Can a woman change a man?

Can a woman change a man? A better question would be this: Can a man change? Well, yes. I’ve seen men change for the worse more times than I care to document. You know the drill. When you met he was the sweetest guy, sent from up above with so much love and all the rest of it.

The distilled essence of romance. Your Prince Charming. Knight in shining armour. Sir Galahad. Etc, etc.

For the first few months, your relationship is heavenly. You can’t imagine what life was like before the two of you met. Everything is going so well that a year or two into it, you decide you want to spend the rest of your days with him. Because he is so in tune with your needs, right on cue, he pops the question. You say yes! After a series of meetings with the elders, you tie the knot.

The first couple years of your marriage are blissful. Your ‘hubs’ is just the best. Married life is better than you expected. You begin to wonder why so many women complain about it. They must be doing marriage wrong because you were laughing all the way down the aisle and haven’t stopped since.

While you’re still in that mind-altering pink cloud, you get pregnant. And oh, how exciting it is. Your love has blossomed into a beautiful flower. The little angel is born and Mama and Papa are over the moon. But rather quickly, reality bites and you find that your focus is shifting from Papa Bear to Baby Bear. As you become more mummy than wifey, daddy gets up to his own devices.

He spends more time away than at home, working late or catching a pint at the local. He doesn’t text you as much as he used to. He has nothing sweet to say to you anymore. Hardly pays attention when you speak to him. Your conversations revolve around the kid(s), the house and money. You mumble an acknowledgement when you open the gate for him at 2am. He grunts. Sometimes you catch a whiff of expensive perfume when he walks in. Other times, there’s a lipstick smudge on his collar. Or a hotel receipt in his back pocket.

Meanwhile, you haven’t quite managed to shift the baby weight. Can’t fit into your old skinny jeans. Haven’t slipped into anything revealing in months. And couldn’t be bothered with intimacy, given that your breasts have become milk processing plants. You’ve got baby on the brain and there’s no room in that hallowed space to entertain even just the thought of having sex.

Suddenly, he becomes more of a reluctant roommate than a loving husband. The distilled essence of romance is rancid. Did he change into a monster or were you just so blinded by love that you didn’t see the signs?

I was eavesdropping on a conversation recently and one gentleman claimed that women have the power to change their men. “I used to be a chain smoker but I quit because my girlfriend didn’t like it,” he said. “She told me to choose between the cigarettes and her. I love her, so there was no question.”

I found myself wondering how long that kind of love would last. But then the woman he was speaking to piped up and said that a man will only change for the better if he wants to. That sounded a bit more like the truth. A change for the better cannot be engineered by an external force. And if he changes for the worse, he was always a Decepticon, never an Autobot.