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Changing Tides: Apprehension & Anticipation

Changing Tides · 3 min read

Every two or three years, I feel an uncontrollable reflex to do something new – something big. I’ve driven 32 hours to move from Florida to California, moved to a completely new country and changed jobs several times. I feel most purposeful when I’m moving, pursuing change and taking on new challenges. 

My partner feels most purposeful in staying, remaining. Where I feel inspired by stories of people who take big leaps of faith into the unknown, he’s inspired by stories of people who stay, hold their ground and see every endeavour through to the end. Within the context of any committed relationship, each person likely has a different relationship to change. What’s yours? What about your partner? If you don’t know, take some time to reflect and discuss it together this week. 

A couple models you can use to help articulate your feelings about change are the Kubler-Ross Change Curve and the Rogers’ Technology Adoption Curve. According to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, there are four states of change that typically generate different reactions. 

  1. Stage one introduces a challenge to the status quo and can be met with shock and denial 

  2. As the reality of the change sets in, people move into stage two, called the disruption stage, and can respond in fear or anger

  3. Stage three is marked by acceptance and exploration of the potentially positive implications of change

  4. Stage four is a rebuilding phase where the change is fully embraced 

The emotional reactions you have to each phase of the change curve and how long you stay in each stage would be influenced by how much you individually like or pursue change. This idea is shown in Rogers’ technology adoption curve, originally created to describe customers’ reactions to new products, but can be used more widely to show a person’s general penchant for change. In this model, there are five types of people:

  1. Innovators

  2. Early Adopters

  3. Early Majority

  4. Late Majority

  5. Laggards

You can read more about Rogers’ model here. Even with our general dispositions toward change, it’s worth noting that we all probably respond differently in different seasons of life and may react differently depending on if we pursued the change ourselves or had a change thrust upon us. For example, being surprised by grief or loss is a type of change, and I certainly respond differently to loss than a move or a new job that I chose. 

Last week, we introduced this new series called Changing Tides. As you’ve put work into your relationships, you might feel things changing. We hope it’s for the better. We also know even positive change can be scary and take time to adjust to as the status quo of your relationship is challenged. Be patient with each other. No matter where we are on the scale of change adoption, none of us handles it perfectly! Enjoy the opportunity to learn something new as you discover how you both respond to Changing Tides. 


Toucan Together can help you improve many aspects of your relationship: discover deeper ways to communicate; find positive approaches for resolving arguments; learn to speak each other’s Love Languages®️; build friendship, intimacy and a great sex-life. Get started by taking the​‘Pulse’ of your relationship with our short research-based quiz and see the health of your relationship across seven key indicators. GET STARTED NOW | LOG IN

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