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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’m Afraid My Boyfriend’s Going to Attend My Friend’s Wedding Looking like a Schlub”

My partner is stubborn and so am I. He tends to be a bit more defensive than I am and often lags with the requisite self-reflective capacity to admit when he’s wrong. I’m not sure that he’s wrong in this instance, but I also don’t feel that he’s right. I’m hoping you can give me some clarity.

We were invited to a good friend’s wedding that has been repeatedly postponed due to Covid. This is a very close friend and she and her fiancé honored my partner and me by accommodating us in one of two tiny farmhouse cabins at the venue (the other cabin is going to the groom’s best man and his wife). The dress code is pretty chill. Think of the vibe as “electro-hippy psychedelic chic.” I’m obsessed with sustainable fashion, something my partner loves/hates about me, and I have been ebay-shopping vintage dresses for the last month. My partner’s fashion sense, however, died with the dissolution of his marriage three years ago.

We live in New York and he takes issue with Brooklyn’s hyper-vigilant style-consciousness. I get it. “Brooklyn hip” can be a little over-the-top,and I’ve met plenty of transplants (myself included) who’ve spent time resenting it. My partner needs some new clothes because his are quite literally falling apart; however, he’s taken it as a point of pride to wear things that are beyond repair (e.g. broken flip flops, shredded, ill-fitting button downs, pants that no longer fit because of the Covid 15). I mostly avoid buying him new stuff out of respect for his history and perspective on all of this, but I was able to get away with gifting him boots and a winter coat for Christmas and his birthday.

So, the wedding….is it wrong for me to want him to step it up for the occasion? We had a discussion about it maybe a month and a half ago. The discussion turned into a blow-out fight with him exclaiming, “I hate weddings!” Fair enough, but he still wants to go. We came to a point of resolution where I thought we were on the same page that it was okay for me to buy him something, and so I did: a paisley print Paul Fredrick linen shirt. The shirt arrived, the shit hit the fan, and the shirt is now being returned with the assurance that he’ll find something appropriate to wear. The wedding is two weeks away and he hasn’t done anything.

We have since had more arguments and relationship-bending blowouts that, in his mind, are all my fault because I bought the offending shirt. Kind of like a childish “you started it” with a complete disregard for the nuance and content of our arguments. There is a lot of history on his end, which I appreciate: his divorce was traumatic and his ex-wife tried to buy him a coat when they arrived in New York; he has a fraught relationship with his sartorially-savvy father who apparently used to buy him shirts much like the one I purchased; and he’s a bit insecure about his under-developed fashion sense in a city that admittedly tends to judge people based on their style choices.

It’s not even about the shirt anymore, but rather about underlying themes in our relationship that I believe are navigable over the long-term. The short-term problem is the rapidly approaching wedding and the fact that he’s running out of time to find an outfit. I give it an 80% chance that he misses the window and a 100% probability that if he attends this wedding looking like a schlub, I will be so pissed off that not only will the shit again hit the fan, but also it will ricochet off it and rain fecal destruction upon our partnership. Can we survive it? Sure, maybe, but maybe not because I feel that the shirt is symbolic of our mutual stubbornness, and the odds ratio I’ve given him is emblematic of my simmering resentment that he’s pinning the blame squarely on me for “The Shirt That Launched a Thousand Ships and Broke the Camel’s Back.” What should I do? — Scared He’ll Be a Schlub

If this is truly just about the short-term problem of the “rapidly approaching wedding and the fact that he’s running out of time to find an outfit” and your fear that your boyfriend is going to look like a schlub, just buy a few things in his size and hide them somewhere and only show them in the event that it’s the day of the wedding and your boyfriend doesn’t have shit to wear. Don’t but him a paisley shirt or anything else that might seem too Brooklyn. Buy plain things – solid-colored button-downs in a breathable fabric. I wouldn’t even do a checkered shirt. Avoid trendy colors and stick with blue or grey. Go into Manhattan and hit up J.Crew or Bonobos or Brooks Brothers. Get slim-fitted if your man is thin, a regular fit if he’s average, or relaxed if he’s bigger than that. If you want to get wild, see about a patterned pocket square (but only break it out if he doesn’t have a meltdown over the other stuff). Does he have some decent shoes and socks at least?

Another suggestion regarding a wedding outfit for your boyfriend: Do what I have to do with my 9-year-old son, who would freak the fuck out if I bought him anything to wear that he didn’t ok first, and sit down and go through a couple websites with him, scroll through shirts, and tell him to say when he sees something he doesn’t hate. Click on that shit and put it in your basket. When you have a few items, go to your basket and ask if he wants everything or wants to narrow it down to two or three items. This should take 10 minutes – 15 tops. Give him a snack to eat while you do this or make sure he’s recently eaten. If he’s a drinker, give him a beer. I give my son lemonade and pretzels. Make it fun. Or at least do what you can to avoid a hangry tantrum. If you can find sales or promo coupons to use, tell your boyfriend exactly how much you’re going to save. A man who takes it as a point of pride to wear clothes until they’re beyond repair will appreciate a deal. Paying full price will not be exciting for him (even if you happen to foot the bill).

Now, we know this is more than a short-term problem. Even if you’re able to avoid the scenario you most fear of the shit hitting the fan and ricocheting off it and raining fecal destruction upon your relationship – oh my god, the imagery here – you still have the long-term issue of what you call your join stubbornness but what I call a lack of respect – or, at least, a lack of understanding – for each other’s needs, which may just be a communication problem. Does your boyfriend know how important your friend who’s getting married is to you? How honored you feel to be one of only two couples invited to stay in the on-site cabins? How much you – and, frankly, most people – see attire as a symbol of respect and that showing up to a dear friend’s wedding in ripped clothes is unacceptable to you and would hurt your friend’s feelings, and by extension your feelings? All of these things need to be communicated, and the communication needs to extend through all events that have any meaning or importance to either of you.

You may not always be on the same page, but you need to read each other’s pages, and you need to at least be in the same book. If this isn’t already happening, you have lots of room to improve your relationship. If you’re already expressing yourselves but simply don’t hear or appreciate what the other is saying, then, yeah, maybe this relationship is doomed. Maybe the simmering resentment you feel towards your boyfriend isn’t just about the wedding outfit or the blame you think he’s already placing on you; maybe you feel resentment that he simply isn’t the right match for you, despite your really liking him and enjoying his company. Maybe there’s some simmering resentment that he hasn’t fully processed his divorce and still carries heavy baggage from that relationship. Maybe you resent that he’s so defensive and stubborn and “often lags with the requisite self-reflective capacity to admit when he’s wrong.” No one is perfect, of course. But in relationships, we have to make sure that the expected issues in our chosen partner are issues we can deal with long-term or the relationships won’t be. It sounds like you’re at the point now of making that decision. Is your boyfriend – and his assorted issues – long-term material for you? Only if the shirt fits…

***************Follow along on Facebook,  and Instagram. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

133 comments… add one
  • Moe June 9, 2021, 9:23 am

    My thinking is that this woman has no right to take control over her boyfriend’s clothing. I would be furious if I were dating a man who insisted on buying clothes for me I didn’t like! Also, why treat him like a little boy? He has a right to his opinions just as she does! It’s one thing to politely ask him to get a new outfit or wear something newish, but beyond that, it’s up to him! Because he doesn’t fit the specific fashion ideals of the couple getting married doesn’t mean he lacks respect. I agree with him! I hate wedding too, or at least THIS kind of wedding! At my wedding, people wore clothes that were dressy but reflected THEM, not ME. Shesh!

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    • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 10:22 am

      Showing up in broken flip flops and clothes disintegrating to a close friend’s wedding (where the bride and groom have even paid for a cabin for you to attend the wedding) is incredibly disrespectful.

      Did you even read this? He’s not wearing dressy clothes. He refuses to get ANY clothes. It’s not about him wearing the wrong clothes, he’s going to be wearing clothes that belong in the trash can.

