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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karin Anderson Abrell

Is the Man You Want Able to be the Man You Want?

A few years ago I was having dinner with two of my besties. We were all in bad relationships. Really bad. Courtney had been living with her bf for four years; they were miserable. They’d started counseling but it wasn’t helping. Sarah lived with her boyfriend, too. But they lived separate lives. It was easier that way. And as for me and my bf? We were utterly incompatible. As the night wore on, our girl talk morphed into a gripe fest. Courtney was furious about Rob’s spending and his unresolved issues with his ex-wife. Sarah couldn’t get her reclusive man to leave the house. And his gaming addiction was driving her crazy. And I’d had enough of my bf’s temper and his hypersensitivity. He got offended at every turn. It was exhausting. So we went on and on about our guys. Why wouldn’t they change? What was their problem? Why couldn’t they get a handle on life? They needed to grow up and be the men we wanted them to be!!! We sighed. We took a sip of wine. We had it all figured out. If only our men could do the same. And then Sarah looked up and said something I’ll never forget. “You know what’s really messed up? We’ve spent this entire dinner lamenting that our boyfriends won’t change—guys who, by the way, we’ve CHOSEN to be with. But here’s the thing—we’re wrong. They’re not unwilling to change, they’re INCAPABLE of changing. We want them to be men they CANNOT be. But we stay with them and get mad at them and try to change them. But that’s on us, not them. That’s OUR problem.” Silence. She was right. Unwilling vs. incapable. There’s a difference. And it was oh so freeing to realize this and stop trying to force our guys to be men they weren’t meant to be. 💖💖💖 P.S. One by one these relationships tanked. And we’re all MUCH happier because of it!

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