celibacy, life, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

A better man

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?


7 thoughts on “A better man

  1. Not dated, but my best friend in life has helped me become more social. I was socially inept, he gave me confidence whispering in my ear at parties and such ” It’s okay bro, nobody gives a crap, just be yourself ” has helped me alot open up and be a better friend.

  2. Were these classmates truly obnoxious or just maybe a bit too outspoken and temperamental (for their age)? They’d just as easily scowl at you as they would throw something at you or call you a list of names if they felt like doing so? (with or without reason).

    Some uncooperative, unruly, or rebellious kids are just seeking attention. To them, bad press is better than no press. If your teachers were (un)unconsciously aware of it, they might have hoped that being so close to a source of calmness (you) would not only calm them (the classmates) down, but that it would also compel them to tone down the misbehavior.

    If the attention you gave them wasn’t reinforcing the association they’d created between being disagreeable and being noticed.

    On the other hand, maybe these classmates were looking for someone who wouldn’t give in to the attention trap.

  3. dontdatethatdude says:

    Well now that’s an interesting question, because I would say that my X did help me significantly in that area, but his delivery of how I should change was not socially acceptable. He was pretty harsh most of the time and still I was able to see what he was talking about and learned quite a lot about myself from him. I believe we need others to help us grow, but it doesn’t always have to be a live in partner, friends and children can do wonders for teaching us! Also you must be open to seeing where your flaws lie and be willing to become better than you are! Glad to see you are back. Sorry I missed the first couple of posts. I thought you would be gone longer! I hope you had a great time! 🙂

  4. Hi Oxymustard,

    You’re right, friends can also help us improve ourselves. You have a great best friend.

    Hi sittingpugs, those classmates had, for most of them, troubles in their family life, and they were a bit lost, torn between their parents’ divorce. Most of them weren’t mean at all, nor obnoxious. In a way, they were seeking attention, because nobody cared about them. it’s understandable. I don’t think I would have reacted differently if I came from a broken home.

    DDTD, it’s true that everyone can help us change in a good way, not just our partner. But we need to be opened up to the others to see our flaws and try to improve them. Thank you! It’s OK, now you’re back 🙂 I had a great time, I wish it would have lasted longer…

  5. In some ways, my ex-husband made me a better person. He had a strong sense of family which I had lacked.

    Mostly, in a habit that I am trying to break, I make the people I date better people. My gentleness calms them, they get new direction, they become more focused. Thing is, I cannot bear the weight and responsibility I then get in return. I just broke up with someone over the weekend because of this. I cannot be the mom to or save the world! I am autonomous; I don’t ask such of others.

  6. The Last Spartan says:

    I think that one common theme in the people who have “been changed” by a significant other or friend is that they tend to be “different”.

    For example, despite all of our problems, my immediate family and I are pretty close and we resolve most conflicts quickly and (hopefully) healthily. My wife’s background is the opposite. As such, I think she has grown to have a stronger sense of what propogates conflict and what the loving families do.

    I think that the person whom you really love will influence you to want to be the best “you” possible. It takes a certain amount of self-awareness and commitment to want to change old habits but if they are maladaptive, it’s all the more reason to do so. You have to be committed to it though. My wife was not and it almost ended our marriage. We both got a kick in the pants and came to our separate realisations of this fact and managed to improve ourselves as people and as a couple.

  7. Cricket, it can be disturbing to be considered as the leading person for something, especially if you like to act autonomous.

    LS, indeed, it takes a lot of self-awareness and commitment to accept you’re not perfect and that you need to change. And like you said, it’s best when you share that self-awareness with your partner.

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