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Is he trying to change me? Or am I being stupid and oversensitive?

(207 Posts)
Rubiesandrainbows Sun 17-Jul-11 14:26:38

Im in a very good strong relationship and its been going for a year and we are talking about moving into together. I have a child from a previous relationship and he is great with him, no problems there.

The thing is, I think he is looking for the perfect girlfriend, I get on well with his friends and they agree this is the case, but say they all want "the perfect girlfriend" really (strangely, for me perfection = boring. I dont want to be perfect, it would be a life of dissapointment)

Anyway, over our time he obviously tells me what he likes and doesnt etc and the same vice versa as happens in all relationships. But lately, he's making comments on my choices like clothes, hair and makeup. He doesnt say he wants me to change anything but it seems like he does. My style is pretty sassy and fashionable, and i dont care too much about what others think, just go with my style.

A few weeks ago he mentioned hed likes longish french manicured fingernails and I always have short square nails in dark red, black, paradoxal etc. Anyway, yesterday I went to the nail salon and had the gel nails put on with the french manicure and when I got home I saw myself in the mirror with these nails and thought "my god, im changing into someone else" and I cried and told my partner I wanted some space.

Whats wrong with me? They;re just nails fgs. I feel like im being childish....but its really rocked my deep roots of our relationship. I feel like im just never going to be what he wants and I'm thinking about ending it.

Am I being oversensitive and reading too much into this? Help!

buzzsore Sun 17-Jul-11 14:33:59

I don't think you are reading too much into it. You're feeling that he wants to change things about you (ie. he's dissatisfied with you) when actually you were happy and confident the way you were (and hell, it was the way you were that attracted him in the first place!) You're not a project for 'improving'.

What he's doing is slowly & insidiously undermining your confidence, and that is not what we do to people we love. It should be about supporting each other and making each other feel good. It's about more than nails, and I think you're right to reconsider things.

MadamM Sun 17-Jul-11 14:36:31

No you are right.
Your partner should accept you as you are (with or wo french manucure).

If he is putting enough pressure on you that you feel you have to do something you are not happy with, even if it's 'just' nails, then you are right to listen to yourself and get upset about it.

I would personnally have a hard look at your relationship, all of it, before deciding to move in together.

Miggsie Sun 17-Jul-11 14:38:33

Has he called you stupid and over sensitive? This is the exact phrase all bullies use to normalise their bullying of you.
Yes, he is trying to change you.
Yes, he and by the sound of it, his friends too, actually hate women and "the perfect girlfriend" is code for "a slave who does as I say and who I can dump at will if I feel like it."

Check out the emotional abuse threads, because you are experiencing the beginning of an emotionally abusive relationship and it will get worse if you move in with him.
He will always put the responsibility for any change or keeping the relationship going onto you, and it will be your fault if anything goes wrong, ever. This is the sign of a controlling bully and you need to get out now.

Miggsie Sun 17-Jul-11 14:39:31

more details here

Yama Sun 17-Jul-11 14:40:48

Agree with Buzzsore and MadamM. It may be small stuff but you are sensing that you are changing and it doesn't feel right. Go with your instincts.

People who talk about 'the perfect girlfriend' are not people I would want to be around.

BluddyMoFo Sun 17-Jul-11 14:41:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MadamM Sun 17-Jul-11 14:49:48

BluddyMoFo, I don't quite agree with you but you are right on one account. The OP choose to ahve her nails done.

And that's the issue with any relationship (abusive or not). We always have the choice to do things but sometimes it feels like we actually don't have that choice or that we are not strong enough to make that choice.
That's why it is so important for the OP to check her relation now before moving in. Because if she did it because she wanted to to please him and she is happy with it, then that's OK. If she does it and then realizes it was stupid of her because it's not her and she doesn't have to. Then that's fine too.
but what comes out of the OP is that she felt she had to do it and that she has to conform to some high standard to be the 'perfect girlfriend'. And that is NOT acceptable.

Rubiesandrainbows Sun 17-Jul-11 14:50:48

miggsie no he's never called me stupid or oversensitive or any name infact.

I do feel a little bit less confidant than I did when we first met....

its more like with the nails one day I didnt have any nail varnish on and he said he prefered my nails looking natural and I kind of shrugged like "oh well, I do it sometimes but its not my style" and since then he asked me to do the long french manicure thing just once "for him".

But yes, I did chose to do it yesterday, he never asked me to do it I just thought well it cant be that bad, ill give it a go. But afterwards I felt rather ill. I mean I'm feeling ridiculous because i'm looking at my nails and they look nice I suppose..... hmm

bloodyMoFo thats the thing, when he asked me to do it, it wasnt in a controlling way, it was in a can you give it a try kind of way.

madonnawhore Sun 17-Jul-11 14:52:08

Him and his mates sound far from the perfect boyfriends. Who made them the authorities on what's perfect anyway?

MadamM Sun 17-Jul-11 15:01:38

Rubie you need to understand why it made you feel ill.
It could be because you felt pressure into it.
It could be because you actaully don't like french manicure and and felt sick that you did something you know you don't like (because you have realized you have tried too hard to be someone else).
it could for other reasons I can't quite fantom.