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      • Moe June 9, 2021, 10:59 am

        I did read this. The messy clothes she describes are what he typically wears. If she had respectfully asked him, since it is a wedding, what sort of outfit he was intending to wear, and then started there, that would be more productive and respectful then demanding a very particular style.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 12:27 pm

        Uuuuhhhh,

        I read it as he told her he’d wear nicer clothes, she could pick them, and she chose something wwwaaaaaaayyyyyy outside his comfort zone, and that provoked a strong reaction that would’ve been avoided if she just picked up a plain dress shirt and dress pants.

        And yes, now he’s being truculent and behaving like a child, but, also if she knew him (and was thoughtful about it), she should’ve known a bold print would be too far outside his comfort zone, and obv he’d object. She owns some of this too.

        The fact that they seem to know where one another stands on the “Brooklyn hipster” style says to me that they’ve likely had conversations (and arguments!) about fashion and how they dress respectively.

        If fashion is super important to her, no shame there, but this guy clearly *also* has strong feelings about how he dresses and what that says about him, even if the message is “Fashion is stupid and I’m not going to play along”.

        She either needs to be okay with the schlubby guy (who yes, will be willing to wear decent albeit boring clothes in good repair when the occasion calls for it), or if sharing an interest in fashion and dress with her partner is important to her, move on.

        Yes – he clearly has issues to work through, but she too needs to look at how accepting she’s being of who her partner is.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 1:12 pm

        She did respectfully ask him:

        “We had a discussion about it maybe a month and a half ago. The discussion turned into a blow-out fight with him exclaiming “I hate weddings!” Fair enough but he still wants to go. We came to a point of resolution where I thought we were on the same page that it was okay for me to buy him something, so I did: a paisley print Paul Fredrick linen shirt. The shirt arrived, the shit hit the fan and the shirt is now being returned with the assurance that he’ll find something appropriate to wear. The wedding is two weeks away and he hasn’t done anything.”

        That either of you think his tantruming and bullshit over getting gifted A shirt from his girlfriend ANY shirt at all to wear to the wedding is okay and normal is totally bizarre to me. She bought him a shirt, she didn’t force him to wear it. She’s not trying to control him, they’re important guests to the couple at this wedding.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 1:23 pm

        I still think she owns some of the blame here.

        I’m curious what the initial fight was. If he hates weddings, was she pushing for him to go? Was she pushing him, months ago, about what to wear? And when he did agree she could get him clothes, she picked him something in a style she knew he didn’t like (i.e. his father used to buy him similar shirts and he disliked them).

        He is being a baby and being emotionally volatile, but also, seems like she’s pushing him to wear things he doesn’t want to wear, and she knows that.

        Honestly, if it were me, if I was happy with this guy I wouldn’t ask him to dress up at all. If he in fact did show up in flip flops and ripped jeans, I mean he’s an adult not my child. If he gets judged accordingly, his choice. I do think perhaps she wasn’t giving him credit – they live in New York, it’s not like he couldn’t go to a department store the day before and grab a dress shirt and kakhis. He doesn’t actually have to have an outfit lined up weeks beforehand.

        He may resent how much she’s pushing him way ahead of time “You’re going to dress up, right? What are you going to wear?”, and yes, his response is immature.

        But I’d leave it to my adult partner to dress themselves, and then when if they way under-dressed, well, that’s their choice. I’m not their Mommy.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 1:49 pm

        Why do you need her to take some of the blame? Why does there have to be blame? She wrote in for advice, not to be repeatedly bashed for buying him a shirt that wasn’t his taste. She returned it, and stopped buying him things. And he’s still not doing anything to buy himself some clothes.

        She’s not pushing him to go to the wedding, she wrote he wants to go.

        You can’t just focus on one part of the text and basically ignore all the other stuff. Like to me, it seems like he has some problems with his last relationship and clothes and needs to work that out with a pro, and you’re focused on blaming her for wanting him to be dressed in some clothing at a wedding where the couple are spending money specifically on them to attend. Like over and over blaming her for the shirt. When he won’t even buy a shirt, any shirt at all in preparation.

        Yeah, it’s great you’d trust your partner and never ask him what he’d wear, but you’d also probably not date a guy who can’t buy new shoes for himself when they are old and worn through. So you’d probably not end up being that guys date at a wedding. It’s not weird to ask and make sure your bf is going to be wearing “clothes” when you’re going to a wedding. It’s not weird to make sure you’re both on the same page as to what “casual” means.

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  • LisforLeslie June 9, 2021, 9:45 am

    I do think you’re infantilizing him a bit, but… he’s kind of acting like an infant. Explain to your person that part of the social contract is that for events that are meaningful to others, we show some respect by dressing appropriately. Going to someone’s wedding in broken flip flops and a worn and stained shirt sends the message that he can’t be bothered. It’s an insult.

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  • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 9:53 am

    Eh, if I were the LW… I’d go to the wedding all alone looking fabulous and fucking meet somebody else. Anybody else. Your BF sounds like a dumpy dolt with a real attitude problem. MOA.

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    • Kipiani June 9, 2021, 10:01 am

      Agreed. Did the LW mention anything she actually *likes* about her boyfriend?

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    • FYI June 9, 2021, 5:55 pm

      1000% ^^^^^^

      Spoon-feeding him websites while feeding him a snack, so he doesn’t tantrum about basic life maintenance — that would not be my go-to solution for a grown-ass man. Everybody’s different, and I guess he has some good qualities — but a petulant refusal to dress oneself is a dealbreaker in my book. I’m not even talking about the wedding; he’s refusing to dress himself, period. Who wears broken flip-flops? And blames THAT on a divorce?! Come ON.

      LW, there are other men to date.

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  • Kate June 9, 2021, 10:09 am

    This was long and I didn’t read the whole thing, but I do think it’s ridiculous and disrespectful to go to a wedding in clothing that’s ripped, stained, falling apart. And I agree with Wendy about buying a basic decent outfit and stashing it until needed. I have never dated a man who would wear a paisley shirt, that’s a very specific pattern preference and a lot of folks don’t like it. You should have known better. But yeah, long-term this might be incompatibility.

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    • Kate June 9, 2021, 10:15 am

      Ok, I did read the whole thing and just break up with him. He’s a child.

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      • Kate June 9, 2021, 10:23 am

        Like, my husband hates sweaters and doesn’t wear them because of some bad childhood associations and maybe catholic school, idk, but he’s just like, “no thank you” about sweaters, not throwing a tantrum. We all have types of clothing we don’t like and don’t wear, and if they’re gifted to us we’d try to do an exchange at the store or give them away, but being this emotional about clothing and freaking out and picking fights is absurd and not sustainable.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 12:09 pm

        He definitely seems immature, and that seems worth considering.

        I *can* maybe sympathize that if she’s been really pushy about what he wears and how he presents himself (beyond you know, please don’t wear run down sneakers and dress pants that are frayed and have stains to a wedding), that he might be frustrated how much she’s pushing him to be someone he’s not.

        Sounds like if he has love/hate feelings when it comes to her fashion choices and they’ve had conversations about how they feel about the Brooklyn hipster aesthetic, this isn’t new territory for them to have disagreed on before.

        I mean, paisley is pretty loud. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the guy that will wear casual clothes to the ground is going to go “WTF?! Don’t you know me at all?”

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  • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 10:10 am

    PS — when somebody insists on wandering around looking homeless… can they REALLY be THAT surprised that others (GASP!) try to buy them clothes? Oh — And WTF? One of the biggest holdover traumas from his failed marriage was his ex wife once tried to buy him a new coat?! Oh, the humanity! How dare she! Yikes!! Lets hope that woman is now safely behind bars so that sloppy men of the world are safe from her fiendish ways!!

    🙄

    Seriously. Aim higher, Ladies. Much, much high.

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    • FYI June 9, 2021, 5:58 pm

      He’s milking that divorce “trauma” for everything it’s worth. Plus, his DAD was a good-dresser!! The pain!

      Break. Up.

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  • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 10:23 am

    Yeah, I think you know this relationship has a time limit that you’ve already surpassed. He has issues he needs to address with a professional if new clothes cause him further panic and anxiety.

