“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change.” - Albert Einstein.
When you start dating a guy, it’s all fireworks. You get feel-good butterflies, there’s sexual attraction, and everything is fun. Some people get so swept up they claim love at first sight.
When you’re in the honeymoon phase, it’s easy to miss certain character traits about each other because you’re high on emotions and you have rose-tinted glasses.
Some women will date a man who is out of work or relaxed about his ambitions, only to realize that his lax work ethic irritates her down the line. Or he introduces you to his family, but you’re so excited and overwhelmed that you forget to see his family for who they truly are (e.g., Meghan Markle and the Royal Family). Or maybe you’re vegan, but he loves eating meat.
You glaze over important details because you see potential in him and the relationship (pro tip: potential doesn’t mean anything because you can’t see into the future). So, you convince yourself that it’s fine, it’ll work itself out, or things might change. The first few years are tolerable, but what about for the next 50 years? Daunting, right?
What happens if his career trajectory, or his family, or his eating habits don’t change? What then? Get him to change?
Why Do Women Try To Change Men?
It started from a young age. You watched Disney films and romcoms such as Cinderella, Snow White, and The Notebook, which painted a picture of how your future Prince Charming should behave. He’ll rescue you from your woes, he’ll sweep you off your feet, he’s perfect, and you’ll live happily ever after.
This picture-perfect romance is so ingrained into you that, although your Prince Charming isn’t perfect, you still expect him to be. That’s what the films promised, and that’s what you deserve. You hold on to the image so tightly you forget that your man is human, just like you, and he has flaws, just like you.
When you don’t accept your man at face value from the beginning, what usually tends to happen is women go on a mission to change him into their ideal man. You’re still holding on to the fairy tale fantasy where everything is perfect and everything goes your way.
Stop Trying To Get Him To Do Anything
Trying to change your man, or anyone for that matter, doesn’t work. Firstly, it sends the underlying message that he’s not good enough as he is. Ouch!
Secondly, it’s controlling, manipulating, and infringes on his personal boundaries. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. How would you feel if he forced you to change because he felt dissatisfied with you? Would that make you feel closer to your man? Probably not. It would make you feel unaccepted, unloved, and want to run the other way. And that’s exactly what’s going through his mind. Forcing him to change into something that he isn’t is guaranteed to backfire.
He might comply to keep the peace, but it will eventually take its toll. He’ll end up resenting you for not accepting him and for being controlling, and you’ll end up resenting him for being weak and submissive.
How Do You Stop Being Controlling?
Simple (but not necessarily easy). Redirect all that energy you’ve given away by obsessing over him and focus it on yourself instead. Let go of trying to change him. If you want him to be a better man, become a better woman first.
You could practice self-care to help you feel calm and happy again, or read our article for tips on what men need from a relationship to help him grow. When you step up to be a better person for yourself — the kind, loving, and warm person who respects herself and others — only then will it inspire your man to want to be closer to you. And inspire him to change and grow himself.
Most men are smart enough to know if something is good for them, but that needs to come from within him for real change to take place. No amount of nagging or coercing will inspire him to speed up the process.
Be kind, let go of the impulse to control, and focus on yourself instead. When you do, it leaves room for him to think for himself again. And when he has the freedom to think for himself, he might just surprise you and become the Prince Charming you’ve always dreamed of.
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