Has anyone ever told you they felt tense as a result of something you were doing and then, as a result, you changed that particular behavior? If so, what was the ultimate result of that change? Did you keep to the change or begin to feel resentful for even changing in the first place?
Solely because an SO wanted me to? No. But because a behaviour of mine was negatively affecting both me and the relationship? Absolutely.
That’s not to say it’s been easy, but the key is that I wanted to change as well. As to whether I have changed… well, I try.
I have decided that I’m not going to comprise on who I am just for a woman. No way, if she loves me, then she’ll love me for who I am.
With that Mucho egotism remark done with
I have changed the way I acted, and my thoughts about something, but not because my girlfriend made me, but because I wanted to be the best boyfriend to her, and I know it needed to be done. Sometimes, you have to let the women be happy to and let them win arguments. You can win more, but changing a stupid thing for your girlfriend.
When the women is happy, EVERYONE is happy:)
I’ve tried. Ultimately it doesn’t seem to work properly. Like, I used to always wear this sweater with holes in the elbows. It was my favourite sweater and my boyfriend hated it. I would stop wearing it around him, but I’d still wear it sometimes if he wasn’t around. Sometimes we’d have a fight and I’d think, “I wore this stupid shirt with no holes in it for him, I am such an idiot!” and I’d wear the sweater extra for a while. I would wish for holes in all my shirts just to spite him.
When I think about bigger things, like trying to change my way of thinking about big issues, or trying to adopt values that look really great and sensible on another person, but just don’t resonate with me and my experience, it has been a total failure. I tried to understand Catholicism for someone. It was a bit of the same syndrome with the sweater, when I would be angry I would think, I want to stop trying to be what he’s wishing for. I think it’s true that you have to accept the person as a mixed bag.
Sometimes I have worried when I’ve felt a man is changing too much in my direction. I think there will be a backlash. This is true of the beard issue. I like beards and I used to be very insistent that boyfriends have beards. Some people just aren’t beard people. I’ve had more than one boyfriend start out beardless and grow one for me and I stopped asking for it. Mainly because of one ex who always shaved it when he was mad at me. I’d know he was mad. There was some kind of symbolism in it that made me uncomfortable. Like, he is going to show independence from me by shaving. It’s creepy to feel like someone is longing to be free of your controling influence.
“you have to accept the person as a mixed bag”
Sounds like you’ve met my ex-wife, pokey.
Actually, I don’t think anybody really changes. Some can act better than others, or at least sustain the act for longer periods of time. When crunch-time comes, things become positively atavistic.
Although your examples (holey sweaters, Catholicism, beards) did seem a trifle, um…not terribly…er…
I’ve changed some behaviors…
I used to leave the water running when I brushed my teeth and I like to squeeze the toothpaste in the middle. I don’t anymore. These are small behaviors, though, that bothered him.
He’s stopped clearing his throat constantly. We both clear, but not nearly as much.
I’ve never changed something fundamental about myself, unless it was a habit that I didn’t like (say, biting fingernails or whining) but needed the push to actually stop doing it.
As far as behaviors go, she has pointed out areas that she thought I could/should change, and in some instances I did change. But I agreed with her that change was appropriate. Such as cutting back on my drinking and not having pot around the house as my kids got older. Or things like not being up front with others about our family atheism. Expressing our legitimate views was not worth the societal hassles we experienced within our narrow-minded community.
In other instances, I’ve said essentially “Tough shit, I understand what you are saying but I disagree, so you have to deal with it.” Tho I probably try to be a little more diplomatic than that.
On little things that don’t really matter, like the toilet seat, closing cabinet doors, dressing such that my shirt and slacks match, etc., I do my best to try to change my behavior so that my actions don’t bother her. I don’t understand why some things I consider minor bother her so much, but part of living together and being a team requires a certain amount of give and take.
Note, I assume her answer would be pretty similar to mine.
My husband and I have been together for 20 years, and married for 15. We have both changed things about ourselves, at the urging of the other. However, as pointed out before, I didn’t change for him and he didn’t change for me. We both changed, for the good of the relationship. My drive-him-nuts habit was being fatalistic. Some little thing would go wrong, and I would visualize the worst possible outcome for the domino set of events that would set up. He told me that it drives him nuts; I agreed it was undesirable, non-productive behavior. Now I try very hard not to do it, and he has let me know that he appreciates it. His drive-me-nuts thing was procrastination. I’d ask him to do something, he’d say, no problem, and it just wouldn’t get done. We had one big blow-up about it (I think I may have called him an asshole, which I can only remember doing one or two other times when I wasn’t just playing. . .name-calling is not a part of our relationship). Then, we sat down together, worked out a system of me “reminding” him (which I had been afraid to do for fear of coming across as a nag), and things have gotten better. I still over-dramatize sometimes, and he still procrastinates sometimes. But because we have both agreed that these behaviors need to be modified, all we have to do is say something like, “Honey. . .you’re doing it again”, and we can get things back on track.
