My Boyfriend Wants Me To Change How I Dress and More. What Should I Do?

My Boyfriend Wants Me To Change How I Dress and More. What Should I Do?

Greetings from a loyal fan in Australia! Loved your book, “Why He Disappeared”. Right now my man and I are in a period of “time out”. Why? He wanted to know details of my sexual history (which isn’t that bad but bothered him), and said if he was in a serious relationship with someone the way I dress would need to change and Facebook cleaned out, basically things would need to “severely change”. Clothes apparently cling to my body and jealous over guys on Facebook. Keeping in mind his conservative, middle eastern background (although born in Oz), some people have said he’s clearly serious about you others are saying he’s crazy. He didn’t end the relationship but asked for space for us both to think… I thought this one was different. Can you help me make sense of this? Haven’t made contact nor has he for 2 days. I was kinda blindsided by this and he has treated me amazingly otherwise. We’ve been dating 3 months. Haven’t met family or anything yet but he mentioned them in relation to the above (i.e. if you meet my family). He’s a workaholic CEO type, divorced twice, 2 kids. Please help! 

Mariana 

I know this is an important and sensitive issue to you, but the answer couldn’t be more obvious to an objective third party: RUN!

I’m hoping that by the time you read this, you already figured this one out for yourself. But if you didn’t, let me provide you the logical framework to make an emotional decision.

I believe there are many people who don’t have the capacity to make ANYBODY happy.

I’ve already hinted in previous blog posts about something I’ve kept to myself for a long time – I believe there are many people who don’t have the capacity to make ANYBODY happy. It’s not that they’re evil. It’s that they’re too selfish, too insecure, and lack the communication and compromise skills necessary to make a marriage work. Try though they might, every time they get into a relationship, the same thing happens. They are the common denominator in their own lives.

So while I would be inclined to dismiss him based on his archetype: workaholic CEO type, twice divorced, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s sensitive. Maybe his wives were gold diggers. Maybe he’s just “traditional”. Nope. There’s only one word to describe him:

Controlling.

NOBODY has the right to tell you how to dress or who you should be friends with on Facebook.

If he doesn’t like you the way you are, he’s just going to have to find a woman in a burqa who has no male friends and no Facebook account.

And the fact that you didn’t dump him at the mere suggestion of this only indicates to me that you’ve lost any sense of objectivity because of how you feel about him. I’ve written about this in my upcoming book. It’s called “the normalization of deviance”. You get so used to something that’s broken that you don’t even realize how fucked up it is.

If one of my relationship tenets is that you can’t have a relationship with a man dependent upon him changing, the reverse equally holds true. If he doesn’t like you the way you are, he’s just going to have to find a woman in a burqa who has no male friends and no Facebook account.

But he’d better not be with you.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Karmic Equation

    Amen, Evan!

    1. 1.1
      Janet

      Double Amen!

  2. 2
    Senior Lady Vibe

    I’ll add to EMK’s advice to RUN.  My point of view is RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!
    Note the guy says “if he was in a serious relationship with someone the way I dress would need to change and Facebook cleaned out.”  The strong message  is he doesn’t regard the present relationship as serious and he doesn’t want a serious relationship with the OP as she is.    Big red flag if OP is thinking of this man as a prospective husband.  Gee, IMHO, I wouldn’t want any of my friends or relatives to date a man like this. He’s overly controlling; I’d probably say so too.  
    He regards “sexual history” as something “bad?” and something he’s entitled to know?  Ewww!  OP seems to have a similar mindset (maybe why she didn’t run after the first date or two) as she mentions her sexual history isn’t “too bad.”  
    OTOH, if she looks like a streetwalker and that’s not how she wants to present herself, she might tweak a bit for her own benefit. I’m guessing that’s not what’s happening here and her “man” would prefer she have the air of a submissive virginal woman-child.
    If she’s lucky she won’t hear from him again.
    Senior Lady Vibe
    January 27, 2014
     
     
     

    1. 2.1
      jmom

      I am with you 100% about the control aspect. I was married to someone who wanted me to look like his “EX” wife (found out later…too freaky!) It was a slow process of hair, nails, contacts, you name it….he was pushing the image in HIS mind.
      However, if it is merely a “buy a size larger clothing” comment, it may be warranted. Some women do not own a full length mirror!

