Please Help Me Not Kill My Boyfriend When He's Cramping My Style

Dear Ellyn,

Bryan has oddly specific fashion taste. Almost everything he likes I like, but I have several dresses and jewelry he’s less enthralled with. Or as he put it, my taste is more mid-century to modern and his is baroque. (Yes, he actually said that.) I want him to like everything I wear.


Dear Miriam,

Every other day I want to move to another country or at least a new city. However, Shaun has only been in New York City for a year, and he seems to love it. I need to know that one day (and not in 10 years) we’ll actually relocate. I want both of us to be happy, but settling down in the Manhattan suburbs is not my dream. How do we compromise and when?

Stranded on a giant island,

Dear Ellyn,

So no offense to Shaun, but Jersey City so does not count as New York City. (Well, I guess some would say it’s the new Brooklyn but I never really felt like Brooklyn counted either.)

Here is the thing about New York City: everyone loves to hate it. Almost as much as they love to love it. Especially when we’re young and broke (or what seems like broke because everything in New York costs twice as much as anywhere else). But there is a magic allure about the city and you just have to get it out of your system.

So I guess what I’m saying, on the one hand, is embrace the loving to hate it because that’s just part of the experience. Also, please go to some of those places I mentioned that make me kill to move back to New York, because I promise that will help. On the other hand, it sounds like it’s time for you to do some soul searching about what kind of future you’d like and where you want to live – not just outside New York, but specifically. And talk to Shaun about it. Because part of being in a long-term partnership is finding ways to meet both your needs at once. Change is always challenging and good and you two will know when it’s time to haul ass out of there.

As an expat-New Yorker I can say that New Yorkers love New York so damn much because most of the time they don’t realize what else is out there. And what Frank Sinatra sang is true-if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere-because you do have an inherent advantage moving to any new place because you’ve already been taught how to go get what you want. So who knows, maybe there is somewhere else that will suit Shaun’s liking just as much as yours. Just don’t be afraid to explore–while you’re still in New York and when you’re ready to leave.

Feeling cheesier than ever,

Dear Miriam,

Baroque? As in 17th century? Like puffy sleeves, ruffled collars, powdered wigs, and petticoats? I don’t get it.

I go through the same exact thing with Shaun. When I ask him how I look, he tells me I shouldn’t wear more than two colors, and one of them should be black. However, he’s pretty good at sitting in the dressing room and telling me what looks professional, and which dress would be appropriate for an upcoming wedding. I appreciate his opinion…when I ask for it.

At some point, you have to just own your sense of fashion, despite anyone else’s opinion. If you have a weird piece of jewelry, wear it with confidence. Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie’s boyfriend tells her that her hat is a mistake while they’re fighting? Okay, you probably don’t, but anyway she just says “It’s fabulous and you’re just trying to hurt me.” Her hat probably was a mistake, but she didn’t care, and that’s what matters. She didn’t take his opinion personally, because it’s his own taste. Shaun hates curry and bananas, but I’m not going to stop eating those random foods because of him.

You could wear a paper bag if you were super confident and happy in it. People, even boyfriends, will judge you. You will judge others. It’s human, but does it really change anything? Style is something you shouldn’t compromise in a relationship. Of course you want Bryan to like how you look and compliment you, but you don’t need that constantly. You’re also not with him 24/7, so you could always save the outfits he really hates for a girl’s night.

Clearly not the fashion police,

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1 Response to Please Help Me Not Kill My Boyfriend When He's Cramping My Style

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