I have modified and changed some of my behaviours for my relationship with my SO. When we met I smoked 1 1/2 packs of cigs a day. I also smoked pot. Alot of pot. He pointed out that I had a problem, that I was relying on the numbness that came when I used pot. We talked about it for a long time and I realized that he was right. I haven’t used it for over a year now and will not again.
The cigs were a bit harder. I truly enjoyed smoking. It calmed me, felt good in my lungs, and gave me something to put in my mouth besides food. My SO is dead against smoking, his grandmother died of lung cancer and he can’t stand the smell. At first I was a bit resistant, under the guise of “well, you found me this way”. Then we went to visit my dad in Michigan. He is dying of a smoking related disease, and is on oxygen 24 hours. He also requires regular breathing treatments. He is only in his late fifties. Seeing him in that state cured me of any wishes to smoke.
On November 8th it will be my one year of non-smoking. I don’t resent that one little bit.
WhetherMan, I read your other thread regarding your SO’s drinking habits and I wanted to share something else that I think is relevant.
My dad is an alcoholic. When I was little he used to get drunk and go into rages, and then pass out on the couch. I had this rocking chair that my grandfather had made for me before I was born, and I really loved it. One night he got drunk and angry, and threw the chair into the wall very close to me. My mom then laid out the line for him- get help or get out, because she didn’t care what happend to her, but if he hurt my sister or myself, she would kill him.
He got help. That to me is a very clear change.
Sure, I’ve stopped little things I didn’t realize I was doing, or that I didn’t realize were a problem. You know, popping my knuckles, snapping ink pen caps on and off and on and off, putting Dr.J’s nice cookware in the dishwasher, that sort of thing. I’ve also stopped (or at least tried to reduce) things that either just weren’t important to me or that I decided were Not Good Things To Do. Things like contradicting people who pay you compliments (body image issues and self-esteem problems are NOT excuses for being rude), playing wild games with the dogs when I get home from work at three in the morning, making that horrible face when he tlks about a recipe I don’t think sounds appetizing (he does the same thing about other stuff, but he’s working on that too).
Do I ever resent those changes? Well, no. They were things that either affected him more than me, or that were affecting me negatively. Besides, they were changes that I freely and willingly chose, and I would not have made those changes if I wasn’t reasonably sure I could live happily (or at least peacefully) with them.
Just about the big stuff, not the little compromises…
Sadly, I did change really basic things about myself to hopefully keep my marriage together. I taught myself not to care if he mentally shut me out or distanced himself from me, to not want anything from him but the barest minimum (which I also talked myself out of believing I deserved a lot of the time) and to be okay without any real intimacy.
Although I suppose I was successful at all that, my spirit broke and our relationship degenerated even further because of my loss of self. The end result? We’re in the process of filing for divorce. My advice for the future? Only do/change things that are healthy for you personally. If they benefit someone else as a by-product, that’s wonderful. However, no one should ever expect you to be someone you’re not and you shouldn’t settle for less than what you need. Hard lesson learned here at the feet of “anything for love.”
I am working on a change inspired by my beau, but I don’t see enough of him to assign blame/credit to him directly.
I can be a whiner. I can whine a lot. With a little effort, I could become an Olympic whiner. But I do not like whiners. They bug me. I bug me when whining. He mentioned to me once that he doesn’t care for it, and it isn’t becoming to me. So, I am making a conscious effort not to whine. I’m making some headway. I do still whine a bit, but only in the privacy of my head.
And I’ll bet he has no clue. So, is this for me or for him? My vote, for me.
All the time. Compromise is far better than anger, and 99% of the “issues” that come up over time are not worth staging WW3 over. To invite a woman fully into your life is to ask to be changed, to resist this change is to lose out on the best part of a relationship - the growing together.
MrsIteki asked me to stop using controlled substances when we met, so I did. I think I got a good deal
Since I was quite young when we met I have changed quite a few things about myself, but more as somone said above from being inspired to do it than “change for me!”. Another thing she asked me to do was to think for a second before I spoke when we were out with company. It sounds obnoxious put like that, but I would often be very nervous and motormouth along, sometimes making rather embarassing comments only to realise it seconds too late. She has changed things for me too, but both of us experience it more as personal development than conforming to eachothers wishes/expectations.
She told me that I shouldn’t drink so much, she met in a bar when I could barely stand, go figure? I told her she shouldn’t lie so much, actually, I told her she shouldn’t lie all the time, she told me I should accept her for who she was. She always accused me of cheating, I wasn’t, this usually started an arguement which seemed to please her. So I decided to accept her for her lying self and the only way I could do that was to drink more and become numb, and since I was always drunk and since I can’t lie when I’m drunk, I had to start sleeping around so that she could still accuse me of cheating on her, which kept her happy since now she could always argue with me.
So yes, I did change my behavior for a woman, I really don’t think it was for the better, though she did seem to enjoy the arguing, and I just laughed at her because I was drunk.
BTW I really don’t miss that one, and I hope to god I never end up in such mess EVER again.