When you start dating someone, they should be able to love you for who you are, rather than change you into someone they would like to date.
This is a common belief, but it’s hard to put into practice sometimes, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor QueSerra5 was surprised by how adamant her boyfriend came about her changing her appearance for him.
But when he resorted to throwing away her accessories, trying to force her to change, the Original Poster (OP) knew it was time to push back.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for wanting my boyfriend to pay me for the hair accessories that he dumped?”
The OP enjoyed wearing colorful accessories.
“I’m a 27-year-old female and I wear hair accessories, lots of them, and have a huge collection of hairpins, headbands, hair clips, side combs, etc., and they’re all of the bright colors and funny shapes.”
“Some people in my life consider it childish, especially my boyfriend. He thinks I wear them excessively and said that they make me look like a teenager.”
The OP’s boyfriend openly disliked her accessories.
“Recently he has been complaining about being too embarrassed to take me out or go anywhere with me because of my hair accessories, even though me wearing them is not a new thing.”
“He said his friend sat him down and told him that his girl (me) is dressing like a little girl or a mentally ‘challenged’ girl which makes him look embarrassed.”
“He gave me an ultimatum, saying he won’t go anywhere with me unless I stop wearing this stuff, but I refused.”
“He stopped going anywhere with me and started excluding me from events he went to.”
When his sister’s birthday came around, the boyfriend expected the OP to change.
“His sister’s birthday was a couple of days ago and he wanted me to go so bad.”
“I said I’d still wear my hair accessories, but he threw a fit and refused.”
“The next day I found out that he took my entire collection away and dumped it in the sea.”
“I was so angry, I unloaded on him completely.”
“He told me to stop being childish and start acting my age.”
“He even said I should get therapy for whatever childhood trauma I went through that’s causing my ‘regression.'”
“I yelled at him, demanding he pay me for the entire collection.”
“He said that he can only offer to get me a colorless scrunchie that women my age wear, but I refused.”
The issue was not resolved.
“His family got involved, and his mom offered to pay me back.”
“I refused to let her and told her her son is the one who threw it away.”
“He kept refusing, saying it’s not worth fighting for and that I should learn to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.”
“But I insisted he pays me.”
“His argument is that this is impacting his public image as well, and that he’d already spoken to me about it but I ignored him.”
“Am I overreacting here?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP deserved to be with someone who admired her appearance.
“Even for folks who have strict ideas about what is appropriate to wear, etc., it does not mean one can destroy or take other person’s belongings.”
“What is most worrying here is that she was always wearing those accessories, when they met, when they started dating, etc.”
“And at some point he started demanding that she stops enjoying her hobby and personal style, because he dislikes it. Well, mister. If he didn’t want to have a girlfriend who wears funny hair accessories, he should have dated OP.”
“I can even understand he thought so and asked her if she could tone down or something (like wear maybe more elegant styles for more formal occasions). But he should have accepted when she said no.”
“Instead, he became angry and violent. Not a good sign at all. After all, in worst case, if he felt so bad about being seen with OP he could have just break up with her.” – StrikesLikeColdSteel
“Something tells me he’s been manipulating OP for a while now, or exploiting past experiences of manipulation (he mentioned ‘whatever childhood trauma [OP] went through’ for a reason), if she’s wondering whether she’s overreacting.”
“It seems to me like she’s underreacting. This is a horrible, abusive, heartbreaking incident. The grief might kick in later but it definitely is a material and sentimental loss.”
“I’m so angry. He says he dislikes OP’s style yet he got into a relationship with someone with the sense of style he dislikes. He told her he dislikes it and when she confirmed that yep, that’s her style and she won’t change it, he didn’t accept her as she is or dump her like any healthy adult would.”
“No, he chose to disrespect her like he can control her, like an abuser. No one worth dating would ever come close to think of doing something like this. I hope OP listens to her gut, sticks to her 100% valid anger and dumps his foul a**.” – caoutchoucroute
“I’m in my 30’s, I had feathers and colorful streaks braided into my hair. I also had on large, colorful earrings on a regular basis.”
“My favorite shirt proudly proclaimed me as a nerd princess. SO fully supported this endeavor, so did my in-laws, friends, and my boss. My conservative mom told me she had never seen me so confident in my own style.”
“Supportive people will uplift. This guy ain’t one of them. OP needs to lose him.” – Kiruna235
Others agreed and recommended getting out of the relationship immediately.
“I’m an almost-40 person who has a whole box of colorful, sparkly hair accessories. I don’t even dress particularly feminine (composite toe hiking boots, khakis, and a button down shirt or cardigan with no makeup is my usual work attire) but I’m known among colleagues for my, uh, creative matching of hairbands to other colors in my outfit.”
“I have very curly hair which gets very wild and as a kid I was always trying to get it to behave and be less noticeable. Now my hair stuff is my way of saying, ‘Yes, my hair is here, it might consume us all if we’re not careful, deal with it.'”