  3. 3
    judy

    Once upon a time, I’ve been there and did change for the man.  Once I’d changed, he didn’t want me any more because I’d changed, right? Run, run and run, and have second thoughts, when you’re right out of his reach.

  4. 4
    Mrs. Guest

    EVAN, that was great advice that you’ve shared with this woman. 
    BOYFRIENDS HAVE NO SAY SO ABOUT A WOMAN’S APPEARANCE, COUNTENANCE, OR WHATEVER BECAUSE SHE IS NOT HIS WIFE … NO THEY DON’T!!!

    NO MAN better not even dare to go there with me!!! He better not!!!

  5. 5
    Ruby

    The OP should do some reading up on abusive relationships. They often start with the man attempting to control the woman’s dress and behaviors. Stick with this man and risk becoming a victim of domestic abuse or even violence. If she were to contact his ex-wives, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was their experience.

  6. 6
    marymary

    criticising what you wear is on the continuum that leads to emotional and/or physical abuse. 
    It may seem minor but it’s really not.
    He get a pass if you wear wellies in bed.

  7. 7
    Greg

    I hesitate  to sound critical as I have a different experience as a mid 50s man. From the article,  I get that the ‘boyfriend’ is trying to control this woman….not good and indicates future struggles.  However, at times, like now, I am dating a woman who has encouraged me to ‘raise my game’. Let me explain, since becoming exclusive out with her, I am wearing better fitting clothes, lost 40 lbs, changed my hair cut /style/color to modernize and look younger.  And got braces for my teeth.  Now I will admit at best I dragged my feet and felt it was a control game.  HOWEVER, the romance has been better and I seem to be ‘noticed’ by other women too which has the oddest effect…as it seems to turn her on more knowing I am more desirable.   Candidly we have coined the term ‘female rehab’ as my ‘work’ to improve.  Again, my type A personality did not go willingly but now I am pleased with the results… Her next challenge for me is keeping those damn toliet seats closed.

    1. 7.1
      Ruby

      Encouraging a man to lose weight and look better in a positive way isn’t quite the same as grilling a woman about her sexual past, and dictating her clothing choices and who she can be friends with.

      1. 7.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        Agree!

  8. 8
    beniyyar

    You should let this guy go and do it quickly.

  9. 9
    Karl R

    Evan said: (original post)
    “If one of my relationship tenets is that you can’t have a relationship with a man dependent upon him changing, the reverse equally holds true.”
     
    I agree with this statement. If he can’t accept you  the way you are, then he needs to find someone he can accept. If you can’t accept him the way he is (for example, if you required that he work less), then you need to find someone that you can accept.
     
    Mariana said: (original letter)
    “Clothes apparently cling to my body”
     
    If he was taking you to meet his parents, then it’s okay for him to request that you wear clothing that won’t offend them. If he was taking you to meet his coworkers, it’s okay for him to request that you dress appropriately for that occasion. But in general, you should be dressing the way you want.
     
    There are appropriate ways to get your partner to change how they dress. My wife typically buys me several items of clothing per year as gifts. However, the decision to wear them is mine. If I don’t like them, they get exchanged for clothes I like.
     
    My wife’s strategy has worked, because she (generally) has done a good job picking clothes that I like better than my regular clothing. Since I like the way I look in those clothes, I have purchased similar items when shopping for myself. But it works on an entirely voluntary basis.
     
    Another good strategy for influencing your partner’s attire is the judicious use of compliments. If you tell your partner that they look great in an outfit, they’re more likely to want to wear that outfit (and similar ones) with increasing frequency.
     
    But it’s not appropriate (and it’s counterproductive) to criticize your partner’s attire, or to demand that they dress differently. It’s not appropriate for your partner to do that to you either. Find someone else.

  10. 10
    suzyq

    yes, those were changes, but more like improvements you made in a relationship. not requirements to be considered. evan is correct here. particularly mixed with his middle eastern background and two failed marriages.

  11. 11
    Goldie

    Wow what a scary guy! Great advice, Evan.
     
