->'''Marge:''' Well most women will tell you that you're a fool to think you can change a man, but those women are quitters!
->'''Lisa:''' What?
->'''Marge:''' When I first met your father, he was loud, crude, and piggish. But I worked hard on him, and now he's a whole new person.
->'''Lisa:''' [[AnalogyBackfire Mom...?]]
->'''Marge:''' ''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis He's a whole... New! Person!]]''
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', "Lisa's Date With Density"

Alice is a LoveMartyr for Bob. The world can plainly see that Bob is an utter loser -- he's selfish, greedy, and completely spineless -- but not Alice. To her, Bob's faults are minor and no cause for concern, for she can Change Him. The power and strength of her love will send him through a metamorphosis that will remake him into her perfect man. You wait. You'll see.

Of course, she's probably wrong.

In cases where Alice does effect a change, then you have LoveRedeems rather than this trope. In a long story arc it can zig-zag: first, I Can Change My Beloved, then switch to Love Redeems... and then, if the authors are cruel, switch ''back'' so that the redemption was [[StatusQuoIsGod just an act or a temporary phase]]. Poor Alice.

While there are a lot of male examples, this trope is usually female, and one of the main reasons why AllGirlsWantBadBoys. Usually PlayedForDrama. Sometimes played for FetishFuel as a component in BastardBoyfriend, or, hypothetically (but rarely seen), in its DistaffCounterpart BastardGirlfriend.

Compare DestructiveRomance. Contrast LoveRedeems and ReformedRakes, where this mindset actually ''works''. Also compare/contrast DracoInLeatherPants where this mindset works because the one who has the mentality [[WishFulfillment is the author!]]

This trope does carry some UnfortunateImplications, especially if handled badly, since more than a few times, the character approached their Love Interest because they're physically attractive, and when their personality starts to show up, it's dismissed as an annoying detail that can be easily fixed, making the character look superficial.

If the specific point of the LoveInterest that needs changing is their wardrobe, it's IWantMyBelovedToBeFashionable.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* This is a staple of the {{shoujo}} and {{josei}} mangas where the lead is a BastardBoyfriend.
** Infamously used in the ending of the ''HotGimmick'' manga; our protagonist Hatsumi, despite all evidence to the contrary, decides to marry the {{Jerkass}} love interest Ryuuki because maybe she can change him once they're together. (This is true only for the Manga: In the novelization, Hatsumi considers this trope, realizes it's bull, and goes for a slightly less awful love interest instead: Shinogu.)
** Kurumi Akino from ''HaouAiren'' thinks she can pull this in regards to Hakuron, the dude who practically kidnapped her and brought her to HongKong to be his mistress. (Then again the poor girl ''is'' trapped in the SAR and has no real way out, considering Hakuron is a [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs high-ranked Triads leader]].) In any way, [[BreakTheCutie it does NOT go well]].
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass'', [[NaiveEverygirl Shirley]] thinks it's her duty to reform Lelouch because he's a "failure as a person". Since she only sees the BrilliantButLazy RichIdiotWithNoDayJob persona he maintains at school, and has no idea what a MagnificentBastard AntiHero he is in his other life, this particular aspect to her romance is either PlayedForLaughs or for tragic {{Irony}}.


[[folder: Comics ]]

* According to WordOfGod from Bob Kane, the point behind [[DatingCatwoman the relationship]] between Franchise/{{Batman}} and ComicBook/{{Catwoman}} is that Batman partly thinks he can reform her. And in some continuities (such as Earth-2 of [[CrisisOnInfiniteEarths Pre-Crisis]]), he's actually right.
** To a lesser extent, this is also true of his other big love, [[MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter Talia Al Ghul.]] Though in that case, it can flip as to who's trying to change who.


[[folder: Documentary ]]

* The BBC documentary ''The Human Animal'' proposes a reason this trope exists in simple biological terms. The short of it is that the dangerous aspects of the target are sexual advertisements. According to the documentary, on a biological level, women are looking for signs of protective prowess (a partner who will help protect and rear offspring). Displays of aggressive behaviour are then read as signs of this prowess (cultural signs of this vary greatly, but the intended messages are the same). Once partnered up, however, the female will actively work to prevent the male from displaying further (which is this trope), so as to prevent the male from gathering further attention from the opposite sex. There's a lot more to human courtship, of course, mostly because unlike other primates alive today, sex among humans lasts more than 8 seconds.


