We’ve all seen it in the movies. The bad boy who gives no f*cks falls for the good girl who changes him for the better. He ends up reverting to his bad boy ways and loses her temporarily, but then finds an elaborately romantic way to win her back. It’s extremely alluring. That’s why Grease, A Walk To Remember, 10 Things I Hate About You, Crazy Stupid Love, Dirty Dancing, and even Disney’s Beauty and the Beast use this same plot line; because we totally eat that shit up.
Every one of us wants to be that girl to make such an impact in a person’s life. We want their moms to thank us for reforming their sons into upstanding citizens. We want his friends to tell us we are the only girl he’s ever truly cared about. We want him to tell us that there’s something about us that makes him want to be better. This kind of love is possible, but it probably won’t come from the guy who’s a fixer upper. The characters in those movies are the exception, not the rule, and even though we all want to believe our guy could be the exception, he’s probably not.
Whether he has bad family history, a terrible ex, or he’s a borderline sociopath with the inability to feel empathy or any human emotion, there’s a reason he’s been labeled as the perpetual heartbreaker. I don’t necessarily believe in the idea of “once a cheater, always a cheater,” but I do believe that once trust is broken, you can never get it back. He doesn’t have to cheat on you to break your trust. It can be a simple action or comment that makes you feel bad about yourself or question your relationship. The magical girl power that we hold in our ovaries is no match for that kind of mega-douchebaggery.
The only thing worse than you not changing him is him changing you. He has the same ability to alter your personality. As hard as it may be to realize, we are not impervious to change. Given the chance, he can wreak havoc on your self confidence and inner monologue. He can make you incessantly check your phone to see if he texted you back. He can make you spend entire nights worrying that you are not the only one. He can convince you that you are crazy and you are the one to blame for fights. You can get addicted to the post-fight honeymoon phase where everything feels right in the world, but it’s a facade if it happens once a week. That’s not changing his personality — that’s changing his mood.
If you start off a relationship with a challenge, chances are the whole relationship will be a challenge. Are you looking for a partner or a project? Our competitive nature makes us want to be the one to tame the beast, but no one takes a quantum physics class because maybe it’ll text you back. No one runs a marathon to get a half-assed “you’re pretty,” that oozes with obviously feigned meaning. No one becomes a lawyer because they just genuinely enjoy fighting everyday. You have to consider the input as well as the output of the relationship. Not that bullshit about “when it’s good, it’s good.” It should be good more than it’s bad. You should be growing as a person while you grow together.
The only person who can fix a fixer upper is himself, and while you can spend your time trying to find the Danny Zuko to your Sandra Dee, maybe you should consider keeping an eye out for the Jim Halpert to your Pam Beesley. .