Home Featured Change You Can Believe In

Change You Can Believe In


Before we get to the post, don’t forget to vote for SBM in the finals of the Black Weblog Awards! Best Design, Best Post Series, Best Group Blog, Best Relationship Blog, and Blog of the Year!

The last time I was here, I gave a young lady some advice on her toking boyfriend. In case you missed it, he’s a cannibus smoker, she isn’t, and after several months of dating, she has now decided that she can longer tolerate it. Conventional wisdom dictates, if you’re in a relationship with someone that is doing something that turns you off, you break up with them. Unless of course, you think you can alter their behavior.

Women thinking they can change or mold a man into “the perfect man” during the course of a relationship is probably the biggest mistake they can make, and probably is an underlying reason for so many divorces. People choose to ignore early warning signs of incompatibilities and red flags that either become the reason or lay the foundation for future breakups/divorces.


You can’t change a man. You can’t change your man. You can’t really change any man. For those of you who met a man, and think you’ve had something to do with any changes he’s made in his life, I’ve got a nice bridge for sale and some land in Florida you may interested in as well. At a certain level, men can be like spoiled children, the more you tell them not to do something, the more they’re going to want to do it. If he gambles, he’s not going to stop. If he cheated on his ex to get with you, he’ll probably cheat on you at some point. If he went upside the last woman’s head, at some point he’s going to hit you too. He changed because at some level, he came to the realization that he had to make this change, and it was in his best interest…or he has a near death experience.

See Also:  The Black Man Chronicles, Part 1: Living Up to The Stereotypes

I’m not saying men can’t change. It’s just that men will change when they’re damn good and ready. Unfortunately, many of these desired changes don’t happen as fast as interested female parties would like, if they happen at all. Some of these changes come with maturity, and if you’ve ever spent significant time around a man, you know we don’t mature overnight. All that being said, women do have the ability to force a man to change (giving ultimatums and such). But when you have to force a man to change, he’s going to resent the fact that he basically got punked into doing something he didn’t necessarily want to do. When you’re in a situation when you have to force someone to change, negative behavior, you’re best bet is just walking away rather constantly fighting domestic battles.

Hey, even Obama promised change, and look how that turned out. Gitmo’s still open, Geithner kept his job, there’s no public option, and Osama still got clapped, probably using info obtained at Gitmo. He ain’t the first tall, lightskinnded negro to lie to you about changing, and sure won’t be the last. Yes, I said lightskinnded.

Whaddya think, am I off base here? Can women really make a man change? Is there a difference between initiating change and forcing change? Anyone out there try to change their man? How’d that work out? How long should you wait for change before you just walk out?

See Also:  The Prelude: The Husband Store

More sweeping generalizations for your reading pleasure,


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with this post. My past experiences have taught me that you CANNOT change a man. Another thing that i would like to point out is one of the characteristics of true love which is accepting a person for who they are. It is not our job, or anyone's job for that matter, to try and CHANGE anyone. That is not our purpose as human beings. The most we could do and what we should do, is set examples of greatness and hopefully INSPIRE change. Ladies, know that when you make a DECISION to be with a man, you are DECIDING to be with him, flaws and all. It is up to you, whether or not you're willing to deal with it. Intention is everything. If you get in a relationship with someone with the INTENTION to change things about him that you do not like, it will not work. Either deal with it or move on. People are not build-a-bears. Either ya'll are compatible or ya'll aren't. Save yourself the headache, and know when to move on.

    1. Did you peep how RCLS, as we say in the hood, "kept it on wax." If Bro. West had done the same thing we wouldn't be talking about his crazy. I swear the other day, I go to my bookshelf and I notice that I still have the receipt for "Hope On A Tightrope" and i'm using it as a bookmark, first thing that came to my mind, "I should take this ish back."

      But follow me, a lot of people think Cornel changed his opinion on Obama because Tavis did. Wrong… Wrong… WRONG, after that whole ordeal Cornel still extended his hand for tickets to Inauguration and a visit to the White house, he even polly'ed for a cabinet position. It wasn't until Obama hit him with the, "Nah you good" or more appropriate, "I might smile and say what's up, but I don't f*ck with you n*ggas." That's when Cornel got tight and changed. Tavis didn't change Cornel, Cornel changed Cornel. Goes back to the meaning of this post.

