A man on Reddit was seeking advice about how to delicately talk to his girlfriend about an issue he's having:
How do I (25M) politely get my longterm SO (24F) to stop wearing my clothes. Yes, I’m serious.Original post:
TL;DR: gf wears all my clothes incessantly and it's causing me problems when I have no clean clothes to wear myself. How do I nicely fix this problem?
So my girlfriend wears my clothes. No big deal, right? It's normal for a girlfriend to wear your hoodie or sleep in your T-shirt. Usually I'd agree, but this has actually become a problem for me.
My girlfriend changes 3x a day on her days off. Once in the morning after her shower, once when she comes home from her errands, and again when she goes to bed into pajamas. Also pretty normal. Here's where it starts to cause a problem for me though
Outfit 1: my T-shirt, her jeans.
Outfit 2. Another new T-shirt of mine, my lounge pants
Outfit 3: a third new T-shirt of mine, and a second pair of my lounge pants.
She goes through my clothes 3x faster than I do. It's started to cause issues when I need clothing to wear but everything I own is dirty.
In addition, all my clothes that were somewhat tight fitting she enjoys the most. Doesn't sound too bad, but if your clothing is somewhat tight, every time you wash it, it shrinks back a little from the stretch your body caused by wearing it. My nice, form fitting undershirts have now only been worn by her, resulting in no stretch and only shrinkage, as she's a small girl, and no longer fit me at all. She's also throws them all over the floor, which is just a pet peeve of mine. I don't like my nice clothes on the floor with pet hair.
I've bought extra clothes to the point where they don't all fit in my drawer if every piece of clothing is clean and folded. She now thinks I have a slight clothes hoarding problem, exacerbated by the fact that she's basically stopped buying clothes and is down to a fraction of the amount she used to have, which is now small in comparison to my collection. Because she doesn't ever use them.
Things I've tried: Asking her to wash clothes more - she gets mad at me for asking this because "barely any of the dirty clothes are even hers!" And, admittedly, she does do most of the cleaning around our house, because I have a very busy work/school schedule. It does not connect in her mind that even though they're mine, she used them. I've tried pointing this out after a few days of laundry building up, but she just downright refuses to believe that she actually truly uses them that much. If I try telling her the moment she puts them on, she thinks I'm being petty.
Asking her not to wear my clothes - I stumbled over this one like the clumsy male that I am. Probably worded it way wrong. She took it as I'm not ok with her wearing my clothes at all. I think it's pretty cute when she wears my big sweat shirts. It doesn't bother me. She got super upset and we got into a fight that ended in her saying "fine I'll never wear anything that belongs to you again." Which of course doesn't last because we made up, and both said things we didn't mean.
Asking her not to change into new clothes of mine so much - total no go for her. She's a clean freak and to the point where if she puts on a shirt and after 5 minutes decides she doesn't want to wear it, that shirt has to go in the dirty laundry. Not the drawer. The idea of changing less, or even worse, resusing a pair of pants or T-shirt she wore that day, disgusts her. I can understand this I guess.
What do I do?
Advice Started Pouring In About The Issue...
Can you give her some of your clothes and say these are mine but okay for you to wear- but I'd appreciate if you didn't wear my other things? Like a pile of clothes that is green lit for her to wear?
If she gets upset just keep calm and rationally talk to her. If you decided to wear her clothes all the time and got things dirty she wanted to wear- would she be upset? You don't want to ban all of it because she likes to wear your stuff and it's cute to see her in an old tshirt of yours- but some things you want that are just yours and off limits.
Set Those Boundaries
fine I'll never wear anything that belongs to you again.
That seems to be the best solution. There is no way you can allow her to use judgement in when it is too much. You have tried and she goes way beyond the "cute" stage of wearing your T-shirt to bed. She wears multiple items several times a day. Plus she is sloppy by throwing them on the floor. So, the best way to handle it is -- you wear your own clothes and I will wear mine.
I think she has a possessive nature and wearing your clothes is her way of say, "you are mine."
"Just Tell Her"
Your SO getting upset when you literally do not have a shirt for your back in my opinion is a little bit strange. Being long term you guys should be able to talk about this small issue without anybody getting argumentative and the fact she's a clean freak shouldn't really be an excuse to why she can't wear her own clothes?
If my partner said to me "Babe, you're literally wearing everything I own to the point I have nothing to wear. Is it alright to tone it down a bit or use a few of your own clothes for lounging as I need those shirts for work?" I would of course do so.
My boyfriend has come home with new clothes and has explicitly said "please don't wear these as they're for work". It isn't an insult it's just common sense. You need clothes and she needs to not be so dramatic with throwing something in the wash after having it on for 5 minutes. Just tell her.
