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Guy Called ‘Controlling’ After Choosing Conservative Dress For Fiancée To Wear To His Work Event

Woman wearing conservative dress
jhorrocks/Getty Images

When we’re at a workplace that we love and worked hard to enter, we generally will continue to work hard to impress those of influence.

And it’s complicated when our partners won’t support us in our endeavors, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

The Redditor, who has since deleted his account, had a highly unexpected argument with his fiancée when she accused him of controlling her by suggesting what to wear for a fancy work dinner.

When she continued to take it out on him, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how to feel about his relationship.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for asking my fiancée to wear a different dress to a work event?”

The OP and his fiancée came from very different backgrounds.

“For background, my fiancée (30 Cis Female) works as an executive at a big company and gets to work from home in leggings and crop tops.”

“She is regularly stating she loves that about her job. That she can do dyed hair, tattoos, etc. and they don’t care. She also comes from generational wealth.”

“She is also white. She comes from plantation money.”

“I do not (Trans 29, he/him). I came from poverty and ‘trailer trash’ and worked my way up to become a professor at a nice private college. I am Latinx.”

“I love my job. I can wear dyed hair and tattoos and piercings too, but I dress professionally.”

The OP wanted to dress to impress for a holiday work dinner.

“There was a nice work event to celebrate the fall quarter. The president of the college was there, it was in an art gallery downtown. Nice band. Fancy cocktails. We were allowed to bring a guest.”

“I was nervous because as an out trans guy, I regularly face a lot of microaggressions in the workplace. Something my fiancé knows and makes jokes about me being the token diversity hire.”

“My fiancé picked out two dresses the night before and asked me what I thought. I picked the one that was flattering, but not skin tight, nicer material, and hugged her body in more appropriate areas.”

“She got upset and cried because I don’t accept her as she is.”

“The next day comes and I’m putting on my suit and tie. As I walk into the bathroom, I see her putting on the tight, less nice dress.”

“We got into an argument. She put on the dress I picked.”

The rest of the night was complicated.

“She didn’t wear a bra or make-up. She usually does. I didn’t want to ask because it’s her body, her choice.”

“But it hurt she didn’t understand she represented me too. And I was in a very nice three-piece suit, tie clip, freshly cut fade, and well-groomed beard. I polished my shoes. I tried to look my best.”

“I sort of looked the other way when she started crying. I wasn’t going to ask why she didn’t want to wear a bra to my workplace.”

“She didn’t talk to me the whole night. Pouted.”

“She looked beautiful but later she said I was controlling, that she felt rejected for who she is.”

“I found out she told her friends who now think I’m a controlling toxic fiancé.”

The OP was being to notice a pattern in his relationship.

“My fiancé regularly pushes boundaries and I’ve become ashamed. On one hand, I fully support autonomy and self-expression. On the other she does it in ways I feel like I shouldn’t have to tell an adult, and then cries and wonders why.”

“I feel crazy and exhausted. I do not wish to control my loved ones or her. I want her to feel safe to express herself. But she pushes so many boundaries, I get embarrassed regularly by her behavior.”

And there was a concerning development after the work party.

“She used to be really caring and understanding and came off as highly empathetic.”

“The other day after this and other things, I sat her down and asked her if she was okay.”

“And I told her that I don’t feel safe around her and that at any point, it feels like she will snap.”

“She got red and got in my face and yelled at me, saying, ‘You don’t feel safe?!? I don’t feel safe!’ And she laughed in this weird way and then started crying.”

“She locked herself in the closet and wouldn’t come out until I called her friend to come to calm her down.”

“I was shaking and quiet. I didn’t know what to do. When I tried to help, she snapped at me and said she didn’t need a dad.”

“I left so confused and embarrassed and I don’t even want to tell people what happened.”

“AITA?”

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 pointed out how important it was to dress appropriately for work events.

“NTA.”

“I have zero clue when it comes to my significant other’s work functions and want his opinion so I don’t look out of place. It’s his event and my goal is to make sure it goes smoothly for him, and I expect the same in return for my work events.”

“Plus, she owns both dresses! It’s not even that she was deciding which to buy and was talked into the other one.”

“This is not an issue of body shaming, controlling another person, etc. It’s about the fiancée not being willing to be a team player for one night and choosing to die on a hill where there shouldn’t have even been a battle in the first place.”

