Do You Think Relationships Last When a Woman Tries to Change Her Man?



I have a little story:

There is a guy, let's call him John, who didn't have much experience in long-term relationships. He also had a decent career and had his life together for the most part. He meets a woman through a group of friends, let's call her Beth, who also never had an LTR. They get along very well and form a relationship. He is more of a partying sort; thrives off of going out with friends to the pub, playing pool, drinking beer, and sometimes getting a little wild. She is more of the homebody sort; likes to stay home, watch TV, read, doesn't have many hobbies, introverted, and doesn't have many friends outside of the family. John seems to make friends easily and gets along with introverts because he has geeky hobbies like video games and anime, but also gets along with extroverts and can be loud and boisterous with the guys. He is a social butterfly and gets along with almost anyone. In this situation, it would seem that opposites attract.

John and Beth decide to have a kid (planned). Everything seems fine, although Beth secretly resents John for spending so much time with his buddies and not staying home with her as much. John wishes Beth would loosen up more, maybe go out with him, but he understands that is who she is and is fine with it. He fell in love with her for who she is, differences, flaws, and all.

After the child is born, Beth opens up that she is tired of John being so social. She feels it even more now that they have a child to take care of. Even though John doesn't go out as much as he used to, he still does so on occasion, it is just that Beth doesn't want him to go out at all and that causes a rift between them. It now seems like part of the reason Beth may have wanted a child was just to try and get John to "settle down". Eventually, they have a bad breakup.

John paid Beth child support under the table, but eventually, she took him to court because the payments weren't enough. John then got stuck with back child support for not making payments through the system (his previous under the table payments didn't count). John went through bouts of depression, even thoughts of suicide. He had to sell his car, move in with parents, and sell many of his possessions just to make ends meet. He rarely got to see his daughter and his daughter became more and more estranged to him due to Beth bad mouthing about John. She always wanted to fight John, they could barely get along even for the sake of the kid.

Fast forward a few years. John reconnects with an old short-term high school girlfriend, let's call her Mary. She has three kids from a past marriage. She is a strong, independent woman, who is an incredible mother who knows how to raise her children well. John eventually moved in with Mary. Mary helps John financially as he gets a new job in the area. John becomes a correctional officer and rises up the ranks quickly. John is still the same ol' John. He likes to play video games, go out with buddies, get drunk, smoke cigars, do man stuff, but he also helps Mary with the kids and even steps up to the role of being a father to them.

The difference here is that Mary doesn't want to change John. She treats him like a king and he treats her like a queen! John brags about their hot kinky sex life, and Mary jokes about John's larger than life and sometimes crude personality (farts, sexual jokes, goofy sense of humor, etc.) It is like they are meant for one another! There is no resentment, they go out of their way for one another, and they don't sweat the small stuff.

John got married to Mary after being together for 2 years. They are now expecting a child. Mary didn't really plan on having any more kids, she actually thought she would be done after the last one, but she decided to have a child with John because she loves him and wants to share that bond with him.

One could say that John was immature in his previous relationship. Maybe it took time for him to grow as a person, to learn from his past mistakes. John tells me never to settle for any woman, to not let a woman seek to control you and to try and change fundamentally who you are, that you will meet the right one for you who will support you and treat you like the moon and stars and it will drive you to become the greatest man you can possibly be for her. Maybe John did make some changes, and just like Steve Harvey mentions in the video, he just needed the right person like Mary, who is supportive and compatible, to make the right changes and feel the desire to make those changes.

(Depends on the changes right?)

What do you think about changing your partner in a relationship? Do you think the stereotypes are true that men love their woman the way they are and women tend to have high expectations and expect changes in their man? For men, have you ever had a woman try to change you or hold resentment against you and maybe it led to a breakup? What do you think about true compatibility and to what extent should a man or woman sacrifice and give their all for the sake of the relationship?


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Most Helpful Girl

  • Age old problem of people not growing together. You do need to change when you have kids unless you were parenting before.

    John and Beth should have spotted these issues miles before having a child. If you don't want the same life then it won't work. Not to say you can't have different personalities or likes, but you both need to be working toward common goals: like more home and family life, or more holidays, or more partying etc... but if you aren't singing from the same hynm sheet it won't end well...

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    • It did seem like there was a lack of maturity in John and Beth's relationship. It also seems like now that John is with Mary, he has stepped up and become more mature. Maybe the change in career (went from a HVAC technician to a correctional officer), change in location (away from his hometown), having to help with three children who weren't his own, also contributed to his satisfaction levels in this new marriage with Mary.

      All I know is that when I see John and Mary (names have been changed) together, you can just see the way they act towards each other, it is like they know each other's bullshit but have adapted and come to respect one another for who they are. It is like they are a great match, I can't really put my finger on it. Now John is willing to sacrifice for Mary, but then again, Mary made huge sacrifices for John when he first moved in with her. She paid for some of his entertainment while he spent most of his money on child support and bills.

