“Most women set out to try to change a man, and when they have changed him they do not like him” — Marlene Dietrich.
DESPITE the warnings from more experienced women, and even our own unfortunate experiences, many of us still feel confident that we can change men to make them more of what we want. And so we fall in love with the potential – what he can become after we shape him up – then enter the relationship to build the man of our dreams.
What's worse is that some of us beg, borrow and steal to get these men into our lives, confident that we have what it takes to make them stay. But things don't always turn out how we plan, do they?
We asked women who have gone all out to get/steal/change a man and had regrets, to share.
Kim, 24, student:
My friend had a boyfriend who I thought was the sweetest guy I've ever seen. He went all out for her, always giving her nice gifts and showing affection when they were in public and posting her on social media. But she kept on complaining that she felt like she was suffocating, and I told her that she was just not used to good men. She migrated and they broke up, and he started expressing an interest in me. I had another boyfriend but he wasn't doing half the things that this guy did for my friend, so I decided to do a lowkey thing with him. Let's just say I learned firsthand how my friend felt. The guy was so clingy and annoying! It felt like he needed me to breathe. It really wasn't healthy.
Nordia, 32, front desk clerk:
I met him eight years ago when he came into my office to conduct business, and he was a charming red skin man whom I immediately liked. We met up a few times and the courtship was fast, and it was about a year afterwards that he confessed that not only was he married, but he had a set of outside kids along with the three he had with his wife. I ended things but found out a few weeks later that I was pregnant, and he wormed his way back into my life. I told him that I would only stay if he left his wife, and that he did. She came to the house one day to confront me, and I should have taken her words that she would 'make him walk and nyaam out of garbage bin' as karma, but I was in love. We had that child, and another a year later, and he divorced her and married me. But we have never been at peace. He left his job to start a farm that isn't successful, and nothing we touch has prospered. And he has other women out there, and big child support obligations. So basically, now I'm married to a crowbait who I can't even depend on to help our family.
Jordan, 46, merchandiser:
This one still makes me laugh to this day, because his other woman was smarter than me. You know when yuh young and hot and think that you alone have what the man want? Well I met the man I wanted, only thing is that he lived with his woman. So what did I do? I would call her at all hours of the night and harrass her on the phone. I told her that if she had what it took to hold the man he wouldn't stray. I was surprised at first at how well she handled it – she told me I could have him, and packed his stuff and put him out. Fool, fool me never catch the rake from that, instead I promptly moved him in. But you know this man had nothing? The car he was flossing with was hers. The house was hers. The money was hers. And his 'wealthy' parents from whom he had an 'inheritance' actually were dirt poor and lived in the country. This man came to my house and sat on the couch and watched TV and played video games 24/7. It took two years before I could scrape him up and get him out because he refused to budge until I had to take out a restraining order.
Sherry, 26, PR officer:
My ex was in another relationship when we met, but he swore he was on the verge of breaking up with the girl because it was long distance and he was no longer in love with her. I usually run far from situations like that, but he made me believe him. Seven months into our relationship he was still communicating with her, saying they were just friends. When she went as far as to call my phone one day, I left him, but he came back saying he cut her off completely, so I went back… A few months later a voice told me to check his phone while he was showering. Not only was he still flirting around with the ex, but there was another girl who he was giving the same story to that he gave to me about his ex.
Jane, 31, nail technician:
I took up a man who I knew was an alcoholic, but I thought he was only drinking because he was under a lot of stress at the time after his marriage failed. He showed signs of being out of control when he was angry, but I only focused on how sweet and funny he was in the good moments. I thought that with time, love and care he would calm down, but I was wrong. He only got worse. The last straw for me was when he came home drunk, arguing over foolishness and wanting sex, then trying to hit me when I told him he was drunk. I never looked back.
Tiffany, 29, social worker:
I got married thinking that he would start treating me better when it was official, but it is the same lazy, poor communicator that I still have today. If anything he got more complacent after the wedding day. At least I know he is faithful, because he is so lazy in bed I know no other woman could put up with him.
Chantal, 32, stay-at home mom:
After raising my first son on my own for most of four years, I met up back with his father and we started dating again, thinking things would be different. They were, to be honest, for about a year, and we started talking about another child, and marriage. He was so responsible and charming, and he worked hard to take care of us. I came off birth control and got pregnant again, and that's when I saw the old colours come back up. Now I'm a single mom of two.
Stacey, 30, customer care agent:
Men cannot change. They just choose which side to show you when it's convenient, but the old dirty ways will never go away. I went through that with all the men in my past, and so now I just choose to stay single until I meet a man who is already what I want. If it's not ready made I don't want it.