The sagest advice my father ever gave me in dealing with people is that “You cannot change someone.”
It sounds weird that a father would have to tell his child this, but if you’re a father (or mother), it’s almost irresponsible not to tell your daughter she is not capable of making another person change. This is important as it will save her a lot of grief in life since society is pretty hell-bent on romanticizing the notion that a good, virtuous, loving, or kind woman can “change” beasts into beauties.
Our society tells little girls to dream of landing that “fixer-upper” who will finally be all hers.
(It’s pretty different from the narrative guys get of getting the trophy – the already perfected woman – as a reward for being awesome. There is no assembly required for this woman.)
I see it play out over and over and over again with women. Women who meet a guy, know he isn’t quite right or even realize up front there is no future in the relationship – but by virtue of proximity, sexual contact, and time – convince themselves this guy is “the one” and he’s going to put a ring on it. There seems to be this desperation for just a dude who can fill out the suit and role and we’ll work on the details later. That a man can be made into husband material, possibly, if you just love him enough.