Why Do Men Not Accept Me and My Flaws When I Fully Accept Them?

One trend in your advice is that men just want someone who accepts them for who they are, loves them, doesn’t nag them, etc. I am someone who does this, for the most part. I have had 4 serious boyfriends in the past. I have never had a problem when my boyfriend goes out with friends, goes on a guy’s trip, works late, watches porn, etc. I try to encourage all these things (and even love watching porn myself). I try to set a very accepting tone in my relationships and I encourage complete freedom and trust from both parties.

I am overall a fun, accepting girlfriend. I am a lawyer in New York and am very busy with my own life. I invite excitement, I rarely nag, and (in the past few years, at least) I don’t date guys who I want to change. I have fully accepted my last two boyfriends for exactly who they are but it seems like they’ve both had problems accepting me in the same way.

My most recent relationship was the most intense, immediate love I have ever experienced. I truly and deeply loved everything about him, flaws and all. I accepted every part of him and loved him unconditionally. Since the beginning, we had some core differences (politics, how we spent money, how we plan to raise children, etc.) that came up on occasion. I guess it bothered him more than it bothered me and he ended up breaking up with me. It has been 2 months and I’m still heartbroken.

Anyway, my question is, when you say finding a man to marry you is as simple as loving and accepting that man for who he is, is that just a generalization? Is that assuming that all the other pieces of the puzzle are already there? I was the supportive, accepting girlfriend that you describe, but he broke up with me anyway. Or am I not actually being the supportive girlfriend that I think I’m being?

And if this is relevant: I am 27, he was 26

Samantha

Dear Samantha,

You’ve heard the adage that life isn’t fair?

It’s true. Life isn’t fair. And love isn’t a meritocracy.

You don’t find lasting love because you’re beautiful.
You don’t find lasting love because you’re intelligent.
You don’t find lasting love because you’re nice.

You find lasting love because you choose a loving, compatible partner. Period.

You find lasting love because you choose a loving, compatible partner. Period.

My wife was cheated on by three ex-boyfriends and an ex-husband.

The last guy she dated before me was a post-marriage rebound relationship where he decided after a year-and-a-half that he “wanted to start seeing other people.”

My wife is the poster girl for “the cool girl with boundaries.”

Did she do anything wrong that these men cheated on her and left her?

Not at all. The only thing she did wrong was choose charismatic men of low character.

If you’re a regular reader, you can pretty neatly put my advice into two buckets:

1. Be a better girlfriend.
2. Choose better men.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re already the perfect girlfriend.

Now, you just have to choose a man who treats YOU the way you treat HIM.

That doesn’t guarantee a happy life for you.

But it does mean you’ll have a much easier time attracting and keeping a good man than a woman who is negative, critical, difficult and selfish.

Long story short, my heart breaks for you, but you’re way ahead of the game.

Now, you just have to choose a man who treats YOU the way you treat HIM.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Theodora

    Hmmm. I’ve never cared and never asked how much porn a man watches, but to encourage him?

    I think it’s a difference between being an accepting girlfriend and, as the saying goes, “you are so open-minded your brain will spill out”.

    I agree with Evan though, she sounds like a very nice girl who hopefully will meet and choose men who appreciate her more.

    1. 1.1
      Lisa

      As someone who dated a porn addict and was clueless that such an addiction was so common, I highly recommend that you have this discussion early on. It can save you a lot of pain down the road.  Porn addiction causes ED and ruins relationships.

      1. 1.1.1
        Theodora

        I don’t think that porn addiction is common. I think that people who are truly addicted to porn (not exaggerated by their partener) have addictive personalities to begin with and porn just happens to be their vice of choice.

        Naturally, men like to watch porn more than women due to their sex drive and strong visual component of their sexuality, but it rarely leads to addiction Enjoying porn among men is like enjoying shopping among women.

        However, as I said, I found it strange to encourage a man in this pursuit. They don’t need encouragenent to begin with, it’s like encouraging a woman to go shopping more often.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Theodora

          The problem with porn is caused by PMO (porn, masturbation, orgasm).  If done often enough, PMO causes the male brain to become desensitized to the real thing because no real sexual encounter is as intense as porn, and erections start in the brain.  The condition is known as porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED).  Here is a medical publication on the problem: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039517/

           

    2. 1.2
      zoe

      So true.  Most porn addicts get ED and hate kissing.   Many are intimacy adverse.   It’s not good.    It ruins relationships .  I know many relationships ruined by it

  2. 2
    S.

    Is there anything Samantha can do to stay positive as she meets and sorts through the men who aren’t right for her?  It’s hard to have heartbreak after heartbreak, especially when you’ve been the best girl friend you can be.

    And those things, “politics, how we spent money, how we plan to raise children, etc.” really do matter even if the man does treat you the way you treat him.

    Sigh.  It can take a while to find someone.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

     

     

  3. 3
    Lisa

    I think the title of this article should be “Sometimes even the cool girl does not get the guy.”   Because that is what it sounds like this author is.   Sometimes people are just not a good match. It does not matter how cool or accepting you are some things are outside of your control.  Maybe he had an ex he was still in love with? Maybe he did not want to date a lawyer?  I am a lawyer so I can say that and I have had that issue.   Bottom line is that although we as women look for answers or closure, sometimes we may never find it.   The best thing you can do is be yourself and keep trucking along.