What do you think it was?

lazarusb Sun 17-Jul-11 15:03:59

It may be nails now, and seem silly and ridiculous in the great scheme of things but he is suggesting you change yourself to fit into his ideal of a perfect clone girlfriend.
So what's next? Hair colour/style....clothes.....where you go....what you eat....who you speak to? How far are you willing to go to hang onto him? It sounds like this first, fairly minor change has really upset you so I would put a stop to it now. Tell him to stop this crap he is spouting. He either is with you because you're you or he is looking for someone else.

Rubiesandrainbows Sun 17-Jul-11 15:10:41

madamM I think I have realised I have tried too hard to be someone else, and i dont like it. Also though the way he puts it makes it sound such a reasonable request I found myself going along with it. He said was there anything I wanted him to do, I said no (it never even crosses my mind to change something about him)

The thing is in every other way he's great.....or maybe he blinds me with being "the perfect boyfriend" in order to get me to try and achieve "perfect girlfriend" status ??

Rubiesandrainbows Sun 17-Jul-11 15:11:55

lazarusb yes I do think he may be looking for someone else, because i think its a slippery slope of depreciating self condifance trying to be perfect.

LessonsinL Sun 17-Jul-11 15:20:03

We all try to affect the other person in the relationship to a certain extent. I'm sure you have "changed" him in some way by commenting on a certain style you like particularly, such as a nice shirt, or maybe shaving in a certain way. It's normal and we encourage things we like in other people through positive reinforcement.

I don't think you're stupid or oversensitive, but I do think you need to look at your relationship and the pressure you have put on yourself to be the right person for this man. If you're thinking of ending it, end it, but don't do it because you think he wants something from you or you'll never be truly satisfied.

buzzsore Sun 17-Jul-11 15:46:53

I don't think we all do try to change the people we love confused. Surely that would change them from being the person we fell in love with?

Plus there doesn't seem to be positive reinforcement here. And what are we, dogs for training? I don't think going into it thinking 'this is a fixer-upper' is a good basis for a relationship.

LessonsinL Sun 17-Jul-11 16:22:51

It's not conscious, but can you truly say you have never said to your DP/DH "I love that smell on you" or "I prefer the red shirt to the blue shirt"?

Gotabookaboutit Sun 17-Jul-11 16:29:04

Buzzsore, unless you love a carboard cut out of course we change the people we love as we change and grow ourselves. It weather its postive changes or negative changes!

I have grown my hair for my DH - he makes an effort to look less like a bag of rags when we go out - neither are designed to make us ''perfect'' just show differances in our preferances.

It's the idea of perfection that does not sit well with me

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 17-Jul-11 16:30:50

I think there is something seriously weird about a man who has strong opinions about how his partner decorates her fingernails.

DH probably prefers natural nails (he isn't generally into artifice) but if I got my nails done he either wouldn't notice, or would have no opinion, or would think they were quite nice.

He definitely wouldn't be requesting that I have them done a particular way "just for him"


It's particularly weird if you normally wear your nails a particular way. My nails are not normally well-manicured, so "prefers them natural" is basically just DH's way of saying "I like how you are". But this guy is saying "I don't like how you are, I want you to do things my way".

He sounds creepy. Heed your feelings about this. Don't move in with him.

Gotabookaboutit Sun 17-Jul-11 16:45:39

I know lots of men who love long painted nails, donst make them weird. I like them -, just can't be arsed to keep them - have strong connatations of 'strong' women for me.

And I find the ' I like how you are' thing a bit stupid/stealth boasting to to be honest - how you ''are'' is unwashed, unhaircut, unstyled etc. What you mean is he prefers a low level of grooming. Which is fine - doesnt mean he loves you more or better than somone who likes make up/nail/style etc

Gotabookaboutit Sun 17-Jul-11 16:46:56

God that read so badly - I dont mean the 'you' are unwashed and grubby etc - I mean thats how you would be if you were rally au natural !

buzzsore Sun 17-Jul-11 16:47:36

I'm not convinced - of course people change and grow together, but it's not about moulding someone to your requirements. I think there's more going on in the OP's case, because she's left feeling distressed by his comments.

Gotabookaboutit Sun 17-Jul-11 16:47:54

really au natural ( backs away from son computer that has no spell check)

buzzsore Sun 17-Jul-11 16:51:47

Not his comments, whoops, but by what she feels he wants.

I think it's possibly that your sense of style, OP, is strongly interwoven with your identity, and that his subtle or not so subtle pressure to change feels like an attack on your sense of self. And perhaps it is.

Kayzr Sun 17-Jul-11 16:54:16

I think I am going against the grain here but I don't see the great problem. He has said he likes french manicured nails. So you had them done. You don't like them so just say "I don't like these" then don't have them done again. My DP loves it when my nails are painted and often asks me to do them when we are going out and I do them if when sometimes I can't be bothered. Not a big deal at all and he certainly isn't undermining my confidence.

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