    “And the fact that you didn’t dump him at the mere suggestion of this only indicates to me that you’ve lost any sense of objectivity because of how you feel about him. I’ve written about this in my upcoming book. It’s called “the normalization of deviance”. You get so used to something that’s broken that you don’t even realize how fucked up it is.”
     
    Very true! As a friend told me ten years ago, “Never let another person’s insanity become your reality”. I love that quote – but I admit I am still guilty of slipping into this mode on occasion. Once we get close with a person, it is so easy to just accept their way of thinking… then you step back, take some time away from them, and ask yourself, Wait, why did I agree with him on this? was I on crack?
     
    I second everyone that said it on here, these are all red flags for potential abuse. Run, OP, run!

  12. 12
    John

    The OP said this:
    Right now my man and I are in a period of “time out”. Why? He wanted to know details of my sexual history (which isn’t that bad but bothered him), and said if he was in a serious relationship with someone the way I dress would need to change and Facebook cleaned out, basically things would need to “severely change”. Clothes apparently cling to my body and jealous over guys on Facebook.
     
    Based on this statement, they are apparently NOT in a serious relationship. Now did the guy just blurt this out that he didn’t like the way she dressed? Or did she ask him why he didn’t want to get serious with her and then he told her what bothered him? Because that difference is huge.
     
    A guy can date a girl and not consider her g/f material if she dresses like a hooch. And its her right to dump him for that. But if she questions him why he wont take her seriously, and he gives his honest answer, why does that make him the bad guy?
     
    Nobody knows the context of how he made that comment. Maybe she asked him what was holding him back. Evan is correct she should dump him. But everyone is making him out to be this terrible boyfriend when he may just have been answering a question as to what is making him not want to commit.
     
    I wouldn’t tell a girl she had to lose weight, dress more conservatively or whatever. But if those things genuinely did bother me to the point of not considering her girlfriend material, that would be the guy’s right to do so. And if the girl asks why, he

    1. 12.1
      Nicole

      John, if you don’t like women who dress like “hooches” don’t ask them out.  If you don’t like women who are chubby, don’t ask them out.  Why is that so hard?
      If you are “soft”, balding,  or have bad teeth and I don’t like those things, I’m not going to pick you and expect you to change.   If you opt to change those things for yourself, fine, but it is out of line for me to tell someone to hit the gym, get a hair transplant, or get braces.
      She did’nt change while they were dating.  He picked her and now thinks he has the right to tell her how to dress and to criticize her past.  If you need to think of the women you date as virgins, then don’t ask her sexual past.  Ask about her medical history b/c that is something that could impact you.  Sounds like this guy should pick someone who is similarly conservative but two failed marriages makes me think that he probably isn’t right for anyone (b/c it’s not like women who might be conservative and from his culture are doormats).  
      So explain to me why you even want to date people and treat them like projects?  Who has time for that?  
      Pick what you want and leave everyone else alone.  If you settle for 80%, then you should be okay with the idea that the other 20% is off the table, not that you get to get close to someone and tear them down and rebuild them.  It’s not rocket science.  

      1. 12.1.1
        Danaris

        I don’t want to speak for John but I think the reason might because men don’t necessarily feel that every woman they date needs to be a potential girlfriend or wife.  So, he’s perfectly ok “dating” the woman who dresses like a hooch because he knows that’s all he wants from her — to date her.   I believe that’s why when he said if the girl asks why won’t you take me more seriously, he tells her why. 
        I think the men are more likely or maybe let’s just say at ease just dating for fun links back to a previous post stating that women are more racist than men because they are much less likely to date outside their race.    Similar to the argument I am making now, I think it’s because men are not viewing every woman they date as a potential girlfriend or wife.  Thus, sure, I’ll date a woman outside of my race, but I’m not going to marry her.  Women, I think, are much more likely to want every guy that they date to be a potential boyfriend or husband.
        So, that’s just one explanation for why a man might end up dating a woman even he doesn’t like the way she dresses or her weight.   

