By TW Jackson
Ok, he never puts the cap on the toothpaste (even though they’re attached these days!), he plays in a band even though he can’t sing or play a note, and he routinely handles personal hygiene in public.
Yes, he’s got the sweetest blue eyes, and he always treats you like a princess… But.
Every woman has done it at one point or another. You get together with some good girlfriends over wings and margaritas, and as the conversation turns to the current state of everyone’s dating relationships, someone says those three dreaded words…
“He has potential…”
Nobody’s perfect, we all agree. So what’s the problem with thinking you can “help” (read, “change”) a man into a better match for you?
The first sneaky problem…
First of all, consider these two potential issues:
1. Are you dating him because you want to “fix” him? If you’re going out because it’s his “issues” that drew you to him, you may need to consider your current level of self-esteem. Sure, everyone has issues, but sometimes we are attracted to someone who seems worse off than we are, so that we can feel less poorly about ourselves.
2. Are you dating him because you think (or he thinks!) he needs a mommy? Danger zone! Women are definitely raised to encourage this kind of lopsided arrangement, and it can be a real problem in a relationship where you WANT a real man and equal partner, but are STUCK with an adult kid who needs parenting. While it certainly feels good to know you’re needed, a solid relationship is made up of two healthy, independent adults.
Give yourself a quick check to see if either of these things are driving you, then take a look below to find out more helpful things to consider when you think about helping or changing the man you love.
Three more things to watch out for
Okay, you’ve done a solid self-evaluation, and determined that there really are some issues he has that you think should or could be improved upon. Perhaps he needs to lose weight, or ask his boss for a raise, or stop staying up every night playing online games or watching porn.
Whatever your issues are, it’s important to remember the following warnings before you take ANY action at all…
- People don’t like it when you try to change them.
- You might come across as not liking your man.
- You could be wasting your time.
If you’ve carefully considered the risks, here are a couple of tips that may help you make it through the process a bit more smoothly.
Think he’s worth your effort? Then optimize your chances!
Everybody should be able to adapt and compromise on some issues within a relationship. So if you’re ready to move forward, the following tips are for you!
1. Don’t bring up change early in the relationship. Instead of keeping your focus on what annoys you, try enjoying the awesome things that attracted you to him in the first place. A new relationship needs time and trust before change messages can be successfully heard.
2. Make a list and prioritize it. Let’s say you are in a relationship with a man who really could improve on a few things in order to make your connection a much better one. Before you dive in and start hinting, mentioning, or outright asking him to change, make yourself a list of all those “needs changing” items.
Determine what the really important ones are, and put them in priority order at the top of your list. Are they make-or-break issues for your relationship? If so, you may want to either sit down in a calm, neutral space to let him know about those items, or seriously consider whether you have a good match.
And remember, differences can be complimentary
The old saying, “opposites attract” points to a deep truth. Perhaps he’s not so great at accounting and his finances are a mess, but you happen to be a whiz at that sort of thing. If don’t mind carrying the ball for that, perhaps he can take over something else that he’s great at but you don’t like at all.
Remember, trying to “fix” or “help” your man may or may not be worth the effort. No one is perfect, and yes, that includes you, but only you know in your heart, if this relationship is worth persuing, or throwing in the towel. I wish you bliss with (or without) your current partner.
About TW “T DUB” Jackson
TW Jackson, author of Girl Gets Ring and The Magic of Making Up has directly and indirectly helped over 100,000 couples in over 77 countries fix badly broken relationships. In most cases, T Dub helps salvage relationships AFTER one party has already declared “it’s over” and when there’s only one person left trying desperately to save their marriage or relationship.
Have you ever been, or are currently in a relationship or marriage where you were/are trying to “fix” your man? How did that work for you? Can people change, I think, is the big question? I’d love your thoughts.