General Dating Questions/acceptance

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Question
Hi Dennis,

My question is: Do you believe in the phase "love is accepting someone for who they are"? And why?

The reason I'm asking is because I'm just done with my friend for telling me to accept my boyfriend for who he is, basically shoving her opinion down my throat. The internet and I suppose it seems the majority of the population thinks the same thing. She says it from 20 years of marriage experience and listening to other people's relationship. Am I wrong to think otherwise?

Basically, don't expect him to change, don't expect to get anything in return, don't expect him to do anything for me, don't expect him to communicate better with me cause he's not going to change, men are all like this, men are all poor communicators so accept that. I'm the one who has to manoeuvre artistically to get what I want so that he feels he's in charge like letting him think it's his idea when really it's my idea. Loving someone is accepting them for who they are including all their faults, even ones that make me unhappy, so get over it and don't except him to change, only I can change.

Well, I love my boyfriend dearly and I don't want to accept some faults he has. It was making me unhappy. I need him to open up and listen to my point of view and where I'm coming from. I need him to talk with me openly on how we can have a happy relationship. That means how each of us needs to better accommodate each other to meet each other's needs. I don't expect him to full blown talk to me like I talk to my female friends, but I except some effort and a change to try to understand each other better. We broke up, got back together and I'm beginning to see us talking more deeply and I expect this to continue. If it doesn't and he reverts back to his old self saying "whatever", I'm just not going to accept it. I'm willing to change and do all I can to meet his needs, I except the same too, not as intense, but an effort. Really, I don't want him to accept me if I'm stubborn and not change to meet his needs. Is this just expecting too much?

Answer
Hello Trang!

There are a lot of things that are said (or written) that are trite and easy-to-remember but that doesn't make them correct or practical.

Take the common statement "practice makes perfect". Easy to say. Easy to write. Absolutely incorrect. Why? Simple: only PERFECT practice makes perfect. If you practice a thing wrong you're going to get really good at doing it wrong, not at "perfection".

How about the old saying, "Just be yourself..." [insert any particular outcome here]. Again, easy to say and write but totally and completely false. This is just "feel good" advice from someone who doesn't have anything else to offer.

Your example ("Love is accepting...") is another falsehood. No, that's not what love is. There are elements of truth to it, but then, even a broken watch is right twice a day. It's all the other times you have to be careful.

Being in love doesn't make you oblivious to your partner's challenges. In fact, it often heightens your awareness of them. Instead, because you love him you will look past those issues and see what is good and "lovable" in him. If you can't do that I have to say that you probably aren't really in love.

Love also isn't about changing or fixing anyone else. The more you love someone the more you want them to be whoever or whatever they are. You want them to become the best person they can be within the context of who and what they are. I sense this is where you're hung up. You don't want to accept the issues your boyfriend has and you want to change them. That isn't "love".

I'm afraid some of your other beliefs are mistaken too. "Men are all poor communicators." Really? Do you think I'm a poor communicator? What about all the books, plays, poems, music, TV and movies written by men? Are THEY poor communicators too? What about William Shakespeare? Was he a poor communicator? What about Adolf Hitler? His goals were horrendous but his ability to move masses of people simply through his communication ability is legendary.

The reality is that men are actually excellent communicators. We communicate in a very different way than you do however. It's far more likely that YOU don't speak the same language that we do and it is YOU who doesn't understand, don't you think?

You are also wrong in thinking that it's your boyfriend's job to make you happy. No, I'm sorry to tell you, it's not. It's YOUR job to make you happy - and then to bring that happiness to your relationship. If you're focusing on trying to change your boyfriend you can't be focused on your happiness - and trust me, it doesn't lay at the end of what or who he becomes at all. In fact, the far more likely outcome of changing this guy is to build him into something you could never love in the first place.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
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Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder

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I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: http://beingaman.com. You can email me directly at: dwneder@beingaman.com.

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I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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Doctor of Philosophy

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