[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' Padme said that Anakin was a good man even though [[Film/AttackOfTheClones he killed sand people]], and even after he had killed children, [[spoiler: and even after he killed ''her.'' Her last words were that there was still good in him. She was right, but it took their son to bring it out of him.]]
* In ''Film/SpyKids 2'', Carmen had a crush on the rival bad boy spy and at one point insisted she could change him. [[CharacterDevelopment She appears to get over her crush on him at the end of the movie.]] There's still some ShipTease between the two in the third film, but by then he's spent a while away from her and appears to have cooled off in the meantime.
%%* Mocked by Rick in ''Film/WatchIt''.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'' story ''Valley of Fear'', [[TheIngenue Ettie]] falls prey to this. More justified than usual; her beloved starts out as a relatively decent guy with a DarkAndTroubledPast (certainly better than the brutish RomanticFalseLead she started with), and she fights the influence of the criminals that [[IOwnThisTown own their town]] when they start [[IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten sucking him in]]. It actually works out for her, but only because [[spoiler: he was a deep-cover agent the whole time.]]
* In ''Literature/TheTenantOfWildfellHall'', Helen enters into her marriage with Arthur looking forward to changing and redeeming him, only to find that it's not that easy. She ends up thoroughly miserable, and in fact leaves him (an unspeakable move at the time) to rescue their son from his influence. This is also played straight in the same book: her friend is miserable in her marriage, but her husband is willing to change, and with a few points from both his wife and Helen, he shapes up into a very considerate partner.
* In Creator/PGWodehouse's ''Hot Water'', Beatrice thinks she can turn Packy into a man of culture. A common trait of certain Wodehouse fiancees -- who always turn out to be the wrong woman.
* [[DarkChick Diana Ladris]] attempts this in ''PLAGUE'' (book four of the ''Literature/{{GONE}}'' series). And fails miserably, finally giving up and giving [[BigBad Caine]] the middle finger.
* Creator/JKRowling, author of the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, finds this sort of thing (which usually leads into DracoInLeatherPants) a bit disturbing and unhealthy ([[http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/0705-tlc_mugglenet-anelli-2.htm source]]):
-->It amuses me. It honestly amuses me. People have been waxing lyrical [in letters] about Draco Malfoy, and I think that's the only time when it stopped amusing me and started almost worrying me. I'm trying to clearly distinguish between Tom Felton, who is a good looking young boy, and Draco, who, whatever he looks like, is not a nice man. Itís a romantic, but unhealthy, and unfortunately all too common delusion of ó delusion, there you go ó of girls, and you [nods to Melissa] will know this, that they are going to change someone. And that persists through many women's lives, till their death bed, and it is uncomfortable and unhealthy and it actually worried me a little bit, to see young girls swearing undying devotion to this really imperfect character, because there must be an element in there, that "I'd be the one who [changes him]." I mean, I understand the psychology of it, but it is pretty unhealthy. So, a couple of times I have written back, possibly quite sharply, saying [Laughter], "You want to rethink your priorities here."
* Ben Skywalker tries to reform Vestara Khai in the ''Literature/{{Fate of the Jedi}}'' series. It does not go well.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Elena in regards to both of the Salvatore brothers on ''Series/TheVampireDiaries''.
* When Charlie's mother met his first serious LoveInterest on ''TwoAndAHalfMen'', they squared off like a confrontation was about to take place. Instead, the mother simply asked desperately, "Can you fix him?" Exasperated, the girl confirmed, "I'm trying." True to her word, the entire episode was about her forcing Charlie to give up smoking and drinking, eat healthier, and incorporate exercise into his lifestyle. His StalkerWithACrush tells him that she would never try to change him because she ''actually'' loves him. The scenario backfires when Charlie finally takes a stand against his girlfriend- he puts his foot down in a fancy restaurant, getting the male clientele (similarly browbeaten) to back him up. The issue is dropped from then on.
