It’s more fun, and a lot easier, to change someone else than to change ourselves. But is it possible?
It makes sense that we want to transform someone into the person we thought they used to be, many years ago, such as a spouse who was once loving and attentive. They can certainly be that person again, can’t they?
Have you ever tried rewinding your own history clock and transforming yourself back into the person you were 10 years ago? You probably don’t even remember who that was, and unless you kept a journal (which I do), you won’t even notice how different you are right now.
A man, I’ll call him Dean, told me that his wife didn’t enjoy having sex with him. “She’s just not into it. There’s got to be something I can do differently, but I’ve run out of things to try. Any advice?”
“When was the last time she enjoyed sex with you?”
Dean laughed. “Well, you see, never.”
“Never? You mean, only when you were dating, but never after you married?”
“No,” Dean said. “That’s not what I mean. She never enjoyed it, not even when we were dating.”
I thought about this for a few moments. “So sex isn’t that important to you?”
I don’t like asking ‘why’ questions. They put people on the defensive and make them flounder around for answers. Instead, I asked, “So what, exactly, was your thought process in marrying someone who didn’t enjoy sex with you?”
“I’ve heard that women need to feel secure to enjoy sex. We weren’t married, so I figured that was the problem. Once I married her, I thought she’d trust me and relax, and the sex would be great.”
“Hmm,” I said, giving Dean a chance to say more before I blurted out something like, ‘Duh. Wasn’t that a clue?’
“I’m sure there’s a way to help her enjoy sex,” Dean said in true-blue optimistic fashion. “Maybe she was abused as a child and has bad associations with men. There has to be something to make her better. She’s gone to therapy for years, but maybe she hasn’t found the right therapist yet.”
He wanted to fix her. It made sense. He loved her.
His wife, Penny, confirmed what Dean was saying. She’d never been too keen on sex, either with him or with other men, and she had no interest in anyone of any other gender.
“Are you willing to experiment?” I asked.
Penny sighed. “I guess.”
She and her husband did experiment, and try, and try.
Finally, Penny said, “It’s not going to work. I’m just not into it. I’ll never be into it, I think.”
It took awhile for Dean to accept what Penny was telling him. Now he had to make a choice. Stay with a wife who didn’t like sex, or move on and try to find someone who did?
I asked Dean another question. “How long are you willing to wait to see if Penny changes? 10 years?” No. “5 years?” No. “1 Year?” He’d already waited 6 years during his marriage.
I ran into Dean a few years later. He was all smiles. “Penny and I had a friendly divorce. Then I met my current wife. We have a son and we’re expecting a daughter in a few months. It’s great to see you again.”
Does this mean it’s impossible to change someone else?
Not quite, as I’ll show in my next post.
*Names, details and facts have been altered to protect privacy.