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I Wanted to Help Him- NO, You Wanted to Change Him

Updated on July 24, 2010

I have to admit lately I have been blessed with the presence of people in my life who have done their very best to soothe the bitter passions left over by my most recent breakup. Some of these extraordinary people have been amazing men who, not moved my personal interest (and I know this for a fact), have been expressing their natural concern for my circumstances in the effort to cheer me up in this time of sorrow. This hub wants to thank these men and let them know that, from the bottom of my heart, I am grateful for their virtual company and assistance. You are the reason I still believe in the existence of goodhearted men and in the chance of endless love.

Last night I had a fabulous time over dinner with one of these extraordinary men who have enlightened me in this journey to emotional reconstruction. We spent hours talking about life, goals, relationships, plans, and expectations. It was delightful. At some point we started to converse about my last boyfriend, the guy who blatantly and carelessly put the cherry on top of my cake of hurtful experiences. “It looks like you know what went wrong, yet you can’t get over it. What’s up with you and emotionally broken people?”- He asked. I laughed heartily, with gusto. “I don’t know”-I responded- “I want to save them all”. “You’re not trying to save them; you’re trying to change them”- He added. “No way, no, no, really, I wanted to help him get over his losses; I wanted to be there for him”- I readily responded back. Mr. P (we’ll give him this subtle nickname for the purpose of this hub) looked at me straight in the eyes, this time with a more serious approach, yet with an amused smile on his face and stated, “No, you were trying to change him”.

And there it was, the mistake that I had purposely been trying to avoid since my last flop in my longest relationship with the man that changed my whole approach to difficult relationships (or so I thought); it was still there despite all my efforts to avoid it at all costs. Or was it? See, when it comes to the way men and women analyze and interpret certain notions, like help in this instance, I am confident in my belief that there is literally an entire ocean of difference and misunderstandings involved in the process. To me, being there for this person to make him realize that he could trust me, that I wasn’t going to judge his previous life experiences, and that I wanted to share my life with him, in the good and the bad times, meant helping him. That, of course, involved modifying certain behaviors that directly doom the chances for a successful relationship, such as the lack of proper communication and the automatic distrust for people’s good intentions. To Mr. P, instead, my attitude was obviously aimed at changing the character of the man I so deeply adored; the point being that if this guy wasn’t able to communicate properly and didn’t trust my good intentions on his own, then I was trying to force attributes onto him that didn’t belong to his persona to begin with, therefore I was trying to change him.

How could that be? Frankly, I really liked this person. I liked his confidence (even though I am truly convinced by now that it’s just a façade to hide deeply rooted insecurities that never leave the back of his mind); I liked his charisma; I liked the way he was capable of caring for me; I liked the way he had voluntarily been there for me in my times of need; I liked the small things…The way he smiles; the way he is passionate about future plans, and how his passion showed whenever we talked about his hopes and dreams; the way he is firm in his decisions, though he lacks the capability to “absorb the heat” when things don’t go as planned; I liked the way he…Now that I think about it, now that I am actually spending time to go through his qualities, I realize I just liked the way he is a “bad boy”, a manly man, the kind of man who could pick me up and push me around, and stand up to me when necessary, but at the same time hold me warmly, love me passionately, and make me feel special. In the words of one of my dearest friends and most affectionate readers: “I want a bad boy who is going to be good to me”.

Memories are now too murky and the lights are too dim to remember exactly what made me feel on top of the world when I shared my days with this man. As time goes by, the positive memories are slowly being replaced by the disappointment for his lack of integrity and maturity, and the notion that he just didn’t love me; he said that he loved me; he promised me he loved me, but then he didn’t follow through. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even care for me enough to be honest to me and come clean about his feelings…If I look at him from this crude perspective then, yes, I wanted to change him; I wanted him to be something he is not, though I thought that’s who he was, or was he?

