Occasional Epiphanies

He’s A Man, Not A House

Relationships May 04, 2012 11 Comments

Can you see the potential?

I am a huge fan of HGTV. I like the home buying shows, the decorating shows, and especially the complete renovation shows. There is something about taking an old, rundown house and making it modern and shiny. Really, my favorite part of House Hunters is the end when they show the people in their new, and newly decorated, home. The changes are always a dramatic improvement.

It surprised me when I realized that I was looking at men the same way.

I once dated a guy who was three credits short of getting his bachelor’s degree. Three credits. I couldn’t believe he’d walked away when he was that close. So I encouraged him to finish one last class. I’d even take it with him, if he wanted. I went as far as getting the local community college catalog for him and highlighting all the three credit classes I thought he’d like. Yes, Trampoline Skills was an option.

A few weeks later, I saw the catalog buried in a pile in the back of his car. He didn’t want to take those last credits. He was ok with himself without the degree. But, I was disappointed. When we broke up later I remember telling my friends, “He had so much potential.”

He could’ve been everything I wanted, with a few minor (ok, major) changes.

We’ve all been there. He is smart and funny, so I can help him get the good paying job and teach him how to dress. I have heard countless women talk about men as projects or trainable. We just have to mold them into who we want them to be.

But that has never turned out well.

Recently, I had a few dates with a guy who had his stuff together, but we just didn’t click. One of my friends suggested that if he got a new hair style and dressed a little trendier, that I would feel the chemistry. Luckily, that made something click in my head. If a guy needs a new hair style in order for me to go out with him, then I shouldn’t go out with him at all.

When I think about it in reverse, I can see just how wrong it is.

Imagine a man telling me I needed a better job or a new hair style! I would be pissed off and offended if a man tried to change me. As if I’m not good enough just the way I am!

So why should I think that changing a man, or even wanting him to change, is ok? If I don’t adore him the way he is, there is probably someone out there who can. Yes, she probably even likes his laid back attitude with work or his fascination with cheap beer.

It goes back to the theory of Nerd Love: there is someone for everyone.

Now don’t get me wrong, change and growth are good things. We should want to be with men who will continue to learn and grow as people. But, if we can’t accept a man exactly as he is in the moment we are with him, we need to let him go.

We can’t slap a coat of paint on a man or give him granite counter tops and think everything will be better. We need to look at him and decide if he is someone we want to be with, right now. No new job, different haircut, better car involved. Right now, do you adore him?

If the answer is no, walk away. He deserves better.

And so do we.

Have you ever tried to change a man? How did that work out for you? Has anyone ever tried to change you in a relationship?



11 Responses to “He’s A Man, Not A House”

  1. Reply Natalie Hartford says:

    Amen to that Emma!
    I think we’ve all likely been guilty of that merry-go-round a time or two. I think it’s just the way we live and learn as we grow and mature.
    I told a gal pal recently “You are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Just stop. Let go. It’s not a fit!”
    Maybe it’s impatience – we want love and we want it now. Maybe it’s the fear of being along “forever….no no no!!” Maybe it’s the fear of “is this the best that’s out there…”
    I can say that once you find your life partner and everything clicks naturally and as easy as breathing you’ll look back and wonder why you busted your ass so long and so hard for relationships that obviously weren’t right….you won’t have regret, because everything is just a step and lesson to get you to where you are right now, so that’s cool! But you’ll look back with such clarity of how easy it really should be when it’s right.
    Being with hubby is as easy as breathing. Always has been. After 8 years, it’s like it’s brand new and like there’s never been anyone else – all at the same time! Me, being me with all my natural quirks and tendencies, fits perfectly into what he wants and needs in a partner – and vice versus. There was no changing, moulding, or bending. Natural. That’s how it’s always felt – so natural.
    I hope every women gives herself the opportunity to experience that because it’s so beautiful…and wondrous…and feels somewhat like a miracle! And…so worth waiting for!

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      I think you are onto something with fear. We probably do fear that there isn’t anyone better out there, so we should try to make whoever is there into what we want. But stories like yours show us that if we wait for what we really want, that’s exactly what we will get. Thanks for being so inspiring!

  2. Reply Natalie Hartford says:

    BTW, LOVE LOVE LOVE HGTV and that is my FAV part in House Hunters to! LOL!!!

  3. Reply CC MacKenzie says:

    Natalie is right – the CLICK!

    I remember having a long conversation about lurve with my late grandmother – a truly awesome woman. I was about nineteen and had decided that love didn’t exist – that it was a myth. I was bemoaning the fact that I’d be attracted to a guy and then he’d do something like skliff (drag) his feet, or slump his shoulders, or bite his nails or the ultimate turn off – pick his nose!!! And I asked her, ‘So how do you know you’re in love and more importantly how do you know he loves you?’

    She howled with laughter and gave me a big hug, looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘Sweetheart the man you love will do all of those things and more and it won’t matter one little bit. You’ll know you’re in love when you put him and his needs before your own. And if you’re very lucky he’ll put you and your needs before his.’

    And do you know something she was perfectly correct!

    I can’t wait for you to find the one you ‘click’ with, Emma. The blog posts are going to be just as awesome!

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      What a great story! I believe your grandmother was right, too. I may not have experienced it yet, but I still believe it. She sure sounds like an awesome Grandmother! Thanks for sharing her wisdom.

  4. Reply Karla Robinson says:

    It would be so nice if they would sometimes lol Yep change is inevitable but in your own terms not at the request of a girlfriend or wife for that matter. If you love him then you accept him as he is, like a bank owned property.
    Although if he wants to change at your request it shows he loves you but do you? So change is not always a good thing for both. If you tell someone how to be and they won’t do it, it’s just to show their independence I think. It’s ‘s a weird thing but that’s why it’s good to love the person as a whole and vice versa.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      Yes, you’re right about that! People only change for themselves. And, usually, when we want people to change it is for us. And sometimes it’s not even changes that would be right for the guy. It is so much better to love the person as a whole. You’re spot on!

  5. Reply Coleen Patrick says:

    HGTV is so fun! I love makeovers (on people too). I think CC’s grandma’s advice is spot on! So true.

    • Reply Emma Burcart says:

      Oh, makeovers are sure fun. But it only works if they want the change. Have you ever seen one of those shows where they spring it on someone, and then when they check in with them three months later they are back to their old look? We can’t force it.

  6. Reply Marcy Kennedy says:

    I LOVE House Hunters and Love It or List It!

    When it comes to change, I think we can help people along if they want it but we can’t force them into the mold we want them to fit in for sure. When I met my husband, he still had a year left of his bachelor’s degree and he wanted to finish but was having trouble doing it while also working a full time job. So I helped by doing things like cooking for him and stocking his freezer. But the difference between that and what you faced is that my husband wanted to make the change, he was just struggling with the execution and needed a cheerleader.

    I think you’re right that you have to look for someone who’s a perfect match for you on the essentials and then overlook the rest. Or, if there’s something that really bothers you, you can talk about it and find a mutual agreement. For example, my husband had a tendency when we first got married to leave a trail of clothes across the house (he’s a bit messy), and I got really frustrated having to always pick up after him. So I simply talked to him about it, and he was willing to retrain himself to dump clothes into a hamper instead. But the key is that I didn’t try to change or train him. I asked him about something that bothered me, and we worked together. He’s brought things to me that I do that bother him, and I fix them too. And I think we’re both happier for that willingness to change the small, unimportant stuff since we love the core, important things about who we both are.

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