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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Date & Relate > Can You Change Them?

Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

Can You Change Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend?

In my younger dating days, I always used to want a boyfriend who could be my “project”—someone I could sort of shape into the type of guy who would be perfect for me.  He would let me buy him clothes (or at least be his stylist and I could pick his outfits for him), I would introduce him to all of this stuff he’d never normally do, we would go to places he’d never normally visit.  Basically, I would make him more well-rounded than he was before we met.  I thought it would be fun to teach him everything I knew and do the things I like to do. 

Well, I finally found myself with a “project”, and let me tell you, it gets old pretty quickly.  I got tired of making the decisions all the time.   So much for that idea.   

How many times do we get involved with someone new and try to change them to fit our taste?  Most of the time, a few months down the road you wonder what happened to the guy/girl you fell in love with.   Or, you find them boring because their personality has been sucked out of them and they now just go along with anything you say.   What does that say about us? Why not just wait until you meet that guy/girl who actually is to your taste, rather than trying to change someone else? 
So, even though I still like introducing guys to things that I like, I think I’m a lot more open-minded than I used to be.   

Obviously, we can influence our significant other’s tastes or interests to some degree.  I turned a few of my exes on to some new things.  And I’ve dated plenty of guys who introduced me to new music or movies that I thought I wouldn’t like, but did.  I credit an ex-boyfriend with introducing me to the comic genius of the late George Carlin.  That relationship ended partly because he wasn’t willing to change one thing about himself, or even compromise on some things that were pretty important to me at the time.  Oh well.  At least I got my Carlin appreciation out of the deal. 

It goes a bit deeper than just interests, though.  Psychologists say that people tend to dislike the qualities in others that they dislike about themselves; however, it’s much easier to find the “faults” in our dates than change ourselves.  I know I’ve done this before.  But I seem to be changing as I get older—now, I’m more interested in finding someone who has the qualities I want to work on within myself, or at the very least, bring out my better qualities.   Someone who is actually going to teach me something.  I finally get it! 

It’s much easier when you date someone who accepts you just as you are.  When you find that sort of person, you’ll usually accept yourself just as you are, too.   I’m pretty focused and goal-oriented, but self-confidence has always been an issue.  I think I’m the opposite of the philosophy I stated earlier—I try to bring out the qualities in others that I tend to like about myself, and help people see their own potential.  I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, but I’ve gotten burned in the past.  Now it’s every man (literally) for himself.  As I said, it’s too much work to change someone, so why not just be happy with who they are when you meet them?  Let any changes happen on their own.  Hopefully, they’ll be changes for the better in both of you!


Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon. She can be reached at

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