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Winning over and keeping the woman of your dreams requires time, sacrifice, and compromise—so in the grand scheme of things, it may not seem like a big deal if your significant other asks that you tweak your behavior or image. But over time, if the requests become more significant, it may be time to put your foot down. It can be hard to tell which requests are crossing a line though—especially when you’re blinded by love. To help you out, we checked in with some top relationship experts to find out what things you should never have to change for a woman.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise if your significant other isn’t a fan of your crazy college friends, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut them off, explains relationship expert Stephan Labossiere. “She likely hates what you do while you’re with your friends more than she actually dislikes your buddies—which means there are ways to eliminate the issue without having to ditch your friends.” Explain to her that you aren’t willing to stop hanging out with these guys, but promise to stop doing things with them that annoy her or make her uncomfortable. For example, if you’re coming home black-out drunk after you’ve been out with them, take it easy next time and she may just take it easy on you—and your friends—moving forward.
Your Relationship with Your Family
If she’s bothered by your close-knit relationship with your family, this can be major deal breaker, says Craig S. Wilson, relationship expert and author of Dating for Life. If your significant other considers your family members to be in competition with her for your attention, or she is not receptive to your family, she may not have genuine feelings for you, warns Wilson. Consider ending things with her and find someone who will embrace and love your family like you do.
Your Dreams and Passions
Putting your dreams and passions on the back burner for your relationship can eventually lead to resentment and unhappiness. If you’ve always wanted to open your own business or coach little league, go for it! “Tell your significant other that you value her opinion but you’ve always wanted to follow your passion,” advises Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship. “Reiterate that your dream isn’t dangerous, and it won’t hurt her or your relationship,”
“Unless it conflicts with you being a faithful and loving boyfriend, then you shouldn’t have to change your hobbies,” explains Labossiere. “You can choose to respect your significant other’s request, but you should not be forced to give up what you love.” Plus, she likely knew what you enjoyed doing before you guys got too serious, and shouldn’t have gotten into a relationship with you if it truly bothered her. Try to compromise by partaking in your hobby less often and spending extra time with your lady. Sometimes, simply finding a good balance is key, adds Labossiere.
“When it comes to smaller issues, a diversity of opinion, when debated in an open, loving way, can actually strengthen your relationship,” says Wilson. Enjoy the heated debate (and hot make-up sex) but hold strong to your notions and don’t let her sway you. If your beliefs are so strong that they are a core determinant of who you are, consider looking for someone who shares your ideologies, suggests Wilson.
Your Entire Appearance
If your girl requests a few small changes, fine. But a total makeover? Not okay—unless you truly feel comfortable with the changes she is suggesting. Tread carefully though. This is definitely a red flag. “The changes should be enhancing you, not changing who you truly are,” warns Labossiere. “You may want to consider if she is really into you, or the man she thinks she can make you into.”