Some women give up looking for the man that’s right for them. Instead, they find some guy who “will have to do” and work to change him into the man they really want. After you’ve stopped dating and you’re in a relationship, that’s when the “Changer” gets to work. She may say “I love you” and really believe it, too. But she’s really in love with her idealized notion of who you could be, not who you actually are. Here are seven signs you’re dating someone like this:
1. Compromise suddenly has a new definition
You like foreign films with subtitles; she likes romantic comedies. Normally, you’d compromise and take turns picking the movie. But for the Changer, this compromise won’t last long. Soon you will hear: “But I really want to see this movie!” or “I’m worried it won’t be playing by next week.” For the Changer, compromise means doing what she wants... every time.
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2. Your girlfriend becomes “Our Lady of the Constant Critique”
It’s OK for a woman to ask you to “dress up a bit” for a special occasion, but the Changer always has some complaint to accessorize it with, like: “Why do you wear jeans all the time?” It might not be your clothes she fixates upon, though. Marc (who has dated a Changer in the past), says, “Everyone has habits. Mine were always under attack. When people try to concentrate, some rub their foreheads. Me, I scratch the back of my head. But she kept trying to get me to stop. And when it wasn’t that, there was always something else irritating her.”
3. If you happen to disagree, you’re always wrong and she’s always right
You and your girlfriend should enjoy having conversations with each other. You might disagree on some topics, but the difference of opinion should be stimulating, not aggravating. However, the Changer must convince you that you’re wrong, no matter how trivial the topic. There is only one reasonable viewpoint — hers.
4. Your friends have practically disappeared since you started seeing each other
Lately, your friends don’t seem to come over very often and they don’t invite you out, either. They have opinions of their own about your girl, it seems, and that poses danger for the Changer. She’s probably doing subtle things to make your friends uncomfortable in her presence. If so, it means she’s hoping to isolate you, which makes her ability to control your life that much easier.
5. Her schedule is more important than yours
Phil, who also dated a Changer, recalls, “Our first date was a movie that I wanted to see on a Saturday, but she wanted to go to the Tuesday showing. So, Tuesday it was, then. She wanted to catch the early show; I explained I’d be working outside the city that day and I’d have to fight rush-hour traffic to make it on time — and rearrange my schedule. But, I agreed to it. It was hard, but somehow I managed to arrive early. She showed up late. I wish that had been our first and last date!”
6. Trivial things become vital to her happiness
Your girlfriend asks you to stop leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor, which is reasonable. But does she insist you order something to share every time you go out to dinner, too? Does she insist on taking her car to nice restaurants because yours is dirty or has a visible dent? If she complains about every little thing before and during your dates, then she’s a Changer. The next time she insists you order something off the menu that’s not to your liking, try changing your choice of dinner companions instead. You’ll be happier in the long run.
7. In your relationship, support is a one-way street
When she needs your support, you always deliver. But somehow, it’s different when you need something from her. Her support usually comes with conditions attached or is followed by long, dramatic sighs. Whatever’s wrong, a Changer will point out that it’s probably all your fault, and sympathy is always absent.
Steve Bowden is a freelance writer who contributes to Happen magazine.