You meet a marvelous man. Things go great. Emotional pirouettes.
Fine. If you don’t have a handle on what comes next, you will walk away from the whole thing wishing you had.
It’s summed up in the quip, “A man gets with a woman expecting she won’t change, and she does. She gets with him thinking he will change, but he doesn’t.”
My good man, when you met her she was putting her best foot forward. When she figures she’s landed you, that stops. Quick, fast and in a hurry.
She started out hanging on your every word in the restaurant. Now she doesn’t pay nearly that close attention. She started out pleasantly deferring. Now she’s getting bossy. The blush, fella, is off the proverbial rose.
Don’t lose heart. Ride it out. If she’s meant for you, she’ll come back around. If that attention she was paying is sincere. If the deferring was about caring whether you’re comfortable and not just manipulation.
The bossy part? Well, hate to break it to you, but that’s one change in her you’re going to have to live with. If you wanna live with her. And to tell the truth, some women are so sweet about being in charge, you really don’t mind.
Added to which, every once in a while she actually lets you make a decision. So you feel good. Kind of like throwing the good doggie a nice bone.
At any rate, she is going to change. If she doesn’t change back, time to go get your walking shoes.
Gals, you have got your work cut out for you. Most guys’ attitude is, “You can take me as you found me or leave me alone.” Yet, you have to put your mark on him. Do yourself a favor: Don’t do what my last girlfriend, Carla (no, not her real name), did to me — ambush the poor guy with an alphabetized barrage of what’s wrong with him.
There I am, feeling good on a Sunday morning. We rolled out of bed, both of us in a great mood. ’Til she sidled over, talkin’ ’bout, “Now, I don’t want you to get upset. And don’t take this as a complaint, but…”
Then she rattled off the list: Get a haircut. Buy some better shoes. Paint the apartment. Do something about all these damned cats — do they have to have their litter box in the bathroom? (Where the hell else they gon’ have it, in the kitchen next to the dining table?)
Fact is, I knew I needed a haircut. And that I should get some decent kicks. And, for that matter, yeah, a fresh coat of paint wouldn’t hurt the apartment walls one bit.
It’s the principle of the thing, though. Right in the middle of the afterglow she throws a bucket of cold water, one complaint right behind the next. Ladies, you can get around to every item on your list without unloading on him to the extent that even if he agrees, he’s going to dig his feet in.
Change him, sure. You do it smart enough and he’ll never notice. You can’t beat him over the head, though. All that’s going to do is make him defensive.
Hit him with one suggestion, then leave it alone. He’s just liable to say, “Hey, she’s right.” Especially since, no two ways around it, women usually are. There’s just ways of being right that come across better than others.
So, there you have it, the change exchange. Part and parcel of every relationship. It’s all about how you handle it.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.