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  • Rebecca June 9, 2021, 10:53 am

    Seconding the break up with him vibes from everyone else. You don’t seem to like or respect him, he appears to feel exactly the same about you, and if I had to walk on eggshells about appropriate clothing I would end up in jail for assault [hyperbole, but still…]

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  • Copa June 9, 2021, 10:55 am

    I laughed when I read the detail about the paisley shirt. Cause WHYYY? I’ve bought my boyfriend a few button down shirts or whatever over the years, or if I know he’s looking for something specific I’ll keep my eyes open… but I keep who he is and what he likes in mind.

    In the short-term, two weeks is plenty of time to find a pair of properly fitting, dress code appropriate outfit. Long-term, this seems like a lot of drama. The paisley was a dumb idea, but he shouldn’t be freaking out that his girlfriend is trying to buy him a new dress shirt because he’s so triggered by the memory of his ex-wife buying him a coat (huh!?).

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  • Elizabeth June 9, 2021, 11:05 am

    Well, I dated a man like this and it didn’t work out in the end. He was my first love, super smart and a good person, but he wore stained and wrinkled clothes, and it made me uncomfortable. (Obviously, we had other issues too). You could say that clothes and fashion are unimportant and that this is about vanity- but I think it’s deeper. Ultimately, you are taking it personally that he doesn’t seem to value how important this event is to you, which is fair and dressing respectfully and properly is part of attending a wedding. I am a woman who loves fashion and loves dressing the part for events (and I’m a native New Yorker, so I get the Brooklyn thing) and the man I ended up marrying isn’t REALLY into fashion (and has ugly sneakers, IMO) but he dresses up for events or special nights out because he wants to look good and also knows it makes me happy.

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  • Guy Friday June 9, 2021, 11:15 am

    Here’s my thing: when a letter is THIS one-sided, I call shenanigans. I think in reading the letter a few times through that though the LW claims that she “understands” his resentment of the hipster outfit/fashion trend, she doesn’t REALLY get it. Not really. I mean, her solution is a paisley shirt? Really? I could have told you from the beginning of the third paragraph it wouldn’t have worked. And what the hell does “his fashion sense died” mean anyway, really? That YOU don’t like his fashion, or that SOCIETY doesn’t like his fashion? So, yeah, when they say he’s going to show up in falling-apart sandals, I find that hard to believe.

    My wife used to drive me up a freaking wall doing this. She’d buy me clothes I wouldn’t be caught dead in. I’m a simple guy: black suit, white (or dark solid colors) shirt, matching color in the tie, shined dress shoes. The end. Why exactly would it be a crime if he showed up dressed like that, exactly? Because I get the impression you wouldn’t be caught dead with him in an outfit like that because it “wouldn’t match the vibe”, and that concerns me, LW. And assuming that would be OK, exactly how hard do you think it is to get a plain button down and khakis with a sport coat? Most guys can buy that off the rack and look fine.

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    • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 11:55 am

      Yeah, I’m kind of surprised at the number coming down hard on the guy.

      I mean, he’s not behaved as a beacon of maturity here either, but he clearly *does* have clear preferences about how he dresses and why. What he wears *is* important to him and he *does* have his reasons for it.

      She clearly is interested and invested in fashion, which is fine, but she’s pushing her aesthetic on someone else that also has their own very particular feelings and beliefs when it comes to how they dress. Being anti-fashion is just as purposeful as being fashion minded.

      If he had thrown a fit about when she got him a simple blue dress shirt and khakis, sure I’d be on her side. But she got him a paisley shirt – that’s a very *specific* look, and clearly not his.

      He’s not her doll. If he dresses like a boring office drone, that’s fine for a wedding. In every day life, she does kind of need to decide whether she can handle having the schlubby boyfriend (who *is* making a deliberate choice, just as much as she is), or not.

      If she wants a go that’s more into what he wears and will be more adventurous with his dress, I mean, she’s in the right place to find it.

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      • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 12:19 pm

        He’s not dressing like a “boring office drone. “ instead, he wants to go a fancy wedding in clothing that is literally falling apart. Hell, the Homeless are better dressed. And I should know. LA is crawling with them.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 12:33 pm

        Not quite.

        He agreed he would dress nicer for the wedding and said she could pick clothes out for him if she wanted, and she went and picked something out that anyone with a brain would know would be way too far outside his comfort zone.

        I would imagine if she had picked clothes that made him look like an office drone, he probably would’ve worn it that day without issue.

        Or, she could’ve just trusted him to pick out for himself.

        I’m not saying this guy is 100% in the right, he clearly has maturity issues here, but, I’m not letting her off scot free either.

        She clearly isn’t paying attention to (or cares) about her partner’s comfort level. And that’s a fault for her to own, too.

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      • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 12:40 pm

        They’ve known about this wedding for over a year. (Well over a year thanks to Covid!!) One to which they are being gifted a cabin to stay in no less!! And yet he still has nothing to wear that isn’t fucking falling apart or is otherwise broken?

        Take a cue from his wardrobe, LW. It’s time to let this relationship equally unravel.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 12:58 pm

        I mean, ultimately I agree, they probably aren’t a good fit.

        It seems that she enjoys dressing a certain way and enjoys her own particular fashion sense. It’s not uncommon to want a partner that kind of matches us, that presents themselves to the world in a way that compliments how we present ourselves.

        This guy *does* have very specific reasons for how he likes to dress though, too. LW is well aware, she was able to list them out.

        For the most part, we take our partners as they are. Most personality traits and preferences are baked in. She either needs to be okay with the guy who purposefully decides to present himself in a sloppy, I don’t care about fashion message to the world manner, or she’s not. It’s reasonable to ask him to wear slightly dressier clothes that in good condition for a special occasion, but if she wants a guy that is going to be okay wearing, or even seek out on his own, a bold pattern like paisley, it’s not this guy. It’s never going to be this guy.

        She *knows* that, she knows his father tried to make him dress in very similar things and he resented it, so why did she think it would go over better when she tried?

        To steal from Dan Savage, the price of admission to date this guy is accept he’s going to look sloppy. You either accept that or you move on. Requests like asking him to find well fitting dress clothes in good condition for a wedding are reasonable, beyond that though – this is what you’re signing up for, take it if you love all the other good qualities about him, or leave him.

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      • Kate June 9, 2021, 7:10 pm

        I so strongly disagree with a lot of this. It’s totally normal and okay to buy your partner something you think they’d look good in as a gift. It is totally not normal or okay to have a freaking tantrum about it and keep bringing it up and throwing it in their face. This guy has emotional issues that he should seek help for. An okay reaction to your partner buying you a shirt you hate is, thank you, but I don’t think I’d wear this, is it returnable? A better reaction is, not my usual style but let me try it on. And like, wear it on a frickin date with your partner. Give it a try, unless you just feel super uncomfortable in it.

        You do NOT have to consistently only gift them things that are their usual look. That’s nonsense.

        Also, can’t remember where this comment was, but it’s so not okay to stress your partner out on the day of a wedding you’ve known about for a year by having nothing to wear and making them stop at the mall. Come on. Even if you gained the Covid 15. Try your shit on before the day of. This behavior is really not acceptable for an adult.

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    • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 1:27 pm

      I took that comment to mean his ex bought the last new clothes he has.

      GF, when I read about guys complaining about the women in their life buying things for them that they don’t like and how it drives them up the wall…it sounds like you need to communicate and maybe do things for yourself and maybe not be so ungrateful about something someone who cares about you is trying to do to make your life easier. I assume however, you actually do replace your clothes when they fall apart, which can this man is not.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 1:39 pm

        OR stop buying adult men clothes. They are adults, they can tell with the consequences (ie being judged by the world accordingly) if they want.

        Also – I mean, I don’t know this man AT ALL, but when I read the statement that she bought him a paisley shirt I immediately thought – “I bet that went over like a lead balloon” only to read that yep, the guy that wears clothes to the ground took issue with a bold print.

        If you’re going to buy clothes for anyone – romantic partner or not – be attentive to their taste. Buy them things you think they will be comfortable in, not things you think they would look good in.

