Feminist Friday: The Trouble with "Good Enough"

Friday, November 14, 2014

Photo Credit: http://casheefoo.deviantart.com/art/Butterflies-129193358

 The Trouble with “Good Enough”
It’s not about you.

This week, another good question was asked of me:

Why do women feel the need to “fix” the guy they are involved/in a relationship with?

It’s a good question because it’s a common problem. Many relationships have been based on a set of expectations beginning with the phrase “he’d be perfect if he just…” We tell ourselves that the relationship would be The Best Ever if only he stopped smoking/drinking/talking to other girls. If only he cleaned his apartment/himself/his car. If only he learned the proper manners for dinner with your parents. If only, if only, if only…

We tell ourselves that we can be the woman to change him. We can teach him what he needs to know to be the Perfect Boyfriend. And we try our hardest. We fight. We compromise. We sacrifice. All in the name of love.

But wanting to change someone isn’t love.

I call it the “Mothering Complex” because I’ve noticed the women who most want to change or “fix” their boyfriends are the most motherly in their relationships. And just like a mother with a delinquent child, when the change doesn’t take place they often blame themselves: Why wasn’t I good enough to make him a better man? What did I do wrong?

This is obviously very disastrous thinking.

Change comes from within. External sources typically have very, very little (if any) influence over a personal change unless it’s something dramatic. Therefore, we severely overestimate our influence by thinking we can change someone or get them to “see the error of their ways.” That’s not up to us. It’s up to them. And it will come on their own time in their own way by their own will. It will have nothing to do with us, and that’s exactly as it should be.

Because we are all our own people. Individuals in a relationship are still individual. What holds two people together is love, and love is unconditional. And love, when it’s real, comes naturally. If you have to force it, change it, mend it, etc… it isn’t love. You can care about someone without loving them, but we often confuse the two.

I’ll put it simply: If you want to change or “fix” someone, the relationship, or yourself (for the relationship), it isn’t love. Change, like love, comes naturally. It can’t be forced or coerced or influenced.

So stop trying. Accept your relationship exactly as it presently is. If that’s not good enough, then it’s probably time to move on because while there may be care, there isn’t love. And if love is the entire point of a relationship, why continue one without it?

Relationships come into our lives because they have something to teach us. The relationships that last are the ones built upon love, trust, and mutual growth. All of which is either there or isn’t. None of which can be forced.

It has nothing to do with being “good enough.” It has nothing to do with you at all. So stop blaming yourself. And if you break up and find out later that he magically made all the changes for the next girl, know that it still had absolutely nothing to do with you. Losing you might have been the dramatic change necessary for his growth, but ultimately the change still came from within, from an internal desire for personal change only he himself could make.

Therefore, the trouble with “good enough” is that it doesn’t exist. Thinking it does only winds up hurting you. 

So don’t you dare blame yourself for the actions (or lack thereof) of another. It has nothing to do with you. 

You’re better than that.

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