QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
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My boyfriend of two years has this habit of being too honest. I
have been told that I laugh like Butthead and that my laughter is too
"distinctive." He feels that this character trait makes me sound like a dumb
blond and that for my own benefit in life, I should refrain from laughing
that way. He says that it embarrasses him because he does not want other
people to think that his girlfriend is stupid. My question is when is it
constructive criticism and when is it just him being superficial and
inconsiderate? I think that young girls should know when someone is unfairly
trying to change them.
This does not appear to be an issue of honesty. When someone
volunteers criticism of another person "for their own good," it more often
means that they are hiding behind the veil of honesty. Your boyfriend is
embarrassed by your laugh. That's honest. And it says more about him than
it says about you. He is more concerned about how you reflect upon him.
Many men relate to women in this way. They tend to view women as extensions
of themselves and want the woman in their to life to reflect their status.
They want to be the center of attraction with their trophy woman on their
The question you have to ask yourself is whether you want to be with someone
who is embarrassed by being with you. You might also want to ask yourself
whether this is the first in a line of "character traits" that your
boyfriend wants you to fix. The laughter may be only the beginning of a
character make-over. It sounds as though he likes the way you look, but not
necessarily who you are. Perhaps he should be asked to butt out of giving
unsolicited criticism. Your laughter is part of your package.
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.