How to deal with my height
December 21, 2013 6:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm a girl that is 1,76 m tall, and I'm having serious problems with my height. I'm getting really depressed with it over time and I've come to the point where I am completely desperate. I really need some help.

Starting this post I want to say that many of you will probably think of this as a ridiculous issue to be concerned about, but for me it's really disappointing and I can no longer deal with it.

So as I said, I'm 1,76 m tall, which is pretty damn tall for a lady.
I'm having serious problems dealing with that. Problem No.1 is that my boyfriend of 2 years is about 6 cm shorter than me, and it bothers me to death. For a man, he is not short at all. In fact, 1,70 m is pretty normal for a man's height as I only know few men who are a lot taller than him. He has never mentioned anything about our height difference, and everytime he sees how depressed I am over this he gets really sad and tries to show me how unimportant this is to him and how much more it counts that he loves me exactly the way I am.
But to me, he can say anything he wants, and it will never make it better. I know no other girl (and I know a lot of people) who is taller than me or even has the same height as me. Not even wearing heels.

What hurts me the most is how jealeous I get of any other girl I know, or just see walking down the street. Not only because she is normal, but because she would match perfectly to my boyfriend. They would be such a lovely picture together. He needs a girl who is (way) shorter than him, pretty, and even prettier in high heels. There are so many of them, all of them, and every single one would be perfect for him. And that is something that I can never give him. We walk down the street and I look like his giant friend; and I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess. And he deserves it so much.
Two days ago we went our with a friend of ours, who is very normal in height. She was wearing High heels, about 12 cm, and she was still shorter than him. I watched them walking next to each other and they were so beautiful. He looked like the tall, strong man with a pretty woman next to him with heels. And that's something I will never give him, I will always wear my ugly sneakers when we are invited somewhere fancy, and still be taller than him.
Sooner or later he will find someone shorter anyway, a girl that is just as beautiful as me, but just matches to him better. The way my body never matched with his. And to not make it so hard for him to find, I'm thinking about breaking up with him, to give him a chance to get out there. Hearts have to be broken before they find what they are really looking for.

So please, no matter what you might thing about me or my silly post, I just need an answer on how to deal with all this. I know I can not get any shorter, so this will follow me my entire life. I'm only 19 years old and it's driving me mad already.
Thanks a lot guys.
posted by Emily119 to Human Relations (88 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what you are asking for, but regardless, my answer is that you should see a therapist in an effort to deal with your height issues.
posted by miss tea at 6:15 AM on December 21, 2013 [16 favorites]

So, I'm also a lady and I am the same height as you. And I totally get what you're talking about - I also, at your age, felt big and awkward walking next to smaller people. My best friend all through high school was petite and I just felt very ungainly. Time helped, for me - I'm not even that much older than you are but the older I get, the more comfortable I feel in my own body. I know that doesn't help you right now.

What I think might, is talking to your boyfriend about how you feel, since a lot of what's bothering you now seems to be your insecurities surrounding your relationship with him. You're making a lot of assumptions about what he wants and should want, but have you asked him how he feels? I mean, he's with you. He's chosen you. I think it's very unlikely he's anywhere near as bothered by your height as you seem to feel.
posted by lwb at 6:18 AM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess

This is not a fact. This is something you've decided in your head. You need to see a therapist. I have many friends who are as tall or even taller than you are, several of them married to men significantly shorter than they are. This doesn't have to be a problem, but you're going to need to address it with a professional to get past it.
posted by something something at 6:20 AM on December 21, 2013 [94 favorites]

Every man doesn't want a smaller woman - I promise you that. I'm on the other end of the height spectrum, a very petite woman. I'm in a relationship with a guy who has dated women who are taller than him - and shorter than him. He just doesn't care, he's that confident. I'm happy with myself and my height, but if I could be any other height, I'd choose something like your height! I think there is nothing as attractive as a tall woman confident in herself and her height - and wearing heels to boot!

You know who is even taller than you? Michelle Obama is 1,80 meters tall, and she is widely viewed as gorgeous and quite stylish. Look at her here - she is a LOT taller than her guests (including the visiting leader of a foreign country) and she is also taller than her husband in heels. She looks stunning - and it is all about her confidence and complete air of comfort. To her, being taller than her guests and her husband isn't an issue. I would encourage you to embrace your height, to wear heels and stand tall and proud. You look beautiful!
posted by arnicae at 6:22 AM on December 21, 2013 [65 favorites]

It seems to be bothering you and not him. Plenty of guys are attracted by taller women. That said it is hard to change what you are attracted to, so if you're not attracted to him due to his height it'll probably always be that way.
posted by Joe Chip at 6:23 AM on December 21, 2013

Also - you don't have to wear "ugly" sneakers if you don't want to. I know you probably don't want to wear heels, but there are a lot of lovely flat options. It took me a while to work that out - I do have to work a little harder to find nice things because my shoe size is not well catered for in many shops, and I imagine you might also have that problem, but there are still definitely things you can wear other than sneakers you find ugly.
posted by lwb at 6:25 AM on December 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Counseling. Your guy has been with you for two years. If he had an issue with your height, he would've made that clear already. He may get tired of having to convince you that he really loves you, despite you arguing with him otherwise. Please don't do that to him. He doesn't care about your height. He cares about you. Those who love you care about you and not your height. Those who make an issue out of your height are assholes, easily detected by your built-in asshole filter. Your guy passed this test long ago. Please get counseling.

Based on your previous question, the issue with your guy likely isn't your height.
posted by SillyShepherd at 6:26 AM on December 21, 2013 [11 favorites]

I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess

Absolutely, 100% untrue. Some men like smaller women, some like taller women, thinner, thicker, smarter, sillier, serious or funny. Some don't care about X, but care about Y. I'm somewhat tall (6'1", so, about 1,85M), and I prefer tall women (like my wife). She often wears heels, and it looks great--she can't quite exceed my height, but I'd be delighted.

As you get older--hopefully--you'll get more comfortable with who you are. You figure stuff out. Being tall is really, really great. I hope you learn to love it.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:29 AM on December 21, 2013 [9 favorites]

First, I'll say that you and my wife are the same height. My wife is a gorgeous, lovely woman—not despite her height, or because of it, but because of who she is.

I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess

That's just incredibly wrong. I certainly don't want that, and I can't imagine anyone of my social circles want that either. I want a partner in life, a strong, intelligent, confident person to share my life with. I've found that in my wife. Whoever you end up with should love you for who you are, not for you being small and fragile. That's plain unhealthy.

I will always wear my ugly sneakers when we are invited somewhere fancy,

Just get some beautiful flats. My wife wears them all the time because she thinks, not incorrectly, that heels are crazy and painful for some people, and she's one of them.
posted by The Michael The at 6:29 AM on December 21, 2013 [20 favorites]

I understand. There are things about me (not my height, but other characteristics that are just part of me) that make me question whether I am a good partner. Shouldn't my boyfriend find someone who doesn't have the negative qualities I have so that he can be happy? I ask myself this sometimes too.

But it's not really about my boyfriend. It's about how I feel about myself and my self-worth. I'd gently suggest that this isn't about your height, really - it's about how you feel about yourself.

Would you tell a friend that had, say, a very big nose that she didn't deserve a boyfriend because all men want women with small noses? I doubt you would say such a thing to a friend that you loved. So why are you saying it to yourself?

19 is a hard age. It is hard to love ourselves as women anyhow, and when I was younger it was even more difficult. I think that you might want to find a therapist or someone to talk this out with. A self-esteem workbook might help, too. Doing one thing a day that makes you feel good - calling a friend, taking a bath, playing with a dog, volunteering at a local hospital or animal shelter - these things can help build self-esteem and are rewarding. Be kind to yourself - try to be as kind as you would be to a friend when you are feeling down.

It's so good that you asked this question, because you're not the only person who struggles with this sort of thing. I've been there. Many of us have.

I wish you luck and kindness as you sort this out.
posted by k8lin at 6:32 AM on December 21, 2013 [15 favorites]

Ultimately - if you can't be happy with a guy that is shorter than you, I think you should move on and find someone that is taller. But when I see a man walking down the street with a taller girlfriend, I think of them both as instantly interesting - he is a guy that I immediately can categorize as confident and comfortable enough in his own skin to not have any issues dating a woman who is taller than him, and she is someone that likes herself and is comfortable enough with herself that she doesn't have any issues dating a guy who is shorter than her.

Because you know, if you don't want to date a shorter guy, you're also perpetuating some cultural gender norms that are pretty critical of your boyfriend. Taller guys are more likely to make more money at their jobs, more likely to be the executive of a company, and all sorts of other not-fun stuff. So if you're thinking about dumping your boyfriend to allow him to meet some nice girl that is shorter tan him that he can treat like a princess - you're perpetuating a rather icky height norm that impacts average sized guys all over.