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    • 7d

      Makes sense. So it still comes down to context and to what degree a person sacrifices and what kind of compromises are being made.

      It seems to me like women like to feel like they have earned a man's attention and grand gestures too. I mean if a man quits going out to the weekly poker game just because his woman asked on a whim, I'm wondering if she would see that as, "whoa, that was too easy...". I suppose it depends on the woman. Not really talking about being a "challenge" per say, just that when does it start feeling like the guy is being too agreeable. I hear that it makes women feel uncomfortable when a man doesn't have any complaints and doesn't fight back, as it makes him seem too mutable. BUT, what if it is just that he is content and honestly doesn't care?

      Guess what I am talking about is the opposite of not compromising, but being too compromising.

      I like your example though. Sounds like your guy was being a male version of a Princess™.

    • 7d

      Glad you were able to be patient with him and that he was able to grow. Just goes to show you that support from a good woman, and by not taker her for granted, a man can get over his own ego and grow from it.

Join the discussion

What Girls Said 12

  • 7d

    I don’t think any relationship can work when one person wants to change who the other person IS. But sometimes changing what you DO is just part of making a relationship, and a life together, work. Sometimes it is okay to ask your partner to change their behavior, if the request is reasonable.

    As detailed as this story is, I ultimately still don’t have enough information to judge who was right and who was wrong in this scenario (at least prior to the breakup, which I think is the focus, since that’s the “trying to change your man” part of the story). You say that John started to go out “less” when the baby was born, but you don’t explain what that means. If he was going out almost every night before the baby, and then reduced that to about half after the baby, that’s still going out almost every other night, which is a TON when you have a newborn baby to care for. So it’s possible that Beth was well within her rights, and John simply didn’t understand how to adapt to life as a parent. After the breakup, of course, things get a little more complicated, but that seems like a separate issue to me.

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    • 6d

      Honestly, I don't really even know if John stopped going out altogether or if he just reduced his time out. Maybe he had one night out and that was the tipping point. He didn't go that far into detail with me.

      I was just using him as an example. He sure as hell had a lot of maturing to do, and it took him to hit rock bottom and a childhood sweetheart to pull him out of it. Otherwise, I think he would have offed himself. Not saying that for sympathy, but no doubt the way his life trajectory was going, and with the soul-crushing child support, he probably would have.

      Yeah, I was mostly just using it as an example of people who are compatible fostering an environment where they can grow together. But I agree completely, both partners have to be willing to grow. In Beth's case, she ended up being mostly a stay at home mother. She only worked retail, waitressing, and other dead-end jobs before she got pregnant.

      John had the work hard, play harder philosophy. BUT...

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    • 5d

      True. No way to know. Obviously they weren't compatible. It all comes back to Steve Harvey in the video. A man WILL change, but only for the right woman.

      I don't think she is a villain. I do think Beth is a woman scorned and wields their daughter like a weapon.

      The human ego is such an infection. It will lead to our downfall if we don't transcend.

    • 5d

      I think they were both wrong. Beth should have tried harder to communicate with John in a healthy way, instead of just nagging and bugging him and making him feel trapped. But, at the same time, he also should have done a better job of communicating in a healthy way and working towards a fair compromise. He needed to step up and be an adult, and not put Beth in the position to have to parent him. Relationships require compromise and sacrifice. That’s something you have to know going in. Issues like this come down to wants vs. needs. If the couple really loved each other, they should have cared enough about meeting each other’s needs to be willing to give up some of their wants. Beth included. But, if she felt abandoned at home with the baby in an unfair way, then that was wrong of John.

  • 4d

    Women marry men in order to change them incrementally. Men marry women in hopes she will never change. Cliche but true af.

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  • 7d

    I believe if you want to change who someone is then you don't love them for who they are. If you expect someone to change then you will end up disappointed. If someone is going to change its going to be on their own terms.

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    • 7d

      Did you agree with Steve Harvey that a man will change for a woman who he feels to be "the one"? How much changing would be a turn-off to you? Do you like it when a guy sacrifices for you or do you think you have to earn it first?

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    • 7d

      ... but by his will be tested. Like perhaps telling herself, "if he really cared about me, he would have quit sooner, or not be so hung up about it" Then it becomes a sticking point, resentment is built... you get the picture.

      (Vaping is just an example, it could be anything, from drinking/partying habits to playing a lot of video games, to not calling "enough"... you get the picture.)

    • 7d

      For your example and other ideas, you got into a relationship with this person knowing they did say the vaping or partying. While yes you can express your concerns about it, trying to push someone to change those hang its is a bad idea, people tend to become more resistant the more you push. If he was trying to quite say smoking or vaping I would be supportive, as someone who has never done those things I cannot relate to how hard it is to quit.