Maybe It's Indicative Of Something Bigger...
You shouldn't have to go buy her clothing or figure out a super gentle way to tell her. Adults should be able to handle, "Please stop wearing my clothes, I want them to be clean and inn good condition when I need them." If she can't respect a basic and simple boundary then there are real problems.
If you want, give her a couple things to wear. Don't feel that you need to.
Do Unto Others
Tell her to stop wearing your clothes. If she keeps going wear her favorite t shirt with her most expensive yoga pants whether it fits or not. I think that should stop her. She's being more than unreasonable by not responding to all your reasonable requests to either stop wearing your clothes or at least wash them if she wears them. I say this a girl with a boyfriend who I regularly borrow clothes from. However I also ask before borrowing things no matter how many times I have borrowed that clothing item before.
Could Be Indicative Of A Deeper Problem
A little late to this but I'll still throw my 2 cents in. If she's depressed or showing signs of depression this might be why she's shrugging off your concerns. She is using the control aspect of your clothing and your guys relationship to feel like she isn't losing control of everything. Unfortunately you still can't make excuses for this behavior, she is an adult and if you suffer in silence then down the road you'll regret it. You guys will fall into an unhealthy pattern of her arguing with you then shutting down and you forgiving her and staying quiet. This is detrimental to her growth and the relationship. I myself dealt with hard things in my life and I had to grow up for my sake and my husbands. If you truly care about her sit her down and set boundries, when she argues end the conversation until you're both calm then pick it up again. Continue to cover the same points until she understands because honestly this isn't about your clothes or your relationship. If she has a lot going on in her life and is feeling down then this is about her not letting go of all control. You care about her and that's obvious but sometimes caring means tough love.
Maybe Ask Where The Real Problem Is
I think it's a bigger problem here that you can't ask her to stop doing something simple without it turning into a big fight.
Perhaps Everyone Needs To Be Fine With Everything
You guys are essentially sharing a closet. It's not a problem for her to be wearing your clothes, but they're YOUR clothes, not hers. She needs to either be fine with reusing your clothes for multiple wears or ask if she can reduce the amount she wears (for example, only using them for lounging or pjs).
She also needs to be wearing her own clothes. Does she like your clothes because of your style? She can buy the exact same ones of her own. Because your clothes are soft? She can buy soft clothes. Because your clothes smell like you? Buy her some of your cologne and she can spray it on her clothes.
Also, make sure she knows it's not something you're angry about, so she doesn't feel like you're attacking her, and whatever you suggest is to make you happier.
Hide Them Like Treasure
Lock your closet door. Maybe she'll start to use her own clothes. Or hide your good/new clothes somewhere else, so she has access to the clothes you don't want (or the ones undershirts she had destroyed already). This way she won't have the feeling that she isn't allowed to use them, but she won't touch the good stuff anymore.
Meet Her Halfway
two things spring to mind: firstly, if you're bothered by the amount of dirty laundry piling up then why don't you do it? someone else suggested a laundry schedule, i think that could be a good idea. sharing chores is only fair in a couple.
secondly, my other thought was that maybe next time you both need new clothes you could go shopping together and buy some gender neutral stuff that you can both wear. that way you have clothes that are designated as 'sharing clothes' and she may focus on those more. i think where you might be going wrong is not setting a clear enough boundary by saying 'please don't wear my clothes, unless you're doing it in a cute way eg. big sweater'. i'm not saying you have to go all or nothing, but you need to clearly define what she is or isn't allowed to wear.
Stand Your Ground
Just stick with her not wearing your clothes. Seriously. If it's an issue, nip it in the bud like you have and move on.
The, "Fine! I be won't ever wear anything of yours ever again," is a manipulative hyperbole designed to inspire feelings of guilt. You need to ignore it or she's going to be wearing ALL of your clothes again.
For some people it's give an inch, take a mile. Sounds like your girlfriend is like this. Don't budge.
Ask: Why Does She Truly Like Wearing Them?
She might not feel well in her own skin and is trying to camouflage it with your clothes, because she associates them with love and trust.
I'm not saying that you should let her have all you clothes, though.
Some weeks ago I realized that I was depressed and needed to show love for myself. So I went to Primark and got myself fluffy pyamas, socks, leggings, jumpers, bedthrows, and so on. I'm jeans-less since 3 weeks, I only wear the comfiest, fluffiest, warmest cloths available. No boyfriend, so nobody to steal relaxing clothes from.
What I want to say is: Yes, there is problem, yes, there's a reason for it, yes, you guys have to talk about it and find solutions.
Set Some Aside
If I were you, I would just pick a few outfits for the week and ask her to not wear those. After some time, this should work itself out. This is her way of coping with stress. Some people suffer from anxiety when they don't see their SO as often as they like. Wearing their SOs clothes can help them.
