My boyfriend tells me what clothes to wear and it annoys me. What must I do?

by Rod Smith

Don't feed jelousy....

Don't feed jelousy....

Buy him a mannequin and flee! He can dress the dummy in whatever clothes he deems suitable as often as he pleases. The mannequin will give him the total control he wants over you, and, since dummies are brainless, he will be able to win all arguments and keep “her” in total submission.

That you ask the question suggests you are putting up a fight and resisting his advances on your brain. Small-minded men (any who dictate what “their” women wear, to whom they talk, how they spend and arrange their time) usually flee any sign of independent thinking on a woman’s part if, at first, they cannot kill it. Strong women frighten them since they confuse control and “love.”

Don’t fall for it. Love and control are not even in the same family. A man who wants to dictate how you dress will also want to tell you how to think, feel, and see before long. Men who want to control “their” women do so because they are rarely capable of feeling in control of anything else. A healthy man will leave your clothing choices up to you unless you specifically elicit his opinion.

25 Comments to “My boyfriend tells me what clothes to wear and it annoys me. What must I do?”

  1. Hi there,

    I am also living with a man who tells what not to wear. The slightest cleavage showing and he freaks out. He makes me wear shirt underneath shirts and button up blouses. He made me get rid of all my thongs. I told him i wouldn’t and that I would wear whatever i please, then he would tell me ” My woman will not wear thongs, I guess you are not my woman.” Then he would tell me to breakup with him for the love of thongs. He inspects my oufit before i go to work and checks my bag incase I am hiding another outfit. It drives me nuts!!! I feel controlled and stressed out. I try to tell him how I feel, but he just says, “If you truly love me than it shouldn’t matter.” Is he right?

    E.

    • oh my god, you are me !!!! please if you read this reply get back to me, I could really do with a chat.

    • Emmanuelle,

      Men who use the “love” line don’t understand what love is. Your boyfriend must also feel the need to be in control of other aspects of your relationship and your personal life. His insecurity is not something you can change, and he will NOT change. If he can’t see what he’s doing to you, and refuses to listen or can’t understand, in his mind he is RIGHT. And you will never be able to make him see the wrong in what he is doing.

      My advice?

      If you can put up with that for the rest of your life and feel like a caged animal, go for it.
      If you can’t, leave him before it gets worse.

  2. He is absolutely incorrect. If he LOVES YOU he will trust you.I have written on this all over this website and will write more so keep reading. You are seeing a control freak in action and the more you allow it the more the controlling will grow.

    Find your freedom – and it will be ugly at first.

    Rod

  3. Hey Rod,

    Thank you for your advice. Things took a turn for the worse or better, i’m not sure yet. I was late for work one morning and he offered to give me a ride. I took him up on his offer. He said a comment about an outfit for work and I told him that I didn’t need to be reminded. He turned the music on so loud and ignored me until I got out of the car. He then drove off like a mad man! I get completely thrown off when he does such things. I met my mother after work and told her what had happened and that I had enough. I then text him about how I was feeling and we got into a fight over text message. He wrote that it would never would work and that I should pack my stuff, buy a plane ticket and go back home with my mom. He has said this many times before. But this time felt like it was the last straw. My mom helped pack my stuff, ship it, and we stayed in a hotel that night. He called my phone driving from work and asked where we were. You could tell he wanted to fix things. I told him it was too late and that everything was gone from the apartment and that we were leaving the next day. We met the next day to say goodbye, he begged me not to go and we are both heartbroken. I still love him. And now I am across the country and having regrets about leaving. He never did me wrong, he works hard, he’s honest and loving. But he has a terrible mouth and he knows it. I want to give myself time to think about my situation. But the more time I take the more I feel that I am losing him. I feel better when I think that I am going back to him. I’m so confused. I also heard that the first sign of control is usually a red flag as to what the relationship is going be like.

    Heartbroken E.

  4. Hello E:

    First off, congratulations. You made a firm decision and acted on it. I will assure you that if you go back the controlling behavior will only increase and get much much worse. It really is possible to live without a man for a while, while you find your feet.

    Love does not control — love and control cannot live in the same relationship.

    Find a man (if you have to) who has a REAL life, then he will not have to try and get meaning out of controlling yours.