“She was asked to wear a dress out of her own closet (that she herself pulled out as an option) for one evening.” – Legitimate-Tower-523

“I rarely wear makeup, and I live in comfy clothes for my job (petsitting). I rarely wear a bra.”

“But I recently had a fancy baby shower and two family funerals. You can bet your a** I wore makeup, a bra, and nice, appropriate dresses to these events. I made sure they were dresses I liked, too.”

“I’m pretty good at finding these things on sale as well. It’s not that I don’t like dressing up and looking nice. It’s just not an everyday thing.” – perkasami

“I don’t wear makeup and I dress for comfort always. I’m currently sitting in my office in leggings, a baggy sweater, and combat boots.”

“But my husband has his holiday party for his office (suits) at a country club (fancy) with dancing so guess who got an appropriately fancy dress fit for dancing in to match his vibe.” – VickkStickk

“I live in leggings and graphic tees normally, but if my husband has a work event, I verify the dress code with him and get input on the final look.”

“There are times when expression through fashion isn’t necessary or appropriate.”

“One event shouldn’t change your sense of self.” – ManePonyMom

Others agreed and urged the OP to re-evaluate his relationship before getting married.

“What the f**k did I just read? You told her you didn’t feel safe and she yelled at you (in your face!) and cried!?! She perfectly proved the point that you indeed have reasons to not feel safe around her.”

“Did you have anybody comforting you after that incident? Or was she the only one that got that luxury?”

“She is not safe, OP. And if you want to continue the relationship with her, you need to (be able to) sit down with her and talk about what’s going on and why she is reacting to you this way (dress incident and others that I’m sure you haven’t told us about included).”

“If she isn’t willing to work on this, then I think you should reassess if you want to live like this.”

“You deserve better. Much love, OP, and strength.” – Singularitysong

“This will not get better once she has you ‘trapped.’ Please, don’t get married to this person. Best case scenario, she has s**t she needs to work through with a therapist and will likely need time alone to sort that out. Worst case, you end up ‘stuck’ with someone abusive and possibly dangerous.”

“I’m not one to tell strangers on the internet that they need to break up and never look back. I don’t know you, I don’t know the whole situation. That said, please don’t get married unless you feel completely safe and supported by your partner, even when you disagree/argue.” – sky-amethyst23

“My guy, you try to have a serious conversation and she undermines what you’re saying, refuses to entertain the discussion, makes herself into a victim and instead of discussing a serious issue that’s affecting you, you now have to work to comfort her.”

“Does this happen often when she’s ‘the bad guy’ or when you come to her looking for sympathy? Does she frequently make discussions about her?”

“She’s waving a massive red flag in your face and you deserve so, so much better than to settle for her.” – The_Iron_Mountie

“If it’s this bad now, it will get MUCH worse after the wedding, when she has you ‘locked down’ and can let her mask slip even more. You have way more to lose than she does and nothing to fall back on, which is concerning to me because she can easily use that against you.”

“If your career was damaged and you lost your job, you might not be able to come back from that and you won’t be able to avail yourself of family resources to keep you housed and fed in the meantime.”

“You’ve worked hard, fought so many battles on different fronts (just the classism one alone is hard), pushed your way forward, or outright picked the locks, to doors that are literally flung wide open for people like your partner, and yet you’re still vulnerable to so much. Your partner should not be one of them.” – SilveryMagpie

After receiving feedback, the OP shared an unfortunate update.

“I haven’t been looking at this as much because a lot has happened since I posted. I came home to see bruises on my fiancée as she got dressed.”

“I asked her what the bruises were from. Apparently, she has been cheating on me. They weren’t bruises. They were hickies.”

“I don’t know for how long this has been going on. I couldn’t bring myself to ask.”

“I asked her to leave my house as soon as she can get moved out. She begged.”

“We were to be getting pregnant soon. She asked about that and I said she can have a baby with the new guy.”

“She rolled her eyes. She begged for couples counseling. I said no.”

“I let her keep the ring. I didn’t want to look at it.”

“I told her she can take the month to pack up her stuff and find a new place. I left for a friend’s house and am staying with him for some time.”

The subReddit was appalled not only by the OP’s partner’s unwillingness to support the OP in his work endeavors but also in how she appeared to be treating him in their relationship as a whole.

Though they weren’t excited about the OP’s update, at least they knew he’d be able to move forward in his career without potentially being sabotaged through his marriage.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.