Try buying some clothes and seeing if she likes the fit on her. A little humor could help this issue. To me, this is someone that you have no intention of leaving anytime soon. You want to work through your issues together. Give her permission to wear your clothes. Just create some boundaries for your own sake.
Visual Evidence Is A Big Assist
I think it might help bring the point home if you had two laundry baskets for your clothes. One basket for your clothes that you've worn, and one basket for your clothes that she's worn.
That will either help understand that the issue isn't as big as you think it is, or, more likely, it will help her see that she's using far more of your clothes than you are.
...Seriously. Get. That. Laundry. Basket.
If she doesn't realize how much she's wearing your clothes (all the dirty laundry is your clothes), how about having two laundry hampers or two separate piles? So she can actually see how much she contributes despite only seeing your items. I wear clothes for several days so I generally remember what I borrowed but if she's going through so many she probably just doesn't notice.
What's Your Real Excuse?
I'm not trying to attack you, but this really sounds like a case of "but she's hot!"
Go back and read through your responses, look at all the excuses you've given. Basically everything that's been suggested, you've already tried. And it hasn't worked.
This may be "just" clothes and ridiculous in the grand scale of things, but it's gotten to a point where it causes you A LOT of inconvenience in your daily life, more than it reasonably should. And your girlfriend just doesn't care, to be frank. Consider that.
When All Else Fails, Maybe Use Math
She's a clean freak but throws your clothes (not hers) on the floor? No, she just treats your items like crap.
If she keeps insisting that she didn't wear your clothes that much, ask her what outfits she wore that day and the day before and then extrapolate that number into items per week.
Just tell her that your clothes are off limits, period. And BTW, I'm female and consider her behavior out of line.
Be Up Front And Use The Facts
"Hey, I don't really have much by way of clothes, and while I find you super cute in my stuff, we need to figure out a way for me to have clean clothes to wear, and for you to be able to steal a shirt or two when you want to. Thoughts?"
Tell her the problem, ask her to be part of the solution?
u/RAThrowawa8859 Added Later On...
To answer some common questions: Does she treat her stuff better than mine/questions about how she can be a neat freak and throw my clothes around? No. She's usually respectful of belongings. Clothing is just something immune to her ocd. She leaves her clothes in the laundry basket until she needs them. Hell, sometimes she'll fold my clothes and not her own.
What's her maturity level like? Yeah I know this seems pretty immature. It is. But for context, She had a rough upbringing and it resulted in her having to mature in some ways much younger than the average girl, but has left her maturity....stunted...in other areas. We're working through it. She still deserves love.
Does she hyperbolize other arguments to get her way? Yes. We have talks about that. It's a problem we're actively addressing. I have slight anger issues and she works through my irritability at small things. We try to deal with each other's problems, not run from them.
Why don't you just stand up to her? Be blunt and let her be mad? This just isn't an approach that's constructive in our relationship. That kind of approach just causes her to shut down, and me to get angry over every little thing I can possibly think of.Why the hell does she not do laundry, she's 24? She does! She's not as proactive as i am about. She's more of a "wait til i NEED to do it," whereas i like to do it as soon as i have a load. We both do laundry, and a bunch of other chores! But recently she got a new job and she's also dealing with a complex family issue that's causing depression. With school on top she's struggling to keep up with what she used to do. I also do chores! I've picked up a lot more since her life has changed. Our dynamic with assigning chores has always been pretty good. It's only when I ask her to do it more often that she becomes offended
Stick It Through
Well done for sticking through despite seeing her problems, you never saw her as a lost cause which is awesome. I see some traits in her that my partner has (he has aspergers). He will leave clothes all over the bedroom floor (I've found socks in the weirdest places). But heaven forbid there's a mark on the kitchen bench top or stove he's gotta scrub it, if you try to put a filled glass on a table he's gotta quickly grab a coaster for you. Fortunately our communication is much better so we don't have such issues.
A few suggestions have been good but I think a combination would work.
Segregate your clothes (maybe even get a suitcase or something to do so) and emphasise what she can and can't wear (I wouldn't allow pants at all) and say that if she touches the ones you said she couldn't not only will you be mad and upset, you'll also not have any clothes to wear (you're allowed to get mad sometimes, don't be afraid to be) I'd also offer to take her shopping to add to her clothing collection, even if it's the sort of clothes you'd wear. I'd also suggest seeing a relationship specialist to help with your communication problems together. And see if you can convince her to get tested for mental disorders like Aspergers or personality disorder, if she is then there's a crap ton of information out there about techniques for communication and routines etc. Make sure you shower with love when you do, and reassure that no matter what you love her.
Good luck with everything.
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