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Can You Really Train a Man?

I just came across this New York Times story from a while back, where the author explains how she trained her husband using techniques she had learned while writing a book on exotic animal trainers. She explained:

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

Though I do appreciate the idea of acknowledging good behavior, I thought it was already common knowledge that nagging will never get someone to change. Truth be told, it makes me feel kind of strange to think of a boyfriend in the context of behavior and training. Shouldn’t I just be accepting him the way he is? Is it even possible to train the man in your life? And would you even want to? Tell me what you think!


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0danielle0 0danielle0 9 years
"Train" is a bad word. It's taken me over two years, but I've helped my boyfriend understand that there is a right and wrong way to approach me about things that are bothering him... and I've shown him how to make me feel special without having to spend money. Most guys are clueless, so a few pointers here and there can be very helpful. :)
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
training your man is not the same as changing his you shouldn't change someone to fit what you want...but I agree, for things like dirty clothes... The kind of "training" i'm thinking about is the same thing as telling your man what you like sexually, then he can either do it or not, and then whatever he does, you then have the choice to leave or stay, to get what you want. If you are not ok with a man that doesn't do his share of the chores, you can "train" him by praising him when he does some chores, and then if he still chooses not to do them, you can leave. Just like you can praise him (moan, tell him how good it feel, etc. etc. LOL LOL), to get him to keep doing something sexually that you like... BUT: Whether you agree with it or not, I think that people, men and women, can be trained just like dogs or any other animal. We all (all animals) respond well to praise, and will continue doing something that rewards us if we like the reward.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
He's well on his way to becoming a fully housebroken husband. :)
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
11 years and yes I trained his A**! AND I love and respect him. I say train in the most loving of ways. Funny, he doesn't seem to think it's mean because he says it all the time to his friends that I trained him and domestocated him. I think it depends on the person. I had to fix him, his Mom had him ALL screwed up!
Marci Marci 9 years
aimbeeb, you're talking about Pavlov's Dog. :)
Marci Marci 9 years
I hate this attitude a lot of women have about 'training' their men. If you don't like the guy you've got, then go find one who suits you better.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
No joke my grandma has my grandpa trained. He automatically does the dishes ALL THE TIME!!!He also does other house chores but the dishes thing is what amazes me
kaenai kaenai 9 years
As far as changing annoying habits goes, I say why the hell not!? It's not like women haven't been doing it for years anyway - guys too. But the terminology probably isn't the best.
Pistil Pistil 9 years
It's fine to try and change bad habits that are annoying or inconsiderate to the other person, but the word 'training' doesn't sound right. I certainly don't like the idea of being 'trained' myself. And why is it that women are always the 'trainers'? What happened to an equal partnership?
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
I think that the longer you're with someone and are in a genuinely good relationship, you both start to "train" each other. Even if it's just really learning each other's likes/dislikes and routines. But nagging certainly does pull out the "I'll do as I please" three-year-old mentality in all of us.
krys786 krys786 9 years
Hahahaha where the HECK do you guys find your pictures?! That is soooo hilarious/weird. :-P
katie_c katie_c 9 years
i try to accept the guy for who he is and not look for ways to change him--but keep in mind if he can't change you're under no obligation to stick it out with him. be true to yourself.
katie_c katie_c 9 years
i'm not looking for a project. a few minor areas to fix the guy up in are fine but i don't want to have to start at square one with him.
Nina_79 Nina_79 9 years
People who talk about 'training' their partners don't seem to have a lot of love and respect for them if you ask me. the are not dogs that need to learn who the master is, but adults who have habits that might annoy their partner. If something your partner does annoys you, just tell them, nicely, not to do that or to please do this. I know from other posts that there are a lot of woman who have partners who obviously do a lot of things, like not help around the house, that would annoy me too. But for me at some point when your partner doesn't help for instance with cleaning the house it's a lack of respect for the other one. If you go into a relationship believing you can change the other person for the better (or your opinion of what is better), then I think you are in it for the wrong reasons.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
No. A real man cannot be trained. You have to love him just the way he is. A man who can be trained is, ahem, p*ssy-whipped. That's NOT a real man. JMHO.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Why would I want to train my partner into being someone else? I love him and want to be with him for who he is; if I didn't think he was suitable and thought he needed fixing up, I wouldn't be with him in the first place. But it's really the word "training," as kenziebaby, that's the issue. There's a difference between trying to force someone to be who you want them to be, and just learning from each other in a relationship.
kenziebaby kenziebaby 9 years
I think the world "training" is obviously a connotative problem BUT the idea of communicating the way you like to be treated using both verbal and nonverbal messages is really quite healthy.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
*now recalling
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
It's like the dog and the bell and all that positive reinforcement I'm not recalling from jr high science class. :rotfl: I don't think you can neccesrily "change" someone but I think certain things you can. I mean some men are set in their ways but others are meek and pretty much willing to be whipped. Ha.
MissKate919 MissKate919 9 years
I'd have to say no to the word train, LOL. BUT- When in a relationship with someone they truly love, guys are more willing to compromise b/c they WANT to make you happy. If I am feeling the need to train the guy I’m dating, I would figure he probably wasn't the guy for me and move on. And what a waste of time, BTW! Why try to train the wrong guy when I could be looking for the right guy.
omilawd omilawd 9 years
Haha, I don't know about other guys, but my boyfriend definitely won't change for anyone. It's annoying at times, but that's one thing that I admire about him.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
Thank god my boyfriend knows to throw his dirty laundry in the hamper...but he can certainly improve with other things...but then again, i'm not easy to live with too hahaha.
bluecanary bluecanary 9 years
Don't get me wrong...I pick up more dirty socks off the floor than anyone ever should (seriously, what *is* the deal with that?!?). But I'm no stepford wife myself! ;)
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
That picture is hilarious! :rotfl:
kia kia 9 years
I have never been of the mindset that I would want to be someone I would want to train. It sounds disrespectful.
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