The idea that one can pick and choose the characteristics they like best in their partner and try to change those they don’t like seems to be a very common one these days. This is a very serious issue among many couples; either one or the other feels that they can suddenly change their partner. Somehow they seem to feel that they just happen to be that “special one” who will manage to change what they don’t like in their partner. Well newsflash boys and girls – the characteristics that bug you about your partner now will always bug you. You cannot change your partner permanently. You partner may be able to accommodate you for a while but eventually they will revert back to those “bad habits” or even develop new ones! No one can change another person unless that person wants to change him or herself – and even then there is a limitation to a change in someone’s true nature.
So here’s what I have seen tragically time and time again. The story usually starts like this; a girl meets a boy, he seems to be “nice enough” or fits part of her “future husband” criteria.
Girl thinks to herself; “I like, I want”. Sometimes things work out as she plans and boy and girl start dating. Girl at this time is blindly “in love” or more how I see it – blindly wanting a husband. So what if he is tight with money, she thinks, or has a bad temper or fools around with other girls, we will somehow manage, or so she convinces herself. A friend of mine thought exactly so. Her boy had a bad temper and would explode at her often. He would of course later on feel terrible about it and apologize profusely. She did not realize that his temper could develop to a physical level with her until he “pushed” her for the first time when they argued. She did not see how violent he could be when he gets into street fights with others over silly macho reasons. She only saw the guy who would come crawling back to her with apologies and tears in his eyes asking for her forgiveness. Things quickly developed soon after they got married when he became more aggressive and started beating her.
The moral of the story is that girls often ignore the blatant signs that keep flashing in front of their beautiful big brown/blue/green eyes! For the sake of being in a relationship girls all too often ignore the glaring signs – to their own detriment of course! They choose to be blind and foolishly think they can change their partner. Well, here it is plain and simple girls; you CANNOT change boys. If he is passive or a mama’s boy or anything else, he will always be that – no matter how much you work on developing/improving/training him. If he is a jealous person he will not turn into a super cool open-minded dude that doesn’t mind you meeting up with your good guy friends for and innocent lunch. Boys do alter their behavior temporarily though – just long enough to “get the girl”. The moment they get the girl though, that’s it, WAM BAM they are back on track to being their original and true self. Not to be too pessimistic though I do think some boys can manage to change some small aspects of their behavior but keep in mind this is to a very limited scale and is the absolute exception NOT the rule.
To be fair to all you ladies out there, I want to give another example – this one is about a boy trying to change a girl. A classic case that I’ve seen all too often is that of a boy who gets attracted to an outgoing, fun, social girl. Boy tries very hard to get her and once he “gets her” everything starts to change – first in little details and then in more fundamental ways. He suddenly starts putting restrictions on her. No talking to other boys; no going out without him; no bikinis or drinking or smoking in public and in some of the more extreme case the boy asks his girl to wear the “hijab” (veil). Boy slowly but surely tries to change his girl into a version of his mother or sister! All the things that he originally saw attractive in the girl are suddenly forbidden. All of her social and outgoing qualities, that he found so appealing in her in the beginning, he now perceives as bad manners and negative qualities that she needs to get rid of.
Usually the girl accepts these change requests from her boy, thinking happily “oh wow he loves me so much”. But this is all an exercise of control and power struggle. He still likes to talk to outgoing, fun and social girls. He sees nothing wrong with getting their phone numbers to talk to them from time to time or even on daily basis even as he has managed to convince his girl to sit at home subserviently. A true double standard – he feels it is perfectly ok for him to do these things, but of course he would never accept his girl doing the same. I used to know this guy who forbade his girlfriend from going out completely unless she is with him or with her family. No talking to boys, no work and the list goes on and on. He firmly believes that he is protecting his girl since he knows exactly “how boys think” – he does after all think (and act) this way. Meanwhile, he is all over the place having the time of his life chatting up other women whenever he gets the chance! If the girl manages to get the boy to marry her by accommodating him with all his restrictions she finds her new husband quickly starting to look outside of the marriage for personal satisfaction. He accuses the girl of changing. “You have changed,” he tells her. You are not as you used to be; you are not as fun and exciting anymore; you bore me!! Well, newsflash buddy, you asked for this. The question I have to ask these boys is; why don’t you just marry someone like your mum or sister in the first place and save yourself the hassle (and the pain you are causing the girl) of changing another person into something they are not? You will be happy and I’m sure there are lots of girls out there who actually are like that and there is nothing absolutely wrong with them. Life would be much easier in the long run and more relationships would last longer.
Bottom line girls and boys; don’t expect your partner to change. Accept and love your partner FOR their “faults” as you see them and not IN SPITE of their faults. Look for a partner whose faults are minimal enough for you to accept and whose good characteristics far outweigh the bad in your perception. Try to understand that no one (including you) is perfect and if you are looking for someone who fits your exact criteria, you are going to be looking for a very long time.