      And there's nothing wrong with holding the POTUS accountable.

      1. I wholeheartedly agree, J. Obama shouldn't get a pass on anything "just 'cause", and I certainly have some issue with his negotiating skills. But Tavis is just on some other ish right now. C. West, though, I still have the utmost respect for the man. I disagree with him on a few topics, but overall no love lost. But as you stated, this is a topic for another day.

  2. I would hope change comes as the relationship grows. I'm not looking for someone who's sole mission, purpose or duty is to change me. I don't mind changing along the way as we GROW together. I can admit during the way some old habits might change, which is good. I do feel "change is going to come"- I don't want to be the same when I leave and vice versa.

    1. I agree with this – emphasis should be on growth. If we are both the same years into the relationship as we were at the very beginning… then this relationship is pointless.

      I know that men and women cannot directly change one another – actually I do not believe we can even change ourselves (alone that is) as that is the work of God. I do, however, believe it is absolutely essential to INSPIRE change in someone. Accepting flaws is one thing… settling for mediocrity is another. If we just shrug off negative qualities (defined on an individual basis) and go "well, that's who they are and there is nothing I can do about it" – THAT is settling in my opinion.

      …Especially since men will pretty much do whatever they can get away with, if they are engaging in activities or behavior that you are accepting in the name of "unconditional love" you may be doing a disservice to both of you.

      "Checking" someone isn't limited to saying no to certain desires or correcting a negative attitude – if your man is doing less than what you believe him to be capable of (as you compare his behavior to what his goals are or what you have previously seen him do – NOT solely what you want from him or how you would prefer him to be) I think you should make every attempt to inspire change in him. That's why growth has to be emphasized but it's hard to define the boundaries so that you aren't trying to change them in the way that is outlined in the post.

      I guess you can say that growth is NOT attempting to get your significant other to be closer to how you would just personally prefer them to be. Communication and being aligned as far as your personal goals and your overall purpose as a couple is essential in achieving growth in this way.

      Great post!

      1. <blockquote cite="comment-312968">

        LetsLove: …Especially since men will pretty much do whatever they can get away with, if they are engaging in activities or behavior that you are accepting in the name of “unconditional love” you may be doing a disservice to both of you.


    2. <blockquote cite="comment-312947">

      Drew-Shane: I would hope change comes as the relationship grows. I’m not looking for someone who’s sole mission, purpose or duty is to change me. I don’t mind changing along the way as we GROW together.

      Well said! I think growing together is the key 🙂

  3. Hmmm, i don't understand why you would get with someone who wasn't built to (or relatively close to) your specifications in the first place. Its one thing if your partner has habits or does things that over time you learn you can't really stand, but if from the gate you knew RayRay's drinking, smoking, gambling, etc habit was a deal breaker- why even waste your time?

    As for whether or not a woman can change a man (or a man can change a woman #NoSexist), change comes from within. No one can change another person. You might be the catalyst for someone wanting to change- bit again, in the end they have to want to make the change.

    1. <blockquote cite="comment-312949">

      Lady Ngo: Hmmm, i don’t understand why you would get with someone who wasn’t built to (or relatively close to) your specifications in the first place.

      lol… because like my Daddy always says, sometimes all the heart wants to do is love…

  4. Main reason why people break up is because of an overwhelming sense of entitlement. You deserve x or y!! Your life ain't supposed to be like this or that.
    Let's put this 15th century notion of courtly love and the 19th century romance thing to one side. Man sees woman. Man is of age. Man take bride and provides for woman. Woman raises kids. That's how we got where we are today. It was all so simple. That's not an argument to return to a biologically determined past, that's an argument to say keep it striped and simple.
    What are these "red flags" , people are different. They always going to be different. If I married someone and she was highly strung and then suffered a breakdown or an accident, are we now incompatible? Did I miss the red flags? We want ish to be perfect, life ain't always perfect. "People choose to ignore early warning signs of incompatibilities and red flags that either become the reason or lay the foundation for future breakups/divorces." the fact that your partner is a different person from you is already a red flag. Whether you can compromise and grow together is about whether you both are mature enough to have a relationship. It ain't like aunt jemina where you just put an egg and it's all good. Some times you have to put some elbow into it .

    Sophie: are you always on point or just today? Have to agree with you & ain't just cos you're the first poster!

