His Wife Dresses Revealingly
Q: I don't like it when my wife wears low-cut tops and short skirts. I know what guys are like and they think of one thing. She doesn't understand. She thinks I'm trying to tell her what to do, but I'm just trying to protect her from the jerks out there. She even shows too much up top when she goes to work. She's pretty built, so guys are going to notice. I try to ask her what she's wearing before we go out to dinner or bars, and tell her I think she looks better in the things that cover her up more. She gets weird and doesn't want to go out when I try to help her pick her outfits. How can I get her to see that she's asking for trouble by showing off so much of her body? -- Brett, 42
Dr. Susan: Personally, I'd rather die than wear a full-body cover-up all the time. Of course, all you're asking your wife to do is respect your feelings of discomfort when she dresses to flaunt her assets. Perhaps you can focus on how you feel, rather than the fact that every guy out there sees her as a sex object when she dresses a certain way. Don't choose her outfits for her, as that obviously feels intrusive to her. Explain that when you're with her, it's unpleasant for you to see every man in the room staring down her blouse. Admit that maybe it's not every man, but still it's uncomfortable for you when it does happen.
As for her work outfits, she may think she's dressing moderately enough, and who knows unless you hang out at her workplace and see how the other women dress. Extremely immodest clothing can be a kind of flirting, and it's often done by those too young or naive to realize that they're wearing an "Available" sign on their bodies, even when that's not what they mean. It's a fine balance that you have to find, because women should be free to dress however it pleases them without worrying about guys constantly on the prowl. Regardless, focus on your own feelings of anxiety and ask her to compromise when you go out, at least.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.