        1. Nicole

          Right, but that’s when you go ahead and leave.  Are you missing the part where he is trying to MAKE her change these things.  
          Guess what, not all women view all men as their future husbands, for many of the same reasons.  He didn’t finish college, he’s a little short, he’s a bit too coarse…all things that can make a woman not view a man as more than short term fun.  
          What is crap coming from a man or women is demanding that someone change to meet your standards if they didn’t meet them from the beginning.  
          He should look for a virgin in a burqua instead of getting her her face about her past and her clothes.  
          And with two failed marriages, I’d say run from someone showing controlling behavior b/c he already seems to be somewhat emotionally abusive (his “break” seems like he’s trying to punish her).  
          I still say, if someone doesn’t meet your standards, leave them as they are and don’t give them advice.  I don’t need someone’s advice on what to fix about myself.  I have my own list.  If it doesn’t match yours than I don’t really care.  It’s really arrogant to even take that position with someone.  I would never tell a guy, well, you know if you finished college I think you’d be good enough. 

    2. 12.2
      JustWondering

      I don’t think that it makes any difference whether he just blurted it out or answered a question of hers. The problem is not that while dating her he realised that, for whatever reasons, she is not the kind of woman he wants to commit to. This, I think, is perfectly okay. What makes him a bad guy is that he told her “what has to (severely) change” with her so he could commit. And then there is the reason for the time out they are currently on. The only reason for this I can think of is to give her the opportunity to think about his gracious offer and accept or deny it. He does not love her, he wants her to become a another woman he then might commit to (probably as long as she plays exactly by his rules). That’s what makes him a bad guy (for a relationship at least). It has nothing to do with how this topic was brought up.

      1. 12.2.1
        Joe

        Huh?  He has every right to want what he wants.  If she asked him why he wouldn’t commit and he gave her an honest answer, that doesn’t make him wrong, just clueless.

        1. JustWondering

          You are right, of course he has every right to want what he wants and I never meant to say he hasn’t. He also has a right to tell her this. However, he has no right to demand her to become what he wants instead of looking for a woman who is what he wants. And as this is what this guy seems to have done, I don’t see why it should make any difference whether she asked him why he wouldn’t commit or he just volunteered the information.

        2. Karmic Equation

          JustWondering,
           
          So if SHE *did* ask, “George, why don’t you want to be my boyfriend?”, should George have lied? Or should he tell her the bald truth.
           
          I have less issues with him telling her how he wants her to dress (certain cultures are very conservative) than that he thinks it’s ok to grill her about her sexual past (not a sign of a confident man) and to tell her to unfriend her certain people in FB (again, a sign of an insecure man).
           
          Some insecure men become controlling. Or it could be cultural. If she wants to have a relationship with a man from a conservative culture, this is what she’ll have to face. Unfortunate.

  13. 13
    kirk

    Yeah, but what do you do if it creeps up on you. In other words, I know this couple who have been married for 3 years. Now the woman wants to do something bold with her hair (extreme color, perhaps a short cut).  When they got married, he loved her long hair and still wants her to keep it like that. It turns him off to see pink hair or short hair. It’s not attractive to him. He wants to keep being attracted to his wife.
    But is is really worth getting a divorce because they can’t agree on her hair style?  After all, wanted to start playing with her appearance after they had already been married for 3 years.  The rest of their relationship is great.  What to do?

    1. 13.1
      Kiki

      Very often a woman’s desire to dramatically change her hair is an expression of her desire to change her life. There might be something more to the disagreements in this family. Just my two cents.

      1. 13.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        Interesting. We saw that in full effect with Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus, didn’t we. But they’re young and single. I’ve seen young mothers drastically cut their hair after their first baby, for hygiene and time-management reasons, I thought.

  14. 14
    Sabine

    I agree with all the comments above. If for some reason, you “win” this guy back, be careful what you wish for. He will try to change everything about your perfect self. Then, he’ll loose respect for you because you let him do it. Follow consensus….RUN!!!

  15. 15
    Claire

    As someone who was married to a verbally abusive control freak–get out now.  If you do not your self esteem will suffer, you will become more isolated from friends and family, you will no longer know where your life goals begin and end, because they will be trampled by him.  By the time you leave or he leaves you for someone else (because he is attached to your current strength and ability to form friendships–the very thing that forces him to control you) you will suffer from PSTD either from gas lighting/verbal abuse and/or physical abuse. LEAVE NOW–I wish someone had told me this 20 years ago.

