Dear Men, It Is Not Our Job To ‘Fix’ Your Toxic Ways In Marriage Or A Relationship!

If he wants to change, it has to happen from within. He should be the one taking the lead, not you. Help him by all means, but do not lose yourself in the process.

Trigger warning: This deals with violence against women and may be triggering to survivors.

I shudder to read the news nowadays. There are graphic reports of violent crimes against women. The perpetrators are not strangers. They are the none other than the people these gullible women chose to love and trust; that’s what makes this sickening and heart wrenching. A man kills his girlfriend and hacks her to pieces. Elsewhere, a lady flees from her husband who has been beating her up regularly.

Is there no respite for women at all?

To lighten my somber mood, I watch some mindless movie. And then, I shudder some more. The plots and the tropes are the same, with the same convoluted fare being served in different formats. Bad boy. Good girl.

The good girl respects elders, follows tradition to a tee, and dreams of unicorns and pixie dust. The bad boy races bikes, disregards rules, smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, romances then discards women faster than you can say ‘Jack Robinson’. Yet, he is surrounded by girls swooning over him.

The good girl takes it upon herself to show the bad boy the light.  After epic confrontations and banter, the dormant goodness in our bad boy is unearthed. He finds light and love, and the couple lives happily ever after. Mind-blowing stuff!

The attraction of ‘bad boys’

Except it isn’t. Why do women get attracted to the ‘bad boy’ type? Is it because of the excitement and the feeling of adventure? Do they perceive a sense of achievement in being the one that got the bad boy to give up his wildness and ‘settle’? Why is the accolade of ‘being the one that tamed the wild stallion’ even considered prestigious? What happens when the bad boy doesn’t change and you succumb to his wild ways ?

Interestingly, psychologists explain this attraction. Bad boys or risk-takers are discerned as more masculine or alpha males. To women, such men represent the forbidden, possessing a certain boldness that they don’t have in themselves.

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In popular culture, mild-mannered, emotionally-vulnerable men are depicted as ‘boring’. The ones that are capable of supporting their partners and are stable to a fault are perceived to be plain and fail when it comes to the ‘thrill’ factor. Over time though, many women come to realize that gentleness, vulnerability, and respect are attractive qualities to have in a life partner, more important than toxic masculinity.

Marriage considered the ‘cure’ for our lost ‘boys’

It is interesting to note how society views such relationships. Haven’t we heard parents saying that ‘after marriage, our wayward son will reform?’ If you as parents could not correct your son in the past twenty to thirty years of his existence, how do you expect his new bride to accomplish Mission Impossible?

It’s astonishing how resourceful society can be. If a marriage doesn’t solve the problems, they conjure the next solution. The inevitable, ‘have a baby, everything will be fine,’ is proposed. Do they think that an innocent, helpless child has magical powers and can reform bad boys faster than a diaper is changed? Bringing a child into an unstable, violent home is the worst thing any parent can do.

Ladies, if you have a fascination to glue back broken bits and achieve the satisfaction of mending something, join an art class instead. It is not your job to fix him. If he wants to change, it has to happen from within. He should be the one taking the lead, not you. Help him by all means, but do not lose yourself in the process. Do not become the victim or develop Stockholm syndrome, a fascination for your abuser. Abusers will adopt all kinds of tactics including gaslighting and making you doubt yourself. Always remember; you are not the problem, he is.

Your partner is someone who shares your life journey, he shouldn’t be your project. If you still think you have to ‘fix’ his abusive ways, guide him to a professional counselor or a de-addiction center. Qualified professionals will know what to do, and you will save yourself the risk of injuries and a broken heart.

Cutting your losses may sometimes be the kindest thing to do

But isn’t walking away from a relationship akin to quitting?

NO. There is no shame in giving up and starting afresh. The choice shouldn’t be between dying or being disgraced or divorced. Sometimes, cutting your losses and accepting defeat is the right thing to do. You should feel proud to have had the courage to walk out before it’s too late. Everyone deserves a second chance, a shot at happiness.

As parents, we love and raise our children with much affection and care. Sometimes they make choices that we may not agree with. We may find it hard to accept, and it will break our hearts. We may feel that our offspring is ungrateful to disregard our wishes and follow their heart. If you have reservations, communicate with them, but beyond a point reconcile to the fact that they are adults and are capable of making decisions and mistakes and dealing with the consequences. However, you also need to assure them that you will be for them, and they can count on you. After all, a parent’s love for their child is unconditional.

Women are afraid to walk out of turbulent relationships because they have nowhere to go. They fear the disgrace and the ‘I told you’ taunts associated with ‘bringing dishonor and ill-repute to the family name’. With no haven to go to, what choice do they have other than to remain with their abuser? Ladies, make sure you have an option, a plan B, in case things turn sour. A friend, a family friend, a safe house. Someone. Anyone.

Let there be no more Shraddhas or Vismayas– haven’t there been enough already? Think twice before you think you can ‘fix him’. Like how Taapsee in the film Thappad says, “If you have to mend it, it means its broken, right?”

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About the Author

Lalitha Ramanathan

Lalitha is a blogger and a dreamer. Her career is in finance, but writing is her way to unwind! Her little one is the center of her Universe. read more...

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