    Write again,

    Rod

  5. Hello Rod,

    I just came upon this site looking for some answers to help me with a relationship that I am in. I am dealing with a controlling guy. He is four years younger than me and has yet to figure out his job situation, although he is working towards an advanced degree. He is still confused about everything, though, and what he really wants to do in life. I’m assuming his controlling ways have roots in these circumstances…and also I believe his dad is controlling. So my question is, if a young guy who is controlling eventually reaches a point in his life where he is successful professionally and feels more in control of his life, will he ever ease up on his controlling ways towards his woman? Or will it just get worse? Is it better to walk away now? Or wait it out a bit? We’ve been dating for about 7 months now and I’m not sure what to do because when I put my foot down about his controlling ways, he changes his positions slightly…so part of me thinks that he may be open to change. But I’m not 100% sure. What is your experience with this? Thanks!

    • Love and control cannot exist in the same relationship. While it will be very hard work, if this relationship is to survive, you must stay out of all control all the time. It is never a sign of love or commitment and it is not good for either of you. Always resist it and always point it out. Regard it as a dangerous virus. Controlling men and women do so no matter what their circumstances – it is just a matter of degrees. I’d suggest “changes his positions slightly” is a move to keep you, not a symptom of growth.

  6. wow Rod! are you from some other world, to help people so much! Help one and if the rest of them cannot see how the wise counsel applies to them…don’t give up your life for the ignorant

  7. My boyfriend dosent let me wear skirts bcoz they are “slutty” ..if I wear dresses or skirts I have to have shorts underneath them..im not allowed to go out without him,im not allowed to be close with guys..if I complain and try to change things he says he’ll breakup with me..I kinda understand bcoz I cheated on him last year..but this is going to far..I feel controlled and its making me not like him anymore…

  8. Dear Rod,

    What about the converse? What you are a guy and your girlfriend insists that you wear certain styles of clothing because otherwise you are, “showing her up”. It’s not as though I would wear dressy clothing for a formal occasion buy why does she insist that I’m always turned out and color co-ordinated why going out to a bar. If people are going to look down on me because I don’t always wear smart outfits then they are not the sort of people I wish to impress.
    My girlfriend says that she loves me no matter what but still gets concerned about how I’ll make her look in front of others. She may feel threaten by the poser crowd looking down their noses at her but I really hope either her self esteem isn’t that low or even worse that she’s not one of *them*.

    How can I broach this tactfully?

    Worried,

    Z.

  9. hey i am in a long term relatioship and i have encountered this problem.My boyfriend makes mr promise i wont wear anything revealing because he says he doesnt want other guys looking at me. My boyfriend only wants me to wear anything reavealing when he is around,and only him. He gets very angry if he finds out i wore something revealing and it drives me crazy! and i see him as a hypocrite because he checks out girls who wear slut clothes, yet he hates it when i wear it.

  10. My boyfriend gets really mad, to the point of almost leaving me because I have on my old lady night gown when the maintenance man comes to our house. When I’m at home (and that’s often) I like to be relaxed in a loose flowered long night gown. I hate wearing outside clothes when I’m at home, they’re uncomfortable to me. I feel that I shouldn’t have to go through changes by running in my room to hurry up to put on clothes. I don’t pay the maintenance men any mind, besides they’re there briefly. My boyfriend doesn’t want them to see me that way. But I think I have nothing to show them because my hair isn’t done at home, I’ve gained “a lot” of weight the last couple of years, and my face is plain. And the way he yells at me like the maintenance guy wants me, it hurts my feelings and makes me sad. I’m usually a jolly person and I have never cheated on him ever. What should I do?

  11. Hello
    I Am 17 And im In My First longest relationship ever. My Boyfriend Is My First love and I Guess Im So worried About Keeping him that i changed everything about me. When we first met i dressed like a girl should dress. Now we Have been together for almost 11 months and i always have to have a baggy shirt on ( mostly his) and he always makes me wear one of his sweaters. I Tell him all the time that it bothers me. That it lowers my self-estem and makes me feel less of a girl and he replies ” you’re better than all them other women your not a slut or a hooker. You don’t belong dressing like that” And when he says that it kinda puts a smile on my face but then again he looks at every female in school that actually look like a girl. It bothers me so much but i just can’t get it thru his head. i dont know what to do .. can you help me?

