When I was younger and still a student, teachers would always place me beside the most difficult and insubordinate kid in the class, always of the opposite sex. They bet that the quiet little lamb I was would calm down her turbulent neighbor, and it worked most of the time. I did remain friends with most of my difficult class neighbors afterwards, curiously, even if our characters were radically different. Back then, I had a kind of admiration for their insolent behavior, as I was really shy. And some of them were just impressed by how I could keep my composure in every situation (it has changed a little since then) and by my kindness (that’s what they told me). The little exchanges we had in the classroom influenced a bit our behaviors: they helped me to be less shy, I helped them to remain composed.
In love too, this kind of dynamics can work. I met once a woman who told me about the relationship she had with her man. She was an absolutely loving and caring person, and she fell in love with a man who wasn’t exactly an angel: he had been arrested several times for drunk driving and violent behaviors. But she said that since he knew her, he wanted to improve his personality.”He was conscious he was a bad person, and he was amazed by my unconditional love. He knew that I loved him, no matter if he was angry or in a bad mood. That helped him to change his behavior. Of course, everything didn’t go smooth at the beginning of our relationship. We had little fights, but it evolved” she said.
This dynamic only works if the so-called bad person realizes he/she’s heading in the wrong direction, and is willing to change. “I noticed there was something wrong with me, as people were never happy to see me at work, or even in my family. When I met her, she helped me realize I was only thinking of me, and didn’t give a damn about the others’ feelings. She helped me to open up and to care more about the others, and since then, my social life has improved dramatically. I could never thank her enough for that”N., 40, said.
You can never force someone to change. It has to come from the other. Otherwise, you will fight all the time because you know he/she will never change and eventually get fed up with his/her behavior. “He wanted me to be different, more outspoken, more tidy, more this and that, but I didn’t see what was the problem with my personality, and we often fought about that. One day, I decided I had enough of him and his constant reproaches, so I left him”O., 37, said.
But I do believe we all need each other to improve ourselves. If we live only withdrawn on ourselves, we’re just becoming sinister people, and it’s never a good thing.
So, have you ever dated someone who helped you being a better person?