    1. 15.1
      T's Daughter

      Agreed 100% with Claire on every point. This “time out” is his warning shot — heed the warning, otherwise this will be the only peace you’ll ever have with this man. He’s already telling you that you are inherently flawed and he will punish you for it for the rest of your relationship. Listen to those who have lived this life: there is nothing this man will do but destroy who you are down to your very core. The damage already done in these three months has been enough and Claire is not exaggerating about the PTSD. Get out now, this is one lesson you do NOT want to learn first-hand. 
       

      1. 15.1.1
        Lau_ra

         So so true! Some people in here simplify things and obviously ignore the moment of him wanting to know her sexual history, yet getting upset about it in the descried situation, which is a major red flag for me. I’ve experienced a relationship like this 1,5 y ago. These 3 months led me straight to the therapist (which is something that I never ever thought I’d need).
        He would get hurt every single time as something that I said / did made him “track” my sexual history (e.g. he would ask if I like something specific in bed, and if I’d confirm, he would literally turn away from me acting cold, saying things like “you already did it with someone else and it wasn’t with me” “I don’t need to hear your stories” “I have a great imagination and now I see views in my head”). I was already so infatuated, that I just brushed that off, as the fact that he gets jealous about any male approaching me to the point he even is jealous about me hugging a friend who is gay (and he knew that); censors my demeanor (act like a lady), withholds affection, physically leaves the room after I’d try to talk about things that bothered me, criticises me (you don’t have high standarts, you have no special talents, etc.), constantly plays mindgames (checking, if I remember what I’ve said 2 days ago, dissecting my words and give them meanings that weren’t there, etc.).
        Controlling / abusive behaviour starts with little things and only gets worse. Its just crazy how someone as smart as me could put up with such crap and even start doubting my own perception, instead of dumping his ass. However, he was right about something – my standarts were surely too low then, as I wouldn’t bother about someone like that now:)
        So yes, Mariane, take this “break” to break-up with the man – he doesn’t want you for you, rather for the material for his power games.
         
         
         

  16. 16
    Dina Strange

    I think it’s not the girl who should run away from him..it’s the guy who should leave her. If he wants to change her so much why is he with her in the first place?

  17. 17
    Aimee

    Thank your lucky stars you only wasted three months on this guy.  Run away and don’t look back!  The right guy will love and accept you for who you are.  Otherwise it means suppressing yourself as a person, which is never a recipe for happiness.

  18. 18
    Danaris

    Overall, from the tone of the letter, I think that the OP should probably leave her boyfriend.  So, please note that I am not disagreeing with Evan.   But I just want to play Devi’ls Advocate for a second and ask is it ever possible to ask a person the reconsider the way they dress without the intention of controlling them?   I loved to the TV show What Not to Wear.  It really was a great example of what you wear can impact how people see you and changing what you wear to things that still suit your personality but are appropriate can be a good thing.   So, if this guy is a CEO type and wants to take her to company functions, let’s be honest, she can’t wear tight mini-skirts and fish net stockings and tube tops.  I know I am being extreme and that’s probably not what she is doing.   But the point is, not everybody knows or cares for that matter what is appropriate for various occasions.  Again, I don’t know if this is the case for this lady.  I just think that the black and white idea that if someone wants you to change the way you dress means they don’t really like who you are isn’t always true.  
    I really like my boyfriend, but all he ever  wears are paint-overed sweat pants and paint covered t-shirts.   That is what he wears all the time no matter where we go.    He even dresses that way for job interviews.  There was only one time that I asked him to wear a suit and that was for my grandmother’s funeral.   I would love for him to wear normal clothes, and I have tried buying him clothes as presents but he won’t wear them.  Or if he does, he quickly covers them in paint.    So, I don’t ask him to wear different clothes I just don’t ask him to go to places with me where sweats aren’t appropriate.  

    1. 18.1
      Andrea

      Danaris,I get what you are stating. Having said that here’s my take on the situation:
      People don’t change involuntarily.
      Thus,
      Scenario A) If  he’s peeved because Mariana dressed and behaved a certain way when he met her and suddenly she stopped doing that, then his reaction is understandable.
      Scenario B) If she always dressed and behaved the same way since meeting him, his reaction is not understandable. Either he accepts her for who she is or he doesn’t.
      Thus unless it’s scenario A, I wholeheartedly agree with Evan.
      Note as well that he is making quite some heavy demands only three months into the relationship. If he’s already so strict about what she can and cannot do imagine how he will treat her further down the line. Yikes, she better runs very fast.

