Monday, 14 November 2011
When you first meet that special someone, all you can see is their goodness. You can’t help but smile when you see him, hear him, or even just at the thought of him. All the wonderful characteristics and qualities you built up over the years and stored in your ‘what my man must be like’ list just disappear or you become so blinded by love and somehow see that this new man fills everything you ever wanted. What you wanted in a man if you are like many of the other millions of women is a man who you can be 100 percent yourself with but at the same time, a man who makes you a better person. Isn’t that why we refer to our significant others to be our better half? Because with them, you two should be a dynamic team, each others’ confidant who positively lift each other higher and into a better individual.
When the earlier, honey moon phase starts ending and you get into that comfortable stage, you finally start noticing the bad, how have you never noticed before? You ask yourself. His short temper, his laziness, how he shakes his leg all the time, how he never does this or that and all of his bad habits. Has he always been like this? Have you just been ignoring it and giving him the exception? Everything that’s always been him slowly starts showing—whether or not he has been only showing his ‘good’ side to impress you, or whether you just chose to ignore it because you were so caught up in new love— but you just now notice all the things about him that bother you. And you need him to change. And vice versa. Because the relationship has become serious, it is no more a 2 week dating fling or a simple summer romance.
But what happens when he says it’s just who he is? That all his negative traits, his bad habits, everything that annoys you, is who he is? Everyone has to have bad traits, right? But no, you think if he loved you he should try to change, for you—because that certain thing(s) makes you unhappy. I’ve noticed a very thematic problem amongst my 20-something year old network of (majority Korean) friends that seem to be one of the root problems in the relationship: weed.
You recall that innocent and naïve ‘what my man must be like’ list you made back in your freshman year of high school and you wonder how it is you have let yourself down by dating this man, who smokes. Because you absolutely without a doubt love him with all your heart. But you wonder if giving him the exception to the ‘not a smoker’ rule on your list is lowering your standards. And you start to wonder if this pattern will only continue until one day you are left with no expectations, standards, preferences of what you want in your man, to the point of what equates to desperation.
Not only that, this is the guy you love and you don’t want him to think you’re trying to change who he is but at the same time because you love him, you also genuinely do not want him to smoke for his good. It’s a back and forth battle between your own self as well as with him. You see yourself fighting with him again and again over the same problem whatever it may be. And you also see yourself contemplating endless within yourself. Do I let it go? Do I break up with him if he keeps disappointing me? Lying to me? This is of course applicable the other way around. There are probably things in you that your better half also does not like and wish you would change.
But I’ve realized that you cannot change a man (or woman). Maybe temporary—weeks, months, maybe even a few years. But you are who you are until you take your own initiative. You cannot change a man, he has to change for himself, when he wants to on his own accord. You may with all your heart truly want to change for your lover, but it has to be for you first. Otherwise it’s just not genuine.
So then, where do we draw the line in expecting our other significant other to change for us? How much of ourselves should we all change for our better half?