      Also about asking them to change something and they do I consider that to be respectful. You are taking into consideration how you partner feels about something. I would never lose respect for someone for that, I would have more respect.

  • 7d

    No, you can't change anyone only the person can change for themselves. It's best to just find someone who already shares the same ideas/values/hobbies as you.

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  • 4d

    Everyone in relationships like to make their own alterations to the person they're with, or influence some sort of behavior. It's natural human instinct, I'd like to say. Not only that but you tend to have a big influence over people you're close with, so even if you don't try to change them some things might start to change on their own. Anyway, back to your question, I don't think those relationships last because love is forgiving, love is blind. When you love someone you love all the good things about them, as well as the bad. You may not accept the bad things but you learn to cope with them or try your best to help them for the betterment of themselves.

    I've seen relationships where the men are basically their girlfriend's/wife's puppet and that's no fun. You can only live under someone's thumb for so long before getting tired of it. If you love a man, you don't change who he is. I also think it's a little absurd to expect your partner to be exactly like you. I'm not trying to date myself... that would be awful.

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  • uhmm I never tires to change him because I chooses him from what he is than he looks, if he wanna change it mean he is ready to be part of my life not from my force or want him change for me.

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  • 7d

    this tells me... never settle. try to get the best guy... who is already amazing.

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  • 7d

    I like this. You are right that you can't change who a person is, fundamentally. John and Beth just weren't compatible.

    I think often women get with a guy and have the plan to settle down before they REALLY know him. But things don't go exactly the way they planned. So they try to change him to suit their plan. They don't want to start over. But once they realize they can't change him they leave. Men are far more willing to just cope with unmet expectations in their own way. Not always the most healthy way though. Men also have more fear of losing their kids, paying child support, paying alimony, losing their house, etc.

    Though sometimes the so called 'changes' we women try to impose on men on things like taking care of himself better. Eating healthier. Exercising. Not having a heart attack at 40. Going to the doctor instead of ignoring health problems. A lot of guys can be stubborn about this stuff.

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    • 7d

      I am glad you like! ^_^

      I agree completely. Some guys can be stubborn, or some of their vices that they honestly want to put aside for themselves, for their beloved, or for their children can take quite a bit of willpower and discipline. I know me and when it comes to sticking to a routine or to have discipline, you have to be prepared and set your self up for success. You can't go in halfcocked. And this also acts like a source of insecurity and shame for men who struggle with overcoming their issues because they feel like they are failing not only themselves but also the ones they love, especially their girlfriend or spouse, who isn't with him unconditionally. I mean no love is without conditions and that is how it should be. We all want to be loved authentically, not out of obligation or out of pity.

      The one thing that truly helps men or women make these changes is not pressure, but unwavering support, which is what I think a great partner provides. I want to provide that.

    • 7d

      I agree with everything you said.

  • 7d

    Why marry/date or hang out with someone who isn't ticking all the right boxes to begin with? There's an ocean out there full of various men and women... no need to try and change someone. I see that as an necessary sacrifice of my time and effort on someone that A. Isn't willing to rectify bad behavior for me of their own back. And B. Has no guarantee it will even work :)

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    • 7d

      Well, some things are minor but they add up. Sometimes people start out not seeing something as a dealbreaker and eventually it gets to them. Maybe opposites attracted like in my story, but then the differences became too much to bear. There are a whole number of reasons why someone might later decide to want a person to sacrifice or change.

      What if the guy doesn't see his behavior as "bad"? Some examples are the occasional cigar, vaping, differing drinking habits, playing golf a bunch (some women hate this for some reason), spending "too much" time with the guys, playing "too much" video games, watching porn (some women don't mind watching with their boyfriends or if their boyfriends watch, some do, but men tend to keep this private), and so many other subjective things.

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    • 7d

      Unless she is trying to get you to change on something that will help you emotionally or physically. I don't think any man should be made to change at all.

      I'm sure there are gonna be the 'odd few' reasons i have missed out that could be included.

      But generally speaking, women and men should be equal. If one partner is telling the other to dress differently or act differently, there is something wrong with the equality there.

      Nobody is perfect. But when you are truly in love with someone they just are, even if on paper they are not :) I just think that wanting to change someone goes against the whole idea of what love is? If this makes sense.

    • 7d

      Yup! It does!

      I guess the best way to get your girlfriend or boyfriend to dress differently would just be to make a suggestion. "I think you'd look awesome in this dress" while you go shopping with her, or maybe "I think it would be so hot if you wore a thong sometimes". In the case of the guy, maybe comment him when he dresses sharp and say "I really love when you dress like this, it turns me on" or whatever. I don't know. hahahaha.

      So I suppose there are ways to make suggestions or try and convince others without making ultimatums or insulting their style.