    1. 3.1
      D_M

      Lisa,

      Do you think that, “how we spent money or how we plan to raise childern, etc”, might have contributed to the break up? Samantha did mention friction with core issues. Being the cool girl or guy is just the start. After that hurdle, we have to dive into our “can live with (s)”. Politics might be something that can be ignored, but certain things heighten relationship anxiety. Career goals not aligning with family wants or needs, along with different versions of what it means to be a nuclear family raises all sorts of doubts.

  4. 4
    Mary H

     Since the beginning, we had some core differences (politics, how we spent money, how we plan to raise children, etc.)…I guess it bothered him more than it bothered me.

    Those are some pretty big differences that would really impact how you both live life together, had you gotten married. I don’t think that’s a question of him not accepting you as you are — maybe you’re great as you are, but finances and children are two HUGE pieces of a marriage. If you have totally different philosophies on those, it doesn’t mean there’s anything necessarily wrong with you, but it does make you probably incompatible as marriage partners.

  5. 5
    ScottH

    There were some very fundamental problems in that relationship that should have broken them up:

    Since the beginning, we had some core differences (politics, how we spent money, how we plan to raise children, etc.) that came up on occasion”

    You shouldn’t have been with this guy long term.  You were incompatible.  Be glad that it ended or you’d have a lifetime of grief.

  6. 6
    Beth

    What’s missing, I think, is for the OP to realize that they had different core values and maybe she should have been the one to dump him rather than be cool with their differences.  How one spends money, raises their children and politics are very important and not things to be cool with if they differ with how you really feel.

    So to pick from Evan’s 2 choices, she should pick better men- aka men she is compatible with long term.

     

  7. 7
    Michelle

    Been there! For reasons that might not be apparent now, it wasn’t the right fit with this guy and Samantha needs to move on and stay positive.  I have worked hard (on Evan’s advice) to practice the same qualities and been stone-cold dumped anyway! But now that I’m engaged to an amazing guy who IS the right fit for me, hindsight is 20/20 and I can see why those previous relationships weren’t sustainable, even though I felt at the time I was being an amazing girlfriend.

    It’s a little cheesy but I like “Finding Your Half-Orange” which is about dating positivity (but should be tempered with Evan’s practical advice) – it gave me a boost when I was down in the dumps about dating.

  8. 8
    Kell

    It sounds to me like your core values (politics, child rearing and money are big ones) did not match.  For him this was a bigger issue despite the other good things in your relationship.

    For the folk talking about porn/addiction this is not really the issue, she just uses it as an example of how she is about accepting someone’s flaws/vices.

    Ugh! Getting dumped sucks, and it is not always fair and makes sense. I keep having to dust my heart off and get back up again. It is hard to meet single men at my age (48) when you are busy with all the other things life demands of you. Good luck fellow readers:)

  9. 9
    Samantha

    Hi all! Samantha here. Thanks for all your kind words. And Evan, thank you so much for your advice.

    I wrote this about 5 months ago and since then, I have a new amazing boyfriend who consistently treats me with kindness. We are much more compatible and I have never been in a healthier and happier relationship. It has only been 3 months so I don’t know what will happen but I do know that I’ve found a man I care about deeply who accepts me the way I am and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

    1. 9.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      Samantha,

      Thank you for the update!  I love it when the LWs check in.  Congratulations on finding a healthy relationship where you are both happy.  I wish well in the future.

    2. 9.2
      S.

      Good for you! Glad you kept at it and wish you all the luck with the new guy. 🙂

    3. 9.3
      Eugenie

      Missed this update before commenting. Congratulations!

  10. 10
    Eugenie

    Maybe play to your idiosyncrasies or things that differentiate you – whether it be hobbies or (more importantly) values.

    I lucked out, ironically, because I had political views A while probably 95% of women on the dating site I used in my region had views -A, and made this apparent in my profile. This helped me meet a man without being the most attractive woman in my area, and we achieved significant accord of values that would have been hard to achieve if we sampled randomly from the larger local pool.

    Also, if you want marriage and kids, you might have an easier time with men just a few years older. Men seem to hit their “wanting to settle down” switch at 30 ish, based on experience from me and my friends.

     

     

  11. 11
    Stacy

    I also love when men are like this (cool and accepting, will allow me to have my ‘freedom’).  However, if he is too accepting, it’s actually a turn off.  In other words, if he is accepting to the point of no boundaries (for example, he is just fine with anything I do), then I will start to think he doesn’t care enough.

    I say all that to say, being accepting and the cool girlfriend is good, but not too cool and accepting to the point where you will accept anything. While this may not be the reason he broke up, it is something to consider.  There needs to be a balance.  Personally, I will call you out if we’re on a date and you’re on your phone (random example since I see this a lot). I would never ‘encourage’ porn…not that that’s necessarily bad, but if my man is watching porn, he needs to do that on his own time, etc.  I am not going to be home, cooking for you and having conversations and you’re masterbating to a porno in the next room. Sorry.

  12. 12
    Holly

    I think that, unfortunately, accepting someone completely for who they are offers no guarantee that this will be reciprocated. But the good news is that, as Evan stated, you are ahead of the game. You can be accepting of another person, which is a big win. Take some time to heal. You have a lot to give the right guy.

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