When I first met my husband he was like a wild panther out on the prowl. He was smooth, conniving and quite the experienced hunter. Finding his right partner was fairly easy. He made his selection and moved in for the kill. The word ‘No’ was not in his vocabulary and before I knew it I was easily seduced. He was not the nice guy that said ‘yes dear’ and the excessive darkness underneath his eyes made him look like he was constantly on something even though I later discovered that it was only the product of insomnia. His muscular physique and fitted leather jacket also added to his bad boy image and I was happily in lust.
Slowly that lust transformed into love and two years later we were tying the knot. Then typical of my gender, I decided that it was time that I started changing him. I tossed him with demands of equality, improving his communication skills, spending quality time together without ignoring the need for comfortable space and… and… and. I expressed how his dominant personality was rubbing me the wrong way and how he needed to be a lot more sensitive to my feelings. Then after investing so much time and effort in his transformation, I felt more disappointed than I’d ever felt in my life.
Where was the guy I fell in love with? To my utmost horror, he had become a ‘yes dear’ husband and I wanted to shoot that dumb feminist that was responsible for this. I had only myself to blame and no idea where to find that damn ‘undo’ button.
Unsure of how to fix the situation I opted to throw the ball in his court. I confronted him with my problem and confessed that I had royally screwed us both over with what I’d done. “I miss the old you”, I wailed one day. “I don’t want to be with a carbon copy of myself! Please try to remember who you used to be before I ruined you.”
He didn’t take it very well and thought it was pretty tactless of me think he had no personality. I don’t blame him, but he sure does object to a lot of things I say these days. I was almost tempted to try and reprogram him again to the nice domesticated guy but I realized that I’d meddled enough.
There was a lesson to be learned and I say it with no caution whatsoever. Ladies, do not attempt to change the man you love because once you’re done with all the modifications you might wind up hating the improved version of him.
Like my friend who I shall not name for obvious reasons, who faced the same ordeal when she kept shooting down her husband’s sexual advances because he didn’t act the same as the heroes of the romantic novels she was addicted to. She accused him of not being spontaneous and no matter how many creative attempts he made she was always quick to point out what he’d done wrong or what was missing. She repeatedly directed, scolded and blamed him until the day came when he just stopped trying. He found a new love interest called table tennis that he formed an affair with and like a love struck teenager, he could not be torn away from his new girlfriend.
When we last spoke she complained that the lack of intimacy was ruining her self-esteem. She wondered what had caused her husband to change and cried that she missed the way he used to be in his ‘younger years’. I asked her if maybe she was the one to blame since she’d shot down his self-esteem long before he killed hers. She denied it and accused me of taking his side. Go figure!