It seems some people in marriages or while dating somehow focus a lot of attention on looks. And sometimes people actually seem obsessed with trying to change your look...(yikes!)
I've had a bit of experience with this - on all ends of the spectrum. And, I must say that if someone is trying to actually change your appearance or is disturbed/uncomfortable/showing anxiety because of your appearance, there is likely something deeper going on - likely issues that could use some professional attention, if the person is willing. (Note: there is a big difference between a partner having opinions about which shirt looks best on you VS. being deeply disturbed and wanting you to change things in order to ease their anxiety or to be proud to be with you, etc.) And if you're single, I'd say if you're with a person who is obsessed with changing your appearance, it's one big, big, red flag that, in my opinion, is certainly big enough to call a relationship quits. (If you're in that situation, I'll be honest, I kind of want to beg you to RUN, my friend. RUN as fast as you can! :) :)
I was once in a situation where someone often voiced requests for me to change some things about my appearance...things that made him deeply uncomfortable. Unfortunately, they weren't even things I could change. Yikes. Oh my - that was not a fun experience and it took me many years to realize how very unhealthy that kind of behavior was and that there actually wasn't anything wrong with my appearance. Luckily I gained a lot of wisdom from living through that, and came out on the other side a more confident woman.
When I was single and dating in New York, I mostly met some really great guys. But I somehow came across (3) guys that had some downright crazy requests regarding my appearance...
-One guy flew in from out of state to date me for a couple of days and he said, "Maybe we can go to the pharmacy and get some hair dye. I think you'd look so much better with dark brown hair." Uggghhhh....drastically changing my hair color in my bathroom sink while some guy I barely even know directs the whole thing or waits in my hallway? haha. Are you serious? No thanks. What made this especially alarming was his level of concern and level of discomfort with my blondish hair. It was like he was antsy over it. It really bothered him. There were many, many similar comments like that from him that weekend involving changes I should make about myself - things that he was uncomfortable with. (p.s. Just prior to his arrival, I had just gotten my hair done from one of the best hair colorists in the country as a hair model. Poor guy didn't know good hair when he saw it.)
-One guy was very concerned about a top I was going to wear to church. He thought it seemed immodest and actually asked me if I was really going to wear that top to church and when I said yes and acted confused, he requested that I change my top. (???) I'm all for modesty but oh my - you guys, the shirt had sleeves and a high neck and couldn't have been more modest. I like to think that I just looked too good in it :) He was the same one who also paid attention to every bite I ate and then at the end of a meal, asked in a shocked tone as I was going in for my last bit of my sandwich, "So, you're actually going to finish that?? Don't you watch what you eat?" (?!?!??!) I'm getting the skeeves just thinking about all that patroling.
-One guy was very, very uncomfortable with me making a fashion statement. (Trust me, in New York I'm not anywhere near making a fashion statement around here. haha :) But one summer I was keen on wearing a colorful flower pinned to my clothes or in my hair. But this guy I met actually wanted to have some very serious, not casual, talks about it....he thought the flower made too much of a " fashion statement", that it sent the wrong message, and brought too much attention. He was uncomfortable with anything that brought too much attention and requested that I no longer wear flowers as accessories. (?????) Again, this wasn't just a mild request. This issue made him deeply uncomfortable. Heaven forbid that I dyed my hair pink or something. :)
Luckily, by then I was certain that a man who was going to be nit picky about me or my appearance was not for me. Guys with style and even guys with opinions can be helpful and wonderful, but I had very much had enough of guys that were being disturbed by things that didn't really matter. Oh my, I had had enough of that. :) :) :)
Then I met Danny (my husband). This man believes in uplifting people around him. He appreciates people for their real beauty, not their appearance. His love for me has NOTHING, nothing, nothing to do with my appearance. I'm telling you, it's the most refreshing thing in the world. He loves it when I look good, but he doesn't care a bit if I'm not totally put together. He has never ONCE made me feel uncomfortable about my appearance. Only the opposite. And - it's not like he doesn't have opinions about things or have feedback or advice about style (he actually has a really great eye for things and loves helping me pick out things.) He doesn't love everything I wear....but he realizes that looks don't matter, size doesn't matter - it's all about character for him. We both know that every time one of us says, "Does this shirt look OK?" "What do you think of these jeans?" That it's just a shirt. It's just a pair of jeans.
So, if someone is giving you advice or feedback about your appearance, learn to recognize the C-R-A-Z-Y (and I mean that quite literally) from the constructive/helpful. They are two very, very different things. Do not assume that if someone is obsessed and critical of your appearance that this is normal. If any of that crap is coming your way - - try, try, try to step out of the situation and realize that this person is not well. These people are way too focused on things that don't matter. Also, on the other hand, when a loving partner is offering you some constructive/helpful advice, hopefully you can be in a good place yourself to receive the feedback and feel lucky you have someone you trust and love who can give you second opinions.
Now for your turn! Have you had anyone send you some crazy requests regarding your appearance? Also, has it been hard for you to decipher the crazy from the constructive feedback? Obviously, this was a hard one for me to grasp for a long time.