or not your partner comes along on the journey, and will adapt will partially be influenced by where on the scale they sit. Most probably if you have initiated and embarked on a journey of restoring self, personal development without prompting from the other person in your relationship, you are on the side of Love, Respect and Care flowing towards Others more easily from you.
Which, based on the hypothesis and study that Rosenberg discusses in the Human Magnet Syndrome, that we attract our opposite, means that your partner is more than likely on the Self side of the scale.
If you were at a level 5 on this scale, your partner would also be at a level 5 on the scale. At this level it is totally improbable that they will embark on such a journey of self discovery. Rosenberg says at this level they are "Unable and unmotivated to love, respect and care for others".
If you were at a level 4 on the scale, again your partner would be a level 4, and while it is possible they will change, it will take a lot of patience, persistence and devotion on your part for them to see why it matters. This person is "comfortable with the LRC disparity". If confronted they "will characteristically get angry and defensive and is quick to justify his actions". What this means is that you will need to continue to confront, in a gentle, loving and kind way, while they resist.
If however you were at a level 3 or below, then they have the ability to at least at times give Love, Care and Respect to others with reminders. And so, while potentially somewhat reluctantly, they will more than likely in time come on this journey.
So, the question becomes, where to from here?
Firstly, discover where it is you sit on the LCR, continuum of self value. I highly recommend you do this through dialogue with someone other than yourself or your partner. The reason for this is that we often have blind spots, we will look through our filters, what we think is important and we will justify, defend and distort (either bigger or smaller) the experiences we have and how we see ourselves. The person you connect with should have an understanding of the continuum of self value, and be at a level where they are able to put aside their own tendencies and see you clearly (a +/-2 or below).
How do you recognise this person?
- While not necessarily equally, they are able to both meet the needs of Love, Respect and Care for Self and Others.
- You will know they meet these needs for themselves because they take time out, they give themselves Love, Respect and Care in their week to week activities.
- You will know they meet these needs for others because they take time to add value, answer questions, share information and demonstrate Love, Care and Respect for others consistently in their relationships, at home, at work, and in life, without reminders.
Secondly, decide how you will receive ongoing support as you ride the wave of relationship instability as you move your own continuum of self value within the relationship. Causing it to no longer form a 0 sum. Whether you are increasing your ability to receive or give, your partner will in turn need to also adjust. This generally requires external support and assistance for both of you.
Thirdly, invite your partner to join you on this journey. Ultimatums, threats, cajoling won't encourage them to come. This will be a journey of triggers that raise past wounds. Create a safe bubble in which you can both learn and grow together.