  • 7d

    Is not possible to change a man, at all. I find it funny how come your Good Relationship Nutrition facts chart, sex is not part of it. Is there a reason why? Because romance and sex are different things.

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    • 7d

      Sex/touch is just one language of love. It is a part of romance in that regard. Sex is very important because, for many, especially men, it is the most important love language. The others being gestures/acts, words/affirmations, gifts, and quality time.

    • 7d

      I'd suggest checking out "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate" by Gary Chapman. Very awesome read.

  • 7d

    I think this is written way too biased towards John, who is very social, likes to go out, make new friends, party, etc. while Beth is like.. mousy.
    If we see it as "Beth trying to change John", we also assume that John's behaviour is completely okay, when in reality that's probably the behaviour of a (young) single man and not of a responsible husband and father.

    When he meets independent Mary (who financially helps him! with her alimony or child support money? Or is she a widow?) he actually seems to get a job and is apparently a different man. Mary doesn't press him to step up and assume more responsibilities because he's not the ACTUAL father of the children and she is happy to just have him around for company. Maybe she doesn't mind cooking his meals because she already cooks for the children too.

    We don't know what kind of money he was giving Beth for child support. Maybe she resented that he was spending his money on nights out instead of helping out.
    I don't wanna take Beth's side either because there aren't enough details, but in your description John just sounds like a low life bum to me.

    Things didn't work out because Beth wanted him to step up and do more while he was perfectly happy being where he stood, which is why he resents her for actually making him change his life - even if just to pay child support.
    That's why he and Mary work out together. They're both just very average people who don't expect more of their parners because they don't have personal ambition. They just "are".

    To answer your question, I think relationships shouldn't be about changing, but improving. If you wanna be stagnate when there's room for improvement, fine, but that's not what I expect from a partner.
    Of course being happy with what you have is also great, but yeah.

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    • 6d

      Yep. Ultimately John DID change, he just chose to do it later. For someone else’s kids, rather than his own, which is actually pretty sad.

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    • 6d

      I would say it was the opposite. Beth was working dead-end jobs, like waitressing, cashier at a retail store, etc. John was working in HVAC and supported both of them mostly. When John broke up with Beth, Beth moved in with her mother.

      Mary isn't making money hand over fist, but she works in an office environment and makes really good money, maybe even more than John does now. To say that they have no personal ambition when Mary just got a new even better-paying job plus sells cosmetics on the side and is working on her 4th child with John, I'm kind of surprised you'd say they just "are".

    • 5d

      You went into detail about John’s career progress after the divorce, so I just took that to mean that he was doing significantly better than before. If Beth did too, that’s great for her. But, for example if Beth initially wanted to be a stay at home mom and John didn’t want her to, then yeah, that is something they should have sorted out beforehand.

  • it doesn't last

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What Guys Said 6

  • 7d
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    • 7d

      Hahaha! This is what lots of guys fear. It is like, do I change for her to make her happy, or will changing make her lose respect for me?

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    • 4d

      @Poppykate so it is someone you get along with. But you can get along with friends too. Wouldn't you consider the "spark" being more of a sexual or romantic thing? Like this unspoken feeling between you and your lover? (When I say lover, I mean romantic interest, boyfriend, SO, w/e)

    • 4d

      I guess I would consider it a unspoken feeling... I think that spark/ fire is a sexual thing. And for shy people, this takes time to show itself. I think it's always there at the start of a good relationship, but as shy people generally lack the confident to express themselves, it remains hidden.

  • 7d

    My best friend's girl has been trying to change him, but he's just as stubborn as she is so no luck.

    They've broken up and gotten back together twice already. I don't see them lasting a long time only because of how unyielding they both are.

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    • 6d

      I see that sometimes. Two hardheaded spitfires that butt heads but because of all the raw emotions and passion, they tend to stay attracted even though there is a lot of drama and turmoil. I think that is probably one of the reasons abusive relationships will sometimes last years. Maybe the woman also verbally and emotionally abuses the guy, and then he lashing back at her verbally or physically. It is like a mutual abusive type relationship.

      That isn't to minimize the terrible nature of domestic abuse. Some guys exert control over their women, especially if the woman is timid. Those are the very worst kind of men. I don't know how a man could feel loved by a woman who is trapped in a cage and made to fear coming out.

      Sounds like your best friend and his girl have some growing up to do, but then again, I think most people do. There must be something that keeps them attracted, something that keeps them holding on to hope. I hope they finally learn or be mature/brave enough to move on.

    • 6d

      Same.

      Those kids are gonna be the death of me, I swear.

  • 43min

    never!

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  • 5d

    Depends. Some men have severe mental disorders.

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  • 7d

    relationships last when both are respectful and responsible.
    Changing one or the other is not the solution !!

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  • agree

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