Neither men, nor women, should be trying to change anyone.
Everything about the man is really great. Except that one thing certain to ruin it all…
I had the conversation with my best friend about her boyfriend…again. We have had this conversation before and it’s something she’s somewhat used to. She doesn’t approve of the late night drunk fests he seems to have more often than not, on weekends of course, and she’s now questioning their entire 6-year relationship because of it. The man in question is otherwise really great. He cares for her when she’s down; he still takes time to take her out on date nights not allowing the romance to fizzle, and surprises her with little things just to know she’s on his mind.
This one thing seems to take everything good he does right off the table.
When they got together 6 years ago, it had been the way it is now. He’s even promised to scale back on drinking once they have children, yet in her mind she’s unsure if she can trust that promise. After all the time of trust building, it’s something she’s dubious about even though they are at the point in the relationship where they are looking for homes to buy and have picked out their future children’s names. They have promised each other forever and this one thing, that had always occurred, is enough to shatter it all.
Which begs the question, if she had known he was going to stay essentially the same as the man he was when she fell in love with him, would she have chosen to fall in love with him all those years ago?
A man can grow up yes, but men, just like most people in general, don’t tend to change.
The same situation in reverse would be with myself. I dated a man who was slightly kind, but sort of a bad boy. He didn’t try very hard to get me and wasn’t very affectionate. He did just enough to get me on the hook and I enjoyed the chase. I had presumed that once his feelings for me grew stronger, so would his effort and ability to show that he cared as much as I did.
- I wanted him to be more affectionate and kind.
- I wanted him to treat me with more respect and put me to a higher standard than he had when we were first courting.
- I expected him to change and instead of being mad at myself for expecting something irrational, I blamed him for not doing something that was unrealistic to ask of him from the start.
Instead of accepting a man for who he is, or moving on to find someone better suited, we spend years working on relationships that are doomed to fail because we think we can control the ending. Women really need to embrace the fact that men are able to grow and mature as people as years go by and through new experiences but that is unlikely to change who they are deep down to the core of their person. If it were that easy for someone to change who they were, us women could change more of ourselves to suit the man we love instead of trying to change him to suit us.
We take jabs at his character because of our inability to accept the fact that we were wrong about whether or not we really loved him for exactly who he is in the first place. Often times we build up more of an ideal than a reality of the person we are infatuated with, and when the illusion is shattered, we try hand over fist to change the man we already love into the illusion we fought so hard to maintain.
The only thing a woman can control is her reaction to a man’s actions, as loosely quoted by someone much more insightful and wise.
Taking that into account, changing a man for what a woman thinks he ought to be shouldn’t even be on the table. Neither men, nor women, should be trying to change anyone. Instead of finding a partner and trying to mold them into the “perfect man,” women should go into relationships knowing exactly what they want and need from their significant other. If the man, exactly who is, doesn’t turn out to be what she wants or needs it is unfair to judge him for not having those qualities. It doesn’t make him a bad man; it just makes him the wrong man for her. If women were to accept that fact, it would be a lot easier to admit defeat when caught up with the wrong one, move on and realize that just because this man didn’t meet your expectations of what you think he should be doesn’t mean there isn’t one out there that is perfect for you exactly the way he is.
This article originally appeared on the The Good Men Project. Get the best of The Good Men Project delivered daily or weekly, or become a Premium Member!