*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Being in a relationship with someone is all about shared goals, happy times together, and liking each other just the way you are, but what if your partner expected you to change something about yourself to keep on dating you?
Is that acceptable, or does it mean he doesn't really like you and won't give you compliments unless you look the way they want you to?
Could you do that to keep your relationship going, or would you think it's a waste of time because you want to feel that you are loved for yourself?
My friend Nancy, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, has been dating her boyfriend Andrew for six months. They were friends in college and worked together on study projects.
They also went to their friend's parties, but usually, one of them was in a relationship, so they didn't get the chance to consider dating until after graduation in Phoenix.
"It's not that I didn't see it as a possibility, but he was always with someone, and I had a boyfriend too. So we mostly met and talked as friends. He was fun to be with, and we danced a lot. I liked the way he found the good side in everything; he was the person to cheer me up anytime," Nancy said.
As they kept seeing each other, Nancy noticed something about the type of relationship Andrew was looking for. He seemed to be very particular about the way his girlfriends looked. And after he considered their weight, dress style, hair, and makeup, he stopped at one thing that usually determined whether he would keep going out with them or not.
"I wasn't sure if it was a rule for him, but I realized he only dated green-eyed girls. It could have been a coincidence, but all his girlfriends had that in common. It just made me curious," Nancy said.
Nancy has brown eyes and doesn't wear much makeup. Her dressing style is casual, and she usually avoids wearing dresses and would rather wear jeans or shorts all the time.
"I want to be comfortable, and in every relationship I had, my partner liked that about me a lot. I don't spend an hour getting ready before I go out. I want to enjoy other things than put so much time into preparing to look a certain way that has nothing to do with me," Nancy said.
As time went by, Nancy and Andrew saw more of each other. They went shopping for birthday presents, got groceries together in Phoenix, took walks in the park, and went on trips with their group of friends.
And once graduation came closer, Andrew had an argument with his girlfriend. Three weeks later, he ended the relationship and needed Nancy to help him get through a few difficult days.
"I didn't ask why they argued; I just wanted him to know I was there for him. And the more we talked, the more I could see us dating, too," Nancy said.
It only took two more weeks for Andrew to make up his mind and ask Nancy on a date in Phoenix. They had dinner together and talked some more about what each of them needed to be happy.
"That first date was very nice. There was no pressure about anything, and I just felt he liked me and wanted to know more about me," Nancy said.
They kept dating at least two times a week and also had breakfast before going to work in Phoenix. They texted and called each other in between as their relationship moved forward.
While they got along great, and they both wanted to have a successful career while committing to a long-term relationship, there was something that bothered Nancy about her boyfriend.
"He says that he likes me and that I'm very different from all his previous girlfriends, but in a way, he still wants me to be like them. He doesn't like my eye color and rarely looks straight at me when we talk. He says it's because brown isn't interesting or attractive enough, but if he loves me, why does he care so much about that?" Nancy said.
In the beginning, she thought it was just an observation and that Andrew would get used to her having brown eyes. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.
He did find a solution for the issue, though. he expects Nancy to be wearing contacts all the time while she's with him so she can have green eyes.
"He won't look at me unless I wear contacts. I mean, he will talk to me, and we can have walks and travel, but he will avoid looking at me the whole time. I didn't want to pay attention to it at first, but I think it's changing our relationship," Nancy said.
She did get contacts to change her eye color and tried wearing them for a few dates, but she doesn't like doing it. Andrew was very pleased when she did that, but Nancy is feeling doubtful about their relationship if the only way to be together is for her to always have a different eye color.
"I don't want him to be too focused on this. He didn't even ask me if I was ok with it. Just told me what I had to do, like there was no need to see how I felt about it. It's very one-sided, and I don't know if I can do this. Besides, there could be many times when I can't wear contacts, and I need him to be supportive," Nancy said.
Her friends found out about Andrew's condition, and they don't think it's going to work. They've advised Nancy to avoid seeing him and check if that makes him give up on his idea about contacts. If he doesn't change, Nancy's friends think it's time for her to move on.
Andrew, on the other hand, thinks he's doing Nancy a favor by pointing out this simple solution instead of leaving her.
"I think she should thank me. There are plenty of other girls who wouldn't say no to going out with me. And if I'm still willing to stay with her with this small requirement, I think it's a great compromise on my part," Andrew said.
What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Andrew to want his girlfriend to wear contacts to keep their relationship going? Should Nancy tell him no and only keep seeing him if he can love her no matter her eye color and find other things to compliment her about?