        If you are dating a guy that wears jeans and tee-shirts into the ground – buy him jeans and t-shirts, maybe just a little nicer quality than he would go for on his. Keep things simple for the guys that don’t care (or outright loath) fashion.

        She knew the attitudes this guy holds about clothes. He doesn’t need to communicate it to her, she needs to accept what he’s telling her, both literally and non-verbally via how he’s presented himself to the world their whole relationship.

        Give gifts that cater to the recipient.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 1:58 pm

        Yeah, men SHOULD buy their own clothes, but we all know that’s not how it works in real life.

        “Gifts should fit the recipient” so like, holey and from goodwill?

        You can continue to beat this dead horse that she’s a monster for trying to buy him a shirt now, have fun.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 2:01 pm

        If they don’t by themselves decent clothes, I mean let them walk around like that.

        They’re grownups, they can chose how they present themselves to the world.

        Women can choose whether or not they want to be by the side of someone that looks like that (and there’s another consequence that may encourage them to step it up).

        Far too many women parent their male partners. They should stop.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 2:13 pm

        Okay, but make it more her fault, please. She shouldn’t parent him. 🙄 Great, in a perfect world all men would do the emotional labor. We’re not in that place in society yet, do you think you could focus on reality instead of ideals? If your husband couldn’t dress himself you wouldn’t buy him clothes? You have never asked him what’s he’s going to wear?

        Women can still want their partner to look good standing next to them at an important event. That’s not a weird desire. Most anyone going to an event wants to wear appropriate clothes and look good.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 2:20 pm

        And I’m not saying she’s a monster or fully to blame.

        He’s clearly behaving abysmally and frankly I wouldn’t stay with someone that throws tantrums eithers, but no one is perfect and she’s the one that wrote in, so here’s what I noted she may want to reflect on when it comes to her piece of things.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 2:28 pm

        I am focused on reality, not my ideals. I don’t baby my husband. I chose to be with someone that I didn’t feel like I have to do that with, I’ve moved on from plenty of man-children because I wasn’t about to be their second mother.

        I mean, I’m fortunate that my husband knows how to dress himself. He’s pretty casual but his clothes are in good shape and he does know how to turn it up when appropriate. I don’t have to needle him about it, nor would I, if he wasn’t up to basic standards.

        Alternatively, I have a friend whose husband is, ahem, a sloppy dresser and she’s decided not to care. He’s going to do what he’s going to do in that regard but has lots of other wonderful qualities that she appreciates it, so she lets it slide and doesn’t care. It’s part of the package and she’s fine with it. She doesn’t needle him about what he wears, either.

        We should hold men to higher standards not by pushing them to be better and trying to save them from themselves because “That’s reality”, but leave them to deal with consequences of their choices. Even if that consequence is women don’t want to date you because they don’t want to deal with you. They’ll either pick it up, or they won’t, but it’s their choice and *women* shouldn’t put in more emotional labor to pick up their slack.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 2:45 pm

        No, you’re focused on your reality and your ideals.
        This is not about “women’s work,” she just bought him one shirt because she wants him to look nice at the electro hippy wedding, which a paisley shirt would be pretty great for.
        You’re equating that to babying men? That no one should care what anyone wears, but thenin another comment admit you would care what your and your husband look like at a wedding. So maybe stop arguing a point that you don’t even agree with anymore?

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 2:47 pm

        Also – to your question – have I ever asked my husband what he’s going to wear – and I don’t think I have.

        I generally know his vibe so I can anticipate what’s in his wheelhouse for any sort of event, and also, I trust him to dress approporiately.

        He’s not a particularly fashion forward dressing, but he knows when its time to put on nice slacks and a shirt. I trust him to not embarrass me, if I didn’t I’d either not have stayed with him or I would’ve asked myself if I was willing to accept him as he was.

        I don’t think it’s crazy for women to want a guy by their side that will dress appropriately, but…also, you’ve got to accept people as they are. He’s apparently not one of those guys. She can either live with that, or she can find someone else that is.

        There’s no third option where he becomes that guy.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 2:50 pm

        Right, casually- you’ve never asked him what he’s going to wear, ever.

        That is a laughable statement. Keep beating the deadhorse at all costs, elephant! Anyway you slice it, it’s her fault.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 2:55 pm

        I mean look. It’s reasonable for her to want a partner that will come to an important event in clothes that are clean and reasonably good repair.

        Beyond that, he doesn’t have to fit the theme of the wedding. She has a pretty good sense of his preferences around clothes, on theme or not it shouldn’t be a surprise he’s going to balk at it, on theme for the event or not.

        He could show up in plain dress clothes, it would’ve been fine.

        If it’s important to her to be with a guy that’s going to feel comfortable wearing a bold print that fits into a hippy electric wedding, it’s not this guy. It’s not possible to make him into this guy. He’s told her who he is, take it or leave it.

        He’s a child for throwing tantrums, but ultimately, they seem a bad fit.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 3:05 pm

        You’re being hyperbolic.

        I’ve repeatedly said it’s not entirely her fault. I’ve repeatedly said what she wants out of a partner is unreasonable (just, what she wants isn’t him). I’ve repeatedly said I’d break up with him too.

        But, no, I don’t think she’s entirely faultless either.

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      • Guy Friday June 10, 2021, 8:41 am

        GF, when I read about guys complaining about the women in their life buying things for them that they don’t like and how it drives them up the wall…it sounds like you need to communicate and maybe do things for yourself and maybe not be so ungrateful about something someone who cares about you is trying to do to make your life easier.

        To be clear, when I say “drives me up a wall”, I mean that I’ve had many MANY conversations about my personal style with my wife. She knows my style. So when she buys something that’s clearly not for me but for her — in a passive-aggressive “I don’t like how you look when I’m with you” way — it upsets me. It’s not a lack of gratitude when it’s not intended for me, really. And, again, I dress professionally for work: suit and tie, shined dress shoes, etc. It’s not as though I’m running around to weddings in t-shirts and sweatpants or anything.

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    • anonymousse June 15, 2021, 9:38 am

      Maybe you should buy your own clothes, then, Guy Friday? Your explanation doesn’t make your scenario sound any better than before.

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  • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 11:44 am

    Girl – you bought the guy that dresses like Adam Sandler a paisley shirt and are shocked he had a negative reaction? I mean, come on now.

    It’s reasonable to ask your partner to wear decent clothing for special events – but the bar is like, a simple dress shirt, nice slacks, decent shoes – all in good condition.

    It seems like you want a partner whose aesthetic matches your particular aesthetic, and it’s not this guy. It’s reasonable I think to ask your partner to wear clothing that isn’t obviously damaged and falling apart, but beyond that he does have his own fashion aesthetic and preferences. If you want someone that matches your aesthetic, it’s not going to be him.

    Either take it or leave it, and when you do ask him to dress outside his comfort zone, don’t push it.

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    • allathian June 11, 2021, 5:39 am

      Yeah, I agree. Showing up in rags is disrespectful and I really don’t blame the LW for trying to get him to dress better. That said, if he doesn’t like the Brooklyn hipster look, it should be enough to just show up in a suit that isn’t about to drop off him, or even chinos and a button-up shirt with shoes that aren’t sneakers.

      Seems to me that he’s very immature and probably still processing stuff from his failed marriage. I don’t think he should be in a relationship yet, TBH.

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  • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 11:52 am

    Is paisley REALLY still that shockingly avant- garde or fashion forward? Half the comments here today are acting as if she bought Mr Rags a fucking dress…
    😂

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    • Kate June 9, 2021, 11:54 am

      I just think it’s ugly.

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    • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 11:59 am

      For the guy who wears ripped shirts and flip-flops on the reg?

      Absolutely, it is.

      Get the man a simple blue dress shirt and some khakis and call it a day.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 1:18 pm

        She gave him a gift, he didn’t like it, returned it and he still hasn’t bought anything to wear to the wedding.

        How is this still her fault?

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 1:32 pm

        I mean, again, she said herself his father used to get him similar gifts and he didn’t like them.

