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?