DEAR ABBY: I am a 45-year-old single woman. My significant other and I have been together for five years. He's eight years older than I am, and he brings me great joy.
A problem has arisen that has me at my wit's end. When we first began dating, "George" would drop hints about how he loved long blond hair. At the time I was a natural brunette, but thought a few highlights wouldn't hurt. I let it grow. Eventually my hair became lighter and lighter until I was all blond. However, I never really liked it. It didn't complement my skin tones. I have been blond for more than four years. Friends and family tell me I look better as a brunette.
During my last trip to the hairdresser, I asked to have my hair darkened one shade. It's now very light brown, and I like it. George hates it. He hates it so much that for the first week he wouldn't look at me or talk to me. I had no idea what was wrong, and I suspected he had met someone else.
The following week, we were talking again, but things still weren't "right." All signs of affection were gone. I tolerated it for a week and then confronted him. It turned out he really wanted me blond. I let him know how unattractive he was making me feel and how shallow I thought he was. He blamed me and my hair and said that if I hadn't gone blond, we probably never would have gotten together.
I tried to convince him I was still the same person. The fight escalated to the point where I packed my bags and was out the door. He finally admitted HE had the problem, and convinced me to stay while he worked it out. The following week he was back to being his old self.
Last night my family gathered at a nice restaurant for a birthday dinner. Midway through the evening, wouldn't you know, in walked a couple, and the blond-headed woman sat next to our table "flipping" her hair. George couldn't take his eyes off her. It was so embarrassing it made me depressed. I gave George "the look" to knock it off, but he didn't. My family also noticed. When we got home, he acted like nothing was wrong.
I don't know what to do. I can't go back to being blond because I'll never know if he loves me or the fantasy. It seems like such a trivial reason to break up, but I can't imagine putting up with this for the rest of my life. Any advice? -- TIRED OF THE ROOTS IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR TIRED: George has a problem and he admits it. Your gentleman not only prefers blondes, it appears he has a fetish for long blond hair. People can change their behavior, but they can't change their feelings.
Joint counseling might be helpful for you both to help each other understand what you're both really saying. The relationship can't succeed unless you are comfortable and feel accepted for who you are. If it depends upon changing your appearance, then face it -- George isn't someone to dye for.