By Gina B.
Is anyone aware that women are the original rehabbers?
Long before there were construction companies or HGTV shows, women have been applying their handiwork in efforts to fix the men that they've chosen.
Similar to the decision to break out a wall or modernize a kitchen, many women think that they can strap on their emotional toolbelts and apply those same renovation principles to guys who have "good bones."
Personally? I don't have the intestinal fortitude for such undertakings. I decided long ago that I can't be in any more "if" relationships.
You know you're in an "if" relationship when you're dating for potential and often wish you could change major parts of your significant other - usually things that can't be changed. For example: "He would be perfect IF he didn't have five children by four women."
Being in an "if" relationship sucks. Just picture the possibility of your relationship as a beautiful oasis, and then open your eyes to see that you're really immersed knee deep in a muddy pond.
It's important to be realistic when evaluating your relationship. There are certain things about a man that a woman can influence or will probably change naturally over time. Don't worry about his clothes, hair, vehicle or even monetary status. None of those are static.
Focus instead on personality traits, values and morals. For example, "He would be great IF he had a nicer car" is far different than "He would be the perfect man IF he didn't have that terrible temper and penchant for beating me."
I once dated a guy who was intelligent, attractive, outgoing, expressive and had a great sense of humor. Sounds like a keeper, right? Well . . . the problem was that he was completely devoid of ambition and lived without any regard for the future.
His deficiencies didn't bother me immediately because we always had a great time together. Over time, it became clear that he simply wasn't an achiever. He had big ideas, but no plans of action. He often spoke of things that he wanted to do, but never got around to.
After a short while I noticed a pattern and began to wonder why such an intelligent guy couldn't manage to get his shit together.
I found myself explaining him to my friends. I attempted to convince everyone of his intelligence and assured them that he was wonderful, but had a temporary lack in focus.
The problem was that I didn't believe that temporary wouldn't become permanent. He would have been a great guy . . . IF.
Some of my friends, self-proclaimed experts in male rehab, advised me that I should have tried to guide him. But that didn't seem fair. What if he liked himself the way he was?
Or, what if he was looking at me with equal amounts of scrutiny? Perhaps he thought I was too serious. Maybe he would have liked to have fixed me too.
I was sure that there was a woman, somewhere, who would think he was perfect as is. I decided to let him go find her.
I've since resigned myself to only date men whom I like for who they are right now, and not for who they have the potential to be - with the realization that no person or relationship is perfect.
If I'm lucky, my guy appreciates me and resists the urges to make me change any of my viewpoints or bad habits. He can certainly try to change me . . . but only IF he likes fighting an uphill battle.
Have you ever tried to change a significant other?
Write and tell me how that worked out for you.