May 19, 2014 sistatalks

Change Him or Change Yourself?

Last week my mother, aunt and I had an interesting conversation. The subject? What’s the one thing the majority, if not all, black women discuss at some point during any given week? Men, of course. More specifically, we were discussing men and women changing in relationships. My aunt’s point of view: Men are not going to change; the woman needs to. A woman knew how her man was years before she married him and shouldn’t expect him to suddenly change because he said: “I do.”My mother’s perspective: Both men and women need to change after entering into a relationship, be it dating or marriage. You cannot have the same “single” mindset and tendencies once you’ve committed to someone.

My thoughts: Smh (shaking my head).

I agree that both parties need to change; in any good relationship, you and your partner will inevitably change as you learn more about one another and yourselves. Relationships do entail compromise, sacrifice, and adjustments…to an extent. Let me repeat that, I said to an extent.

You see my aunt, and so many other women, believe that “men will be men” philosophy —you know, that it’s in a man’s nature to do (fill in the blank), so rather than think you’re going to change him down the line somewhere, you, the woman, need to change your thinking.

He’s had an unstable work history and, when unemployed, doesn’t feel the need to always immediately go out and seek another job. It’s been like this for years. So, rather than wanting a man who provides for you, you need to change your thinking.

He was unfaithful when you met him and he’s unfaithful now that you’re dating. You’ve always believed in monogamy, but, now, you need to change your thinking.

You had this idea of what love and commitment would be, but your relationship has been the complete opposite of that. Still holding onto that hope? No, change your thinking.

I do think women should change their thinking when it comes to a relationship, but my timing is a little different. My aunt says after you’ve been with a man and have witnessed his ways. I say before you give him the time of day.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that as we experience different things our perspectives change. Love and relationships aren’t always you-just-love-one-another-so-much-and-want-to-constantly-be-up-under-each-other-night-and-day. I got it; we learn the reality. Yet, I still believe the line must be drawn between adjusting and downright settling.