Crappy guys seem to be the norm these days. Most women deal with it—we can either take a crappy guy or go back in the dating pool of other crappy guys. I know I did it. My boyfriend was a complete jerk to me when we first started dating, and for once, I actually put my foot down. Here’s how it made all the difference:
He realized single and 40 isn’t cute. A lot of guys in their late 20s/early 30s are in the player period and are too busy enjoying it to realize that they’re headed for a life alone if they don’t shape up.. Women are partially to blame for this attitude. Instead of questioning it, we put it up with it in hopes of eventually winning him over. I wasn’t having it anymore. Speaking up made my boyfriend take a hard look at himself and realize that if he didn’t want to die alone, he needed to shape up.
He changed without me having to ask. Most women are afraid to rock the boat in our relationships. We don’t want to come off as clingy, needy, or too demanding. I was always too afraid to ask for what I wanted—I wanted a guy to treat me well, stop certain behaviors, care more, etc. When I didn’t get it, I swept it under the rug and never said anything. I thought my standards were too high or I wasn’t being realistic. This is the first relationship where I didn’t have to say anything. I left because he wasn’t fulfilling my needs and that was enough for him. He knew that I deserved better and he didn’t want to lose me, so he changed.
His friends didn’t want to hang out with a douche. There is no way to have a successful relationship when the guy is selfish, knows it, and ignores it. My boyfriend was an arrogant P.O.S. He told his friends how he was treating me, thinking they would agree with him, and looked at him in disgust. His friends weren’t egging him on or encouraging his behavior. They were embarrassed, and that was his turning point.
He took responsibility for his crappy behavior. I was basically ghosted by him at one point and walked away gracefully. Of course I thought about calling him and trying to get him back but I didn’t. He was the one who reached out and wanted to make it better and knew he had to do the work to make it happen. He didn’t avoid the obvious elephant in the room and he not only owned his behavior, he corrected it.
He started caring about more than his own wants and needs. Sacrifices happen in a healthy relationship. Most of the time that means recognizing what makes our partner happy and doing it without hesitation. I can be flowers once a week, a text, date night—a selfless gesture always goes a long way. My boyfriend may not have liked being vulnerable but he knew it was important to me. Whether it’s hearing how he feels about me, planning something special, or just saying how beautiful I look, the gestures became less of a sacrifice and more of a selfless act. He wanted to do it because it made me happy.
He grew up. Our generation’s current relationship standards are partly to blame for the chronic immaturity in a lot of guys. Some women are in denial about it and as a result, we reward bad behavior. I was done making excuses for a grown man who was definitely old enough to know how you should and shouldn’t treat someone you claim to care about. Once he finally decided it was time to grow up and mature a bit, our relationship changed for the better.
He realized my needs were non-negotiable. I’ve been guilty of a few frivolous dealbreakers in the past, but this time my real needs were valid. I was ready to be in a healthy, loving, mature relationship, which meant I had to love myself more than the thought of who I wanted him to be. He saw that and respected it. He knew if he wanted to be with me, there was no other option.
He included me in life decisions. Maintaining a solid relationship requires both people to include them in each other’s lives. It may not seem like a like a big deal, but the little things count—a random phone call, a text while he is hanging out with his friends, asking my input on his life. He starting including me in his daily routine little by little, which made me realize how sincere he really was. He knew that our relationship didn’t have to be separate from his normal life. Being included in his life made me feel wanted and more secure in our relationship.
He put our relationship first. I thought I was in a relationship with a completely different man. It was as if he changed overnight. He wasn’t selfish or recluse. In retrospect, I look back and try to think of signs he was changing or wanted to change, but it actually just naturally happened. He was finally the man I always wanted him to be. I could see him starting to make decisions with me, making sure we had date night together, asking me if there’s anything he could help me with—he became a partner, not just a boyfriend. The greatest part was, I didn’t have to change him—he changed by himself.
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