When Change in a Relationship Arrives too Late

· October 22, 2017

We all welcome positive changes, but some changes are only positive if they happen at a certain time. Some changes arrive years after they are needed. Others only miss their windows of usefulness by milliseconds. We benefit from some changes right away, but some we must revisit multiple times before they start to affect us. Change in a relationship must happen in the right time.

It is a shame when changes happen when they no longer serve us; our circumstances may have changed or we may no longer benefit from the change. We can lose energy when we chase after a change but can never obtain it, or if we succeed in changing but only after we no longer need to.

A change that comes too late leads to sadness, especially in a relationship

It is truly unfortunate when a needed change arrives after one partner has gotten tired of waiting for it and turned the page. When their feelings, before incessant and impatient, have become frozen, nonexistent, or surrounded by an ash that will never return to flame and only proves its extinction.

change in a relationship coffee

It is especially unfortunate if these changes are too late because someone who could have made them in time chose not to. This is why changes that arrive too late are more painful. They offer clear proof of what could have been done but was not.

Faced with this tangible proof, we can no longer stay suspended above reality and must face the lack of interest another feels towards our situation or requests. We can no longer maintain the detachment that many of us use as a form of protection. So, as you can see, while this strategy may protect us for a while, eventually it will only make us more fragile.

Change in a relationship that we shouldn’t wait for

Some changes we should never expect, because we are not at a good point from which to initiate them. This could be because we accept the situation as it is and allow ourselves to be worn down, or because what was once a good starting point for change has transformed into something we didn’t want.


We expect reactions, changes, or compromises from people who perhaps have never intended to start or follow through with them. No one has the right to ask someone to change if they don’t want to. However, if the other party is sending mixed messages it is difficult to know whether they intend to change or not.

True, we don’t have the right to demand change from others, but we can prevent them from playing games with us. In this situation, we are the ones that need to change by beginning to respect ourselves and the values we think are important in a relationship. We also have to identify our own errors: perhaps our expectations were too high and pointing this out will help bring balance back to the relationship.

“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy – the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.”

– Eric Hoffer

change in a relationship

Faced with the profound disenchantment caused by a partner refusing to change, some prefer to take on the change themselves, even if they must do it alone. They choose to take on the pain of loss or disillusionment in order to change when they feel it is needed, rather than waiting. Others do choose to wait on the other person and become trapped, expecting changes that never arrive. They stay distressed by promises that never materialize; begging, asking, demanding, all without effect.

Others change their situation without the pain of what has been lost ever crossing their minds. For them, the final point is written and they posses the discipline to not be emotionally affected by it. This kind of discipline is forged through pain and discomfort. In the long run it allows us to move on from our past quickly.

The importance of time for change in a relationship

Despairing over a change that no longer benefits us, while unpleasant, is in fact the first step towards emotional freedom. We may eventually find it comforting to know the other person has changed, even if it no longer affects us.

What good is it if change happens after the passion has died? After our heart has become oblivious to words of love and friendship? When the change does not produce a warming of our heart but rather a further freezing or feeling of indifference? When the change does not awaken hopeful tears, but rather dull emotions and frailty?

When changes arrive too late, they miss important details. They arrive too late for unconditional support. They arrive to an excessive indifference.

change in a relationship

Late changes provide few benefits, since what could have happened may not be possible anymore. This is why we must fight for what is important to us before an endless parade of “I’m sorry’s” and second chances begins.

We have to do this because a moment could arrive in which the person who waited for those changes has moved on and no longer thinks of them. Those changes may no longer have a place in their life. We have to change on time if we want those changes to be powerful.

Changes that don’t happen on time become outdated, pertaining to a landscape that no longer exists and will never spring back to life. They are changes that stay looking at the train station they already passed. Hope gets bored and leaves, taking all the magic and innocence that had sustained it.