* An episode of the Adam West ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series has The Penguin fool a wealthy woman into falling in love with him just so he can earn her trust then rob her. After his scheme is exposed she is still in love and insists if she were to marry him she could reform him into a perfect man. Penguin's response? "Take me to prison!"
* In ''Series/{{Degrassi}}'' there are the good girls, "cause girl" Emma and the Christian Darcy who only like bad boys so that they can make them good.
* Although the OfficialCouple of ''Series/RobinHood'' was (obviously) Robin and Marian, Marian struck up a friendship with Guy of Gisborne and would often encourage him to break ties with the evil Sheriff, stop killing innocent people, and become a better man. It was {{subverted}} throughout the show considering Guy would always be on his best behaviour around Marian whilst continuing to terrorize the peasants as soon as she was out of sight, but genuinely fell in love with her over the course of the first two seasons. However, when Marian makes it clear as to where she stands, telling him that it's either the Sheriff or her, Guy picks the Sheriff and [[spoiler:murders her]].
* Played with on ''TheBigBangTheory''. Priya tries to change Leonard not because he's a "bad boy", (since he's the farthest thing from it), but because he's a geek. She makes him [[IWantMyBelovedToBeFashionable dress cooler]], insists he [[TheGlassesGottaGo get contacts]] (despite the fact they keep causing him physical harm), stop [[AmicableExes hanging put with his ex girl friend]], and partake in more "normal" activities (i.e. watching baseball vs ''WorldOfWarcraft''). We see the story unfold from Leonard and Penny's perspective, not Priya's, where her changes are shown as being somewhat controlling and unnecessary. Of course, once Priya moves back to India, Leonard starts hanging out with Penny again and goes back to his trademark hoodies, while he never stopped indulging in his geeky activities to begin with.
* In ''Series/OnceUponATime'', Belle insists on staying with Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin not because she doesn't believe he's a monster, but because she ''knows'' he is and without her [[MoralityChain presence and influence]] to curb his more extreme tendencies, he tends to be a ''lot'' worse.
* Series/{{Dexter}} starts having marriage trouble with Rita shortly after tying the knot. When a marriage counselor asks why Rita never brought up the issues she was having with Dexter before they got married, her excuse is she thought she could change him. Considering Dexter is husband number three, with the previous one being abusive, itís clear Rita has not learned anything.
* Becky Conner and her bad-boy husband Mark Healy on {{Roseanne}}. Mark is actually very similar to Becky's father Dan in his own youth (i.e., sometimes aggressive and delinquent, but never vicious and only rarely mean-spirited) and, while she and Mark occasionally clash over his "bad boy" behavior, the real sticking point is Mark's lack of intellectual achievement and intelligence overall, which is usually played for laughs. Becky first pressures Mark into enrolling in college, but fails. He finally agrees to enter a trade school, despite his preference to remain a mechanic (a job at which all the characters on the show agree he excels). She becomes distraught when he flunks out, leading her to contemplate divorce, even though she had always known he never was and never wanted to be the intellectual type she seemed to want to turn him into. Roseanne, who had always been against their marriage and was the source of most of the jabs at Mark's lack of intelligence, helps Becky to realize that her efforts to "change" Mark are both unrealistic and selfish and cause Mark to feel inadequate.
** Ironically, Roseanne frequently mentioned doing this with Dan. In an early episode, when talking with her girlfriends, she says, "A guy is a lump like a doughnut. So, first (''picks off sprinkles'') you gotta get rid of all the stuff his mom did to him. And then (''rips it in half'') you gotta get rid of all that macho crap that they pick up from beer commercials. And then there's my personal favorite, the male ego (''takes off another chunk and eats it'')." Any time someone asks how she got a great guy like Dan, she always said she didn't, she put a lot of work into him to get him there.
* Any of dozens of women on ''HowIMetYourMother'' who thought they could change Barney.