    • ishh im the same age girlie, i had a picture online and he asked me to take it off cause he could see my bra underneath it , it wasnt bad im simply a little busty, i feel like he is going down the path of being a controlling type of guy which i cant deal with, i mean ill wear something else if he tells me the right way, i just hate being told what i cant do. maybe its his past, the reason why im still with him is cause he is very good to me, and we disagree on sooo many things and argue alot but we learn as well , but the reason why im being patient with this controlling stuff is because of his past relationships..but we’re working on it, but you should try to be your own woman while reassuring him that you want to look good for your own image , and you need your independence , like you should listen to him but he should listen to you , dont throw it off thou, its easy to walk away and give up. Find your independence thou , show you can be your own woman…what i came to learn is men like that tend to appreciate you less and less good luck though i hope things go well for both of us 😀 xoxoxo

  12. My boyfriend I have known for ages and been with for over a year he used to be fine at the start of our relationship but for about half a year now he has been so controlling with what i wear. I don’t wear what i would like to wear anymore If i wear what I would consider a normal top he would say cover up or isn’t that just a top to go undertops – or say its see-through when it isn’t at all. He complains i am showing to much cleavage when my top is as far up as it can go… He tells me I should buy new jeans saying they are too tight/my bum looks to good in them. I try and just say no there fine but it doesnt work. Now that Leggins and Jeggings are in fashion I want to wear them with what tops i want but the second I put a top on with them he immidietly says your bum shows too much you can’t wear that or it’s too short when its fine… I try and say i want to wear what i want and have spoken to him about it all as its making me feel not like me anymore but he says I do it becasue I care… I know he cares but he should trust me to wear what i want. He asks me everyday what i am wearing if he hasnt seen. If i do get angry he will just say fine wear what you want i will just get upset but you don’t care etc… But then when i do say ok and wear what i want he still carries on with saying not to do it. I really want to know how i can stop this now as even though its only clothes it feels so much more than that …

    • Every time he asks you what you are wearing or everytime he starts – don’t reply to his question or remark. Just stop and say ‘I LOVE YOU’. And the more he keeps on, keep saying ‘I LOVE YOU, I LOVE ONLY YOU’. Just keep saying it and ignore his silliness – I recon that’ll work! (Us men are like dogs, we just need a good trainer 🙂 ). Hope this helps!

  13. Hello, I have been with my girlfriend for coming up to 4 years. In that time I have lost my father and my grand father. Most of this happened at the start of the relationship so I was personally very affected by everything. It seemed to be one thing after another. We also lost a baby shortly after. I got all insecure and I made some comments to my partner about what she wears. Thing is she is VERY sensitive and you say one thing and she takes that as Gospel. Now she won’t wear anything in fear of upsetting me, she won’t even wear make-up – but this is upsetting me more! I have bought her make-up and told her I want her to look nice, I have tried taking her in to clothes shops but she doesn’t want to know, I offer to buy her clothes but she doesn’t take me up on the offer, she has it in her mind that I want her to look bad – but that is so far from the truth!! I don’t want to just buy her stuff that I have chosen cause she’ll think I’m trying to control her. I really need her to try and build up her confidence, I don’t want her to live in fear of upsetting me! I tell her every day she is gorgeous and I love her but it goes over her head. I have tried talking to her very calmly but she has literally cried in a shop before when I was trying to get her to try something nice on. I love her to bits, we have a gorgeous daughter together. I want her to be happy! advice please!?

  14. Well maybe if every day the girl didn’t ask, “Which do you like better?” or “What looks betters on me?” then the mans automatic statement of what to wear wouldn’t happen. Maybe he heard it so many times something just “clicked.”

  15. Rod – can you help?

    My boyfriend says he’s committed to loving me and allowing space for full expression in our relationship.

    Yet – he can inspects me every morning as I get dressed – oh, you’re wearing that bra, that’s a sexy bra, isn’t it…oh you’re wearing that dress with that bra, that’s kind of sexy isn’t it… his agitation becomes more and more palpable and i become more and more aware that this CAN’T be right.

    He can’t stand me wearing pyjamas! He literally freaks out. I never get to wear them.
    He can’t handle me walking around the apartment in pyjamas or nightgowns.

    He can’t handle me wearing standard round neck Vest Ts, even with sports bra underneath them, for yoga or running. He has episodes if I do – like he won’t let me leave the house, or will follow me all the way down the street if i do.

