I can help him become a better man. Deep down, he wants to be different. I know it. I can just tell when I look into his eyes.
The things he says and does that hurt me he only does out of fear of losing me. He doesn’t really mean them. He’s a little boy inside. Just wait till he feels secure in our relationship.
You’ll see. He’ll change. I can change him .
Why are women so susceptible to this misguided view of relationships? It seems almost a cinematic cliche out of the 40’s and 50’s. Think The Virginian (1943) with Joel McCrea, Angel and the Badman (1947) with John Wayne, Westward the Women (1951) with Robert Taylor, or Shane (1953) with Alan Ladd .
Good woman transforms outlaw into law abiding citizen. Women civilize men. The West is won.
What is it about this scenario that appeals so strongly to us? Is it something about the way women are socialized? Can an excess of compassion blind us to reality?
I suspect that there is something else at work, something not nearly so selfless. The appeal rests, I believe, on three bases: intuition, interpretation, and influence.
To begin with, there is an attraction by women to the idea of an intuitive capacity on their part, some “special” ability to perceive what others (especially men) cannot.
Traditionally, women have been seen as emotional or intuitive; men, as logical or factual. These days we attribute this to right-brained and left-brained thinking, respectively. It is the principle that “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” .
While there is some anatomic basis for this distinction (women, for instance, have a wider corpus callosum uniting the two hemispheres of the brain), there is no reason we can’t be both intuitive and rational.
Women, in other words, are entirely capable of logic. But we’re flattered by the idea that a distinction exists. We want there to be a distinction. Yin and yang. Opposites attract. Intuition is, in some sense, “proof” of our femininity. Continue reading