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Three Thoughtful Reasons NOT To Change A Man

Aug 17, 2007
This article could have been titled "Three Thoughtful Reasons NOT To Change A Person," because it applies to everyone, man or woman. But since women are usually the ones trying to change men, it seemed more appropriate to address it to you girls.

If there's one thing that all those years of married life have taught me, it's that attempting to change a man is an exercise in futility. But my reasons for not trying to change men have less to do with resigning myself to undesirable behaviour, than with mutual respect and consideration for a man's feelings.

Here's why I think it's not fair to men that we keep trying to change them.

1. He's entitled to his opinions and free will

I'm a big believer in a person's right to exercise his free will. As long as he blames no one but himself and is willing to accept the consequences of his actions, a man should have the right to make his own mistakes and learn from them.

Respect his opinions and let him be. And the next time you try to make him change his ways, imagine how YOU would feel if the tables were turned.

2. He will never change for the wrong reasons

The wrong reasons include threats, manipulation, coercion and other underhanded methods. And no, you're not allowed to use hypnosis or sex either. Play fair.

3. He will change only for the right reasons

The right reasons are inner-driven, and arise only when his actions create enough pain for him to desperately want to make a change. When he is sufficiently motivated to change, he'll do it regardless of your wanting him to do it.

If he does decide to change, support him every step of the way, and get help for him and yourself. And what should I do if he doesn't want to change, you say?

Well, then you don't have too many options, and the ones you have may not be all that attractive. But here's what you can do if his actions are causing you pain.

- Let Him Know

Your man may not even be aware that his behaviour is affecting you adversely. After all he's not as intuitive as you are and can't read your mind. So tell him what you feel. If he cares a lot about you, he may be motivated to change.

- Change Yourself

Susan Page, author of "How One of You Can Bring the Two of You Together," believes that for every action there is always an equal, opposite reaction, and that one person's fundamental shift toward "good will" can lay the foundation for a better relationship. Based on that premise, all it should take to change your man is to change yourself.

I have my reservations about this approach, but don't really see any harm in trying it as long as you don't go overboard in trying to change yourself for his benefit. If it doesn't change him it might help you deal with some of your own issues.

- Give Up Control

What are you anyway, some kind of control freak? You only have control over your own thoughts and actions, not over the actions of other people. Your penance is to say the "Serenity Prayer" out loud ten times a day. Go do it now, girl.

- Live With It

If you can convince yourself that his behaviour is not all that bad, or you've already invested too much in the relationship to leave, then learn to live with it, desensitise, detach, or minimise your exposure to it. It'll prepare you well for learning to live with his mother.

- Walk, Leave, Vamoose

If his behaviour is too painful, if its affecting your health and self-esteem, then the kindest thing you can do for both of you, is to walk away from the situation.

Sometimes the best option is to make a fresh start. That way you'll be able to attract someone more suited to your needs the next time around.
About the Author
Priya Shah writes about self-improvement and women's empowerment . Click here for relationship tips and advice.
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