        Why would you get him something you know isn’t his taste?

        I absolutely think he seems immature here, but in relationship conflicts (or any inter-personal conflict for that matter), rare is it for just one person to be totally at fault.

        She’s the one that wrote in, so I’m pointing out what I think she may want to reflect on when it comes to her own behavior.

        She seems to really care about fashion. She’s with someone that has very different attitude towards it. Take him as he is there, or find someone else that shares her sentiments.

        If you are going to buy him clothing as gifts – be thoughtful about what that person might actually like. If you *already know* they’ve objected to similar clothing in the past, I mean, why are you buying that for them?

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 1:53 pm

        Also, while she may enjoy planning months in advance the outfit she’ll wear to this wedding, they’re in a major city, things are opening now, one could easily run into a department store and get acceptable (albeit perhaps boring) dress clothes literally on the way.

        That he *still* hasn’t bought wedding clothes is not that big a deal.

        There is still time. He doesn’t have to have them ready well in advance. He may be choosing to be obstinate now, but if she was pushing him to get clothes weeks, months in advance, I mean that wasn’t necessary.

        Frankly, I would’ve let my husband get it taken care of himself, and if he didn’t, oh well. He’s a grown-up, if he wants to feel like the sore thumb at wedding because he’s way under-dressed, whatever, his choice.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 2:06 pm

        It IS a big deal he still hasn’t bought anything. It’s two weeks away and no one looks good in off the rack suits. Most every place tailors which would takes appointments and time, not that I think this man would ever actually buy a suit. There are shortages everywhere for labor and goods right now. You’re acting like she’s psycho while she’s literally just trying to plan and know he has some clothes based on her actual relationship experiences with him.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 2:08 pm

        Yes, blame her for wanting both of them to look good on an important night in their lives, as important guests of distinction at a wedding. You sure do find new and interesting ways to make things women’s fault a lot.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 2:35 pm

        The theme of the wedding is “electro-hippy psychedelic chic.”, I doubt he needs to come in a tailored suit.

        And personally, I want my husband by my side because he’s my partner and I love him. I do expect that he will come in reasonable clothes for an event, clothes that are in good shape and dressy, but he’s not a prop to fit a theme, you know.

        He can buy khakis and a dress shirt off the rack *and it will be fine*, even if it’s not entirely on theme. That’s not the point of a wedding, anyways right?

        If it’s really important to her to have a partner that’s going to match her fashion sense, it’s not this guy. It’s just not. Its reasonable to expect him to be respectful and wear decent clothes, but beyond that it’s about their fit and values. They may not fit.

        AND AGAIN, I’m not saying it’s 100% her fault, and that it’s always the fault of women how their men present themselves (in fact I’m trying to say the opposite, it’s mens’ obligation to present themselves properly and women should just let them deal with the consequences of their choices).

        But in a relationship, rare is it ever one person’s fault completely. She wrote in for advice, here’s my take about what she may want to reflect on own her end of things.

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    • Copa June 9, 2021, 12:04 pm

      I agree that paisley patterns are by and large ugly. And yeah, it’s a stretch to think that some guy who doesn’t see anything wrong with walking around in ripped jeans that no longer fit him paired with broken flip flops is going to embrace anything outside of basic fashion at this point.

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    • Guy Friday June 9, 2021, 12:08 pm

      I mean, it’s fine. I’m not ragging on people who wear it. But it’s 100% not my style. I like simple and understated, classic cuts, what most people consider “boring.” And that’s OK; it’s MY style, not one I’m forcing on people. But it’s also not like she bought the guy a white button down and he rejected it.

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    • LisforLeslie June 9, 2021, 1:43 pm

      Here in retirement land (where most of the men’s clothing is purchased by women) you definitely get a sense of who’s a fashion plate Ken and who’s a regular Joe. The guys that wear the paisley shirts, or the shirts with the contrasting cuffs/collar often have a bit of bling on their wrists, fingers or necks, they comb their hair back versus a side part, they wear big sunglasses and they wear pastel pants. They wear suede loafers in super awesome colors. It’s a whole look.

      Regular Joe’s wear chambray or white shirts with khakis (tan or navy). They might go crazy with a stripe or a check pattern. They wear boat shoes or leather (black or brown) loafers.

      My uncle was a Ken. My stepdad was a Joe.

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  • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 2:25 pm

    I think its hilarious how many are defending this guy for acting like a big fucking baby. It’s not even about the (i guess?) daring shirt. But the endless fucking fights HE keeps instigating over it. Yet almost nobody sees this. Hell, even much of Wendy’s advice is all about how she tricks her grade school child into buying clothes.

    Dump this loser already. Bring your gay bestie to the wedding instead. Trust me, LW. You’ll have oh so much more fun.

    This dud has a persecution complex about how everybody in the world buys him new clothes. Gee… I dunno… Maybe take the hint, dipshit. No. Seriously? This is somehow a triggering issue? Please. Boo fucking hoo, man. Get a fucking grip for fuck’s sake. Next time around I hope everybody just fucking beats you.

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    • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 3:03 pm

      Ultimately, I would break up with him too.

      Fashion and appearances seem important to her (and I don’t mean that dismissively, at all), he has very different ideas when it comes to clothes and appearance.

      And he is absolutely out of line with his reactions, there’s really no call to tantrum at your partner, no matter what the cause.

      She shouldn’t have to push him to be something that meets her standard; it’s a fools errand to try.

      And I don;t mean to imply she’s crazy for wanting a guy by her side that doesn’t embarrass her; I just think she needs to acknowledge, it’s not this guy.

      He’s been pretty clear about who he is, she doesn’t seem to be listening. It would be best for both of them if she just called it and moved on.

      Maybe there’s another woman out there that has the same attitude about fashion (or at least, doesn’t care), maybe he’ll be sad and lonely and realize he should make half an effort to get a date.

      But she’s not going to be the one that gets him to change, if he ever does.

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      • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 3:09 pm

        Again… she bought him… one shirt. One measly little shirt.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 3:13 pm

        I mean…if they’ve have a clear sense of whether the other stands on “Brooklyn hipster style” and she knows he has a love/hate feeling about her taste and interest in fashion, clothes and fashion have definitely come up repeatedly before. There’s more here than “one measly shirt”.

        She knows who he is, she knows how he dresses and why…this doesn’t seem to be a new thing for them.

        I don’t think she’s crazy for wanting a guy that will be down to wear a paisley shirt to her close friend’s hippie electric wedding, and she’s in a great place to find such a guy, but she also already knows it’s not this guy. It’s not going to be this guy.

        Take it or leave it.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 3:23 pm

        My! how the comments have turned.

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  • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 3:22 pm

    Hey elephant, it’s that you blamed her many different ways and only now have come around and agreed that they aren’t compatible. It was her fault for:
    Buying him a shirt
    Not buying him a shirt that is to his taste
    Buying him any kind of clothing at all
    Doing any emotional labor
    Caring about how they look at the wedding

    Which most you then agreed with.

    I’d also like to say, if you’re such a feminist, maybe think about not dragging a woman over the coals for dozens of comments.

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    • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 3:41 pm

      I feel we may be talking past each other, I feel my opinion has been consistent this whole time.

      I think ultimately, we are best served to accept our partners as they are, we can’t really change people. Only around the edges. If there is a trait about our partner we really struggle with, we have two choices – accept it and let it go, or if we really can’t, move on. Don’t invest time and energy trying to get someone to change.

      Fashion seems important to her. That’s not unreasonable. Unfortunately for her, he also has very strong feelings about what he wears. I think there’s a base level of asking him to be respectful and wear clothes that fit, are in good condition, and that most people would consider “dressy”, but beyond that, no. Plain off the rack dress shirt and slacks would suffice to meet that bare minimum of respectability.

      If she wants her partner to be someone that goes above that, that’s not unreasonable in the abstract, but it is unreasonable from *this specific guy*.

      So, given the above, her options are to a) take him as he is and let him dress up however he choses for this wedding (again with the base reasonable request above). If she does decide to get him clothes, be thoughtful about what his comfort zone is – not picking what she wants him to wear or what would be a good fit for the event.

