Dear Miss Swoon

Dear Miss Swoon:
I’ve always had short hair because I do a lot of sports–and it’s just easier, you know? But now I’m dating this guy who really wants me to grow my hair long. He thinks long hair is sexy and he’s always pointing out cute girls with long hair when we go out together. Should I change my hair for my boyfriend? It’s only hair, right? –Wondering

Dear Wondering:

How do you feel when your boyfriend points out how sexy other girls are with their long, beautiful hair? Deflated? Put down? These are emotions to pay attention to when a guy you like has offered a “helpful” suggestion.

It’s time to pay attention to those little hurts that you would like to ignore. It’s time to think about what is actually going on. Your guy is trying to get you to change your very identity. He’s not just trying to alter an annoying behavior you would be better off without (like slurping your shake). He’s trying to change a decision you made about your life because it works for your love of sports. He’s trying to get you to subordinate your life for his.

Your boyfriend is subtly testing you to see if you are willing to give up a part of yourself to please him. If you do decide to (just for this one thing), he will soon be asking you to skip practice to spend time with him. After all, don’t you love him more than stupid, sweaty sports that aren’t very feminine anyway?

These are the behaviors of a controller and they are huge red flags for a relationship. Control starts so small you hardly realize it and ends with you wondering how you lost yourself. In a good relationship your life is as important as your guy’s and he’ll be in the bleachers cheering you on, thinking, “Short hair is so sexy!” just because YOU have it. So, Wondering, it’s not really your hair, it’s your life. –Miss Swoon

Miss Swoon is a licensed psychologist who has a special affinity for her adolescent clients.

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