Is A New Woman Required For A “Changed” Man To Truly Act Right?

June 14, 2017  |  

Kevin Hart and his wife Eniko Parrish attending the 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.
Featuring: Kevin Hart, Eniko Parrish
Where: Santa Monica, California, United States
When: 11 Dec 2016
Credit: Dave Bedrosian/Future Image/
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Beyoncé sung about it; Instagram memes are constantly posted about it; women regularly debate it. It being the idea that the last thing any woman wants to do is build up a man for the next woman. And yet, there’s no safeguard that can prevent the man who said he wasn’t ready for something serious with you getting quite serious with the next lady. Your only hope in a bad relationship is to let the man go and hope you find the partner who’s right for you, or smile, grin, and bear it until the man changes. But will he ever really be a better man for you?

On Saturday, Kevin Hart appeared on an episode of Oprah’s Masterclass and he talked about where things went wrong in his first marriage and why they’re going right in his second. He spoke very candidly about getting caught up in the “fast pace lifestyle” (coming home at 3 and 4 in the morning and such while his wife was at home with the kids) as his fame grew and how detrimental that was to their relationship:

“I was a boy. I was an immature boy and she was an immature woman and together nobody was ever wrong…And I was just like, you know what man? I’m just not ready for marriage. So when you can make that decision, it shows that you’re already starting to change.”

The dissolution of his marriage to Torrei Hart made for a better environment for their kids, Kevin said. But as for him being a better husband this time around, the comedian said this of his relationship with Eniko Parrish:

“The relationship that I’m in now, in this marriage, she was able to get a Kevin 2.0. A Kevin that’s a grown man. I have to be different to get different. I wanted her to see, see what it is that I really do. See all of the hard work that goes into it. See what I’m really building. In doing that, when you’re apart of it. I’m so open and honest about everything. You become in tune. And when you’re in tune you’re in sync and when you’re in sync you’re inseparable because I know what you know and you know what I know.”

I shared the clip with my co-worker whose takeaway was, “It takes dogging out someone else to grow up and do right for others. How infuriating.” While I understand her point, I also took into account Kevin’s claim that Torrei was immature during their marriage as well and I questioned whether it was a matter of him wanting to dog out his first wife or was it just that once he realized they weren’t a right fit he didn’t care to do right by her, to sacrifice his desires for hers, to put in the effort it would’ve taken to show her “what it is that I really do”?

Or maybe that was the immaturity aspect on his part. Kevin could’ve just as easily taken Torrei on the road with him like he has Eniko, but something tells me at that age, he saw his ex-wife questioning his whereabouts as an attempt to control him rather than be included in what he was building. Some years down the line, maybe the light bulb finally went off that that’s not what Torrei’s concerns were about at all. Unfortunately, that eureka moment occurred way past the former couple’s divorce signing and Eniko now reaps those benefits. A fact one YouTube commenter posed an interesting question about:

“I understand that his first marriage didn’t work out due to him be immature etc ….BUT when he was finally ready to change and be a mature man …why not go back to his ex wife and make it work”

That’s the million dollar question. Maybe Torrei was over it by the time Kevin matured, maybe Kevin had no desire to go back, maybe part of the change was realizing he and his ex-wife simply weren’t a good fit for each other, maybe Torrei had already tolerated so much he wasn’t motivated to change until he met someone new, maybe he wanted to “upgrade” as so many men do once they get on. There are an infinite number of possible explanations for that question and I’m equally curious about whether a man can ever change for the woman he’s with instead of the next one?

These I-built-a-man-for-the-next-woman tales are far more common than He-changed-for-the-better narratives. In fact, if a couple doesn’t split, it’s usually because the woman decided to tolerate bad behavior, not because the man corrected it. But what is it that really makes a man become a 2.0 version of himself for the next partner? Is it simply learning from the past relationship or is it something about the new partner that sparks that will to change? What do you think? Can you really only build a man for the next woman or can you make him be a better partner when he’s with you?


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