The More We Change

The more we stay the same. I am constantly trying to figure out if people can truly change or if everyone simply stays the same. I have experienced many situations where I though someone had suddenly changed, only to figure out that that is who they were all along, I just wanted to see something else.

This weekend Bea and I watched another romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth. My wife knows the ones that I can stomach and this one was pretty good. Not a full meal of a movie but an ok snack. A little on the sexist side, but also attempting to be truthful and shine the light on what woman think of man. It was no surprise that it was written from the female perspective.

I would have to agree with one of the main points of the movie. If anyone enters a relationship hoping to change or make someone fit into a mold, they are in for a rude awakening. Which brings me to this little pesky subject of change. The movie glosses over the whole subject of self improvement just pegging men as simply incapable of it.

The prior night Bea and I had an interesting conversation about cheating. One of our friends is going through the mental process of determining if they should stay in a marriage with a cheater, or give them just one more chance to change their ways. While the initial reaction is to just say “once a cheater, always a cheater” it is never that simple.

Manhood is achieved in many different ways in our society. We have many stereotypes that are followed as a means to gain respect either for self stem or admiration from your peers. Some men achieve that fixing or riding cars or motorcycles, some achieve that by having the best collection of whatever, some by being the best at a sport or game. The list goes on and on, but as men we have an innate need to excel at something, that is how we become desirable. Some people get that self stem from adding names or in some cases simply numbers to their “hit” list.

Everyone regardless of sex seeks to be recognized in some way. Acknowledgment is the reward for those that seek approval from others. Some people get that by achieving the ultimate intimacy rather than a meaningful relationship or even just a friendship. Some people even have a meaningful relationship, but still seek the thrill of getting into bed with someone because it achieves instant gratification for them in many levels. When this becomes extreme, a lot of effort is devoted to cheating, keeping the lies going, looking for new people to explore, finding that next conquest.

As oversimplified and one sided as it sounds, I have found this way pretty accurate when it comes to the cases I have encountered. I believe that in situations where there is cheating in marriages, it is most likely one person trying to fulfill what the other person is not giving them either emotionally of physically. For the one situation we discussed, and I hope it is not the norm, this person cannot get their approval from simply one human being loving them at home. So we circle back to, can this person change? Should the person just give up and just cut their loses and fold their hand?

Like everything is life, this is a complicated thing and not a slam dunk for the “move on” hopefuls. I believe that once you enter marriage you need to give it your very best til the very end. We all have flaws and while the worst one of all seems to be not being able to keep it in your pants, being a widow to a video game, a garage full of toys, a group of friends, etc, its not all that fun either… maybe less likely to get you the clap, but still not a good situation and makes for unhappy people.

A serial cheater can change only if they discover and understand the root of their problem. I personally think in this particular case, the person did not grow up in an environment where he could see a family structure as a viable or even real option. If you have never truly seen it, a family life can be the unicorn of someone’s existance. On top of that, no father figure or someone to show them how a lady should be treated. Everything else mixed with the nature of man to achieve status one way or another make the perfect cocktail for someone that does not know the value of commitment.

Nobody can change their nature, but everyone can change their behavior. Its not easy, it takes time and most of all support, but it can happen. People turn their lives around, men all over learn to put the toilet sit down. More important than that is accepting people for who they are, and entering every relationship with your eyes open. Do not think you will make someone check off your perfect attribute and expectation list of what a mate should be, specially if the dude has never seen the list.

One Response to The More We Change

  1. I think people can change, but it’s difficult and takes a long time before you see any result of working on your change. In this society, instant gratification is the norm, and change is a work-in-progress.

    As far as giving your very best until the end of a marriage, I also agree, but while it takes 2 to make one, it really only takes 1 to break it, and so people need to be strong enough to realize that sometimes what’s broken can’t be fixed and not try to force it.

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