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          Sex and dating: A capacity for change

          Kuiper Beltran, Casanova-in-training

          Issue date: 3/26/10 Section: Focus
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          It seems like people who are adamant about their relationships fall into two categories: people who are so deeply enamored with their partner that they spend every available opportunity detailing what an excellent person their partner is, both in front of and behind their backs, and people who spend every available opportunity complaining about their partner, both in front of and behind their backs. There is one difference between these two kinds of people: about three weeks.

          Whether you're complaining to or about your significant other, perhaps one of the most important considerations to make is what the intent of your complaining is. A good metric of this is how much of your complaining is directed at the object of your dissatisfaction. If you're complaining behind their back, it's probably an indication that you complain for the sake of complaining. If you truly desire to see your grievances rectified, chances are that you will direct them to a party capable of producing change.

          When it comes to change, altering intentional actions is usually both easier and more reasonable than trying to break long-standing habits. Your partner's willingness to make certain changes can also be an indication of how they much they respect you as an individual. If they hear your concerns but do not act on them, you might have reason why it is that they choose not to pay you this consideration.

          It's important to realize that change is something that is never guaranteed to transpire. As cliché as it might sound, it's the thought that counts. If your partner is willing to listen to your concerns and act on them, it should be evident that they respect and care about you, even if their efforts prove fruitless.

          One thing that is important to realize in all relationships, romantic or otherwise, is that humans have a finite capacity for change. This is something that should (hopefully) influence your dating decisions. Ideally, you want to date someone who is satisfactory in their current state, rather than trying to take an unsatisfactory person and mold them into what you consider to be an ideal partner. Dating someone with an admitted flaw is one thing, but going steady with someone with the expectation that they will change is quite another. The fact that humans have a limited capacity for change also means that it is important to choose your battles. Spending too much time on criticism not only damages the effectiveness of future criticism, but also takes away from things that might be more pleasant than complaining, like enjoying the company of your significant other.

          Complaints may be a more accurate measure of your relationship status than praise. Complacency is not a bad thing. If you find yourself at a loss for words to describe your relationship, your lack of complaint may be evidence of satisfaction with the status quo. It's sometimes easy to mistake contentment for boredom, but if you honestly can't complain about your relationship, the logical conclusion is that you are happy. If you find yourself in this boat, be sure to let your significant other know. The absence of complaints does not have to be an absence of feedback, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like being appreciated every now and then.
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          In This Issue


          • 2010 USG executive board candidates speak
          • Can you name this place?
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          • New performing arts center announced
          • Representative Barbara Lee addresses concerns over new health care bill
          • SEC proposes cutting 20 percent of Greek life funds
          • Undergraduate Student Government polls open through tonight
          • Weberian politics: Current vice president of finance Max Weber campaigns for the USG presidency


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          • Mather Park close to completion
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          • Spartan Spotlight: Steve Bills
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          • Z's return

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          • An in-depth look: Will You Marry Us?
          • Argument against complaints
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          • Sex and dating: A capacity for change
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