Just something to think about. I'd also get your BF's opinion on the situation - does he know how you are feeling? This would be a good time to talk.
posted by arnicae at 6:35 AM on December 21, 2013 [10 favorites]

Two of the happiest marriages I know are where the wives are taller than the husbands, by several inches. If your height was an issue for your boyfriend, he wouldn't have been attracted to you in the first place.
posted by essexjan at 6:36 AM on December 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

If anyone tries to treat me "like a princess" I'll fire them out of the window like a rocket. Seriously, guys who want to treat you like a fragile flower that they have to protect are not worth your time. Are you going to be really worried if you have a successful career, because your boyfriend won't like that either? What if you have your own opinions that are different from his? Are you going to hide the fact that you can change the wheel on your car in order to make him feel better about himself? Are you going to pretend to be more stupid than you really are? Being inferior to your boyfriend on some arbitrary scale because he "deserves" somebody who is less of ANYTHING than you are is not a path to a happy life.

Go and be awesome and date people who like you because you are awesome.
posted by emilyw at 6:38 AM on December 21, 2013 [22 favorites]

My mom is taller than you (5'11"/180cm) and my dad shorter (5'9"/175cm). They've been happily married since 1976. It's no height issue at all in real life. I'm taller than either (6'/182cm male).

Seriously, guys like tall women. Most runway models are your height and wouldn't blink at wearing 5"/12.5cm heels. Also there are plenty of nice flats. Do not be ashamed of your height, flaunt it. Love comes in all shapes and sizes.
posted by graymouser at 6:40 AM on December 21, 2013 [10 favorites]

My late mother was your height, and my father only a few centimeters taller. We all adored her and found her height glamorous, statuesque, powerful, beautiful. I so looked forward to growing up and into her height. But I didn't. I stopped growing at 1,67m and I was so disappointed. Making matters worse, I can't walk in heels - I lack the skill or the interest in tottering around "learning". I felt too tall to be cute and too short to be beautiful.

Now, as an adult, one of my dearest friends is your height. Most of her friends are my height (average/boring, however you'd term this height). In photographs I see Snow White (her) and the Seven Dwarves (the rest of us). I see a goddess and a bunch of mere mortals. She/we are 15-20 years older than you, and she's made a certain peace with her height, but I know she doesn't see it the way I do. She sees the same photographs where I see her as extraordinary and gorgeous, and sees herself as abnormal.

I wish I had the magic words to convince her (and you) of her (and your) enviable qualities. I keep trying. But I do think that counseling is what would help most. And - in your case - time. You're young, and at your age I absolutely despised my (lumpy & not fitting into the Kate Moss model of fashionable/sexy) curves, and now I have so many curvy role models that I'm sort of forced to see myself as "acceptable to many people & even desirable to some" if not "everyone's ideal".
posted by pammeke at 6:41 AM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

I come from a family of tall women -- I'm 1.82, I have one sister who's just a little shorter than I am, one who's taller than I am, and one who's just on the tall side of average. We all have dated people shorter than us. It doesn't have to be an issue unless you make it one. It's possible to look very fancy and feminine if you're very tall, although it may take more looking -- fortunately there's a growing selection of customizable shoe and clothing options. (I have always felt ungainly and awkward in dresses, and I've solved that by dressing a little more androgynously, but my sisters wear dresses and look great.)

These ideas about how the man "should" be taller than the woman in a relationship, to fit a certain picture or to make your bodies match -- that's not objective reality. That's arbitrary, and imposed from outside. There's a lot of social pressure in that direction, and it's hard not to absorb it, but there are a lot of happy relationships where that just doesn't matter.

Counseling may help. My ideas about beauty and self-image have gotten a lot wider as I've gotten older, too, and I hope it's the same for you.
posted by Jeanne at 6:43 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hi there. I am as tall as you are (maybe even a bit taller) and I know what it's like to feel like an outlier because you're taller than most--certainly not all!--other women, and many men too. In addition, I have a very big and muscular frame. If I were a guy, I would have been one heck of a football player--but I'm not a guy, I'm a girl.

Of course appearances matter in this world. It is tough being different from the norm. Some people put a whole lot more emphasis on appearances and adhering to the norm than others do, and so some people will always have problems with people who are different. That's just the way it is.

The thing is, it's not like you *did* anything to be tall, just like women who are average-size didn't *do* anything to be average size. You didn't do anything wrong, they didn't do anything right. It's just luck, fate, fortune, genetics, nutrition, whatever. There is nothing you can do to change your height to be smaller--and for that matter, that an average-height girl could do to make herself tall and lovely like you. And you can be *certain* that there are some girls who look at you and wish that they were like you!

Sometimes it's hard to get to self-acceptance, which is really what this question is about. How can you learn to accept and love yourself as you are? Because the person who is making you miserable in this case is really just you yourself.

You can realize this and make the decision that, because the world is already full of challenges, you don't have to make your own life harder by hating yourself about things that you had no choice about.

This is actually a great lesson to learn on many levels. You can take it as a lesson not to be judgmental and discriminatory about your self, and then extend it to other people for things THEY can't control. Skin color, ethnic heritage, being born rich or poor, so many other things. You're human, they're human, kindness wins the day.

And also, being somewhat outside the norm is actually a great screening tool. If someone has a problem with how tall you are and is a jerk about it, great! Lets you know right off the bat that they're a jerk and you don't have to waste your precious life energy on them. Truly, believe you me, this is one thing that I have seen my conventionally-pretty female friends have to learn the hard way, time and time again--guys who are soooo nice to them because they're so pretty, only to show their true colors as jerks in the long run. Man, am I glad that I have been able to avoid a lot of that in my lifetime because the shallow assholes don't get anywhere near me. Plenty of other great guys have, though!

Truly, this is a decision that you can make. I think this question is a great start--you realize there's a problem. What you maybe don't realize is how much of the solution is already in your control.

Good luck. You're beautiful!
posted by Sublimity at 6:43 AM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess

Just like every woman wants to be treated like a princess, right?

Oh wait no that's not true

It's patently ridiculous in fact

Not only that you aren't even that tall -- you're hardly even basketball team height, you're just a bit taller than average. And to plenty of people that is, if anything, attractive, not the horrible drawback you're making it out to be.

I promise you nobody is as concerned about your height as you are. Everyone is self conscious about something arbitrary, and for some reason you've settled on height as your arbitrary thing to feel weird about. Don't. Lose the ugly sneakers and revel in your awesome body.
posted by ook at 6:46 AM on December 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Maybe it would help you to look at photos of celebrity couples with a taller woman/shorter man? Like Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond or Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox or Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman or I could go on and on and on and if you Google it you will find dozens of slideshows with examples, many of which have much larger height differentials than what you're talking about.
posted by payoto at 6:50 AM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

You would actually be on the short side for a mainstream fashion magazine/runway model. People above have pointed out that men with taller women are seen as more confident. Not only that, it's actually really a mainstream status symbol for a shorter men to have a model-height woman on his arm.

I just was at a movie screening attended by a couple of famous movie stars (guys). Both of them were showing off women on their arms who were at least 5" taller than they were. The men looked proud of their catches, as if they must be really successful to be able to land such tall beauties. My companion and I thought they looked like they were treating those very tall young women as "princesses" in a way that bothered OUR feminist inclinations!

Do you live in a place where a man who is 1.70 meters is taller than average? Where I live, that is shorter than average for a man. So it would be helpful to know if he really is taller than the other men you see around you, or whether you're focusing on shorter men because you're so worried about your own height. In either case, your height is not an inherently unattractive feature (and for many VERY MAINSTREAM PEOPLE who look at fashion models as the ideal of beauty, it would be an inherently attractive feature) -- but it might be helpful for answerers here to know whether you actually live in a place with a population where a man under 5'7" is taller than most?
posted by third rail at 6:52 AM on December 21, 2013

Yes, counseling, definitely – you're fine the way you are. We all have things about ourselves we're unhappy with, but this is too much. You're not hearing what your boyfriend is telling you, which is that he loves you the way you are; counseling will help you love you as you are, which will help you accept that others also do.

I know no other girl (and I know a lot of people) who is taller than me

Yes you do :) There are several MeFite women here who are over 1.76m. I'm 1m80. I totally understand where your ideas about men not liking taller women come from, I've had to deal with it quite a bit too. The thing is, one response to "I don't date tall women" can be, and I've said this, "good, because I don't date assholes." Appearance is only one part of a person, and not that terribly important. People who think it's all-important are not much fun to be around. I'm sure your boyfriend has many qualities you love about him that are unrelated to his appearance. I'm also sure you can think of people whose appearance changed as you got to know them better – not because it actually changed, but because getting to know someone's character changes how you perceive them.