  5. I for 1 know wholeheartedly that attempting to change someone is nothing but a waste of time. I believe this is the very reason why there are so many unhappy relationships. Unfortunately, we as women tend to stay in a relationship waay to long with a man that we CANNOT change. This is why there are so many eligible bachelorettes who don't understand why they r still single; they wasted TOO MUCH time on the WRONG man.

  6. THIS RIGHT HERE!!! You don't know how much this hit home.  I literally ended it with my dude earlier this week because he was trying to change me.  No person can, or should, try to change another.  Especially not under the guise of being in love. If you can't accept someone for who they are then you CANNOT truly be in love with them. That's just my opinion.  

    As the person who was trying to be forced into change I have to say it just made me feel like he didn't really love me for me. He loved me for who he thought he could make me become. Don't get me wrong I think every one should strive to be better but that push has to come from within. As the person I am involved with your job is to just be supportive. 

    I wrote a note once on change vs compromise. I think that is similar to the initiating or forcing question. At the end of the day someone may decide to change themselves because of a person they care about but that still has to be a personal decision. Ultimately, I think this would still cause resentment (at least for me) because I change me at my pace not anyone else's. If you want me you take me as I am. 

  7. It goes both ways…Men don't try and change your woman either. Everyone should just accept the flaws in people, in general, or keep it the h*ll movin…..but in a relationship it is a recipe for failure. My ex-husband was constantly trying to change me, mold me, and whatnot….it was so irritating and I did resent him for it over the course of time…and even when I did TRY and change…and I made some adjustments, he moved on to the the next thing, it was always something….So, after all of that, I would never put someone thru that…I would just not deal with anyone who had a lot of things that I thought needed changing..I would find someone more compatible….I have never been that person even before the ex…if I find out you are a cigarette smoker, I am not going to date you and them hope you stop…I am just not going to date YOU, period…..

    So, I said all that to say…Co-sign!

    1. That depends though… I was talking to someone the other day about why men date younger women and I dropped this note, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but these young b*tches want to learn."

      There's a lot of truth to that statement.

      1. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but these young b*tches want to learn.”

        I have to agree with this.

        Young minds are impressionable

      2. I get all that..but, once you groom "the young mind" like you want HER..she'll take all that to the next one….

  8. I Cosign all the points made except the shots taken at Obeezy. Yo, he's working in a DIVIDED GOVERNMENT! 27 days after his swearing-in, White America freaked out when they realized a black dude is really president and then formed the Tea Party: You then expect him to cause change that fast? Lol. (Pardorn my political rant. Back to the discussion)

  9. I agree with this post. Trying to change someone is a waste of time. If the person does things that gets on your nerves now, it'll only get worse later.

  10. haha running out of things to talk about SBM … may be it's time for some R & R, switch your style up n go south paw.

  11. "All that being said, women do have the ability to force a man to change (giving ultimatums and such). But when you have to force a man to change, he’s going to resent the fact that he basically got punked into doing something he didn’t necessarily want to do."

    So true…

  12. <blockquote cite="comment-312953">

    Peter Parker:
    Yo, how much is that land in Florida you selling?

    Honestly, I'd sell it to you for the lint in your pockets, except I have no use for lint. Good luck getting a building permit though.
    i’m just saying…i #hustleHard, Ace Hood.

  13. I got mixed feelings on this. I was at my boy's wedding last year and everyone gave testimonials. We all knew that he would marry his wife. As soon as she came into his life, she made him a better person. You could see that she was having an affect on him. And their entire relationship was just amazing to watch. But offline I said, "That's because she's the type of woman who makes you think, 'I need to get my ish together, it gets no better than this.'" And that's real.

    So what I would say is that basic broads cannot change men, but if you are a woman of grand stature, men won't only change, but they will do it expeditiously.

    1. I think this works both ways Dr. J. When a person worth keeping (man or woman) comes into your life, it seems worth giving up a bad habit or two. Don't expect an overnight change though!

    2. For me, I have been inspired to change in relationships not because of nagging, micromanaging, or lecturing, but by example. What was it about this woman that inspired this epic change?

  14. I read this blog daily, but never comment. Today I felt compelled to comment. This post is the truth!!! I was just having this conversation. I am the lady you responded to, only we're not in a relationship and he drinks A LOT (no weed). I call him my "Bad Habit."

