L/et's say you have met the man of your dreams—almost. There are a couple of things you wish were different. What do you do? Nothing! Don't try to change him because men never really change. You should either accept certain flaws or find someone else. Of course it all depends on what it is about him that bothers you.
If he is fanatically neat; chronically tardy, hates Chinese food (your favorite) and disco dancing (you love it), or he won't part with his childhood baseball card collection, but he loves you to death, consider yourself lucky. These are annoying but relatively harmless vices, which we classify under category A.
On the other hand, if he flirts with other women in front of you at parties, exhibits violent behavior at times, pays no attention when you are telling him something important, or forgets your birthday, then he is into category B (bad) behavior and you have some heavy-duty thinking to do.
In the case of A, pray for acceptance and don't nag him. It won't work anyway. Just be ready at 9 P.M. when he says he'll be over at 8.
When it comes to B-type behavior, such as infidelity and lack of consideration, seriously think about ending the relationship. People don't change that much and you can't count on it happening. What you see is what you get. If a man cheated on you during your courtship, he may do so during your marriage. He might be on best behavior for a while after you catch him the first time. But don't delude yourself. Old habits die hard.
You must decide if you can live with him. Whether or not he ever cheats on you again, realize that the thought will always cross your mind. You might find yourself checking his shirt collar for lipstick stains and his pockets for little pieces of paper with women's phone numbers on them, or calling him at the office when he says he's working late. Is that how you want to live? If it is, Rules women make up their minds and live with it. The key to a successful marriage is to be happy with the way things are not the way they could be if only he changed.
Of course a playboy type who falls in love with you because you did The Rules will automatically mend his ways. He will want to be monogamous because you, unlike other women he's dated, are busy, don't call him, make him wait for sex, and don't bring up marriage or the future. Therefore his object in life is to win you over. He has very little interest in other women because he has no time for them! Thoughts of how to conquer you consume most of his waking hours. You have become the biggest challenge in his life. Do The Rules and even the biggest playboy can be all yours!
Deciding whether or not you can live with a man's bad habits or his past (ex-wives and children) is not easy. Also, some character traits don't fall so easily into either category A or B. For example your man may be someone who doesn't live up to his earning potential. Whether you can live with him depends on how important money, career, status, and a big house are to you.
In all such cases, you must sit quietly with yourself and ask for guidance to do the right thing. Consulting others helps, but remember you have to live with these things yourself. Ask yourself if you can really marry an ex-womanizer or a recovering alcoholic. Can you really live with the possibility that he may cheat or drink again? Ask yourself if you can live with stepchildren or past infidelity. If the answer is yes, great. But if you are too troubled by his past or current behavior, you might have to do The Rules thing and walk away. Taking him to couples therapy in the hopes of changing him can take forever, rarely works, and some things just cannot be changed.
Whatever you do, don't nag him or he's sure to resent you for it. So think long and hard, but don't waste too much time deciding. Remember, there are lots of men out there!
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