On preview, don't go too far looking for celebrity examples, it can quickly become depressing in the opposite direction! I really do appreciate all the positive messages in this thread, but women taller than men is exceedingly rare in film and TV. "In their research on physical attractiveness, they found that the 'male-taller norm' was so prevalent that it could be considered the 'cardinal principle of date selection.' " I point it out only to reassure that perception is, unfortunately, correct, and it's important to recognize that in order to counter it. You can be an exception, and in so doing, you can help contribute (as so many in this thread!) to changing stereotypes. That same article points out that it's mainly women enforcing the stereotype! Learning to accept yourself can be a big step forward. Counseling really can help with all this, it's a lot to work through.
posted by fraula at 6:58 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all a lot for your answers. Yes I have talked to my boyfriend about this and he sais that he is proud of my height and has not even a tiny problem with it, so he tends to get really sad that I'm so depressed about it and how it destroys our relationship. However he can't make me feels better.
Also, I have plans to see a therapist soon, in hope that he could help me.
Thank you a lot again, it's helpful to see how positive so many people are about my height.
posted by Emily119 at 6:58 AM on December 21, 2013

They would be such a lovely picture together

People sometimes act like being a "cute couple" is somehow indicative that the couple in question must be right for each other.

I can tell you for absolute honest and true... what two people look like together as a couple bears exactly ZERO relation to how suited they are for each other or how happy they are.

"Cute" couples are sometimes happy couples; but other cute couples argue, fight, live together unhappily, cheat on one another (often with someone less cute), break up, divorce. And sometimes people who don't know them well are surprised, because they were judging them based on something superficial and meaningless.

Cute or lovely couples are no more likely to be happy than any other couple. Plus, once you've been with someone awhile and are happy together, people around you will quickly grow to think of you as being and even looking right together, because you are.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:59 AM on December 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

I'm a little bit taller than you are, and when I was your age, I dated a horrible asshole basketball player because he was a lot taller than I was. He didn't make me feel very good about myself at all, despite the fact that, like you, I thought we would be a better match. We probably looked proportional, but we spent a long six months fighting.

Look, I'm twice your age, and I still feel a twinge of insecurity when I date someone shorter than I am. But to indulge your "every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess," nonsense for a minute, even men I've dated who were shorter than I am (sometimes by a lot) were stronger than me and could overpower me.

You and your boyfriend are probably going to break up eventually for reasons that have nothing to do with your height (we seldom end up with the people we date at 19). There's no reason to prematurely end your relationship because you're insecure about your height. I can think of no better way to come to terms with those feelings than seeking counseling while you're in a loving relationship with someone who accepts you for you.

I don't wear heels often, because I'm not that graceful in them, and I don't like being a few inches taller. If I want to dress up, I'll wear kitten heels.
posted by gladly at 6:59 AM on December 21, 2013

It's a little unfair of you to judge your boyfriend by his appearance and assume that he wants something that you assume all men want. Try to treat him as an individual, and yourself as an individual.

It's entirely possible to see "cute couples" as not that impressive, to assume that they're _only_ together because of how they look. Then, more unconventional-looking couples are much more interesting and impressive, because you know there's something mysterious, or real, holding them together. (Neither view is better, because judging by appearance isn't the best approach, but it's something you can play with in your own mind.)
posted by amtho at 7:07 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm really short and would love to be your height. Anecdotally I feel like a lot more guys have wanted to date my tall and totally gorgeous and heels-wearing college bffs (one of whom is even taller than you!), probably in large part because they are so confident about their tall selves. I think as with a lot of things, people just tend to be envious of what they don't have. I sometimes think my relatively-tall boyfriend would make a better couple with a taller lady myself but when I joke about it he says he only wants to date me.

Also, please don't say stuff like your boyfriend needs a shorter girlfriend. He doesn't need one (or any girlfriend for that matter; no one has a right to a relationship) and it sounds like he really likes you. As a short and fat lady I understand feeling disbelief that a boyfriend will like you if you're sensitive about any aspects of your looks, but I can attest that it happens!
posted by mlle valentine at 7:10 AM on December 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

(Also, also, I never wear heels even though I am quite short. Just not being tall doesn't automatically make you cute and tiny and girly!)
posted by mlle valentine at 7:12 AM on December 21, 2013

As a short woman I'd give up an arm to be as tall you or even taller. A woman can look beautiful and regal (re: Michelle Obama in that picture arnicae provided) no matter what her height is. And from working in the corporate world, don't discount the advantage of being able to stare a man down without having to wear heels or tilt your head up.
posted by driedmango at 7:12 AM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

First, yes, you are tall, but not THAT tall--I had to Google the conversion for your height (being a feet-and-inches-type myself). I was actually surprised when I saw you were about 5'9"; I thought you were going to be more like 6 feet (183 cm) like one of my best friends is. I'm really short, so we look kind of hilarious together, but she is gorgeous, nearly always wears heels and makes the most of her height. In fact, she gets a little bent out of shape (in jest) when a woman taller than her turns up. Another tall woman of our acquaintance nearly always wears hats that make her even taller. Both are married to shorter men. My point here is that they both OWN those extra inches.

If it helps at all, some of this is just your age. I do not mean that in a dismissive way at all--but to point out that your feelings on this are both subjective and normal, and they probably won't last. You are at an age when you tend to want to be whatever the opposite is. If your hair is straight, you want it curly; if you are especially short, you want to be tall, etc. I am happy being short (but I am in my 40s now; as a teenager, I wanted to be tall), I don't want to be different, but when I see tall women, I think they look awesome and powerful and strong, and a ton of guys I know feel the same way. You are awesome and powerful and strong too and you should rock every centimeter of that 1.76 meters.
posted by tiger tiger at 7:18 AM on December 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

Walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye.

Height is so very very very unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Wear heels because you love the shoe, believe your boyfriend when he says it doesn't matter to him, console yourself with the fact that you are envied by lots of short women who long to have your height and embrace this amazing shell you've been given to live within.

You've acknowledged that there's nothing that can be done about your height. Please allow yourself time to grow into your body. You're not even close to being abnormal.
posted by h00py at 7:20 AM on December 21, 2013

Here's the thing. You need, right now, to start changing the things you say to yourself about your height. Try a simple one. Never just say, "i'm tall." say (mentally, I mean), "Nice and tall". That's what my parents did as i was growing up, I never once had any clue that a girl being tall could be a negative. I was so TALL and it was great! My mom is a tiny thing and she'd say, oh, I'm so jealous of how tall you are - it's a family joke that once I hit puberty she could finally use the top shelves in the house via me. Try writing down two or three good things a day about being tall, or some sort of positive message, and once you're doing it, look back over the past things you've listed. This is not a substitute for therapy but it's a START. Focus on the positive, work on ignoring the negative and replace those things with accurate, productive, and positive messages.
posted by lemniskate at 7:23 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is intended as an entirely neutral observation, but: you're from an Asian* country, aren't you?

I'm guessing from 1. your use of meters, 2. your extreme emphasis on height as a factor in beauty, and 3. your idea that what I would translate as about 5 feet, 9 inches is "pretty damn tall for a lady." (Also, 3.a: your idea that what I would translate as a little more than 2 inches is a huge amount for your boyfriend to be shorter than you.)

*Forgive me if this is inaccurate. It just reminds me of my own mother's fixation on height. She, however, was always fixated on how negative it was to be short, and bemoaned the fact that her children were also short. She believed that short height put her at a disadvantage in terms of success, and that people metaphorically as well as literally would look down on or overlook her. Her belief is borne out by multiple studies, like this one. I'll quote it for you:
"...calculated that each inch in height corresponds to $789 extra in pay each year, even when gender, weight and age are taken into account. An extra six inches, for example, results in an extra $4,734 in annual income. ...

Judge also found that height was more important than gender in predicting income. Taller women get paid more than their shorter counterparts. The tall began their careers with bigger paychecks, and kept the fiscal advantage into their 40s and beyond."
Accordingly, my brother and I got taken to specialists to check if we had growth hormone problems (no), made to do all kinds of exercises which were supposed to "make you taller" (jumping rope was one), and generally clucked at sadly and worried about all throughout our childhoods. With a 5'0" (1.52 m) mother and a 5'6" (1.68 m) father, my brother and I ended up 5'3" (1.60 m) and 4'11"-5'0" (on a good day--1.50-1.52 m) in height respectively. It was the normal genetic result of having short ancestors.

