What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by an anonymous writer.

When I met my current boyfriend, I was waltzing around in tacky Forever 21 party tops, unintentionally ripped American Eagle jeans, and Ugg boots. Then, one night I slipped into a sexy little black sequin dress, and he went ga-ga. Ever since then, I’ve relied on him for fashion tips.
It might be strange to some people- the minute women find out that I dress primarily according to my boyfriend’s taste, they accuse him of being abusive, and they start diagnosing me with a plethora of mental problems. But to me, dressing for my boyfriend is a fun challenge. We pick out each other’s clothes and give honest criticism. It’s nice to have a boyfriend who actually has an opinion and isn’t afraid to voice it. And before you say anything, he’s not gay. Like most straight men, he has a tendency to rely on tight clothes that show off my curves–although as we’ve gotten older, he’s encouraged me to dress a little more conservatively to avoid unwanted comments from sleazy passers-by.

Of course, people often tell me that I should “dress for myself” and that I’m letting him control me. It’s my choice to dress for him, and if he was suggesting things that I hated, I wouldn’t wear them! Besides, before I met him, I had no real sense of fashion at all–and extremely low self esteem. I never worked out, so a plethora of cellulite meant I was afraid to wear anything tight on my rear. I showed off my boobs, but kept everything else covered. He encouraged me to be more adventurous, and take that first step into the scary world of skinny jeans. Now, I dress far better, and I’m happier with my body. I don’t see what’s so abusive about that!

Besides, I don’t understand why any woman would deliberately dress in a way she knew her significant other hated. It’s not my business, but I couldn’t imagine deliberately wearing something that my boyfriend thought looked terrible. I dress to be comfortable, and to look attractive. Luckily, his taste in clothing allows for both of those things to co-incide. At home, I mostly just wear leggings and tank tops. Yes, I love big sweatpants, but he hates them–and at the end of the day, I care more about looking sexy for him than I do about wearing sweatpants! And leggings are pretty darn comfortable too.

What I don’t get are the women who say they “dress for themselves”. It’s fine if they do that, but it would never make sense for me. I’m not trying to impress myself, and I can’t be attracted to myself! I love dressing for my boyfriend because it’s awesome to see the look on his face when I wear something sexy that he least expects. 

Besides, his preferences for me are far simpler than the stuff I used to do in order to look nice. I used to go nuts trying to dye my hair the perfect shade of blonde, until my boyfriend told me he actually preferred my natural dark brown hair. I used to spend hours trying to perfect my eye makeup, and then my boyfriend told me, “You know, I actually prefer when you just wear foundation.” Having some input from him feels good–especially because it means less effort on my part, and higher confidence.

Perhaps I’m just old-fashioned. I also cook for my man every night, I don’t believe in withholding sex out of anger, and I don’t go on ragers with my girlfriends, leaving him at home. A lot of people seem to regard me as though I come from another decade. But the way I see it, if it’s my choice to behave this way, then I’m not being abused, I’m not being controlled–I’m choosing how to live my life. And isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do?