I’ll conclude this hub with one of Nirvana’s most famous lines, in the hope that I will finally realize one day if I were trying to change this man’s character or I was trying to mold it into my own existence, if there is a plausible difference in the end.

“Come as you are, as you were, as I WANT YOU TO BE”…

© 2010 Roberta S


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    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      Thank you anyways Tom

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home

      I know but I was afraid i woulld forget so ...

      and I thought today was wednesday and i never know what the date is-so really you should be glad and amazed I have the right month let alone week... ,I'm only off by a day!!11 and I am actually early!!!! I am quite proud i was this close to it....

      oh well have a good Birthday tomorrow then...


    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      Tom, my birthday is not til Wednesday the 28th :)

    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      MM, thankfully I am surrounded by intelligent and caring men in this moment of grief. I wouldn't have moved on as quickly as I am without them. I am blessed to have a chance to compare perspectives and understand where I went wrong. Hopefully I will learn from my mistakes and from this chance of men vs. women's perspective match. Thank you for stopping by, you are so encouraging!:)

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA


      Congratulations on getting and seemingly accepting this insight at such a young age! Most of us "fixers" never see the pattern until much later in life.

      There is a saying "Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the goal of changing them." It's so true!

      I've learned the hard way the only one we can change is ourselves. Ouch!

      Glad you are able to use your writing as a catharsis during this period of loss, as you move (at whatever pace) into recovery and healing.

      Like an old journal, one day you will look back on all of this and smile.

      Til then, keep on hubbing! MM

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home

      Hey although I can be quite ...;l?"what do you mean good guys are boring." I have always BEEN A GOOD FUY YET NEVER BORING....I am aood guy i don't drink Dont smoke... what do I do... (all hail adam ant) sorry- I am a non drinker smoker - dare I be colloquial? i can be quite cheeky And dare I say naughty *tee-hee* at times For instance I have been known to...

      Eat icecream with a fork...OOOHH I'm bad

      I have been know to engage in marital "consumation" with my wife during THE DAY!!!


      I have been known to recite a cheeky limmerick.... Si there not all the nice guys are boring...

      BY the way Happy Birthday TOMORROW the 27th...Wednesday-

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY I say it today because I will probably forget tomorrow BECAUSE "I'M BAD" - OH YEA Have a JOLLY Birthday....


    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      True words John Mark, thank you for your feedback!

    • john mark profile image

      john mark 

      8 years ago from GARFIELD

      Good work to relate to. Sometimes it is the struggles of every day life that makes us all strong. When we fall down and our spirit is drowned in the oceans of disappointments and discouragement,the pain makes us strong every time we gather our shield, stand up and match foward knowing that tomorrow holds something worth more precious to us than just our todays heart break! Great Hub!

    • robertaharden profile imageAUTHOR

      Roberta S 

      8 years ago from California on the rocks

      Thank you Kris!The dichotomy bad guy vs. good guy is one that will haunt me for the rest of my life probably. See, it ultimately boils down to the fact that good guys are usually boring guys (OMG, did I just say that?Don't mind me, it's Mr. Cabernet Sauvignon speaking right now).I think the average, interesting, strong woman is looking for the kind of man that can keep her satisfied and engaged in the relationship and, unfortunately, the average good guy kinda lacks these qualities...As I mentioned, I need a bad boy who's gonna be good to me :)

    • ilmdamaily profile image


      8 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

      Hooray for self-realisations inspired by really is a team sport isn't it?

      It's funny you mention the whole bad boy/nice guy dichotomy. I was lamenting with a friend just before reading this that in my younger days I was a "nice guy" when the girls wanted a "bad boy", and that now in my late twenties, it's swapped and i've become a "bad boy" when women are looking for the opposite lol.

      We're all so often conflicted about who it is we want and/are...we want someone who is what we lack - and in trying to change them to how we think they should be - either in love or misplaced concern - aren't we really just vicariously trying to change ourselves?

      Great work as usual Roberta;-)


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