      The other option is b) break up with him because ultimately they aren’t a good fit. She wants to be with someone that shares similar values and consideration about fashion, and it’s just not him.

      She seems to be trying to take a middle path though, getting him to come along to her standards. Not that there’s anything wrong with her standards, but he doesn’t match hers and it’s only causing them both frustration and misery.

      I would say the best thing for them to do would be break up (it’s what I would do, if I were in her shoes), but if he has enough wonderful qualities and she ultimately wants to be with him, she’s got to let this aspect go.

      And definitely the guy has issues, and if he wrote in I’d have plenty to say to him. But she wrote in.

      Anyways, you and I may just always disagree and/or not fully be getting the others perspective. But…I don’t think I’ve been inconsistent or in disagreement with myself.

      This guy is who he is. She can accept him or she can move on. Those are her choices. Staying and trying to get him to change – putting in the emotional labor as it were – is only going to be a frustrating and futile effort on her part.

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    • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 4:19 pm

      I’m not reading another exhaustive post about what you believe. I feel like you’ve been contradicting yourself and blaming her consistently throughout. You occasionally mention his faults but briefly and in passing, like they don’t matter at all when to me it seems pretty clear he has significant mental health issues that make him behave this way, but his terrible behavior is barely worth mentioning throughout your comments criticizing her.

      My point was please stop posting long winded comments that just blame her. That’s not advice. Pointing out what she did wrong is also not advice, and she did nothing wrong. It’s not helpful to tell a woman over and over again that it’s somehow her fault when the chorus of people telling her to break up are probably acting more in her best interest, wouldn’t you say? She bought him a shirt and returned it. She accepts him as he is everyday. She’s not done a thing wrong.

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      • ele4phant June 9, 2021, 4:28 pm

        Agree to disagree.

        It is always helpful to self examine ourselves and how we contribute to interpersonal conflicts, so as to fix them for this relationship or a future (and sometimes outside parties can help point those things out when we’ve gotten tunnel-visioned and caught up in our own emotions – understandable given the fighting they’ve bene having).

        She’s not a monster, but I disagree she has done absolutely nothing wrong here.

        But I’ll keep this one short.

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      • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 4:45 pm

        The person I believe who has tunnel vision is you. She returned the shirt and stopped pressuring him and buying him things.

        Self reflection is a personal action. What you did was repeat again and again what you think she did wrong. At a certain point, it’s not helpful, it’s not nice and it’s not actually advice which is what she asked for.

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      • allathian June 11, 2021, 5:55 am

        She has done something wrong, she’s trying to turn him into a fashion plate when that’s not who she is.

        I for one would have far more sympathy for her if she had just ask him to dress up a bit for this event, to the level that he felt comfortable with. The absolute bare minimum would have been neat and clean clothes.

        I generally couldn’t care less about fashion, but I will dress appropriately for a wedding, although I have noped out of dressing to fit a theme. I’m fat, and there’s no way I’m going to wear a skirt or dress that’s shorter than mid-calf, so if the dress code calls for a cocktail dress, I’m either wearing an evening gown or, more likely, a dressy pant suit.

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  • Peggy June 9, 2021, 3:37 pm

    I totally agree with BGM..this guy is behaving like an ass. Also. she likely got a paisley shirt ,because she thought it would fit the requested dress code of the wedding and honestly, paisley is not that “out there” anyway. If he wanted to avoid getting a paisley or any other kind of clothes that were not to his taste, then he should already have taken care of getting something decent .
    I got the impression that his fashion history “issues” with his Dad etc. were not something she was even aware of until he threw a fit.

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    • Bittergaymark June 9, 2021, 3:51 pm

      Yeah. I remain surprised at how Paisley is still such a shocking and out there choice to many. 😉

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    • CurlyQue June 9, 2021, 6:34 pm

      YESSS! Everyone wants to keep talking about this paisley shirt they’re missing the rest of the post. LW, your boyfriend knows this wedding is important to you. He’s seen you shopping for months. You brought it up with him a month and a half ago, bought him a shirt and then he BLEW UP. He’s continued to disrespect your feelings by STILL NOT BUYING ANYTHING TO WEAR. He doesn’t want to buy himself something and he also doesn’t want you to buy him anything but he also wants to go to the wedding. If he has this much baggage from his divorce/childhood he should look into therapy. Not scream at you during multiple fights.

      In all honesty you should bring someone else as your date and use the time away to decide if your happiness is increased by being in a relationship with this man.

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  • Kate June 9, 2021, 4:34 pm

    There’s a men’s shop down the street from me that has some colorful blazers in the window. One of them is tie-dye. It just occurred to me it would be perfect for this wedding.

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    • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 4:49 pm

      And what won’t be perfect and will stick out? An ill fitting suit from canal st.

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      • Kate June 9, 2021, 4:53 pm

        Or some Dockers.

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      • Kate June 9, 2021, 5:30 pm

        I just asked my husband if he would wear that blazer if we were invited to a hippie psychedelic wedding and he said no. But he said he would dress in a nice shirt and pants, out of respect for the friend’s wedding. He said you could wear like an Untickit shirt with short sleeves, and nice flip-flops to this type of wedding. I think that is where the LW was going, she should have just not gone paisley because most guys won’t wear it.

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      • Kate June 9, 2021, 5:31 pm

        *Untuckit brand

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    • Ange June 9, 2021, 6:24 pm

      My husband would rock that blazer

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  • Peggy June 9, 2021, 5:30 pm

    If the crap hit the fan over Paisley, a suggestion of a tie-dye suit or blazer may well lead to murder….just saying!

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    • Kate June 9, 2021, 5:32 pm

      I know, it would be spot on though, from a theme wedding perspective.

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      • Ange June 9, 2021, 8:27 pm

        I don’t think OP really wants to buy his clothes though, I think she just took it on because it was the only way to get him in anything half decent. It’s not a true compromise it’s just him passing the buck because he can hold out longer.

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    • Ange June 9, 2021, 8:28 pm

      Whoops that was meant to be below.

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  • Ange June 9, 2021, 6:23 pm

    He could have easily avoided the snit over the paisley shirt if he just put in the bare minimum of effort and sorted out his clothes out himself. What a neat trick, put all the onus on the woman then enjoy the victimhood when she doesn’t read your mind and buy exactly what you want. Seriously this guy sounds like the WORST.

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    • Miss MJ June 9, 2021, 7:51 pm

      I mean, yeah. This guy sucks. Not because he doesn’t want to wear paisley, but because he doesn’t want to wear what the LW buys and he doesn’t want to buy himself something, so he really just wants to go to a wedding wearing holey and ripped up clothes, even though he has other options. That is disrespectful as fuck. To the couple getting married, to the LW and to all the people who bothered to be appropriately attired when they show up.

      I’d just tell him not to attend if he can’t be bothered to do the minimum of finding something appropriate to wear.

      As for the women’s work of shopping argument:

      My husband doesn’t like to shop or buy clothes. He’s happy in jeans or shorts and a t-shirt most days. He also understands that sometimes he has to be an adult and put on nice clothes when the occasion calls for it. Since he doesn’t like to shop and I do, I generally buy his clothes. I know his tastes and size and the rule we have is that if he doesn’t like it, it’s his job to return it. It’s worked for us for a couple of decades now and he very rarely returns anything. So, if you are going to buy your guy clothes, you gotta know his tastes. And for the record, my husband would absolutely return a paisley shirt; not his style at all. (He did, however, love the ridiculous flamingo Hawaiian style shirt I got him joke Go figure.)

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      • Ange June 9, 2021, 8:28 pm

        don’t think OP really wants to buy his clothes though, I think she just took it on because it was the only way to get him in anything half decent. It’s not a true compromise it’s just him passing the buck because he can hold out longer.

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    • laylas June 9, 2021, 9:04 pm

      Yup. Passive aggressive antisocial little boy.

