Last week, I was on the phone with Bobbi. Early 50’s, attractive, bookish, divorced.

She signed up for my Commitment Course reluctantly, as she was hesitant to get 12 weeks of dating coaching when she’s already “seeing” a man.

I told her that, in my experience, if things are iffy with a man at the very beginning, the odds that he’ll turn out to be her future husband are slim.

Bobbi took my word for it, and the first few sessions were spent talking about Gary.

Gary is charismatic, opinionated, vocal. He has qualities that Bobbi admires, is attracted to, and would like to emulate if she weren’t so introverted.

As a result, she can’t help but to feel drawn to him.

Anyway, the reason that Bobbi wanted coaching is because Gary really hadn’t turned the corner to become her boyfriend yet. And while it’s only been 6 weeks, she’s not too confident he will. Gary’s got a lot going on in his life. Busy job. Ex wife and kid. Bobbi’s trying to be patient, but struggling.

But that’s not the real kicker.

The real kicker is that Gary, because of his strong opinions and point of view, is kind of difficult. Moreover, he’s critical and has a temper when he doesn’t get his way. When he’s in one of his moods, Bobbi can feel really bad about herself. 85% of the time, things are amazing. 15% of the time, she’s unsure about herself.

If things are iffy with a man at the very beginning, the odds that he’ll turn out to be her future husband are slim.

I told her that Gary’s personality wasn’t a bad habit that was going to be ironed out; this is a character flaw. Thus, she has two choices: stay and suffer, or leave and find a man who didn’t have those verbally abusive tendencies.

Bobbi said she’d stay.

The following week, Bobbi told me they had a big blow-up in the car, to the point that he was yelling at her and she was crying because she couldn’t defend herself.

I asked her if she was ready to move on, and start online. She said that she was thinking about it, but that she’d give a little more time with Gary.

Seriously.

Three weeks later, she’s got a profile online, but is still seeing Gary.

Things are good – for now – she reports.

And without betraying Bobbi in any way, I can almost certainly predict that she hasn’t seen the last of Gary’s criticism or temper tantrums.

I can only hope she does what’s right for her.

While it’s easy to say that low self-esteem is the main reason that people stick in prickly and critical relationships, I think it’s more.

I think it’s because you have the feeling that things can be GREAT, and so you stick with your man waiting for him to be at his best. But he won’t. He can’t.

He’s a flawed human being and you’re all too willing to overlook his flaws.

If it’s not clear from my writing, I don’t give advice from a pedestal. I’m fully transparent about all of my flaws and mistakes in dating.

Which is why I feel so strongly about Bobbi’s situation.

I’ve been in her position with a woman that I loved desperately.

Nobody made me laugh like this girlfriend. Nobody made me think like she did.

And yet nobody ever made me feel worse about myself.

Why?

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Attraction isn’t enough. Feelings aren’t enough.

Because of all the things you already know about me.

I’m very much a man.

I’m very much a flirt.

I’m very opinionated.

I can be very logical, even in the face of emotion.

And because of these qualities – which my wife seems to be able to tolerate – I was called “a sociopath,” “disgusting,” “disrespectful” and so on.

My girlfriend finally broke up with me after my friends went to a bachelor party and she didn’t like that I’d be friends with the kind of men who go to bachelor parties.

True story.

Two weeks later, she asked if we could reconcile. She knew I was a good person, but she couldn’t stop flying off the handle each time I talked to another woman – whether it was a middle aged bartender or a 17-year-old cashier.

She simply didn’t trust me – even though I’d never given her a reason not to.

As much as it pained me, I refused to try to reconcile. I loved her dearly, I wanted to make it work, but it was clear from our 6 months together that she couldn’t accept me for who I was.

And I refuse to be with someone who can’t fully accept me.

You should, too.

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Attraction isn’t enough. Feelings aren’t enough.

It doesn’t matter if 85% of the time he’s a great boyfriend, if the other 15% of the time he’s a selfish jerk.

I couldn’t “make” my girlfriend change to accept me and love me the way I deserved and you shouldn’t try to “make” your guy do ANYTHING.

Either he wants a long-term relationship and treats you like gold, or you’re out the door.

Otherwise, you’ll be in Bobbi’s position, spending a life waiting for a man to be someone that he’s not…