DR. WALLACE: My parents have always been very strict with what I wear. I’m a girl who just turned 17. They always tell me that they want me to look presentable and modest no matter who I go out with, and no matter if it’s a date or just a shopping trip to the mall with my girlfriends.
I never really had an issue with that until I started dating more seriously this year now that I’m a bit of an older teenager. Everyone has such unique styles, and most of them aren’t exactly modest. Some people wear crop tops; other people wear ripped jeans and lots of other styles my parents don’t deem modest.
I feel embarrassed to have to wear fully modest clothes all of the time now that I am a junior in high school. I have gotten older and feel like my parents should loosen up on some of these rules that they have. How can I talk to my parents to make a compromise about this? — Restricted wardrobe, via email
RESTRICTED WARDROBE: At your age, your parents indeed make decisions like this and they indeed have the final say, as you are a minor. Having said that, I’d recommend that you study the styles and clothing that is available these days to see if you can come up with your own unique style.
Seek to remain in the modest category that will meet the approval of your parents (since I trust they will not budge on this matter) but to do it in a way that will make you feel happy. Seek to add accessories, colors and patterns in a manner that will create a unique look that you really like. You might even set some fashion trends at your school!
Take some time on a weekend to visit several nice clothing stores and seek to find a friendly and knowledgeable salesperson who is willing to take time with you to help you with accessories to develop your new look.
It may take you some time to save up to buy these types of items, but it will be worth it if you really enjoy your new, developing style. And don’t forget that once you’ve figured out the look you seek, there are several secondhand stores, antique shops and so forth in most communities that sell items at very reasonable prices. I suggest you turn your present wardrobe frustration into a positive outcome in this unique way.
I FEEL I NEED BALANCE
DR. WALLACE: I’m 22 years old, and ever since getting into my first long-term relationship with my current boyfriend, I’ve grown accustomed to always being around him and am struggling to enjoy alone time. It’s very strange because before meeting him, I was a very independent person who preferred being alone almost all of the time, but things have really changed.
I feel so connected to my boyfriend and safe around him that I crave being in his presence, and so, it’s very difficult for me to go multiple days without seeing him. When we first started dating, we were in a position where we had enough time to see each other every day. But now we’re both working very demanding jobs, and so, getting together a couple of times a week is all we can manage. I’m very thankful for the time that we do have together, but I’m wondering how I can start enjoying having alone time again like I did in the past.
I don’t want to be an overly clingy girlfriend, so I want to learn how to enjoy the days that I can’t see him instead of feeling chronically sad and depressed. Do you have any advice that might help me a bit with these feelings? — Seeking balance, via email
SEEKING BALANCE: Think back to your past and do this in detail. Seek out photographs, journals, hobbies and friends that consumed most of your time before you met this current, wonderful boyfriend. It’s great that you feel so happy in this relationship, and I commend you for thinking ahead and taking care not to put undue pressure on top of it due to your cravings for more time together.
Nearly all relationships end either in separation or an ongoing union, so you’re wise to think about your potential of a long-term union rather than just satisfaction for your short-term cravings of comfortable companionship. Life is busy, and time is indeed at a premium for most people these days.
So, keep busy while you’re apart. Spend time with friends; get back into a hobby or two you’ve enjoyed in the past. Listen to some new music. Go shopping at antique stores and see if you can find anything you like or that he likes along the way. You can also shop for future gifts for family and friends either by visiting stores or doing so online. Think of ways you can work ahead in your life so that when your personal time manifests, you’ll be ahead in many areas so that you can truly relax and enjoy time with your boyfriend.
Keep your spirit uplifted by thinking of how happy you are in this present relationship. The time to feel down or sad is when a relationship ends, not while you’re both currently successful in enjoying each other’s company. Consider writing out a list of things in your life that you are grateful for and read it every day. Add to it as new thoughts and realizations emerge.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.