STOP TRYING TO CHANGE PEOPLE

In document Naked How to Find the Perfect Partner Wygant Davsid (Page 107-110)

I write a new blog post every day on my website. After one particular post, readers made a crazy amount of comments—about 200 or so. The heated response I received is what inspired me to include this chapter.

Are you somebody who is a change agent, someone who likes to rescue others? If so, what’s the deal? People are who they are. A personal pet peeve of mine is when individuals date someone based on potential. They’ll say, “Wow, I love this person so much! He’s [she’s] awesome. He’s [she’s] got so much potential.”

Really? I used to hear that all the time when I was in school.

Starting in third grade, my parents would go to parent-teacher night.

And then they would come home and always say the same thing:

“David, your English teacher thinks you’re the best writer in class. If you could just learn grammar—you have so much potential to be a great writer, a fantastic writer.” So I thought to myself, I’m a fantastic writer now. But now you’re telling me that all I need to do is learn grammar? Isn’t there someone who can edit my work?

I remember going back to school the next day and talking to my English teacher. She looked at me and she said, “Your parents were so nice. We discussed how great your writing is.”

“Yes, I know. I have a lot of potential.”

“Yes, you do,” she responded. “But you need to focus more.”

I looked her square in the eye and replied, “I want to ask you a question. My writing is really fun, right?”

“Oh, it’s the best! It’s the most entertaining writing in the class, and it’s very powerful.”

“Well, if it’s so great, let me just continue writing great stuff, and quit trying to change me.”

Here’s the deal: You can’t change people. If you’re with someone who’s not right for you, or has behavior patterns that you can’t accept, you’re wasting your time if you think you can change him or her. You’re not a change agent.

A lot of women will date men who are emotionally immature, and then they’re surprised when the relationship isn’t what they wanted it to be. But they’ll go out with these childish guys again and again. Remember the definition of insanity from Chapter 4? It’s doing

the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Here’s a note that I received from a woman who continued to make the same decisions and expected a different result:

David, I want to tell you about a bad relationship that I went through some time ago. I knew that this guy wasn’t exactly right for me, but he kept talking about how he was changing his life, and he appeared to be heading in the right direction. He just needed a little bit of help. But before I knew it, he sucked the life right out of me. Everything was always about him. His self-centered behavior not only destroyed our relationship, but it also damaged many of my other relationships—personally and professionally. Unfortunately, at the time I was young, I was dumb, and I really thought I could change him. I believed in the potential I saw in this man, and I put all my energy into him. In return for my faith, he proceeded to trash me emotionally, mentally, and financially. I should have said, “Enough!” but I couldn’t because I was so vested in the process of improving him. I couldn’t let go of my vision of how great I thought he could be once I was able to “fix” him. Eventually, I lost any trace of respect for this guy. I grew to resent him, and I finally gave in and ended things.

What a waste of this woman’s precious time and energy! The truth of the matter is that so many of you are involved with partners who are emotionally challenged, unbalanced, and immature. A lot of you look at the potential of your prospective mates and are blind to the reality that you can’t change people, and it’s a waste of your time to try and rescue them. By doing so, you become the victim. You get sucked into this person’s world, he or she takes all your energy, and the relationship becomes toxic.

You can’t rescue others; they need to do that themselves. They must look at themselves in the mirror and realize that whatever selfish behavior patterns they have are destroying every relationship they ever had in the past and will have in the future. It’s not up to you to teach them that lesson. It’s not on you to show them how life can really be. Instead of wasting your time with those whom you feel you need to change, why not get into a dating situation where the other person is someone who’s already right for you?

I have a client who’s notorious for trying to “help” the women he dates. He’ll go out with a woman and then say, “God, she’s absolutely beautiful! But if she’d just lose 15 pounds, she’d be perfect. I’m going to buy her a gym membership and hire her a personal trainer.”

What about the beautiful person that she is now? Maybe she’ll never lose the weight, and most likely she’ll come to resent this guy for always trying to change her.

Stop looking at the potential of your mates, and stop trying to be such a change agent. Look at them for who they are right now. Are you into certain individuals exactly the way they are right now—not the ways you think you can change them, how you think you can mold their lives, or to make them what you want them to be? Are you willing to accept them 100 percent the way they are—including their extra pounds, their love of prime-time television, their lack of

motivation, or whatever it might be?

It’s time for an exercise. Look at all the relationships that you’ve had and ask yourself, How many times and how many years have I spent trying to be a change agent for someone? How many times have I tried to fix or rescue the people I care about, and how did it impact my life?

Then I want you to look at your present dating situation and consider whether or not this behavior is going to satisfy you. If you’re completely honest with yourself, I think you’ll realize that you can’t be satisfied. People don’t change unless they make the decision to do so themselves.

You have only one chance to make a first impression, so make it the very best one you possibly can. This is true not only at the

beginning of a date, but also when you “meet” someone via an online-dating website. In the next chapter, we’ll consider some of the promises and pitfalls of the online-dating experience, and how to make it a positive one for you and your prospective dates.

CHAPTER 15

NAVIGATE THE

In document Naked How to Find the Perfect Partner Wygant Davsid (Page 107-110)