And we're doing fine, by the way. So are you. I'm the short girl you want to be and I never dated until I was 22. My height didn't help me get a boyfriend when I was a teenager, by the way. It wouldn't have gotten in the way either. What did, and will, was my self-esteem and the way I related to myself and other people.

One of my friends in high school was 6'2" (1.88 m ...which is more what I would call tall for a woman, especially at the age of 16 or so), and she would sometimes say things like you--that she was worried boys wouldn't like her because she was too tall. She was one of the most sought after girls I knew. I once heard a boy describe her as a "pillar of beauty," and he wasn't joking. Another super pretty tall girl I know was dating this incredibly sought after guy--handsome, charming...and short. At a guess, probably 15 or more cm shorter than her, and short for a guy. We were in band together and when we were getting suited up in our uniforms for performances, she used to crouch down to have him help her zip it up. No one was bothered. Everyone thought it was adorable, and that they were adorable together. Certainly no one was thinking he should have been paired with anyone else, much less someone shorter than him.

...Look, the point is that if your boyfriend has been with you for 2 years (!), he's with you because he likes you. If he has never said anything about your height difference and he tries to show you how unimportant it is to him and how much he loves you just the way you are, then believe him, if you can. I know it's hard, and I understand your feelings! But if you care about him, try for him. It's hard to have the person you love not listen to you.

You seem to want him to leave you. Do you believe that you don't deserve to be with him, or someone loving and awesome? If he left you for any other reason, would you believe that it was because of your height?

Sorry this is so scattered. Please consider therapy! I don't know if there is any stigma against it where you live but it can be very helpful in examining your unhelpful mental sticking points and assumptions, and trying to work past them.

I'm going to leave you with my own recent story of silly thinking. When my current boyfriend and I started dating, I had recently turned 26, and he was still 23 (he's just over two years younger). I didn't know this until we'd already been on a couple of dates--some cultural differences, appearance, and his place in life made him seem older. I had some anxiety about not being as successful/advanced as I wanted to be at my own age, and the age difference (not to mention the prevailing narrative that men "should" be older) bothered me. I asked if my age bothered him, and he said "oh no, of course not!" I said it wasn't "of course not," it wouldn't be wrong if it did, and he said "well, it's 'of course not' to me. To me, it's 'awesome?' check. (kiss) 'interesting?' check. (kiss) 'beautiful?' check. (kiss) That's the list, pretty much. Age isn't a part of it."

I would guess that your boyfriend would say something very similar. Height probably isn't a part of it. I know it's hard, but do your best to remember that it's only an issue for you, not for him. And that you don't have control over how tall you are, but you have (some) control over how you feel about it, and what you do about those feelings. Good luck, Emily119!
posted by spelunkingplato at 7:25 AM on December 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

i'm a little taller than you. all of the women i'm blood related to on my dad's side are your height or taller. some of us have boyfriends/husbands who are 6'4, some of us have boyfriends/husbands who are our height or shorter. my husband is 1/2 an inch or so taller than me.

i don't think you're silly at all. i had some similar complexes when i was around your age. a lot of famous women (models and nicole kidman not withstanding) are petite and small featured. a lot of my female friends were six inches+ shorter than me. from the beginning of school until the 7th grade, i towered over every single person in my class, male and female. and even well into high school i'd be lined up with the boys for pictures because it was done by height. everyone wanted me to play basketball and i got laughed at and called big bird because i picked flute (and thus towered over my entire section). insecure boys wouldn't date me (and i didn't really want to date shorter guys, to be honest).

somewhere in my 20s i really fell into my own, though - i realized that some of the short girls looked at me with absolute envy because my legs stop somewhere north of their belly buttons. i found that there are guys out there who really like a woman with broad shoulders and big boobs and oversized hips. our tall bodies have more space to fit our figure, so even heavier than the shorter women, we can create the illusion of the hourglass easier. all the things about me that i thought made me look like a huge hulking weirdo were actually in great demand if i stopped judging myself on the guys who only want petite women and stopped judging myself with the media/clothing stores/all the other shitty messages that defines the "perfect" woman.

i wouldn't say i'm all the way better - i still sometimes get flashes of those old insecurities - mostly when shopping - but i does get better, at least it did for me. trust your boyfriend and buy some cute flats. oh, and if you want a man who can protect you like a princess sometimes, you can have that and it's not silly to want it - but it doesn't have to be a height thing - when my husband (who again is basically my height) wraps me up in his arms i fall into him and get that feeling of protection i crave in that moment. that's about personalities, not about size.
posted by nadawi at 7:25 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

oh and i didn't mean to bang on the short women at all - just saying that short, tall, skinny, big, curvy, slender - we all judge ourselves on something we're not and over emphasize the importance of the thing we don't have - so while i felt huge and hulking, wishing i could wear a size 5 and not be able to touch the ceiling, they felt like they couldn't take up their spot in the room and were jealous of my legs. there isn't an objective perfect woman. and many women would choose to look like you than to be "too short."
posted by nadawi at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2013

Hi there, I'm 5'11" (about 1.9m I believe). This is just something you need to come to terms with on your own and with a therapist. It's taken me 30 years to become comfortable with my height. My husband is about an inch shorter than me.

Does it help that my husband likes that I'm tall and tells me so? Absolutely. But, you're never going to find true peace with your body if you base your satisfaction on something external rather than internal. Plus, you can guarantee that for any given physical trait, there is someone somewhere who is attracted to it and someone somewhere who is not.

I will always wear my ugly sneakers when we are invited somewhere fancy, and still be taller than him.
It took me SO LONG to be able to wear heels in public with my husband. He encourages it, because he wants me to wear what I want to wear/what works with the outfit. Any issue with being shorter than me is on him, and he understands that. And if you're gonna be taller than the guy anyway, why not wear some kick-ass heels. Hell yeah I'm 5'11" and wear 4 inch heels. I look fabulous; eat your heart out tall famous women. OWN IT GIRL.

Not only because she is normal, but because she would match perfectly to my boyfriend. They would be such a lovely picture together. He needs a girl who is (way) shorter than him, pretty, and even prettier in high heels.

(a) you are perfectly normal; people come in all shapes and sizes, and you aren't even that tall (b) Let him decide what he needs. If all he's looking for is a woman who meets 3 specific physical characteristics and doesn't care about her brain, her interests, her personality, then you really haven't found yourself a winner there and should DTMFA. Give the man some more credit. If you really think so little of him, then you shouldn't be dating him. Would you dump your boyfriend as soon as some tall guy came around that would "match" you better? If so, If not, then maybe give him the same benefit of the doubt.

And, not that it matters, but models are tall, Tom Cruise always dated tall women, there are a ton of men that find tall ('Amazonian') women really hot. For guys, being short (5'7" and under or so) is an issue they deal with as well. They expect women to want guys taller than them. So seeing a tall girl with a short guy, the guy thinks "wow, that dude must have a lot of money and/or is really good in bed to be able to convince that tall hot woman to be with him." Really. This is not a lie. For many men, bedding a tall beautiful woman is a point of pride.

TL;DR I get what you're going through. It's just something you need to work on, as there's nothing you can do to change your height. Perhaps your boyfriend is dating you because he does find you attractive and also thinks you're an interesting person. Wear heels. Own your height. If people have a problem with it, that's on them, not on you. Haters gonna hate.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:31 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Look, YOU could be a super model.

I am taller than you, and height has always been my asset, my secret card to being perceived as beautiful as a somewhat average in other ways woman. All beauty relies in some way, on exaggeration.

And, I don't know, but everyone shorter than me doesn't seem be the ideal height, they just seem short. You are not tall, you are just right. Make the most of it. Revel in it. Dare I say, take advantage of it.
posted by nanook at 7:33 AM on December 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

I just need an answer on how to deal with all this. I know I can not get any shorter, so this will follow me my entire life. I'm only 19 years old

Your height is not going to change much from here on, but you'll get way more comfortable being who you are as you get older.

Body image really is one of those things that gets better with age. At your age I hated my nose. Hated, hated, hated it. Looking in the mirror would make me miserable to the extent that I'd "forget" to brush my teeth so as not to have to go in there with it. I'd convinced myself that my nose was too short and my nostrils were horrible and piggy and looking in the mirror just left me feeling mortified.

Nowadays it's just my nose, and it's fine.

At 19 you haven't had an adult body for very long and care way way way too much about what's "normal", and that makes you susceptible to being told that something about you is weird and wrong and needs fixing and you can't possibly be happy until it is fixed.

This is bullshit, and the only reason it seems at all plausible is because there is a huge and highly efficient industry totally devoted to making vulnerable young people feel that way. The more insecure you are about the way you look, the more money these sharks can gouge out of you. Get mad at bastard advertisers instead of hating yourself - you're fine, and anybody who tries to persuade you different can fuck off.