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  • anonymousse June 9, 2021, 8:05 pm

    I honestly think he will leave the clothes up to the last minute and “oops” not be able to go. Or cause some drama, stress or scene. It’s clear he wants to make this experience about his tantrum, rather than let her enjoy what could be a nice wedding to attend together.

    Have a plan b ready to go!

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  • laylas June 9, 2021, 8:49 pm

    Your partner is a slob and a child. Move on.

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  • brise June 10, 2021, 8:31 am

    LW, you aren’t that far in your love story. You didn’t reach that step yet where he ASKS you to help him find clothes for events. A huge steps which shows that he is invested in you as a wifey partner. He still connects your fashion interference with his divorce: not great. So you still have some work to do – or you could also ditch him, which was my first impression reading your post. What a burden to carry at a marriage….
    Anyway, I would set up a shopping time with him at a mall, in a classic store with classic, regular male fashion (nothing trendy, please stop joking with your Brooklyn style when you date a guy in broken flip-flops…) before the wedding and secure a basic minimal not-ashaming marriage look for him and you. If you can’t achieve that, well, I would liberate him from this task to be your plus-one because what is the point if he couldn’t care less and doesn’t show the minimal concern/respect for the happy couple and their guests?
    Sometimes, you have to bang your fist on the table. It clarifies the situation.
    Good luck
    What I wouldn’t do: buy him stuff. You are not his mother. He is no toddler. Just stop doing that.

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    • Vathena June 10, 2021, 8:46 am

      Yeah, but he basically DID ask her to buy something for him to wear to the wedding. She says she doesn’t buy him stuff at other times (except birthday/holiday gift times) but they agreed she would get him something for the wedding.

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      • brise June 10, 2021, 9:45 am

        Yes but I meant to buy something “with” him, not “for” him, something that he buys himself at the store with her next to him as an adviser (what the hell anyway, ask her to buy something for him?)

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  • brise June 10, 2021, 8:32 am

    * to carry at a wedding

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  • brise June 10, 2021, 8:33 am

    *wedding look

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  • Vathena June 10, 2021, 8:43 am

    Y’all have covered this issue pretty well, I have nothing to add. Agree she should break up with him; maayyybeee stick around on a probationary basis if he agrees to seek counseling for his obviously very deep rooted psychological issues with clothing. Holding a weeks-long grudge against your partner for a shirt *you asked them to buy for you* (paisley aside) is a real dick move.

    BUT isn’t it fun to have a twist on a wedding letter that inspires such spirited debate? It’s like pre-pandemic days here on DW! Yay!

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  • FYI June 10, 2021, 8:53 am

    Imma need an update on this after the wedding in two weeks.

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  • Peggy June 10, 2021, 9:10 am

    Yes FYI. what you said. Plus I would love to know , L.W. , what you think of the comments and advice now. Is it helping?

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  • Bittergaymark June 10, 2021, 10:12 am

    Agreed! I’d love to know what happens!! Honestly? I can’t remember when I last thought a LW was so 100% completely in the right…

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  • misspiggy June 10, 2021, 11:01 am

    A big problem is that a basic smart look won’t work for this wedding, and OP and her partner know this. OP wants him to dress bohemian to respect her friends’ style, and to show the guests she has a partner with what they consider good taste. But this isn’t true. OP is effectively asking her partner to attend the wedding in costume/fancy dress, and he quite rightly doesn’t want to do so.

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    • Bittergaymark June 10, 2021, 3:22 pm

      Oh for fucks. It’s a god damn paisley shirt. If somebody is too fucking fragile to dress ever so slightly different and (for once!( fashionable for one fucking night — you know what? They should just do the world a great big favor and drop dead…

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  • drspaceman June 10, 2021, 12:25 pm

    (Peggy & Bittergaymark & anyone else)

    Hello, LW here. First off, I just want to thank everyone for their comments. Even those of you on the “she’s a controlling, psycho-hosebeast” side of the fence, because that’s fair. It’s as valid an opinion as any and I came here to get some perspective.

    Here’s the offending shirt:

    https://www.paulfredrick.com/shop/sportshirts/product=spr050s

    Not exactly paisley but I didn’t know how else to describe it. Is it out there? I mean, yes? No? Around here, not really, but it’s definitely not his style and yes, I should have known better EXCEPT that he’s worn an orange/yellow/green Hawaiian shirt I had in my closet left over from an ex-boyfriend (yup, that’s weird too!) and so there’s a part of him that likes to get playful with clothes. He actually wore “the Hawaiian” to a BBQ on Sunday and the first thing my friend (a former high fashion model) said when he walked in the door? “I like your shirt.” That was fun.

    So this has been really helpful. I was fairly lost as to whether I was indeed being a psycho-hosebeast, but I would say I was maybe a 2 out of 10 on the Controlling Girlfriend Rating Scale. That is to say that yes, I have a part in this (3 out of 10?) and yes, I need to own it (4 out of 10?), but if I really sift through the points you all brought up and am truly honest with myself, the shirt incident was a total bullshit, infantile move on his end.

    And he admitted it this morning. See what I mean? He laaaggggsss when it comes to admitting that he’s done something wrong. He always comes around, though.

    Someone noted that I hadn’t listed anything I like about him in the original posting. The more accurate question is what do I love? Because I do love him, and it’s not a blind, puppy eyed “she-loves-he”* type of thing, it’s a love that had to traverse continents and spacetime in order to exist in the present.

    Suffice it to say that this isn’t a relationship I’m ready to walk away from just yet. We *are* reading the same book and we do read one another’s pages, sometimes things just get lost in translation. And to be completely fair, I have my own ball of crazy-yarn and he puts up with a lot of my weird shit, none of which you are reading about on here 🙂

    @Bittergaymark: please, please look me up if you’re ever in New York. My gay bestie is a hyper-intellectual academic and he’s a total bummer at parties. Wonderful, beautifully sophisticated person, but holy shit, literally no one wants to hear about the multiple regression analyses you ran on your data set last night when they’re holding fresh Mezcal Negronis (I mean, I do, but that’s why we’re friends).

    *”she-loves-he” = the period of time in the beginning of a relationship when a woman is so enthralled with the man she’s sleeping with that she stares adoringly at him after sex and forgets to pee, ultimately resulting in a UTI. I’m stealing this from my doctor friend, who kindly writes us all UTI prescriptions when we’re in this inevitable phase of the honeymoon period. “I’ll get the maracas” is our code for “please my god this hurts I need the rocket fuel scrip this time.”

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    • Dear Wendy June 10, 2021, 1:28 pm

      You’re fun; I want to hang out with you.

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      • drspaceman June 11, 2021, 12:33 am

        Wendy, obviously I’m totally in.

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    • Kate June 10, 2021, 3:00 pm

      That’s funny that someone else said somewhere on here that their spouse wore a Hawaiian shirt but wouldn’t wear paisley. My husband will also wear a tropical print but definitely not paisley. Oh well. I hope your boyfriend can get on board with some kind of outfit that’s fine for this wedding. Honestly though, he does sound like a handful.

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    • anonymousse June 10, 2021, 4:18 pm

      Okay, but did he go buy some clothes to wear for the wedding events?

      And so you’re good with his tantrums because he always eventually admits when he’s wrong?

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      • Kate June 10, 2021, 4:40 pm

        And also because you had to cross the space-time continuum to be together? I mean, maybe you’re finding out he’s a a huge ass pain now that you’re together on the same plane of existence.

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      • drspacetime June 11, 2021, 12:54 am

        No, I’m not good with them. I honestly don’t know who starts them anymore.

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      • Kate June 11, 2021, 5:47 am

        Oh man, sounds like you’re starting to take on some of the responsibility for these tantrums. That’s not good. I had a boyfriend who would have outbursts like this over relatively similar things… also had dad issues… would blame me for his crappy behavior… being in that relationship brought out my worst too. That’s what starts to happen.

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      • anonymousse June 11, 2021, 8:21 am

        He starts them. Or maybe sometimes he blames you because you did something he doesn’t like, like the shirt.