    He's often said he doesn't want kids or a relationship. I do, so we chill, I date others. He drinks too much for my taste, he doesn't think he has a problem. I know I can't change him so I don't try. We just hang b/c he's cool as heck, and we have fun when we hang out. I know he's not for me, and take him for what he is and says. My friends say "he may change…" He very well may, but I'm not gonna think I'm that chick to make him change. If he does on his own…cool. If not, we have fun and I date others.

    I appreciate the truth you speak (write) and hope women take heed!

    1. I love people's first comment. It's like joining a church. It's hard to walk down that aisle, but once you do you realize that we are family and we're happy to have you.


  15. Whaddya think, am I off base here? No, you are right on point.

    Can women really make a man change? No, but she can inspire and motivate him to want to change. A person should NEVER go into any relationship thinking they will change a person or that even that person CAN change. We should learn to SEE the person we are dealing with and NOT his or her potential (which is our opinion of who they should be).

    Is there a difference between initiating change and forcing change? Change is inevitable, therefore, when and how that change comes about is the real question. I would dare say that The Creator puts people in your life to put a mirror in your face. We are here to help each other grow. You cannot FORCE anyone to change, besides, that change would be temporary at best.

    Anyone out there try to change their man? Yeah, been there and done that in a past relationship.

    How’d that work out? Didn't work out so well for me.

    How long should you wait for change before you just walk out? It depends. If its an issue that will ultimately destroy you and your environment, waiting isn't an option. However, if its something that is truly a personal battle for your man/woman, then maybe support and motivation is just what that person needs to change. People are different and will never live up to your expectations of them. It is best to except that and find someone whose flaws and differences YOU CAN accept.

  16. Yessssss.

    There's a saying "How you meet em is how you keep em" you can't force a man to do ANYTHING including change if he's not ready to within himself, it's an uphill battle which ultimately we (women) often times lose, and Ultimatums sometimes can work depending on the reason of said Ultimatum if he really wants to be with you, but in the end YOU better be prepared to execute that Ultimatum if he calls your bluff.

    Someone said upthread that men shouldn't try to change women either, but here's the thing we do at times change for our man for the greater good of the relationship and to make HIM happy although it may not necessarily make us happy.

    Last year I was dealing with this youngin (27) and he had a problem with the fact that I like to socialize especially during the summer months, so eventually I fell back on the social scene amongst other things, basically I was becoming a totally different person (staying home, not getting up with my girlfriends, slaving over a stove on the weekends, etc.) at first I was cool with it because I was happy (so I thought) but then I started to resent him for it including being mad at myself for letting it happen.

    Towards the end of our demise I had reverted back to my old self which brought on arguments and he eventually gave me an ultimatum o__O. I had no choice but to end it.

  17. Can women really make a man change?

    Shoot! The army does it all the time. I think some men are easier to change than others.

    However, I dont think a woman should go into a relationship purposely trying to change a man. It will probably backfire.

  18. I don't think a woman can make a man change, but she can motivate him to want to make improvements if he desires to keep her. I'm stubborn as sh*t, so if someone tells me to do something I won't do it unless I want to.

  19. I co-sign the following perspectives:

    – never get into a relationship with the intent or sole purpose to change the person

    – the right partner will inspire or motivate positive changes/enhancements in you

    – only changes made for YOU alone will stick…if for others, you'll revert back to your natural state over time

    – there is a fine line between compromises and changes…that shouldn't be crossed

    – when a person tells you/shows you who they are, believe them and if you have a serious issue with it, bounce

    – if it's a problem before marriage, marriage (or children) won't make it better…or make your partner change

    – the older a person gets, the likelihood of them changing becomes less and less

    * quickly glances over list * Yup, I think that's the meat of what I think about this topic.

    It baffles me that grown folks don't already get this though…

  20. Women can INSPIRE change & can INFLUENCE change… In Men… But they can't force it

    But today's woman can so focused on being a man instead complimenting a man…

    Women have alot more say in men post-first-sexual encounter than they think…

    You can't use what men use to manipulate women, on men… You have to use a different method

  21. OK so the other day I said….."you can't change a behavior you spent a lifetime developing overnight." This is true. But people can change.