So how you deal with this is just to remind yourself over and over and over that there is nothing wrong with your height except that you don't like it right now; and that is something that absolutely won't be true for your whole life. It's already a non-issue for your boyfriend. He loves you. Believe him.

I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess. And he deserves it so much.

That right there? That is a pernicious lie that's been told to you by people who want you to feel miserable. Don't let them keep on fooling you for the rest of your life.
posted by flabdablet at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2013 [9 favorites]

I'm a 6'2" female (188cm) more than three times your age. I know your pain. I grew up in a time and place where being so tall was a punchline, as in "I went to pick up my blind date -- she opened the door and she was six feet tall!" BIG LAUGH!

When we were taught ballroom dancing in school, the instructors thought it funny to partner me with the shortest boy in class. My breasts were above his eye level. The instructors stood in a corner and tried to hide their giggles. At home, the first question my mother asked whenever I mentioned a boy's name was "How tall is he?" Not, "Is he smart? Is he kind? How did you meet? Does he treat you well?" Just, "How tall is he?" I didn't want to bring a boy home if there was a chance he wasn't tall enough. So I just never dated.

I spent years bristling at "How's the weather up there?" (Can't tell with all these clouds in my eyes.), "Do you play basketball?" (No, I play the guitar.), "Wow, you're so TALL!" (Really? I hadn't noticed! Wonder when that happened?) But as I matured, I found my talents and discovered a new way to see myself. I wasn't just the tall girl anymore. I was the smart one, the clever one. I was the one people could count on if things got tough, the one they called not just when they needed something off the top shelf, but when they needed a sympathetic ear or some practical advice.

You need to start listening to other voices. Then you'll find that how tall you are is no more important to the people who matter in your life than what color your hair is. I've spent more than 30 years now with the love of my life, who is a full foot shorter than I am. And we joke about how I'll never be a "little old lady", no matter how old I get.
posted by peakcomm at 7:56 AM on December 21, 2013 [16 favorites]

I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess. And he deserves it so much.

Many people have already commented on this, but just to hammer in the point - this is totally wrong-headed. If you google "men who like tall women" you'll find plenty of examples. Some men dislike dating shorter women because bending down to kiss or dance with them is hard on their lower backs. A man who thinks in that way is not a man I would want to date. If your boyfriend truly thought like that, he would not be dating you.

I've often wished I were taller and much more of an Amazon and less of a chubby petite lady with a high voice. I'm about 5 inches shorter than you and I often feel overlooked and powerless. My challenge has been to embrace my boring medium-short height and to love my body and all the things it does, and to dress in ways that make me feel comfortable, powerful, fun, or sexy (depending on the occasion and my mood).

If I were wearing ugly sneakers to fancy places I'd be down in the dumps too. At least find yourself some shoes you like that are appropriate for nice functions - whether they are flats or heels.
posted by bunderful at 7:58 AM on December 21, 2013

Some of the answers above have already pointed out that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence when you have low self esteem - you're tall and you want to be short. A short person with low self esteem wants to be tall. Whether it is hair color or nose or breasts or whatever other body part, you want the opposite of what you have if you don't like yourself.

I'm not sure if this will help, but what is your reaction when you read this question asked on this website not so long ago? I hope your reaction will be shock and dismay at how this person is letting insecurity and shame about height ruin their life (and possibly the entire family's dynamic). I hope you will see how this applies to your question - these questions are two sides of the same coin…

except that in your case, you're asking about yourself, rather than your family member. You wish you looked different, and it's affecting you so much, you're considering trying to sabotage your life/happiness because you think you don't deserve to be happy.

I really want to emphasize the point about considering your wants and needs in a relationship first and NEVER making decisions in a relationship because you think the other person is too good for you or that you need to be punished. Those thoughts come from a dark place - don't listen to them! This is what therapy will help you to achieve.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:02 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Gawd, I wish I could be as tall as you.
posted by tel3path at 8:03 AM on December 21, 2013

Peter Dinklage and his wife have been married for years and have kids and everything. She even wears heels!

I realize this is an extreme example, but my point is that a real relationship can overcome any number of invented norms.

A more likely scenario: Katniss and Peeta!

I'm glad you are planning to discuss this with a therapist. Your boyfriend sounds like a peach and it would be sad if this prevented you from enjoying your time together. FWIW, I am your height, and I have dated shorter guys. None of them minded--one of them actually really loved my height and told me it was like dating an Amazon, which delighted me.

(I am close to my husband's height, and when I wear heels, I'm taller than him. He doesn't have a problem with it at all.)
posted by elizeh at 8:05 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Runway models are tall. A million straight men desperately wish they were dating a runway model. Do you think they desperately wish these runway models were shorter?

PS: Whatever you do, don't slump, it looks terrible.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:14 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have the same height struggles! I used to be waaaay self conscious about it. But you know what? I realized that I can't waste time not enjoying those fun high heels or just being myself and let go.

If they can't handle my height then there's not a snowflakes chance in hell that they could handle me.

View it as an asset, because it is!
posted by floweredfish at 8:15 AM on December 21, 2013

Pretty much everybody in the world wants to be taller, shorter, skinnier, heavier, younger-looking, older-looking, to not be bald, to have a different nose, or to not have whatever glaring flaw in their personal appearance they imagine themselves to have.

A lot of people don't even notice what you look like, because they're too busy worrying about whatever they think their own glaring flaw is. A lot of people will find you unattractive for reasons that have nothing to do with your glaring flaw. A lot of people will find you attractive because they think your glaring flaw is your best feature.

You don't have a glaring flaw, and any time and/or mental energy you spend worrying about this stuff is utterly wasted. Accept yourself. Get in your own corner.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:19 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is not a height problem, it is a body image problem that you have focussed on your height. Because this is impacting your life and your relationship, it deserves to be addressed. You need body image help. You can get that from some therapists trained in this area (make sure you ask if they have experience doing this kind of work - in my experience, general therapy can be really helpful but unless it is targeted to body image, it won't address this specific problem), or you can work on it yourself using something like The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash. There might also be community centers in your area that offer free body image support groups or workshops. Get on the Google and find out where they are.

I think the important thing is to actively DO something about this. Reassurances from your loved ones and strangers might feel nice and they might help temporarily, but for a lasting solution you have to seek a behavioural intervention, and actively practice acceptance and self-compassion, and it does take work.

One small thing you can do now that may help is to seek out images of beautiful tall women, and surround yourself with them. Practice looking at and appreciating them. You need positive representations of people who look like you just to be mentally healthy in a human society.

Because there IS a cultural bias for taller men/relatively shorter women, that is what you see by default in popular media, and thus what you internalize as normal and desirable. You have to actively fight back against that to recalibrate, in your mind, what normal and desirable is - there is no objective reason why a shorter woman is better suited to relationships with men, or more attractive, than a taller woman. You have just internalized a cultural bias, most likely rooted in sexism and stereotypes that women should be weaker and smaller than men - which we all do. But it requires undoing if you want to feel healthy and like yourself.

After spending some time looking at positive representations of taller women, start taking photos of yourself or looking at yourself in the mirror while practising non-judgment. It will be difficult, but it will help.
posted by Ouisch at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

This right here is your problem:
I'm only 19 years old

Feeling like you're freaky looking and undesirable is 100% par for the course at your age. Just about every very young woman has her issue that she's sure is the reason she'll never be as happy as other women… fatness, usually, or ungainliness, but in your case it's tallness. It's really all the same - the natural reaction to a culture that is all about criticizing women's appearance, and relative unfamiliarity with the huge variety of humanity. It takes time to grow into your skin and realize that everyone is insecure, everyone's doing the best they can, and NOBODY is looking at you with anywhere near the level of criticism that you are.

Anyway. Hugs to you. My only advice specifically relating to the tallness is to get some decent flats (why on earth are you wearing sneakers? Stop punishing yourself) and stand up straight. Bad posture looks bad. Tallness looks impressive.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:33 AM on December 21, 2013 [11 favorites]

You want to be with a guy who likes YOU! And you're lucky, your fella seems to love you to bits.

A great guy sees the woman as a whole, not just her body or her face or her boobs or her height.

For sure, therapy, because you should love yourself as you are. You can't control your height, it's just how you're made.

So enjoy looking gorgeous in heels, and long slacks and whatever other awesome things you can wear because designers design for tall people.

You lucky Amazon you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:39 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

You have to actively fight back against that to recalibrate, in your mind, what normal and desirable is

Right. Also worth spending time pondering the fact that "normal" and "desirable" are quite separate attributes, and working out (a) how to gauge the degree to which each of those applies to you and (b) how much you care about that.

