Everything was initially great with my girlfriend of nine months, until she wanted me to change my hairstyle. I graciously refused, as I’ve had the same barber for 20 years and am happy with his work.
Then she wasn't happy with my daytime wardrobe (jeans and a casual shirt). She wanted me to wear shorts and a pullover, and bought both for me. I didn't feel the need to change my dress habits (neat and clean), being a senior.
Finally, she approached me to get dental implants (approx. $20,000.) as I have a partial bottom denture due to a long-ago accident. My teeth look very good and the dentures are inconspicuous.
I’m not unattractive, but it seems that she wants a "George Clooney."
I’ve asked her to accept me for whom I am, but that’s not happening. I’m now on edge in her presence, feeling that I don’t measure up for her. It may be time to move on.
I agree. But you need to tell her why you’re finished with her makeover attempt. You accepted her as she is, while she’s tried to “renovate” you toward some image in her mind (or magazine).
An occasional clothing gift is fine. But proposing expensive, unnecessary fixes raises the question: “Who’s image is she trying to improve?” I suggest it’s her own, through remodeling you.
I’m a professional woman, European-born but well established in North America for decades. I met my second (Canadian-born) husband 18 years ago, accidentally.
We fell in love and married though he was from a very different background in upbringing, education, and profession.
Our marriage was rocky for 12 years due to his extreme temper tantrums, rigid thinking, limited sociability, and primarily, his obvious dislike for my two sons (15 and 13 when he first met them).
He felt they were growing up “in privilege” which he disliked, and also couldn’t understand the closeness European families have.
I considered divorce, twice. But we discovered a life-long neuro-inflammatory disease for which he was treated in 2012.
Much of his behavior changed dramatically, EXCEPT his immense dislike for my two sons (now 32 and 34). They’re both professionals, with their own families and homes, both working with me in a very successful family business.
My husband has adamantly refused to see or talk to them for three years. Now, I can never have all my people at my table.
He’s otherwise a great companion, makes me laugh, works very hard, takes care of everything we need for our personal life, and I don’t doubt his love for me.
I’m his closest friend and companion as he’s very distant from his own siblings (a very dysfunctional family) and his daughter, and has no close friends.
However, his refusal to be part of my beloved sons and family has poisoned me.
I’m seriously thinking of leaving him, as this past Christmas holiday was a disaster.
At My Wits End
He’s backed you into an impossible choice: Join him in barring your sons (plus wives and grandchildren) from family get-togethers, or end the marriage that took years to become satisfying.
Unfortunately, if you stay together, you forfeit any possibility of change in his attitude toward your sons. It’s a power play, in which he’s pitting your joy in family against the emptiness of his own.
I believe this will sour even the good things between you. Confront him. Insist that he see a professional therapist about his attitude, or the marriage ends.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young woman who’s being sexually harassed by her much-older male co-worker (January 1):
Reader – “She should keep her Smartphone on “record” for proof of his comments. Otherwise, he’ll just deny the harassment.
“She should also check if there are any security cameras which might’ve recorded his behaviour.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the man who couldn’t give up his incorrect and unsubstantiated belief that his girlfriend was cheating on him (January 1):
Reader – “I’m a social worker and agreed with your advice. However, I wonder if it wasn’t insecurity, but possibly obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) talking.
“Her description of his inability to dismiss the thought that she was cheating could be a description of the obsessive thinking that can be a symptom of OCD.
“Shame might explain his inability to talk to her about it. I’m suggesting this because many people are unaware of this side of OCD.”
Tip of the day:
When someone wants to change your looks and clothing, ask who’s image is being reflected.