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Doing the Right Thing Dear Cheryl: I'm 30, and my boyfriend of five years is 27. We've been living together for two years. He was diagnosed last year with an extremely rare type of cancer, which had already spread. His prognosis is extremely poor — he probably won'…Read more. She's Not Going to Like My Advice Dear Cheryl: Three months ago, I hired a graphic designer to design a logo for my business. I should tell you that I'm in an eight-year relationship with a wonderful man. We live together, but for the past two years, communication has been an issue. …Read more. That's What She Said ... Today, readers respond to previous columns ... Sherry: The column on friends turning into more reminded me of me. I married when I was 21 to a guy that was fun to be with and showed strong character against spousal cheating and any type of abuse. A …Read more. Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged, Part II Today we continue the discussion about whether it's ever "right" to have an affair ... NINA: My husband refused to have sex. After years of frustration and loneliness, I realized I couldn't change my husband, but he was changing me. I was fortunate …Read more.
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It's often said that women marry men hoping they'll change, while men marry women hoping they won't. And everyone is disappointed. Did your partner try to change you? Have you changed for your partner? Some thoughts ...

ADAM: We men become creatures of habit, especially when it comes to things like facial hair. I met a lady when I was 55. We didn't like each other the first few months. I thought she was a Bible thumper; she thought I was rough around the edges. We were both right.

After dating a couple months she finally said she loved me and don't ever change. But had I ever thought of growing a beard? Don't ever change; I love you just the way you are, but why do you wear those plastic frames instead of wire-rimmed glasses? I love you just the way you are, but have you ever thought of combing your hair back instead of parting it on the side?

Women live to improve men. And if a little change makes them happy, it will ultimately make the guys happy, too! When my adult kids came to our wedding they all commented that I looked younger and better than ever!

TONY: I'm over 35 and have a moustache. It seems to balance out my overbite. The 'stache has been thick, thin, long, short and a part of numerous goatees and beards. But I haven't completely shaved it off for close 20 years. As for my thinning hair, I keep it cut very short. This not only saves me time but the grey is not as obvious. I go with the flow. I'm not one to wage a futile battle with Mother Nature for any woman.

STELLA: How much would I expect a guy to change? Not much. When I was dating, I had an "If Only rule." Whenever I started to think that a relationship would be perfect, if only the guy would call more often or if only he didn't embarrass me in front of my friends or if only he wouldn't go out with his friends so often, I knew there was trouble.

He is who he is, and the behavior that drives you crazy will not change over the course of the relationship. In fact, it will probably get worse. You have to ask yourself, "Can I live with this for the rest of my life?" If the answer is no, forget about him. Be happy with the person as he is, or you're going to be very unhappy. Find someone you like "as is."

MARK: I would change anything my wife asked me to change. Her requests come infrequently and are usually quite reasonable. What have I asked her to change for me? Mostly safety-related things, to help prevent things like car accidents, food poisoning and fires.

I've been gently encouraging her to dress a bit better and wear makeup more often, mostly because I think it will make her feel better about herself, but I purposely try to be subtle about that, since bluntness would be counterproductive.

KAREN: There are a million things about my husband that I try to change. Everything from what he wears to what he eats to how he drives to how often he goes to the doctor. All for his own good, of course. But the one thing that I've learned in 23 years of marriage is that the only way to get him to change is to make him think it's his idea. If he thinks I'm pushing him in a certain direction, he's bound to go in the opposite. Dealing with him is very much like dealing with a 2-year-old!

Got a problem or a question? Send it to And check out my new e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front." To find out more about Cheryl Lavin, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit



4 Comments | Post Comment
Not all women see men as some sort of home improvement project. I've never wanted to change the personal style of any of the guys I've dated or wanted to date. I had no issue with telling them if their behavior towards me was hurtful, but the idea of telling him how he should dress, who he should talk to, how he should wear his hair seemed totally bizarre to me. It doesn't affect me if he wears a Nirvana T-shirt instead of a button-down. He's an adult. It's his choice. I might actually find the T-shirt more interesting than the button-down.
My rule of thumb is, only ask the person to change if something they are doing is affecting the relationship. How each of us chooses to dress or have our hair cut doesn't (in non-extreme cases) affect the relationship. How we treat each other does.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Cheryl
Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:48 AM
My hubby said he was attracted to me by my short skirts. Then when we got married, he started insisting I dress more conservatively. He goes on and on about it. I'm OK with it, but we still sometimes get into discussions about what is stylish and what is too edgy. If something really bothers him, like my last swimsuit, I just throw it in the trash.

I try to change his health habits, like eating healthy and getting regular exercise. He says I'm "nagging", but really I just want to keep him healthy. Constant ongoing discussions of this nature as well.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Madelyn
Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:54 PM
One day in the grocery store, I asked my better half to tell me honestly: "Would you ever buy fruits and vegetables if you didn't live with me?" He admitted that he probably wouldn't. So, I suppose I've tried to change him in the sense of getting him to eat better. This is probably the real reason why married men live longer than single ones; they've got someone monitoring their diet and replacing convenience foods with fresh vegetables. I'd never tell him how to dress, but I'll answer honestly if he asks my opinion of a shirt or jacket. If I ask his opinion of something I wear, I'll take his answer seriously as well, because he has pretty good taste in clothing.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Seabeast2
Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:35 AM

Of course relationships "change" us -- it's their very nature. When you are with someone, you constantly are modifying the movies and TV programs you watch, the foods you buy/eat, the color you paint the walls, the clothes you wear. Being in a relationship means YOUR preferences are no longer the guiding factor in all decisions -- you CHOOSE to make some trade-offs to keep the relationship happy.

Life, too, changes us. We are not the same person at 50 that we were at 25, although we may enjoy some of the same things we did back then.Theoretically, though, we learn and grow from our experiences over time, and a common complaint in breakups is that "I outgrew my partner."

The person who adamantly opposed (feared) legalized gay marriage, for instance, perhaps discovers a beloved relative is gay and starts to see as intolerable a spouse who steadfastly holds onto the opposition, or someone who never had any use for computers starts using them at work and finds they open up new possibilities at home as well. A couch potato, alarmed at blood work results and other physical symptoms, finds he feels better by exercising, and encourages a spouse to join him. A couple chooses to start saving money to put toward a common goal, and one person has the self-discipline to implement the changes while another can't stop the immediate gratification pull.

Change is inevitable, and it's how we deal with it that writes out our life story.

[I'd suggest LW1 was NOT changed by his wife, much as he thinks he was! She offered him suggestions -- "have you ever thought about" as opposed to "You really should grow a beard/comb your hair differently/update your glasses". He was the one who thought about her suggestions and decided whether or not to try them. That's not quite the same thing as ripping out a yard and replanting it with vegetables, or remodeling the kitchen!]
Comment: #4
Posted by: hedgehog
Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:06 PM
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