Seems to me that your two year relationship with a boyfriend who clearly desires you is pretty good evidence that you're quite adequately desirable.

Also seems to me that "normal" is actually a completely self-contradictory idea, given that I don't know a single person I could honestly apply it to. We're all freaks, one way or another, and that's exactly as it should be.
posted by flabdablet at 8:45 AM on December 21, 2013

Nineteen is a hard age. A lot of people, women especially, feel like their self image is set in stone. You get a chorus of older people telling you that stuff gets better when you are older, but it feels kind of patronizing and frustrating, as if you are being told you aren't an adult yet. I'm here to add to that chorus, but only with a story that I hope you can relate to.

I'm 1.60m (5'3"). My younger sisters have always been tall than me, and passed me in height before I was 12. When I graduated high school, I was only 1.50m (4'11" and change). I always had to stand in the front row, I couldn't reach things, people teased me. I was incredibly sensitive about my height, and when I wasn't, I was incredibly sensitive about my (completely average) weight, because both of my sisters weighed perhaps 5-8kg less than me despite being much taller. Buying clothes had me in tears every time I had to go into the petite section, and I was constantly trying to wear heels. Terrible idea when you have knees missing ligaments and cartilage. My mother was so sad that I was so insecure, but I was convinced that all her wisdom and all her encouragement would never help and I was mad that she pitied me and I was tired of being asked if I was the middle child at family gatherings.

I grew 10cm in my first two years of university, but I still felt terribly short until I was about 21 and got into the "real world". And you know what? I had enough to worry about that I didn't care about my body, other than that it worked and it looked presentable. Two years after that, without any real effort on my part, I was able to go shopping--with people! And I enjoyed it! No more crying in the dressing room! I now see my sisters (1.85m/6'1"/64kg/140lbs at 19, and 1.78m/5'10"/120lbs at 21) as the awesome, confident, competent, funny, beautiful people they are, to the point that I almost didn't bother putting their stats up. It's about their careers and their relationships and their interests when I see them now, instead of "oh no what if we go to this r-rated movie and I get carded when they don't because they look taller which means older omg" or "oh no what if a guy flirting with them asks what year your ugly fat short sister is in high school when I've graduated from university omg".

It happens over time. It's awesome that my 1.6m, 65kg little self can pick them both up and carry them around the house for a lark. They think it's hilarious and that my career is badass, and that makes me so proud. Speaking of careers, I had to give my boss a copy of my renewed driver's license the other day, and he took one look at it and said "no way you are 5'3, I seriously thought you were at least 5'6, maybe 5'7". And he actually out a measuring tape to check. I laughed with him about how mortified I would have been if this had come up when I was nineteen, and he mentioned that his wife is 8cm (!!) taller than he is (and he is tall!) and that both of them didn't ever discuss height for the first three years of their relationship because of their own insecurity, but that they each love the other's height and can't imagine it any other way.

So. See yourself the way others see you. Not the way you think others see you. If you focus on other attributes, physical and mental, that you know for sure benefit you, comfort in your skin will follow. More than that, give it time. Nineteen is hard. It gets better.
posted by skyl1n3 at 8:46 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm a woman and I'm taller than you. The teen years can be bad for tall women, but I promise it gets easier. Where do you live? That could help us find you some things you need, like a therapist to deal with your body image problems, and a source for shoes you like that come in your size.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:46 AM on December 21, 2013

I've lived with 20 different roommates over the year, and the most stunningly gorgeous one was 6' tall. She can wear heels like no one else I know. She dresses UP. She wears clothes that emphasize her long legs and her curves. Her makeup is fantastic, but her grin is even better. Her whole attitude about her height basically comes down to "I'm gorgeous, y'all better recognize." She married a man who is about half a foot shorter than her and their wedding photos are beautiful.

I'm 5'10" (1.78m) and I have struggled more than my old roommate with my height. More than a few of my good friends can easily tuck under my chin when they're standing in front of me. I feel self-conscious about this, so I've slouched and that's looked bad. A slouchy tall person doesn't look better than a well-postured taller person. I've recently decided to stop fighting it, and have even started wearing heels from time to time. It's working out well.

You and I are going to be damn tall for a lady for the rest of our lives. So, let's just do that. Let's be the Tall Ladies, with the legs that go on for days and the long pretty arms.

You know, maybe it would help to think of how you would counsel your boyfriend if he were feeling this crushing shame because he is shorter than you. Do you think he doesn't deserve you? That he should feel embarrassed in the street when he sees taller men who would look "better" with you? Should he give up on wearing flat shoes and exclusively wear platform shoes just to hide his true height? Do you date him in spite of his obviously insufficient height? If that's a silly question for him, isn't it a silly question for you?
posted by sadmadglad at 8:55 AM on December 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

I thought of a few things when I read this. The first is that I hope you find a way to be happy with yourself. You only get one of you and given that, it's best to find a way to be happy with what you have. Yes, I'm disappointed that my body has failed in a couple of ways, but so be it. It's the only vehicle that I've got.

The second is that it's all what we see in it. Your boyfriend likes you enough to have been with you two years and enough to support you through this. Sounds like you have a good catch. And also you're the same height lying down.
posted by plinth at 9:07 AM on December 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Here's a trivial little thing that might help you realize how many of our ideas about what men and women should look like together are just made up.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:08 AM on December 21, 2013 [6 favorites]

I agree with everyone above me about you having assumptions about height and beauty that are just not true. You think your boyfriend would prefer a shorter woman, but he's telling you the exact opposite.

I'm wondering if there are other factors here that are making you feel insecure about your relationship, that you are associating with your height.

When I was your age, I dated a guy who was much shorter than me (i am 5'7, he was 5'3). For years I avoided heels and wore flats because I was afraid of making him feel weird, I didn't want to tower over him. But he really did not care, I wasn't even the tallest girl he had dated! Our height difference had nothing to do with whether or not he could treat me like a princess and protect me, if that's the kind of relationship we wanted to have. (It wasn't, but that was besides the point).

You aren't even that tall, to be honest! Runway models generally are taller than you. I'm not sure what part of the world you live in, but i am in the US, and I know lots of women your height or taller. Another thing I am wondering--were you a very tall child? I know for me personally, I've always thought of myself as being tall, but I'm only slightly above average. However, I was a tall child, and was usually one of the tallest girls in my class, I towered over boys throughout a lot of my childhood and teen years. Even though I am not a freakishly tall adult, I spent a lot of my childhood and teen years feeling like a giant.
posted by inertia at 9:12 AM on December 21, 2013

I am a short lady but I have had a lot of tall, gorgeous friends (most of them taller than you!) and all of them described feeling pretty much the way that you do. The funny thing is, guys universally loved these statuesque women--and many of them were fine-boned, delicately featured . . . they described feeling like hulking gorillas but none of them looked like that. It takes time, I think, to accept ourselves for who we are, and that part of what you're going through is normal, but I'd hate to see you throw away what sounds like a good, loving relationship due to your insecurities! Take care of yourself, okay?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2013

Here is something that will serve you well for your whole life, but hopefully will make a difference in how you feel in just a few weeks: when you find yourself obsessing about something that is pointless because there's nothing you can do about it, be suspicious. It's almost always a cover for something else, and the clues for what that is are probably embedded in your presentation of the problem.

In this case, it might be the relationship. You're making excuses to break up, you're punishing him for feelings he doesn't have. Please understand that if you don't want to be in the relationship, you don't have to invent a "good enough" reason to break it off. Be honest and break it off. Or if you're doing this because what you're really afraid of is that the relationship might end because they just do and you're young, then own that and stop making it about a problem that literally does not exist. Your last question was about feeling unimportant to your boyfriend, which is a real problem that does exist.

You're also near the end of puberty, and just becoming an adult who's relatively fixed in their physical features after a long period of rapid change, and if you weren't tall then you'd be insecure about how short you were or your nose or knobby knees or whatever. Insecurities exist for most people, it's just a question of how much you're going to let them run your life or if you're just going to shrug and move on. Just because you have these feelings doesn't mean they need to define you.

Please go buy yourself a pair of nice flats - or heels! I'm taller than you and this has never been my insecurity, and though my feet hurt too much in really high heels I'll go up to about 5cm with zero hesitation. Anyway, dress shoes have thinner soles than sneakers - you could wear a 1-2cm heel and be shorter than in sneakers. You're not doing yourself any favors, you're just wearing ugly inappropriate shoes.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:39 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Being a good partner is not about your body.

That belief is what's driving you mad, not your height.

