You know you can’t change your mate, but if you’re like 95 percent of most women, you can’t help trying. Probably a good idea to rethink that strategy.
According to a study from Canterbury University in New Zealand, thing is, the more you try to change him, the less happy you will both be.
It’s a lose-lose power struggle. Instead figure out what you can do differently to manage his irritating behaviors, and you both win.
A woman has a very little chance of changing her man’s worst habits like leaving mountains of dirty underwear and socks on the floor, telling lies and not keeping promises, but there are ways and means, according to the experts. Many women do not understand that harsh criticism only makes it worse. You are not the mother or boss of your partner.
According to psychologist Michael Thiel, far more effective than threats or accusations is a negotiating strategy which runs something like this: “I love you and that is why I want to talk to you about something that will make our living together easier. Describe the habits of your partner, what you find disturbing and how this affects you,” the psychologist explains. “Tell him what your wishes are and what effect it has on you if he takes your wishes seriously.”
Many men are controlling, spoiled, immature, needy, and some are even violent. There is NEVER a good reason to stay with a man who is emotionally or physically abusive… NEVER! Men are often hesitant to let go of disruptive, disagreeable behaviors. They need to be encouraged to be a nurturer, a good father, and a good husband.
Don’t presume that the character traits you found endearing when you first met someone will always have the same appeal – there’s an up and down side to going out with a party animal, a sex beast or an intense and brooding intellectual. Sometimes, the very characteristics that first attracted you to someone can begin to pall when you realize what it’s like to live with this guy, day in, day out.
Men are not hard wired or socialized for the fantasy relationship that movies, novels, and fairytales promised. All the nagging, complaining and crying just make it worse. Criticism just digs a deeper hole.
The bottom line is, learn to accept your partner’s imperfections, appreciate the gifts he contributes and take responsibility for your own growth. It’s about changing your perception and attitude about him, not changing your man. Read this, slowly and clearly: YOU CANNOT CHANGE A MAN. Now, read it again, slower this time: YOU. CAN. NOT. CHANGE. A. MAN. Even if he really, really, REALLY loves you. You get what you “accept” in a relationship. Period. Notice I didn’t say “expect.” What you permit, you promote.
The good news is that if a quality is changeable, you CAN inspire him to change. You can plant the seed of change. You can present the idea of an alternative behavior to him and encourage him to manifest it into change. If he trusts in your word and believes that you have his best interest at heart, not just your own, success will more likely be achieved.
Tristan Coopersmith, author of “MENu Dating” shares how you can inspire that change in your man:
1. Think about what he does right. Make a list of the things he does that you love. By doing so you will be in a love mindset so that you enter the conversation in a positive place.
2. Think about why you need more compliments… what that void actually is that you are missing. Think about how it makes you feel when you get them – be specific. Think about how it makes you feel when you don’t get them – be specific… you will need to share these later.
3. Think about how him giving more compliments can benefit him. Will it make him feel better about himself? Will it help him make friends? Will it help him be a better boss? Will it someday make him a good dad as it will inject his children with beautiful self-esteem? Remember that he will have to work to change and any type of work requires incentive.
4. Choose a good time and a good location. Don’t introduce the idea of change to your man when he is stressed out, after a long day, when he’s rushing off to hang with his friends or any other time where he isn’t relaxed and open to giving you his undivided attention. Grab him when he is in a good mood, too… and don’t make this talk feel threatening – present it as a positive opportunity to keep him from going into defense mode.
5. When you approach your man about this subject, use “I” statements and be vulnerable. Men like to be men… meaning they want to be needed and relied upon for small and large things so don’t be afraid to show him your dependent side – displaying your needs is healthy dependency!
6. Once you state your positive feeling, (for example: I feel appreciated when you tell me that I am important to you or I feel beautiful when you compliment my new outfits) follow it with your clearly stated need (for example: and I need to hear those things more often). Clarity is key for men. If they don’t get what you are saying, you will never get what you want.
7. Listen to what he has to say even if it isn’t what you want to hear, at first. Be understanding of his position.
8. Do not nag, beg or give ultimatums to get what you want… if needed, just restate what you did before. Sometimes men need a double dose of truth to grasp it. Be sure to stay calm, compassionate and vulnerable.
9. From then on when he compliments you, make a conscious effort to reward him by simply thanking him for the compliment and letting him know how good it makes you feel, or taking notice when he compliments others. This is your way of encouraging and supporting his change. Eventually his new behavior will become involuntary but at first it is a little like training a dog.
10. And remember change is about evolution… it is not an overnight process. Be patient and allow for fumbles.
“When he is comfortable, he is happy. It has nothing to do with how his woman feels about the relationship. Many of us like the comfort and easy feel of where we are in life. So, once you can accept that and see him for who he is, you can encourage him to change without bruising his ego. Men are little boys that had the misfortune of growing up. Many things about how we act and behave are nothing more than manifestations of our childhood.” ~ Bobby McFadden
No matter how much you love your man, there are always going to be things about him that drive you nuts. It will help if you become the love you wish to attract. As the woman, you have all the power to influence him and at the same time destroy him. Men tune out nagging voices. The reason the rift is there is because their mind works differently than yours, and that’s OK. Maybe I’m just saying: Be nice… never a nag. Choose your words carefully. Never highlight the mistakes more than the triumphs. Do your best to see him in a more positive light, and speak kindly to him. Accept him for who he is.
Let me make one point crystal clear, when I say, “Accept him for who he is,” that does not mean that you must accept any emotional or physical abuse… that is totally unacceptable! Everything else is only and always your choice.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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