        In a normal situation, when everyone is fairly mentally well, buying someone a shirt doesn’t start ANY tantrums. He does not sound like a healthy partner who can also prioritize your desires. It’s a wedding, and this is how he reacts? If I were you, I’d seriously ask him to look into therapy to deal with his issues with clothes and anxiety.

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      • drspaceman June 11, 2021, 8:53 am

        No, he did not. But he’s started looking at things and, as others have noted, there is plenty of time. He insists that he *has* been looking at shirts and he showed me a pair of pants he might get, so this is good.

        I’m trading in my car and two nights ago he spent 45 minutes checking out carvana….I snapped. The point was made and shirts (and maybe pants!) are on the horizon.

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  • Peggy June 10, 2021, 2:03 pm

    Good to hear from you. So, what happens now about shirt and wedding when he admitted being an idiot in that regard? P.S. I looked up the shirt and love it! I think BGM should buy this…

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    • Bittergaymark June 10, 2021, 3:42 pm

      The shirt is hilariously mild.

      LW, if you say he’s great in other ways, I hope he is. But bear in mind… so would be many other better less bratty options.

      Just saying… because this bullshit will come up again and again and again.

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      • drspaceman June 11, 2021, 8:57 am

        Yeah, I know that on some level.

        We’re finally getting a weekend away from one another (24/7 in BK apartment has not been great) and I’m hoping that a little spacetime will be good for all.

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      • Bittergaymark June 12, 2021, 10:20 am

        The whole flipping out so thing over the gift of a shirt a shirt thing would give me REAL pause. So please do bear that in mind…

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  • Peggy June 10, 2021, 4:13 pm

    Yeah, not sure the running pattern/problem is fixed or won’t happen again. Good luck/best wishes.

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  • Kate June 10, 2021, 6:49 pm

    Ok hold the phone – That shirt isn’t paisley. It’s medallion print.

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    • Kate June 10, 2021, 6:52 pm

      THIS bad boy is both paisley and psychedelic!

      https://www.paulfredrick.com/shop/sportshirts/product=spr110l

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      • Kate June 10, 2021, 6:55 pm

        Like, that’s what you could have gotten him, and he had a meltdown over something relatively mid-century tasteful.

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      • Karebear1813 June 10, 2021, 7:52 pm

        THAT is atrocious! I would never wear that nor want my spouse to wear it as it screams “look at me”. Buttttt it fits the unique theme of the wedding attire.

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      • Bittergaymark June 10, 2021, 8:31 pm

        I actually love this shirt.

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      • allathian June 11, 2021, 6:05 am

        I might wear that pattern, but I severely doubt my husband would.

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  • Peggy June 10, 2021, 9:40 pm

    Honestly love that “wild ” shirt too! People wear such boring stuff in general…why not make everyday more fun.. for yourself and others?

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    • Kate June 11, 2021, 5:32 am

      I’m with you… If I were invited to this wedding, I’d just open my closet and take out the vintage 70s psychedelic purple pattern chiffon maxi I have in there for occasions like this. I always went all out for themes. I have at least 5 sexy Christmas character outfits in storage.

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  • laylas June 13, 2021, 9:11 pm

    Wendy, he is not her ‘boyfriend’, he is her partner. Why do you always respond to people who reference their partners by referring to the partners as boyfriends/girlfriends. The term ‘boyfriend’ (or ‘girlfriend’) is dismissive and disrespectful when used in reference to adults, as it implies that the relationship is immature and invalid only because it is not bound by traditional marriage. This man is not a boy, nor is he a friend, he is an adult partner.

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    • Kate June 14, 2021, 4:40 am

      He’s not looking much like an adult partner in this letter.

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      • Bittergaymark June 14, 2021, 3:10 pm

        Seriously! He’s acting like he’s 7!

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    • Dear Wendy June 14, 2021, 1:57 pm

      Frankly, because “partner” isn’t as good for SEO purposes.

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    • Dear Wendy June 14, 2021, 2:04 pm

      I’m also confused that you’d say that the term “‘boyfriend’ (or ‘girlfriend’) is dismissive and disrespectful when used in reference to adults, as it implies that the relationship is immature and invalid only because it is not bound by traditional marriage.” So… if two adults are dating for like two months – long enough that they’ve said they’re monogamous and committed but they don’t live together and… it’s only been two months, would you consider them “partners”? If so, we have a different view of this, which is fine. But I’ve known tons of adults who’ve introduced their new-sh significant others as “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” and it seems a more appropriate term for that level of commitment than “partner.” I’m not saying that’s the case for this particular LW – she did refer to her significant other as ‘partner,’ but again, that phrase isn’t as strong for SEO purposes, which is why I change it occasionally.

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    • Dear Wendy June 14, 2021, 2:07 pm

      Also, one more reason: I’m a Gen X’er. I’m old. Younger generations – millennials and Gen Z’ers – embraced “partner” over “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” and that’s cool, but when you’re old like I am and used to saying one thing, the change to something different isn’t as smooth as someone who’s native to that use of the phrase, if that makes sense. My phrasing was never meant to be dismissive; it’s just a generational habit. But thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’ll adjust!

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    • Girlfriend June 14, 2021, 10:06 pm

      I mean, if a particular LW uses the term “partner,” then it’s reasonable to assume they prefer it and I would agree that it’s best to use it in responding to *that particular LW.*

      But to claim that “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” in general is dismissive and disrespectful is, frankly, dismissive and disrespectful to those of us who prefer to use those terms. I’m 50 years old, the parent of adult children, the head of my department at work. I’m well into adulthood. Yet my boyfriend (also a bonafide adult, who even buys his own clothes!) and I both prefer to call each other “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” “Partner” just sounds self-consciously euphemistic to me. As others have noted, maybe it’s a generational thing. I actually think it’s kind of funny to think of people YOUNGER than me claiming that what I call my romantic partner is juvenile…

      Anyway, it has been widely understood for a very long time that the term “boyfriend” doesn’t literally mean a boy who is (just) a friend. I can see why the term rubs some people the wrong way and I respect their preferences in regard to their own relationships, but I expect the same respect in return.

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      • Copa June 15, 2021, 8:31 am

        I’m inclined to agree with this. I’m a mid-30s millennial in a live-in relationship with a man who turns 40 this year. We use boyfriend/girlfriend and so do most of my similarly situated friends. I’ve had the boyfriend vs. partner conversation with some of my girlfriends and there are some who feel it’d be confusing because to many, it still implies same-sex relationships. I don’t think “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are dismissive or disrespectful terms, but this may be an area where if you know someone’s preferred terms, it’s considerate to use ’em.

        If I ever get married, I’m not sure what term I’d want to use. I kinda hate “wife” even though that’s what I’d be.

        Side note: I’d actually never thought about the history of the term “partner,” so thank you for pointing that out, BGM.

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  • Bittergaymark June 14, 2021, 3:05 pm

    Ugh… As I gay man I have always loathed the term “partner” as it truly started out as some second class thing Republicunts gleefully foisted on gays back during the whole fucking civil unions are equal b.s.

    Yeah. Sorry. So not a fan…

    So I say Fuck Off to anybody thinking partner is some fabulous term we should all now gleefully embrace. No. Seriously. Fuck off. And learn your fucking history, Laylas…

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    • Dear Wendy June 14, 2021, 3:07 pm

      Yep, that’s the general consensus among my gay friends too.

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      • Bittergaymark June 14, 2021, 3:12 pm

        It definitely strikes a real nerve in me. 🤣

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      • drspaceman June 14, 2021, 3:48 pm

        I’m on the fence about this because it feels weird saying “partner” instead of boyfriend, but then it also feels weird saying “boyfriend” as there’s a bit of a juvenile connotation in that (maybe informed by millennial use of “partner” as a more “elevated” way of describing the person alongside whom you have chosen to partner your life).

        I’m gen X and therefore not fully committed to either term, but I do like what “partner” implies: that you work together to navigate the exigencies of the world. I never factored in the Republican anti-gay, anti-civil unions thing, so thank you BGM for that.

        Honestly that issue tips me back over to “boyfriend” 🏳️‍🌈

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