Your height is just a distraction here. Yes, there are many tall, happy, beautiful women, many of them involved with shorter men, but a number of the well-intentioned responses above remind me of Why "I prefer small boobs" isn't helping.
posted by orangejenny at 9:50 AM on December 21, 2013

Just to add to the stories of mixed height couples, my great grandfather was 5'7. He met my great grandmother, a big sturdy german american girl of 6 feet and fell instantly in love, at least according to family history related to me by people that knew them like my mother and grandfather. They were madly in love for 60 years and died within a year of each other (sadly about 2 years before I was born). You'll find so many stories like this. Of course many people have physical types that they prefer (and many men prefer tall women) but when it comes right down to it, people love who they love for lots of reasons. It sounds like your boyfriend loves you and your height and everything else about you.
posted by katyggls at 10:17 AM on December 21, 2013

My mom is taller than you, my step father was shorter. -I never noticed- as a kid.

Your height is OK. Seriously, it is ok. The problems here have nothing to do with the differences in stature between the two of you. But how you've internalized some pretty silly gender norms. Yes, I'd say find a professional to help with the body image difficulties.
posted by edgeways at 10:23 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

You need some therapy, because these are body image issues. Everyone feels this way about a part of their appearance sometimes, but the way you describe it? This is a serious recurring issue for you. I promise you most people do not view tall girls/women the way you view yourself. Some tall women wear it with pride, and they strut around on their high heels like an amazon. You will be so much happier if you stop your mind from over-analyzing your supposed "imperfections". A good therapist will be able to help you with that.
posted by fireandthud at 10:39 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Shoulders back, head held high. If you attract any notice, it will be admiring.
posted by Cranberry at 10:49 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your feelings are not silly. They are pretty common whenever one person has an insecurity about themselves or an over-reliance on what they see on TV and in their day to day lives as being an inflexible norm. For some people it's height. You can insert any body part you'd like and there's someone who could rewrite your entire post with the same perspective.

I'm 30 and I sometimes feel insecure about my height (too short), my breast size (too small), or my face (too bitchy!) -- sometimes all three at once. It's not just a thing you grow out of. You have to work on it. Therapy will help, sure, but so will a nice pair of shoes. You don't have to live in ugly sneakers.

There's a whole lot of world and a whole lot of people you haven't met yet, who are diverse from you. People are not puzzle pieces. They don't always "match" in obvious physical ways. My SO and I sure don't. The reason people know we are together is because of our body language, not because of our nonexistent complementary features.
posted by sm1tten at 10:55 AM on December 21, 2013

I have a friend who's 6' (1,83m) and she looks gorgeous in heels. She snipes all the tall guys from me (average height), probably because she's confident rather than ashamed of her height.

Being much taller than average will always make you stand out - you can either feel uncomfortable about that or embrace it. Standing out isn't always bad. Think of models on a catwalk (most taller than you!). It's totally normal to feel uncomfortable at first, especially as a teenager, but after a few years you'll see that a lot of people don't care about your height at all, and others are staring because they admire your height and think you look awesome.

Also, there's nothing wrong with preferring a taller (or shorter) partner, but you need to accept that if your partner is with you, he finds you attractive. If he wanted a shorter partner, he would leave and find one. Trust what he's telling you - he's a better judge of his own feelings than you are!
posted by randomnity at 11:15 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm on the lower end of the five feet range, which is just a little below average nationally, but seems to be about average in my area due to a large amount of certain ethnicities. And I don't think height matters that much. If you have an attractive face and you're taller, you'll get more attention than a shorter person who is less attractive. When I see all these attractive celebrities, they seem to all be at least 5' 8". I don't think my face is special. So basically if you're good looking, you already have an advantage despite your height.

There are various body types at any range. The kind with the dainty shoulders and petite frame can be common for both tall and short people. Even if the taller one is objectively bigger overall, it matters more about the proportion. There's plenty of short girls who have wide shoulders or big feet in relation to everything else or deep, husky voices. I feel like this is not that helpful because I'm still placing an emphasis on looks, and it sounds like I'm saying it's only okay to be tall if you're attractive, but it's just my experience that height does not matter as much as general good looks, which you mentioned that you have.
posted by wholecornandsalt at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2013

L'Wren Scott is 6"3 ( 1.90), dates Mick Jagger, and is incredibly stylish! I don't know where you live, but your height isn't uncommon here in Los Angeles, and I don't see tall women wearing flat shoes and slumping. If anything, I think most petite women want to be taller. (I'm 5'10", and dated guys from 6'9" to 5'2"--my husband is shorter than I am, and wouldn't dream of asking me to not wear heels.)

While I think therapy might help, maybe you just need more exposure to the bigger world--more body types, different areas of interest, more diverse people.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:30 PM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

If I were 5'9", I would wear three-inch heels incessantly because at my height (5'2"), heels just bring me slightly closer to other people's nose height but at 5'9" they take you from "attractively tall" to "STUNNING."

I mean seriously, heels on short women are whatever, but heels on tall women are like HELLO WORLD I AM A GORGEOUS GAZELLE OF A WOMAN AND I KNOW IT.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:31 PM on December 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

why don't you look into doing some modeling? you are a little over 5'9" which is the minimum height for models i believe. really, your height is not the problem at all and you are not even that tall. the problem is your very disney-like picture of what a romantic relationship needs to look like. please discard that dated and harmful picture you have of how men and women need to be. would you say to a woman who has brown hair that she needs to be blond? or God forbid, that a woman of color needs to be white? you are doing the exact same thing but with height. as you can see this is wholly damaging. years ago i had a boss who was 6'4". now that is tall for a woman! she married a man her exact same height and they were very happy.
posted by wildflower at 12:33 PM on December 21, 2013

It's true that some guys are put off by tall women, but many others aren't. I find tall women quite appealing myself. Don't try to hide being tall. Make it work for you. It's certainly done.

You have a excessively negative and despairing tone here. It is over the line into irrational territory. My guess is that if you weren't making yourself miserable over your height, it would be something else. I think Seligman's Learned Optimism might help you, but at any rate consider the idea that you need to fix your head more than your height.
posted by mattu at 12:38 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes I have talked to my boyfriend about this and he sais that he is proud of my height and has not even a tiny problem with it, so he tends to get really sad that I'm so depressed about it and how it destroys our relationship. However he can't make me feels better.

Therapy seems like a really solid answer, seeing as 1) your boyfriend has been with you for 2 years, and 2) he has said he is proud of your height, but that doesn't make you feel better.

I'm a tall guy, (6' 3" / 1,9 m), and my wife is a head shorter than I am. There are times that I comfort her, but there's no way she needs any protecting. And I didn't start dating her and choose to marry her because I tower over her, but I like her regardless of her height.

Find comfortable shoes, and start with flats. For taller ladies, there might be fewer options, but that doesn't mean there are no good options (my sister-in-law is your height, and she complains about that, but she is gorgeous and finds gorgeous shoes). Stand up tall and be proud. The one thing that will make you stand out in a bad way is if you slouch, like you are ashamed of your height. Guys do this, and so do women, and it doesn't fool anyone. You are who you are, and if your boyfriend is happy to be with you as you are, try to find happiness in that. The find comfortable heels, and rock 'em!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:39 PM on December 21, 2013

You're as tall as many of my women friends, and my (ridiculously gorgeous) sister -- about 7 centimeters taller than me, and I think of myself as very average height-wise, sometimes feel a bit "squatty" and would like to be taller, more like my sister...

BUT there was a period of years where I thought of myself as some huge hulking thing, which I now understand was entirely ridiculous. But it came from adolescence, when I was growing, and the adults I knew were constantly commenting "you're so TALL!!!" ... "You've GROWN SO MUCH," "WOW, you're already TALLER THAN ME," "OH MY GOD, you're so tall" etc., etc., etc. This was silly talk; they were comparing me to the former child-me, and influenced by the fact that time passes  s l o w l y  for kids and rilly rilly FAST for adults, which made it seem to them that I exploded in height in some extraordinary way. Wrong.

I was not SO TALL, and etc., I was totally typical, but when you keep hearing that sort of thing at a sensitive age, it feels like you are BIZARRO FREAKY TALL. Your height is not so unusual at all, and not at all something to be worried about. At all. I'd be delighted to be your height, and I think you will feel this way too, after a bit more time passes.
posted by taz at 12:44 PM on December 21, 2013

I get a little gaga sometimes when I meet very tall women.


I'm a little concerned about how you talk to your boyfriend about it though. It might make it harder for him to feel that you trust him.
posted by spbmp at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2013

Yes, cultural stuff seems to have a lot to do with this. I'm about 5'8" and felt really insecure about it when I was younger. Like, I wasn't even that concerned about it in relation to guys, I just felt permanently gawky, and now I realize there are lots of women taller than me, even if not as many as are shorter. My best friend is six foot, and it's still a little weird to feel so short in her company.

