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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 www.creators.com.
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