    And when we go out for dinner or if we are ever in public and I’m wearing something that he thinks is revealing – or even, if it’s not actually revealing but he thinks it COULD be revealing IF i were to sit or lean a certain way, he literally stares, completely on edge, at my chest – and make me feel utterly terrified of how unbalanced a person I am in relationship with.

    It’s been a shock to me to get to know this about him – we’ve only been together about 5 months.
    Before he met me, was teaching aerial yoga – so he literally spent his waking hours doing partner yoga, in all manner of acrobatic positions with thousands of different women who, in the acro yogi tradiditon, wear next to nothing !

    Apart from this clothing issue, we connect on many levels: he loves me, he’s thoughtful, he takes incredible care of me, he’s wildly romantic, and intelligent. We also like the same things: we run, do yoga, read Vedic texts, love surfing, and the beach.

    But everytime I think we reach harmony through our love of the same things – there will be an incident that reminds me how unbalanced he is: EG – he says he’ll never ‘let’ (!!) me wear a biking – like it’s even a choice of his to make. And this from a man who loves me because I love the beach!!

    I’ve never come across anything like this before. I don’t understand what it is. Is it control? He ascribed it an anxiety condition he has. But it seems to me to be control.

    We broke up about 5 weeks ago because of this and other even more intense manifestations of controllong behaviour from him. Since we got back together, he is much better, but gradually, as time passes, I see the old patterns and habits resurfacing with regards my clothing.

    I can’t and won’t surrender to his insecurities. I;ve told him that if it doesn’t change, I will have to leave.

    He says he is aware that he needs help with this issue. What is the best help he can get for his condition? Is this a particular type of neurosis? Is there a particular therapy? Are the chances of him changing his behaviour good or not?

    Thanks for your help.

    🙂

  16. Rod – can you help?

    My boyfriend says he’s committed to loving me and allowing space for full expression in our relationship.

    Yet – he can inspects me every morning as I get dressed – oh, you’re wearing that bra, that’s a sexy bra, isn’t it…oh you’re wearing that dress with that bra, that’s kind of sexy isn’t it… his agitation becomes more and more palpable and i become more and more aware that this CAN’T be right.

    He can’t stand me wearing pyjamas! He literally freaks out. I never get to wear them.
    He can’t handle me walking around the apartment in pyjamas or nightgowns.

    He can’t handle me wearing standard round neck Vest Ts, even with sports bra underneath them, for yoga or running. He has episodes if I do – like he won’t let me leave the house, or will follow me all the way down the street if i do.

    And when we go out for dinner or if we are ever in public and I’m wearing something that he thinks is revealing – or even, if it’s not actually revealing but he thinks it COULD be revealing IF i were to sit or lean a certain way, he literally stares, completely on edge, at my chest – and make me feel utterly terrified of how unbalanced a person I am in relationship with.

    It’s been a shock to me to get to know this about him – we’ve only been together about 5 months.
    Before he met me, was teaching aerial yoga – so he literally spent his waking hours doing partner yoga, in all manner of acrobatic positions with thousands of different women who, in the acro yogi tradiditon, wear next to nothing !

    Apart from this clothing issue, we connect on many levels: he loves me, he’s thoughtful, he takes incredible care of me, he’s wildly romantic, and intelligent. We also like the same things: we run, do yoga, read Vedic texts, love surfing, and the beach.

    But everytime I think we reach harmony through our love of the same things – there will be an incident that reminds me how unbalanced he is: EG – he says he’ll never ‘let’ (!!) me wear a biking – like it’s even a choice of his to make. And this from a man who loves me because I love the beach!!

    I’ve never come across anything like this before. I don’t understand what it is. Is it control? He ascribed it an anxiety condition he has. But it seems to me to be control.

    We broke up about 5 weeks ago because of this and other even more intense manifestations of controllong behaviour from him. Since we got back together, he is much better, but gradually, as time passes, I see the old patterns and habits resurfacing with regards my clothing.

    I can’t and won’t surrender to his insecurities. I;ve told him that if it doesn’t change, I will have to leave.

    He says he is aware that he needs help with this issue. What is the best help he can get for his condition? Is this a particular type of neurosis? Is there a particular therapy? Are the chances of him changing his behaviour good or not?

    Thanks for your help.