[[folder: Music ]]

* MileyCyrus complains about this in "Can't Be Tamed". She claims that every man has tried to change her before realising he can't.
* "Under My Thumb" by TheRollingStones. The narrator is bragging about how as their relationship grew, his girlfriend (who had been something of a {{Tsundere}}) changed into someone much more submissive and sweet.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* "If Mr. Keuner loved someone" by Creator/BertoltBrecht:
-->'''Questioner:''' What do you do when you love someone?
-->'''Mr. Keuner:''' I make a sketch of the person, and make sure that one comes to resemble the other.
-->'''Questioner:''' Which, the sketch?
-->'''Mr. Keuner:''' No, the person.
* The song "Marry the Man Today" ("and change his ways tomorrow!") from ''GuysAndDolls'' is all about this, and indeed it seems to work out well enough for Sarah.
* This is the whole point of Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew. Though successful, whether the changes are actually for the better is [[ValuesDissonance up for debate]].


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Appears in ''NeverwinterNights2'' during the abortive romance arc with Neeshka, who develops quite a lot due to the player character's trust and [[LoveRedeems love]].
* A variant happens in ''VideoGame/BackToTheFuture'': [[spoiler: An alternate-timeline Emmett Brown is convinced to help restore the original timeline after his wife -- a ruthless dictator of Hill Valley -- attempts to brainwash him. However he finds himself having a change of heart when he learns that the original timeline had her as a [[CrazyCatLady bitter spinster]]. He then blames ''himself'' for influencing her behaviour and believes that he can change her ''retroactively'' through time travel by completely discouraging his younger self's scientific interests.]]


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Villainous shapeshifter Sabine got over it, describing an inversion of AllGirlsWantBadBoys:
-->'''Sabine:''' ''Sure, [[SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan women like me swoon for a hero]], but that's only because deep down, we think we can change them. But me, I'm done with that now. [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys I want a nice, safe, reliable mass-murderer that I can depend on]].''


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* In the first season of ''TheGuild'', Zaboo tries to pull this on the protagonist. (When it doesn't work out he instead tries to change himself, but that's a different story.)
* The WhateleyUniverse has Loophole getting warned by her advisor that Kodiak isn't going to be susceptible to being changed by her love, and most bad boys aren't. She eventually doesn't try it.
* Shows up in a big way on WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick's top ten list of the hottest animated guys (drawn from the opinions of her fans), which posits that a guy you can change is in and of itself something attractive, related to the AllGirlsWantBadBoys archetype. ("What do we like more than a big masculine crusader for justice? A ''project!''" ) It got so bad that her poll turned out ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' villain Frollo as the tenth hottest animated guy, due almost entirely to the appeal of this trope.
** She has also railed against the ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' interquels for this: they make it so that Belle is trying to change the Beast, while she notes that in the original, she wouldn't give him the time of day until he took the initiative to start changing himself.
* In RedVsBlue, the Director of Project Freelancer is absolutely obsessed with his AI experiments. His goal? Bring back his long departed wife, Allison. Only, his desire to bring her back means doing horrible, horrible things to her AI replica, Texas, in the hopes of "bringing her back right".


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Parodied on ''FamilyGuy'' in the episode "The Former Life of Brian". Brian tries to impress a recently-widowed mother (only referred to as "Jared's Mom") by putting on a magic show for her son, only to find out that she already has a boyfriend, Paul. They plan to base their whole relationship on this trope:
-->'''Paul:''' ...I'm a great guy! I'm unemployed, but that makes her feel useful in the relationship.
-->'''Jared's Mom:''' I'm gonna fix him!
-->'''Paul:''' Our relationship will do fine on that basis.
-->'''Jared's Mom:''' If he had his life together, I wouldn't be into it.
-->'''Paul:''' But I don't!
-->'''Brian:''' ''(exasperated)'' God, I am ''so'' sick of this crap!

* Inverted in ''{{Futurama}}''. Romanticorp tested pickup lines on women using test dummies. One of the dummies used the line "My two favorite things are commitment and changing myself." The woman in the test chamber [[InstantSeduction immediately started making out]] with the dummy.
--> '''Leela:''' [[DoesHeHaveABrother Does that dummy have a brother?]]
* ''TheSimpsons'':
** Marge did this with Homer, and insists it worked. See Page Quote.
** In a much later episode, when asked why, after so long, Lisa still has a thing for Nelson, she begins by insisting she doesn't... to gushing out how [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys dark and mysterious he is]], to insisting that only she can change him.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' Finn finds out to his dismay that his new love interest, Flame Princess, is evil due to coming from an AlwaysChaoticEvil race of flame people. He discusses the situation with her father, who concedes that if a really good guy (like Finn) liked her then she could possibly be changed to good (although she'd [[DungeonsAndDragons suffer penalties to her EXP for acting out of alignment]]). Of course, Flame Princess doesn't really ACT evil, she's just temperamental, naive and has traces of BlueAndOrangeMorality about when it is and isn't appropriate to burn things.
* Gender Flipped in ''LloydInSpace''. He dates Cindy, an alien girl with two heads. One head is nice, the other one is a complete bitch. He decides he'll try to change the mean head but when that doesn't work, he snaps and yells at both of them. Realising his own mistake, he apologises. Cindy's mean head still seems a bit like a jerk in subsequent episodes but she actually does mellow out a small bit.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Trying this trope in real life can have disastrous results. Building a relationship with someone you do not see as "good enough" leads to turmoil and resistance from the partner. It can also lead to accepting abuse, whereas if you think you can change an abusive partner, you don't leave and free yourself from the situation. For examples of how badly trying this can go, just consult your nearest advice column.