How much would you change for a guy?

The Little Mermaid changed from a mermaid into a human for Prince Eric. Michelle Obama abandoned her impressive career to become First Lady for Barack. Anne Heche became a heterosexual for cameraman Coley Laffoon. These women made drastic changes for their men. Would you?

Change is scarier than Amy Winehouse's hair (bees aren't the only thing living in that beehive). We're not talking about minor changes like hair color, lipstick or breast size. It's the major changes like moving to a new city, switching jobs and changes in family status that make us inhale sharply. Changing for someone else is a bit scarier than Amy's hair, but not quite as terrifying as Brett Michaels' extensions (it's a good thing those bandanas can't talk!).


Change: Not always a choice

I became an accidental expert on change when my mostly happy, 20-year marriage hit a speed bump last year. Actually, it was more like my marriage went hang-gliding into a jagged cliff. Change was at the forefront of many discussions. After all, the jagged cliff wasn't about to move. Eventually we had to choose a different route.

Neither of us necessarily needed to change, but we did need to do some "tweaking," which is far less intimidating than changing! Slapping a prettier face on change meant I was ready for the mack-daddy of personal change: personality.

This is where we introduce the big boys: quirks, idiosyncrasies and shortcomings. These personality traits affect all of our relationships, from spouses to kids to co-workers. Assuming you're not a freak show, you probably need to tweak just a few unflattering traits. You owe it to everyone in your immediate circle to do just that (unless you like perpetrating the same mistakes, slamming into the same walls and living a life plagued by aggravation and frustration). Are we not, as Oprah will attest, here to learn?

Where to begin

The learning process starts with awareness. I began my journey with a ride on the "I Am Fundamentally Screwed Up" train. This is where I faced my husband's complaint that I'm defensive (which was answered with a knee-jerk "No I'm not!"). I was forced to re-examine my position after a disagreement with my teen son. He rolled out his side of the argument, and before I knew it an extensive list of justifications came flying out. Talk about an "uh-oh" moment.

When you change for the sake of personal growth, you are changing for you. Ultimately, you should be with someone who is willing to work on his wildly irritating habits too. If you're doing all the heavy lifting in the personal growth department, you'll eventually become one of those hateful, bitter old ladies who squabble with department store clerks over sale flyers.

When it works, and when it doesn't

Certain degrees of change are healthy -- others are not. If you need a personality transplant to be with someone, they are not right for you. You and your mate's personalities should mesh in a significant way -- either because your personalities are similar (you both like to people-watch and make disparaging comments about the crowd) or because your personalities compliment each other (you like spending money you don't have on the latest Louis Vuitton bag, and thankfully he doesn't).

So how much would you change for a guy? Would I become a human if I were a mermaid? Heck yes. Eric was a hottie, and hello, a prince! Would I abandon my career to become First Lady? Sure. Look at the designer duds Michelle gets to wear. Would I change my sexual orientation? No. A true lesbian should be with a lesbian. But then I wouldn't stumble around the desert in a bikini waiting for the mother ship to pick me up either, so who am I to say?

We want to hear from you!

Tell us below how you changed for a guy, what you would change for a guy, and what you would refuse to change for a guy.



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