    🙂

  17. Hi i am here like the rest wanting answers, ok here we go…
    i was in an abusive relationship for 5 years, i took 2 years to myself to reflect and think about what i wanted for my life, things got better for me and i met this guy who is now my bf of 2 years. When i first met him i thought he was amazing just perfect for me, about a month into the relationship he started telling me he had a problem with the way i dress, i thought to myself oh no I’ve herd this one before, to make matters worse i had told him all about the abuse in my last relationship, i felt like i could tell him these things and trust him, he told me my ex was crazy and that i am beautiful and that he should have been proud to be with me, also the ex is the father of my 3 year old son, so when he got on me about my clothes my heart dropped! i played it off like i didn’t hear him and wore what i wanted to, i am a young mother of 2 kids, 3 and 6, i do not look like iv had kids at all, and i dress fine not slutty at all, because of my kids i dont want to look like some young ghetto mom, so i dress id say older then my age witch is 24! so the guy who said my ex should have been proud of me is now the guy saying,( no skirts, no shorts, no dresses if there too short, umm im not aloud to dye my hair black cuz it makes me look ”easy” i have no male friends, if guys look at me it’s my fault, so i decided to wear a cute jogging suit and sure enough men were still looking at me, and he was pissed, so i said to him see it not my clothes, im wearing a darn tracksuit! and told him i can’t control what other people do, i can only control my own actions, im not aloud at bars and when we do go witch is never, i have to wear jeans and tees, also my son is autistic, so i never get to go out or anything, no family support, well barley, i would think that after all the struggling he see me go through that he would be happy to take me out and get dressed up, but no he dont care, and i feel ashamed because i left the father of my son took time and now im back in the same situation as before, so now i feel super dumb, why is this he tells me im the only girl he’s ever been this way to, but my ex said the same thing, is it me i dont understand, im a good gf great mom i saty home all the time he has no reason to not trust me, so why
    thank you, Mandie 🙂

    • A man who has to control a woman does so for many reasons, none of which have anything to do with the woman. Perhaps it’s time to take another sabbatical from men. While you obey things will not improve. He told you he has a problem with the way you dress after a month – and you are still with him 23 months later!

  18. Hi,
    Glad I found this thread. My husband has become worse over time, he says I musn’t wear skinny jeans (the leg inside the boot) because it makes me look like a gay woman (?) but he wants me to wear bootleg jeans instead (which I hate). Then he was furious to me for buying a green sweater because it looks “stupid”, he wanted me to wear black because he wants me to wear strong colors. I have had long hair practically all my life and he wants me to cut it. I refuse to do it because I love long hair, and it looks good on me. He says I wear it long only because I try to attract other men. He is terribly jealous and thinks I cheat on him every change I get, and that’s ridiculous, because I’m a shy and a “good” girl.
    I’m really sick of this and angry at myself for doing what he wants, but I’ve been doing so just to avoid his anger.

  19. I was in a relationship with an extremely jealous man. I was not allowed to wear any kind of v neck shirt, I was not allowed to swim with my daughter in my mothers pool. He totally refused to let me wear a bathing suit. He broght me to the store so we could buy a bra that he liked. It had to have alot of fabric to cover my cleavage. My t-sirts could not be thin material or white. He said it was because he was afraid of losing me and didn’t want other men looking at me. I was not allowed to certain shows on tv. He wanted contact with me at all times. We didn’t go out socially with friends. He had a hard time with family get-togethers, especially if it had to do with my family. He attempted to start trying therapy. He only went a couple of times. I supported him through his sickness but when he started trying to control my daughter and telling me I was not a good parent and my daughter needed more discipline, I knew I had to leave for good. He also showed signs of violence when things were not in his control. I learned very quickly that this is more than a jealous man, He was an abusive man. The relationship ended, for good, and he wanted to put the blame on my daughter and me that we didn’t do enough to make him happy. I have since learned he was cheating on his wife when he was married. Men who have control issues have a lot more hidden than that. Leave because there is not one good reason to stay. I have had relationships that were built upon respect, honesty and integrity. A relationship with an abusive controlling man is built according to meeting his needs that are missing in himself. A lot of these men are in complete denial of what they do to those who try to love them. It was hard at first to leave this man who palyed the role of prince charming. They are masters in disguising their illness. They like to set the perfect stage for the perfect relationship. Unfortunately their true selves eventually come out of the false facade. Life is short and if you want to live in a healthy relationship, you do not need to stay with an unhealthy person.:)

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