Earlier this week, 27-year-old Kathleen Harris discovered that her significant other insisting, “You make me want to be a better man,” turned out to be nothing more than a veiled excuse for being a worse man.
“I spent years believing my boyfriend, Ross, would really change because he would always tell me how much I made him want to be better, do better, and get better – at what? Definitely not at being my boyfriend,” says Harris. “I finally realized his promises were all bullshit when a friend gave me the hot tip that he’d been cheating on me for months with my ex-roommate.”
The experience led Harris to understand that her boyfriend’s assertion of “wanting to be a better man” was a smokescreen – intended to distract her from the fact that he was far, far worse than she ever imagined.
“But I really do want to be a better man,” says Ross Baldwin, an already grown man who regularly blacks out on weeknights. “Being with Kathleen really made me want to change my ways. Like, I’d want to come home at a reasonable time instead of taking 25 shots at my afterwork happy hour, losing my phone and then stumbling into bed at 2 a.m. The problem is that I just don’t.”
“Exactly. That’s the problem: He literally doesn’t get better,” says Harris. “It took me so long to translate the sentence, “You make me want to be a better man,” into what it really means: Hey, I’m a huge asshole and you’re the only woman in the world who makes me feel sort of bad about it. Don’t you feel special trying to save me?”
Harris says she did feel special at first.
“I couldn’t believe he chose me as his emergency contact, so I could be the one his friends called after he ‘accidentally’ smoked three codeine-laced blunts and then tried to drive his car down i-95,” says Harris. “Then one day I just woke up and thought to myself, ‘This is truly insane. My boyfriend has no intention of becoming a better man.’”
Once Harris realized her boyfriend was a fundamentally broken human being no woman could ever heal, she found the strength to leave him.
“But, I swear I’ll really change!” Baldwin shouted up at her apartment window. “You’re the only one who can save me!”
At the conclusion of the interview, Baldwin could still be heard shouting at Harris while she ignored him, only this time it was just the word, “Bitch!” over and over again.