Well this is a strange headline, huh?
What I mean by “men are not dogs” is that men, unlike dogs, do not need to be trained. Yes, they should be raised to be respectful and kind, but when you are looking for a grown man to date you should absolutely not go into it with a mindset that you need to teach him how to treat you.
“I can train him to buy me flowers,” or open doors, or hold my hand, or [insert task you want your dream boyfriend to do]. It isn’t your job to mother a man, and one really surefire reality of life is that you can rarely change another person. Sure you can tell someone what you like and watch their actions closely after a conversation, but you should never go into a relationship expecting someone to change a laundry list of things for you.
I’m going to share a personal anecdote to show how I learned this lesson the hard way.
I used to date someone I really liked, but our relationship just didn’t feel very romantic. I am someone who absolutely loves the little things in life. I adore little gestures that say “I love you” like leaving each other notes, cooking for one another, and yes — I love chivalry.
This first person that I dated wasn’t into showing me he loved me in any of the ways my heart wanted. I remember even telling him at one point that I thought it was nice when he opened the car door for me and I really appreciated when guys did that; this struck a pretty strong nerve for him. #1 told me he didn’t know why in the world I wanted him to do something like that and that it wasn’t worth fighting about. I didn’t realize something like this was fight-worthy, I thought to myself. I wasn’t trying to argue, I just thought it would be nice for him to know that I appreciated the gesture so there might be a repeat. Later I realized “the door” wasn’t really even about the door at all. It was about the pile of things I felt I wasn’t getting out of this relationship. That was the most one-sided relationship I have ever been in, and although I gave up so many of my dreams for this gentleman (huge mistake; I will write about this another day!), bought him presents and little gift baskets to show that I cared, and even abided to his wishes of talking to him less,* I never felt fulfilled in our relationship, even when he did.
This wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, though. He just didn’t show love in the ways I need to feel loved. Back then I thought I was being kind by giving him “tips” on simple ways to love me in ways I understood better, but now I realize we just weren’t the right fit.
I want someone who will remember our anniversaries and enjoy celebrating them together, someone who gives me his time, and someone who is as kind and caring to me as I am to him.
*In hindsight it is hilarious that I once “showed someone I loved them” by agreeing to cut off most of our communication.
This second person is the complete opposite of #1. He is someone I’ve often wondered how I had the pleasure of meeting, as he is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.
On our first date he was chivalrous, but this behavior continued seamlessly into our 30th date. He opened my car door any time we went out, always wanted to be the one to pick me up and take me out, and goes above and beyond to show me that he cares. He has written me letters, cooked complicated five course Italian dinners, and often called me during his lunch breaks just to say “hello.” This is someone I think is so incredibly special that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to meet him and see that many of the sweet little joys in life aren’t just “Krista things” that are unrealistic traits to want in a boyfriend. There are men out there who are a million times better than the ones you see in the movies. They’re real, raw, and far from perfect, but they love you so fiercely there isn’t any room for you to question where you stand in their life.
Today’s lesson: Dogs are smart, loyal, and loving companions. You really can’t expect any human to measure up to this amazing animal, but wait for the person who does make you feel loved in the same way your dog loves you. This is a kind and selfless love with so much joy that your heart feels like it might explode.
5 thoughts on “Men Are Not Dogs”
I’ve always wondered why women try to change guys… I mean, if he’s not what you want, why are you with him?
To me, love has always been about accepting another person the way they are and if you don’t love who they are, then the issue is yours not theirs.
Just my thought…but I’m effed up anyways, so…there is THAT. 😛
Yeah, I never really understood that idea either. Part of why I got married is overall I love who my husband is, why would I try to change that?
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Yeah, and that is what a healthy relationship should look like! I’m so happy you found your husband and am sure you are so glad things didn’t work out with that other guy. ❤
Boy #1 sounds awful, but while it didn’t turn into a relationship, I went on two dates and emailed daily with this guy back in high school and I was myself to a point, but I was always pushing myself to be who he wanted. When he told me he was interested in another girl after our second date, I was crushed. I wished I’d realized that if a guy didn’t like me for me, he wasn’t worth it.
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Yes, I agree completely!! I think boy #1 probably needs to find someone who values work as much as he does, and that could be a much better match.
It’s definitely so important to love someone for their heart and great qualities, as that’s what makes them unique! I am glad that you at least learned that, even if it was after a difficult lesson… It is exhausting trying to change a situation and so much better to be wise about it beforehand like you are.
And I just know you’ll find someone who absolutely adores you! 🙂