If you’ve ever given someone a second chance, then you’ve definitely heard the following statement before: “I’ve really changed!” Unfortunately, just saying out loud that you’re no longer the person you once were doesn’t actually make it so. A lot of people claim they’ve changed when really, they’re still exactly the same. So how do you know when the person you’re forgiving has really gone through a transformation? Here are the signs that they’re legit, and the signs that they’re full of crap.
- Really changed: He’s acting differently. The easiest way to tell if someone has changed for real is to judge their actions. After all, you can fake words. Behavior is a lot more telling. If he’s acting differently after he apologized—if he’s acting like he’s changed—then it’s more likely that he has. And if he’s truly changed, he won’t continuously repeat the same mistakes or do the same things that have hurt you in the past. If he’s acting differently, he’s likely to be truly sorry.
- Full of crap: Everything seems the same. By the same token, if everything seems the same, then it’s likely nothing has changed. And if he says he’s changed when he hasn’t, then he’s full of crap. Look at his actions, how you feel, and the overall state of your relationship. Are things really that different? Don’t listen to what he says if what you’re seeing in front of you isn’t quite reflecting his words.
- Really changed: He doesn’t pressure you to forgive him. When someone changes, they don’t do it just to get back in the good books. Meaningful change should be about that person wanting to be better and wanting to improve. It’s about personal growth. With that in mind, someone who is always on your back about forgiving them probably isn’t that concerned with being a better person. Their priority is more likely to stop you from being mad at them, even if you’re justified in those feelings.
- Full of crap: He lies about other things. Usually, if someone has a reputation for being a dishonest person, their promises hold much less value. Even if he says he’s changed and he’s acting like it, if he often lies about other things, it’s possible he’s also lying about this. Eventually, his actions will make it obvious. But in the beginning, his behavior might appear to have changed while he’s still in the period of “parole”. In that case, also consider whether he usually lies or can usually be trusted. Sorry for the painful cliché, but a leopard doesn’t change its spots.
- Really changed: He’s responsive to feedback. If a person actually changes for the better, they’re likely to be responsive to feedback. As mentioned, their desire to change will come from a desire to be better, so they’ll be open to listening to further suggestions. It’s a sign he’s changed if he listens to you when you talk about how he could keep changing or how you can work together to make things better. Likewise, he’s probably full of it if he doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.
- Full of crap: He resents you for making him change. Real change comes from the heart. When he’s really changed, he won’t resent you for making him change. The transformation will come about because he’ll want to do it for himself, even if you’re the first one to point out that it needs to be done. You can rest assured that if he holds the change against you, he hasn’t really grown as a person at all.
- Really changed: He’s remorseful for the past. When we change for the better, we usually feel remorseful about the past. That’s not to say we have to be ashamed of our mistakes forever. But in those early days, it’s normal to feel bad about what happened as we grow. It’s a sign that he really has changed if he shows remorse for the mistakes he made while he avoids making them again.
- Full of crap: This is the umpteenth time he’s promised to change. A promise means a lot less each time a person makes it. The first time he promises to change, it might be worth giving him the benefit of the doubt. But once it becomes a pattern of him promising and then not changing, then you know what to expect. If this is the millionth time he’s said he’s changed, it’s highly likely that this time is just like all the other times: he’s full of crap.
- Really changed: He checks in with how you’re feeling. If your partner has promised to do better, they will want to make sure that they are, in fact, doing better. This means regularly checking in with how you are. They haven’t really changed if their actions are still upsetting you, or if you still feel negative about your relationship. So a guy will naturally want to know what’s happening with your feelings if he really has changed for the better.