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Ask Athena: My Girlfriend Is Changing and I Don't Know What to Do


Published June 28, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated June 30, 2017 at 9:26 a.m.

Dear Athena,

My girlfriend and I have been together since high school, which is almost five years now. She is changing, and I don't know what to do. She wants me to stop waxing my pubic hair and shaving my legs and stuff. She wants me to stop getting my nails done and wearing makeup. She says I am more beautiful when I am "natural," but I like doing those things. I want to make her happy and attracted to me, but she is changing everything, like the way she eats and what she buys. I don't know how to react.


I Already Feel Like a Natural Woman

Dear Natural Woman,

People grow and change a lot after high school. We all move through different identities as we get older, and we all process these growing pains and epiphanies differently. For some, these growth spurts are more extreme — and relationships can get caught in the crossfire of change.

It sounds like your gal is in the "everybody-get-on-board-with-my-new-lifestyle-or-else" phase. If you don't mind how she is evolving, and you can still love and enjoy her, have a chat about how her expectations are bothering you. It's fine and dandy if she wants to makes some changes in her own life, but you're happy with how you are.

What doesn't make you happy are these new feelings of discomfort and self-consciousness and being judged — and she needs to know that.

Explain that you're concerned she won't be attracted to you unless you make these lifestyle alterations. Ask her why the changes she wishes to see in herself need to be foisted onto you, too. She needs to understand that her demands are affecting your bond. If she can't love and enjoy you as you are, what's left?

It's possible that this is simply a matter of two people drifting apart. Think about the ways that you, too, have changed and how they may have affected your relationship. When you talk, reflect on who you were when you met, what you fell in love with and what's keeping you together now.

Maybe you'll decide it's time to close this chapter of your lives together. That would be sad, but OK. Or maybe you'll be able to weather this change and growth as a united team. If you can do that, your relationship has far better odds of lasting.



Speaking of Relationships, lifestyles



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