  19. 19
    MB

    I agree with Evan and a few others.  Personally, I would run for the hills…this relationship sounds controlling.  
    As long as her clothes aren’t extremely revealing, this guy has no business telling her what to wear.  I realize that perhaps his religious beliefs influence his views on “correct” attire/behavior for women, however…she is his partner, not his property.  
    I grew up surrounded by toxic people who constantly demeaned me and tried to control every aspect of my life.  That type of behavior has no place in a relationship.  Maybe he should find somebody with a limited sexual history, few male friends, and she should preferably wear baggy clothes all the time.   
    Also, it bothers me when guys inquire about a woman’s sexual history (her “numbers”) and all the details.  I don’t care who my husband has been with before me.  What matters is the present, not the past, and whether he is faithful to me.  But it seems that lots of men have this double standard where it’s OK for them to screw around with anyone they want to, but they will devalue a woman based on her level of experience.
    This guy sounds like he has major insecurities about many things…her clothes, her looks, her prior sexual experiences/partners, etc.  
    About Facebook…this one is a bit iffy.  Is he simply being a controlling jerk on this particular issue, or is there a good reason?  Sometimes people can be a bit flirty or inappropriate with comments on Facebook and it can lead to problems.  I closed my Facebook account because a male friend (that I was admittedly attracted to) started trying to chat with me online in a flirty way.  I didn’t want things to turn sexual, so I stopped talking to him before things went too far.  
    Maybe in this case, the boyfriend is feeling threatened by her male friends.  And sometimes people feel uncomfortable when their partner has friends of the opposite sex…I can understand that, although friendships can be platonic.  I dated a guy many years ago who had female “friends” and it was obvious that some of these girls viewed me as competition.  They wanted to have sex with him, and wanted the girlfriend (me) out of the way.  
    What also stands out to me about this is that Mariana seems to accept her boyfriend as he is…a workaholic who is divorced with two children.  Some women might view that as “baggage” and not want to bother, but she doesn’t mind.  Yet he seems to have trouble accepting her for who she is and expects her to change for him. People need to understand that they can’t mold others into what they want them to be.  You either learn to accept a person for who they are, or you move on to somebody else who is more the type you’re looking for.  
     
     
     

  20. 20
    MB

    I’m puzzled…why don’t my comments appear anymore?

  21. 21
    Goldberry

    Great post.  What you’re saying is true, Evan, but I would add that these people might be able to change someday.  Maybe not through a relationship, but through therapy.  They won’t be capable of a good intimate relationship until they take a serious look at their thoughts and actions and try to heal things from their past.  Unfortunately we are all eager to find fault with others rather than look at our own insecurities! 
    Example: Woman who desperately needs to feel loved and gives up her safety and standards for this.  She ends up with controlling people who initially make her feel secure.  Yes, they have problems, but so does she, and she won’t find the right kind of guy until she deals with that.  Example 2: Extremely insecure man who wants to be caring but doesn’t have anything to give.  He ends up criticizing women for no reason because he has to feel like he’s better than them, be in control… and not be too vulnerable.
    I’ve met these people and known them well…

  22. 22
    sarah

    As a hairdresser I hear stories like this constantly. I agree with Evan…RUN. Stories like this never end well. One word honey since I’m a fellow Aussie GITTANY!!! He sounds like a control freak. May cause he has power in the work place (CEO) he thinks he can have it with his gf too. 

  23. 23
    Iridium_moon

    Wow! A site as straight-talking as this one, yet no one has suggested there might be a tiny connection here with Islam?
    As someone very wise once said: ‘Religion poisons everything.’
    Some beliefs and lifestyles are so culturally incompatible that there is no possibility of compromise.
    There is only separation, or submission.
    Make your choice.

