Thursday, July 06, 2006

Training Your Man or Woman; Why Bother?

I read a disturbing piece by Maureen Dowd in today’s New York Times.  The Piece is called How to Train a Woman, and talks about the ways to get your significant other to act more in line with your tastes using positive reinforcement and other tricks.

“The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't,'' she wrote. ''After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging.''

She began using ''approximations,'' which means rewarding the small steps toward learning a whole new behavior. ''With the baboon you first reward a hop, then a bigger hop, then an even bigger hop,'' she wrote. ''With Scott the husband, I began to praise every small act every time: if he drove just a mile an hour slower, tossed one pair of shorts into the hamper, or was on time for anything.''

Dowd goes on to discuss the difference in how to change men and women, but she never addresses whether it’s right to try to train your spouse.  Now admittedly, I’m single, so perhaps I’m just naïve.  But while I think that any healthy relationship includes some compromises, I also believe that trying to change a mate drastically is just wrong.

When I go out with a woman, it’s because I like her for who she is, not for the potential of who she can be.  If I try to change her, even some of the more minor points, I change who she is, and she isn’t the person I fell for.  I feel like, if I try to change her, she was never the woman I wanted in the first place.  And I’ve felt that way when I’ve lived with women too.  

Maybe it will be different when it’s “till death do us part”, but right now, that’s the way I see it.

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Posted by Scottage at 12:34 AM / | |