Dear Miss A,
I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 3 years. I really want to marry him, and I think he wants to marry me, too. He is just always critical of me. If we get into a fight, it’s always my fault for causing the fight. He hates my friends, and doesn’t like me hanging out with them. He doesn’t want to spend anytime with my friends. He’d rather us just be alone or do stuff with his group of friends. I’m really into running and do a lot of marathons, and he wants me to give it up, but at the same time he’ll tell me he thinks I’m getting fat. He also hates the clothes I wear, and would like for me to not be as into name brands and labels. He thinks I spend too much money, but I earn my own money so I think I should be able to buy what I like. This is the bad stuff, but he’s a really good boyfriend. He pays for everything when we go out, and he’s really into traveling to jazz festivals, and pays for all that. I’ve met his college friends who he’s tight with and their wives, and his family comes to town a lot and I’ve met them and get along great with his fam. I really love my running routine. I’ve been a big runner since high school. Do you think I should give up my marathons for him? They mean a lot me, but being married and having a family would be great too. Also, I’m not sure what to do about my friends. My friends are kind of spoiled and all come from wealthy families, and my boyfriend can’t stand them. He would rather spend time with his more laid back friends. But I’ve been friends with these girls since college and they’re so fun.
Dear Running Rhonda,
Your situation is very familiar to me, unfortunately. I’ve had a man ask me to get rid of my dog and cat, and move out of Washington where I have all my friends and my activities. I’ve had another man tell me that I’m “too….BLONDE!” Yes, he really did say that! It was straight out of the movie Legally Blonde, and very coincidentally he had dated the author of the book Legally Blonde, so now I wonder if she was writing about HIM! He told me I was “doing myself no favors by being a blonde.” I asked if it was because of all the stereotypes, and he confirmed. I guess he wasn’t secure enough to deal with it. He wanted me to dye my hair brown so that I wouldn’t stand out as much, and would go better with his northeast “blue blood” lifestyle where the wife is supposed to fade into the background.
He also asked me to give up my charity work, and told me that there were tons of men out there who would enjoy going to black tie events with me, but that he wasn’t one of them. I was also told to give up some of my friends, and that I was horrible for reading US Weekly. Mind you, I was also reading books on how men deal with grief and losing their mother in an effort to better support him emotionally. But I suppose that reading wasn’t to be applauded; instead he looked for everything he could criticize about me.
I suppose he couldn’t have figured out that I was blonde, and very involved with charities in Washington BEFORE he asked me out. I sometimes think that people overlook things that then later become “fatal flaws”, thereby creating an out for themselves when they can’t deal with the commitment. It’s a version of a commitmentphobic person, but they can always blame the other person. It’s not them!
You should be willing to compromise in a relationship – but don’t compromise who you are. Also, you should take a look and see if he is willing to make compromises for you, or is it a one-sided thing? It sounds to me like running is your passion – just like my charity work is my passion. That is something you’ve been doing for a very long time, and it’s what you love. You shouldn’t have to give that up. I think the best marriages are ones where each individual has their own interests which are respected by the other, and then some shared interests. He has to love you for YOU. He shouldn’t want to mold you into something you’re not, in an effort to create his ideal perfect partner. It won’t work, because you will be miserable.
You also shouldn’t have to give up your friends. He may not like them, but as long as they aren’t a really bad influence on you or causing harm to you, he shouldn’t ask you to give them up. They along with your family are your support system, and I would always question a man who tries to separate you from your support system. If a man does this, it’s because he is trying to isolate and control you.
I think you need to take some time to yourself and think about what you are really getting out of your relationship with him. You may like having a serious boyfriend and all that entails, but it sounds like it may be damaging your self-esteem. Good luck!
– Miss A
Andrea Rodgers is a Dating & Relationship Expert for HealthCentral’s Sexual Health Connection. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.