“I would be SO P**SED and feel violated if someone threw out my hair stuff. Like, if an SO asked me to wear one of my all-black or more subdued hairbands for a work dinner with their very conservative bosses? Can-do. Toning it down a bit for a wedding? Sure.”
“I’m all about dressing appropriately for the occasion and making sure the attention is on the correct person, not me. But just a blanket ‘don’t express this part of yourself anymore, at all, ever’ statement? NOPE.” – kookaburra1701
“Leaving aside the abuse aspect for a moment, I cannot understand why one has to be certain ‘ages’ to wear things. I’m pushing 40 and I put colors in my hair, wear colorful and fun hair accessories (some of which I did buy in kids sections but no one can tell or cares), and I love holiday and seasonal decorating.”
“If someone threw all my stuff away, I would be livid, heartbroken, and also afraid (usually if they feel perfectly entitled to violate your stuff, they will violate you, and if they attack something inanimate, they will attack something animate, namely you).”
“I don’t know about OP, but my collections have been built up over the past two decades and many items are handmade, no longer made, hard to find, or simply irreplaceable.”
“Even with money, it would be hard to replace it all.”
“My first response when I read her story was, ‘Leave. This. Abuser. Now.’ and my second was, ‘I want to help you track replacements down and get your collection good as new.'” – SilveryMagPie
“I wouldn’t even throw away my wife’s empty shampoo bottles without asking first. You can often squeeze one more use out of it, after all. I want to make sure she’s done with it. And she does the same, she’ll ask before throwing out anything of mine.”
“And it’s even worse that he’s dumping it in the sea rather than throwing it in the trash. Not because of the littering (which is a different issue), but because that’s a tantrum. It would be bad enough if he just assumed stuff was garbage without asking, but he’s trying to establish dominance. She should get away from him.” – EffectiveSalamander
“God, this is so f**king angering to read. She needs to find all of his ‘immature’ things, like any physical video games or any movies that are not a documentary and just put them in a landfill or something.”
“Because her friends finding out that he plays video games would be embarrassing to HER, and she wants to help him get over his ‘regression’ and be more grown up. Sell his consoles and use the money to replace her scrunchies.”
“JK, DO NOT DO THAT.”
“You do need to ditch him, though, OP. This is a test. Now that he knows he can throw out your things, what’s going to stop him from pawning your jewelry when he needs something, or throwing out a pretty dress to keep you from attending something he wants to go solo on? He’ll use different words to justify it and blame you, but the result would be the same.”
“NTA obviously.” – AbbyFB6969
“I mean, what happens if he wants her to have a child and she doesn’t want to? Going to throw out your birth control?”
“I know it seems like a leap, but that is also a body thing, and I have seen it start with something like skirts or hair and slowly move to the level of it being a pregnancy…” – KSknitter
But a few recommended taking the boyfriend’s mother up on her offer first.
“This is one of the first steps in trying to control you. It can start as small as ‘I don’t like the way you dress. You should dress up more.’ to ‘I don’t like when you dress up in clothes that are revealing! Who are you trying to look good for!?’ and it only escalates from there.”
“Please understand that the women, or at least most of them, giving you this advice about signs to avoid in the beginning are speaking from the experience of what happens when you DON’T leave and it DOES progress. I, unfortunately, definitely am.”
“I would take his mother up on the offer to replace all of your accessories. After the check clears, break up with him. Just be sure that EVERYTHING of yours is already out of his grasp and safely elsewhere when you do it because he may not react well, regardless of how you’ve known him to be or act historically.”
“Regardless of him paying to replace things of yours that he STOLE and DESTROYED ( and polluted the ocean on top of that), let’s think about how this started. The man you’re dating, who is supposed to care for you above all else, was comfortable telling you that he’s embarrassed OF you and that yourself and your presence embarrass him as you are.”
“If your best friend told you that her bf told her that he’s embarrassed to be seen with her, how would you react? Probably not favorably, to say the least.”
“You’re NTA, OP, but you’ll be doing yourself a HUUUUUGE disservice if you waste even another hour on this boy. Get your money, from either he or his mother, make sure it’s legitimate and the check clears, then bounce out of there like Tigger.”
“The world is HUGE. There are men EVERYWHEEEERRRREEE. I have no doubt that you’ll find someone who loves you for everything you are RIGHT NOW, and BECAUSE of your accessories rather than tolerating you in spite of them, and not who they want you to be or for the person you’ll change into when they demand it.”
“Good luck out there but I highly doubt that you’ll even need it. You sound like a lovely person who knows what she likes, and who she is, and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. That’s one of, what I’m sure is very many attractive qualities about yourself.” – Affectionate_Salt351
“Take the money from mom and then dump him. Inability to accept personal responsibility after an egregious overstep like that is a relationship dealbreaker.” – asecretnarwhal
“Accept the money from the mom and then dump his a**, at the very least you won’t be out of money that way.” – ASparkAxolotl
While the OP wasn’t sure if she was wrong for demanding reimbursement for her lost items, the subReddit insisted that she push for the money, and more.
A partner who was willing to throw everything away to force his girlfriend into a new style was hardly one that a person should want to take into the future with them.