Disclaimer: This, alas, is not our dog, nor our lovely friend. Boo-hoo. They're both cute though!
Yep, I know. "Dog gets a haircut" doesn't sound like a great lead in to a poly topic, does it? Wait for it...
You see, our smallest dog, Donna, is a half lab, half Scottie mix. Over the past 8 months, she's grown out about 4 inches of wavy fur, which, with her long body and stumpy little legs, has been leaving her looking like a sea otter with a bad hair day. So, I took her in and got her clipped, bathed, and had her nails trimmed.
When I brought her home, our other pup, Bella, who had been moping around the house missing her "sister", was freaked out. She didn't even recognize Donna, her constant companion since infancy! This stranger was sleek, smelled different, and Bella was absolutely convinced that I'd brought home a new dog that needed to be shown who the boss was! She spent the next hour or so knocking Donna down and standing over her, or with her nose buried by Donna's tail, as it slowly began to dawn on her that this was, in fact, the same dog she knows and mostly loves.
In the same way, it can be pretty off-putting when our partner(s) go through major changes, changes that can lead us to believe that maybe this isn't the same person we've known all this time, that they don't know what the rules are, and will need to be shown the ropes. When it finally becomes apparent that, although some things look different, they still smell the same underneath it all, changes are easier to relax into.
In addition, being able to see our partner(s) in a different light can be transformational within existing relationships. When you break free from patterns and assumptions, it clears the way for additional growth to happen, and to appreciate different facets that might have been previously hidden.
We all need a new look on occasion, don't you think?