    People can change but:

    1. The have to recognize the need to change

    2. They have to have a clear picture of who they are currently

    3. It may take months or years. It's a process

    4. You can change behaviors…not a persons intate personality.

    5. Nagging doesn't work. You have to educate people.

    Most of us aren't willing to put in the time it takes to change a person. Which is understandable. Why would I spend two years trying to change someone I am not married to.

  22. Sometimes we women (and men) like to see our partner with rosed colored glasses. We date someone not for who they are at the moment but for who we want them to be or who we think they could be. We just have to take ppl for who they are and what they show us.

    As far as the women who boyfriend smoked to much, we have to give each party the benefit of the doubt. She knew he smoked but he also told her it was'nt that often only once in awhile. She did what anybody would do, gave him a chance and believed him.

  23. I've been too busy to read all the comments so I apologize if this has already been said.

    I believe in loving unconditionally, but there is only so much I am willing to tolerate/put myself through for the sake of that love. I believe people change daily, and I want to inspire all the people I interact with to be inspired to change for the better. Likewise, want to be inspired to change for the better because of the people I interact with. So, in a relationship, if you don't make me want to be better, I can't be with you. I'm not trying to force anyone to change, but if I'm with someone that has too many characteristics that I don't respect, I have to keep it moving.

  24. I somewhat agree with this post. It should never be your goal to change someone. However, I am a firm believer that you can encourage someone to improve by example and motivation. I'm not referring to trivial and shallow things, but rather true character building.

  25. "…am I off base here?"

    Nope… Think you're DEAD on…

    Can women really make a man change?

    LOL… Can a man really make a WOMAN change?!?!?! (smile) SAME answer… Now making it more personal… WHY would the Symbiotic Loner WANT his woman to change??? WHAT would the Symbiotic Loner want changed in his woman??? (smile) OK… Going kinda off point…

    Is there a difference between initiating change and forcing change?

    One word… Yes!!!

    Anyone out there try to change their man?

    (smile) Time for a testimonial… I have a woman who's INSPIRING change in me… How? First, she's wise enough to acknowledge that SHE has flaws… (smile) TRULY acknowledge… NO lip service ONLY… Second, she's wise enough to know that, since SHE has flaws, she must accept MY flaws since she knows that a relationship with the Symbiotic Loner is "a package deal" and since she knows that I see a relationship as "a package deal"… Third, she's wise enough to show me that SHE doesn't walk on water, and, by extension, that she has NO right to demand of me what she isn't asking of herself… Therefore, she GETS the best from me… (smile) NO resistance offered…

    How’d that work out? This baddest of chicks I'VE seen is seeing progress from this "work in progress"… ALL across the board…

    How long should you wait for change before you just walk out? (smile) If a person's ONLY intent in connecting to another person is to change the other person ONLY, I would suggest investing as much time as you KNOW you would if the other person had the ONLY intent of changing YOU… (smile) Yeah… THAT quick… (smile) Or, better yet, why just NOT waste the time?!?!?! Dang… Life's just TOO short, people…

  26. Well , in a properly spiritually grounded relationship , guess what? Your partner encourages you to be a better person and you rise to the challenge by getting over yourself. Ego is the mindkiller. It's not so much I deserve this or that but my love makes me want to do this for you.

  27. “People choose to ignore early warning signs of incompatibilities and red flags that either become the reason or lay the foundation for future breakups/divorces.”

    Yes, yes and yes! The keyword in that statement is choose. People choose to make a mistake that could’ve been avoided, then become upset by the consequences that smack them in the face. Pay attention to all red flags and signs if you want to avoid an undesirable situation or negative outcome.

    “When you’re in a situation when you have to force someone to change, negative behavior, you’re best bet is just walking away rather constantly fighting domestic battles.”

    Yes, yes and yes with a strawberry on top! I apply this logic to my family members and friendships as well. Fortunately, God did not bless me with the patience or energy to deal with people who make my life difficult. I like being happy and I like the feeling that comes over me when I smile. People who jeopardize or intrude on my happiness and beautiful smile, quickly get booted out of my life. Any attempts to piss on my parade of life will result in a swift removal from the premises. If I can’t accept a person for who they are, then I disassociate myself from that person. But I’m not here on Earth to change anyone. I am who I am and I accept people to be who they want to be.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get SBM Delivered

Get SBM Delivered

Single Black Male provides dating and relationship
advice for today's single looking for love

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This