I was watching Californication tonight and one of the daughter’s lines inspired me. She was talking to her mother about how she made the decision to be with her father knowing all of his pitfalls and character flaws. Being the insightful 12-year-old that she is, she told her mother that she “needs to love him for who he is, not his potential.” Her mother is a mature, intelligent, together woman but she still is unable to fully understand the truth in this statement.
I realize that this is fiction, but it rings true for every woman who has ever thought that she could change a man even in the most basic way (and that is pretty much all of us). I have been guilty of this many times over. I tend to see the good in everyone and strive to bring out their potential. I think in some ways this is a good characteristic to have, but my challenge is to find the balance between nurturing someone’s potential and accepting them for who they are.
As women we can be so dense that even when a man flat-out tells us who he is and what we can expect from a relationship with him we still refuse to stifle the tiny thought in the back of our mind that says “I can make him better.”
It only perpetuates our delusion when the men we date actually make those changes for us. It makes us believe that our love can change a person. In reality, these changes only last until he begins to feel suppressed and then the relationship immediately goes south. I realize that these truths have been repeated time and again, but most women still refuse to accept them.
I do believe that people will alter some behavior for the people they love, but it should never be expected. When we lie to ourselves about the potential of the men we date, we set ourselves up for what will most likely be a slow-fading relationship.