Do you think you’ll change his mind?

Yesterday, I ran into a high-school buddy — someone I hadn’t seen in over 30 years. He stopped me at our neighborhood’s dance party, to which the whole city is invited. Out of 10,000 people, he picked me out of the crowd. I guess I haven’t changed a great deal since high school!

Catching up, he shared with me the story of his post-divorce relationship. While dating a woman for 3 years, he insists he always told her he wasn’t interested in marriage. However, near their third-year anniversary, she dragged him to her therapist and unbeknownst to him, demanded he tell her and the therapist why he wouldn’t marry her.

His response was he never intended to marry her and he’d told her that all along. If this is true, apparently she expected she would be able to change his mind, then became disappointed and angry when he didn’t. Her therapist told her she was delusional and they broke up within the month.

I, too, have been caught in the trap of thinking I could get a man to change his mind. When I first met my ex, he stated that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. He was raising his son alone, had a full-time job, and freelanced on the side. He didn’t have time for a relationship. I guess he just wanted occasional booty calls. But I, never having been married, wanted a relationship. In fact, I wanted a husband. I acted like this “no relationship” deal was fine, all the while whittling down his resistance until we were engaged eight months later and married eighteen months after that.

I had another goal in mind, one which he also stated he didn’t share. I wanted children. Since he already had a child, and is 14 years older than me, he said he wasn’t interested in more. However, I saw how much he loved and doted on his son, and I was sure he would want me to have the same experience. He loved kids, so I thought I could convince him otherwise, as I’d done with changing his mind about wanting a relationship.

I was wrong.

In retrospect, I should have believed him about not wanting a relationship, too. While he worked on making our marriage hum, I never felt he was as committed as I was. No fault to him, really. I should have believed him and looked for a man who was interested in building a family together.

I’ve been on the receiving end of someone wanting me to change my mind. When Mr. Romantic asked if I wanted to move to his city — 600 miles away — I said no. I’d told him all along I had no pull to his city. When the meltdown occurred, he threw this in my face, saying that it showed how selfish I was. Had I been more committed to the relationship, which I wasn’t after only 2.5 months, I would have at least seriously considered a move. But I was not willing to pretend I’d move to his city while we were just in dating mode. If it progressed to a committed relationship, we would have explored where we both wanted to live and found a mutually-agreeable location. His expecting me to change my mind was ignoring my clearly stated perspective.

If a man states something clearly to you — like he doesn’t want to be in a relationship or get married again — believe him. Yes, he may change his mind, but don’t proceed expecting that to happen. You’ll be disappointed and angry, and may feel you wasted your time with him. But if he told you early on his point of view and you ignored it, don’t blame him.

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9 responses to “Do you think you’ll change his mind?”

  1. Strblonde Avatar

    Well, DG, that sounds like it could be me! I, too, dated a guy for 3 yrs who had said he didn’t want to get married. However, I didn’t drag him to a therapist. He started seeing someone else and we broke up. He has since broken up with her too I believe. On the opposite end, the Iowa guy who moved to Alaska just called me the other day. He was the one who had made me all these promises and seemed so into me, but after dating 2-3 months he suddenly said he was going to Alaska. Sure, he stated from the beginning he was going to go but I thought I’d have at least a year to get to know him better and see if he’d change his mind or if I might consider moving there myself. I was very hurt when he left and after some of the things he said so I was blown away when he called out of the blue. A friend of mine thinks the guy realizes what he gave up with me. Iowa/Alaska guy still wants to be “friends.” “What’s the point?” I asked him. Besides, it STILL hurts. I told him I know I could never live there no matter how beautiful it is — I could not handle the short daylight hrs and the short summer season. Looking back, I realize no matter how much I want (or think) I could change their minds, I won’t. I must learn from the experience and move on.

  2. Christine Avatar

    DG – Excellent post! I’m sure everyone would benefit from reading this one over and over! Similarly, when a person tells you who he is early in a relationship, such as relaying the details of his “former” affairs, we have to believe them. He’s a cheater. People tell us all the time who they really are with their past and present actions, but I’m always extending the benefit of the doubt: “He wouldn’t cheat on me…” Silly girl!

    P.S. Not meaning to hijack your thread with that last comment – sorry!

  3. Kelly Avatar

    This is exactly right. I have learned my lesson never to be the Convincer. If a man doesn’t want what I want (or professes not to know what he wants–equally deadly!), I need to find out early enough in the relationship where I can guard my feelings and keep dating other people. Rather than trying not to mention it and making assumptions. Or trying to just convince them by being my charming self. It makes it hard when they say they’re not ready YET but could be in the FUTURE, and when they say they would like to marry you but are just not ready to embrace that RIGHT NOW. It’s difficult to love yourself enough to make the choice to take a stand and let them go. Because the Waiter and the Convincer are basically the same thing. Bad bad bad. Just creates more pressure, which makes them resist even more.

  4. Ellen Avatar

    Great post, but amazing that some of us women don’t live by it. I have a group of single women in their 50s, all professional and accomplished, who STILL think that they can talk to a guy and he’ll suddenly turn into the guy they want him to be. I tell them to go talk to my Suburu and tell it to be a Mercedes, it makes about the same sense. My theory is that you get what you buy, that the shoes that don’t fit will still not fit in a few days. I tell the ladies that the guy, by his actions and words, is simply telling you who he is and that it’s our job to pay attention, not to wish or hope that he’ll be different “if”. Just recently, one of my group said she thinks that the guy she had been dating for two years (who sees her for 2 weeks and doesn’t call for three months) is going to be different THIS time. Are we delusional or did we read too many fairy tales as little girls? The greatest foreteller of what will happen tomorrow is what happened yesterday – no amount of talking or begging or bribing or cajoling will change that. Ya get what you buy!

    xo Ellen

  5. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I agree with this and like so many others I have spent a good deal of time and effort trying to change a man to be what I wanted him to be, when, in reality, I should have seen the situations and the guys for who and what they were and walked away. Unfortunately, I find this is one of those pieces of information that is much easier to preach than put into practice, at least for me it is.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  6. nysharon Avatar

    Honestly, why do woman who aren’t planning on having more children think marriage is the end all? I’m not a flower child but I would be grateful to have a man in my life who I am happy with, an exclusive committment and is repectful to me; without the piece of paper. What’s the hurry? Besides you get less Social Security retirement when you marry. See I tell guys that getting married again is not gona be my thing, but my mind could be changed only if I DECIDE. No one will convince me. Guess I am thinking more like a man. 🙂

  7. Sassy Avatar

    I am currently in love with someone who certainly thinks highly of me, but just can’t/won’t commit. Instead of trying to change his mind, I’m waiting for him to wake up. This article hit home and I appreciate it very much.

  8. Kay Avatar

    Wow this article really spoke to me. After my first husband left, I thought I would never find love again. I refused to date for months until I finally agreed to go on a blind date set up by a good friend. It was magical. I thought this man would be in my life forever…I was wrong. We were married within two years but I wanted kids and he refused. I couldn’t pretend I was happy and this time I was the one who left. That was a year ago and I am finally dating again. I am ready to meet Mr. Right this time, for real. I was recommended this site,, which has been extremely helpful. I highly recommend it to anyone getting back into dating!!!!

  9. […] think some of us believe we can change the other’s mind (see “Do you think you’ll change his mind?“) or that he’s just not clear on what he wants. Thinking this way is asking for […]