    1. 23.1
      RustyLH

      I know many women here in this area of Florida who have dated, and even married Middle Eastern men.  I am sure there are many who are good men and reject the radical, or shall I say the orthodox side of Islam.  Many Islamic girls here where head coverings.  But many of the young men also date and marry western girls who will not want to do that.
      I am not telling lies when I say that every girl I’ve met who married one, and has been married for several years tell me that there was a slow progression towards being more controlling and less respectful.  Holy Moly I nearly freaked when one of these women was one of my math professors in college.  I was using office hours with her a lot to make sure I was ready for the next class, and trying to maintain my, at the time,  straight A record.
      Her story sounded like a bad movie, and my spidey senses were telling me she was feeling me out for a hit job, I kid you not.  To say I was freaked out is an understatement.
      I don’t see it as a problem of religion as much as culture.  Many Middle Easterners are fairly new to the west, and if you have been to a Middle Eastern country, you see a huge difference between there and here.  Night and day.
      It is not the least bit unreasonable to expect that you would find a Middle Eastern man here to be more controlling…not so much a leader as a tyrant.  That is not to say they are all like that.  You can never say “always.”  But we can say, “usually.”

  24. 24
    james

    It’s not bad advice to move on, but not for the reason Evan suggested. He’s Middle Eastern and has a different set of cultural values and expectation than she. Apparently they haven’t even broached the discussion of how this cultural divide will be navigated, or even acknowledged that there is a cultural bridge to be crossed. 
     
    Imagine this scenario: If they were to get engaged and later married, he would likley continue to flirt openly with young women because this is acceptable in Middle eastern cultures. So now, which member of the couple is going to be asking the other one to change for her? The woman, of course. She will now be put in the position of being the one seen as controlling or expecting the partner to change for her because she sees the man as acting slutty and in a way that, from her view, shows lack of commitment to the relationship.
    There’s a chance this guy would turn out to be abusive, but it’s probably not the case. The mitigating circumstance here is the cultural difference. He’s from a conservative culture where this woman’s style of dress would be over the top. It would be typical for a husband in some cultures to have a say in a woman’s dress and social circle and at the same time not be physically or mentally abusive. Expecting him to drop all of his cultural conditioning is no diferent than him expecting her to change her dress. It’s a cultural barrier that just might be too difficult for this couple to overcome, especially if they have poor communications skills and are neither prone to compromise.
     
    This is why they should separate. He should “run” from her as much as she should run from him. They both show lack of situational awareness. It’s really dumb to think you can keep old facebook hook-ups or romantic orbiters as friends and at the SAME time not offend the sensibilities of someone from a conservative background. Likewise, the guy should probably start off with a woman that shows great modesty in dress and who shows a more reserved dating history/style rather than try to change someone.

  25. 25
    tatiayna

    Always amazed that some men try to change everything about us, that attracted him, in the first place!!

  26. 26
    India

    Don’t do it. I fell for a Muslim guy who I’m not dating but have feelings for. He wants to change me into a proper Muslim woman and stop wearing the clothes I wear and I won’t.

    1. 26.1
      JennLee

      India, as the saying goes, “Danger Will Robinson!!!” Boyfriend says that a lot. never knew where i came from until he showed me Lost In Space.

      But I do want to warn you that if you enter into a relationship with him, he may relent on this for a while, but after you get married, it will resurface again and he won’t be too kind. If you have kids, it will get even uglier.

      This happened to a friend of mine. She met the guy and he wanted to change her right away. She would not, so he backed off. Then after they got married, he started changing. Wasn’t as sweet, was more demanding. When they had a little girl he would threaten to take her away from him. She finally had to leave in the middle of the night. You have to realize that for many, their view of a woman’s place is very archaic, and for many of them, they want to get back to that. As they get older the feel more peer pressure to “make you a proper Muslim woman.” Even with a non-practicing Muslim, look at his family. Are they fairly traditional? If so, it is a good bet he will be pressured to convert you later.

      1. 26.1.1
        India

        I said the word boyfriend but we are not technically dating since he says it’s forbidden in Islam. But I will never marry him because he refuses to marry me unless I convert. I’ll never convert.  So I’m safe. I’ll be going to Pakistan soon to see him but I know we can’t be together forever. I’ll have to move on. But I can’t let him go completely as I am so attached to him.

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