I don't date men, but talked about it with a female friend who was 5'11" at one point and she observed that she didn't want to date the insecure ones, and the secure ones, to paraphrase, basically felt like badasses. I think with shorter guys, there's kind of an assumption on the part of the public that short men date short women because they have to. A short (or average) guy dating a tall woman who appears in public in heels is saying a lot about force of personality on both their parts. Confidence is powerful.
posted by Sequence at 12:50 PM on December 21, 2013

I'm 6ft (1.83m) and a woman. I HATED being this tall for a very long time. Let me tell you, I wasted so much time feeling self-conscious over it. Now I realize that no one really cares. It might catch their eye, but so what? My last boyfriend was 5'8" (1.73m) and after the first few dates, I never thought about it. He made me feel beautiful and didn't seem to care one way or the other how tall I was.

One book I really enjoyed is The Tall Book by Arianne Cohen. She's young and 6'3" (1.9m). It is full of facts and anecdotes about tall people all over the world and the experiences of being tall. If anything it made me proud of my height. It might be a good one in addition to the therapy.
posted by cecic at 12:51 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm about your height, and grew up in a mostly-Asian culture where being petite was a beauty standard. I can remember what it was like at your age to feel like Girlzilla. I still sometimes feel like a big galoot, but more days than not, I'm pretty stoked on being tall. There are so many advantages. For me, that includes being taken seriously in the workplace, with less effort due strictly to my physical presence; being able to wear a wide range of styles; and perhaps more to the point of your question re: romance, discovering that certain men are just knocked off their feet by us tall ladies. It's a major attractor for some men.

Yes, there are men who prefer a more petite girlfriend, but that's no skin off my nose. I don't need every man to adore me; I only need one, right guy.

Rock that height, girl. It's a gift. It may take a few more years to get past the late-teens/early-adult self-consciousness, but when you do, BAM! I think you'll enjoy your superpower.
posted by nacho fries at 12:56 PM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

My daughters are both taller than me - one is 1.76 m and growing - and I am so proud of them. They are beautiful. So are you, and I'm certain your boyfriend thinks so too.
I'm with those who suggest therapy.
posted by mumimor at 1:13 PM on December 21, 2013

I'm your height, and was nearly this tall at 12. I don't really have anything new to add, but personally I found 19 to be a VERY awkward age. Hang in there!

You're not alone, either: (it's all about confidence!)
posted by jrobin276 at 1:32 PM on December 21, 2013

I'm your height and every day wish I was taller so I could command attention and authority more at work as well as have a longer reach and better leverage advantage in the sports I play. Supermodels are very tall. Olympic athletes are very tall. You're in good company.

When I was a kid I was taller than my peers and it felt weird. Then I grew up and realized that if anything it's an advantage. Tall woman are beautiful. You can wear heels if you want; it's just going to make you more beautiful (though it's gonna be trial and error finding comfortable ones, haha). People often associate height with authority or an air of competence - I mean that just as a matter of quick first impression. Being tall is good. This is why women who are politicians, business leaders, lawyers in court etc. wear sharp, gorgeous high heels. YES, even the ones who are many cm taller than you to begin with - they wear them too.

In terms of dating, happily the world is a big place and there are short men who love tall women, tall men who love tall women, and medium height men who love tall women. Surely you will meet them. But you know what the most attractive thing is? Confidence, security, high self-esteem and positivity...which is why people in the thread are suggesting you take this concern to therapy.
posted by zdravo at 1:45 PM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

You are not THAT tall, my goodness. Many women wish they were as tall as you are. You really need to talk to a good therapist, darling. You are boiling in self-loathing just because you are slightly outside the norm.

I am not minimizing your pain. I am transgender and I am about nine feet tall in heels, and I would dearly love to be more petite. But we gotta work with what we've got. Don't torture yourself over the stuff you can't change. Look on the bright side... Many of the shorties envy us!

Do they have Payless Shoes there? Because they have cute flats in sizes up to 13 or so.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:54 PM on December 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Wow, that's a huge wall of text there with other answers, so I'm (obviously) not reading them all.

But provided Google's conversions are right, that's only a shade over 5'9". In my experience, that's not even a height I'd call "tall" for women!

I'm on the short side at 5'3", 5'5" to 5'9" is plain old average, and it takes 6'+ before I'm thinking "tall".

On the other hand, men 5'9"-5'10" are about average, and "tall" is more like 6'4" to 6'6" or more, depending on the guy's build.

An additional thought - your height is right smack dab in the middle of acceptable for female runway models - "female models should be around 34-24-34 in and between 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) and 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) tall".
posted by stormyteal at 9:47 PM on December 21, 2013

Hello - just popped into the thread reiterate what others are saying. 1) You're not particularly tall for a girl in many places - my gf is 180cm tall 2) I'm a bit taller than her - but only when she's not wearing big heels - which she loves doing and I totally don't have a problem with. 3) Tall women are hot. Good luck with sorting this all out in your head!
posted by prentiz at 11:34 PM on December 21, 2013

I know that every man wants a smaller woman, someone he can "protect" and treat like his princess

Ack, agh, NO. This is simply not true. 1.76 metres is... hang on... just over 5'9"? That is so not unusually tall for a woman. I know absolutely loads of women that tall, and some taller. Hell, my partner is that tall and I'm only 5'8", and it really is not a problem, either for her or me. And she likes to wear her spiky Loubies sometimes, too. She looks awesome in 'em.

So this is just another chime-in to illustrate that you're maybe being assailed by some false assumptions here, and that's a big part of the problem.
posted by Decani at 6:23 AM on December 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

You've gotten great advice already, but I'll just add another voice to the chorus of "I'm about your height and wear heels and date people of all heights," as well as point you to a recent article about exactly this topic.
posted by dizziest at 8:50 PM on December 22, 2013

I'm very short. I'm American, so I don't know metrics--but I'm 5 feet tall and most people tower over me, both male and female.

The last guy I dated was 5'10, and he made it clear that he preferred taller women. His ex-fiance was about two inches taller than he, and another ex was about five inches taller than he. Those heights are commonly found in the supermodel world. As I am short, and shaped like an hourglass, I would never, ever be considered to be beautiful enough to be a supermodel. (My ex was a jerk, but that's another story. The point is that some guys prefer women like you. Others prefer women like me).

I envied women like you when I was younger, and when I was dating my ex. The point is that your boyfriend loves you the way you are, and you are fixating on your height for some reason that would be best figured out with the help of a therapist.
posted by Rainflower at 5:17 AM on December 23, 2013

Late to the thread, but you might find the perspective of this short story helpful.
posted by JanetLand at 12:18 PM on December 23, 2013

Other people have covered the more important things above, but just in case you're still worried that you can't be cute and princessy at your height: Taylor Swift is 1,77-1,8m, depending on who you ask.
posted by ostro at 7:54 AM on December 24, 2013

I'm 1,8m tall, and from a family of tall people. I remember being 19, and I remember short guy friends with no self-confidence who would whine about how I shouldn't wear heels and I was tall enough already, blah blah blah (these are typically the same guys who tell you not to cut your hair short because they like long hair, as if it's any of their goddamn business). I'm sorry you're dealing with the cultural baggage that tells you what you should look like and how you should move through the world. Every woman deals with it in her own ways, and this is where your anxieties have landed, and that's not so unusual. For short women it isn't this, but it's their hair or their hips or whatever else they decide, at nineteen, makes them less worthy of love and of being desired than their hypothetical ideal would be. The system is broken, and a little bit of it's managed to get under your skin, as it does for almost everyone. Therapy will help with that, I'm sure.

But here's what helped me, over the last decade, to go from being vaguely uncomfortable with my height to loving it:

1. Age, man. Age helps so much. Of course I still have days where I feel awkward or I don't like my chin or my god my hair is losing its mind, but as I've begun to own who I am that sort of matters less. I can look at myself and see not just my own standard female body dysmorphia, but also the cute selfies I've taken when I felt pretty, and the flattering things my loving friends have said to me that I actually believed, and the fact that I'm more than just a body. I'm a soul and a heart and a brain and a big smile, and those are the things that I'm attracted to in other people so I shouldn't discount them in myself, even when I feel like the packaging isn't what I'd wish for. So, therapy for now, but this will begin to work itself out over time if you have a healthy and growing level of self-love.

2. Having tall ladies as role models. I've gone into big exams and important presentations pretending I was Gina Torres and you know what? It worked. There are a hell of a lot of beautiful women in Hollywood, and they aren't all tiny Emma Stone types. Not to mention the fact that you're shorter than nearly every model and supermodel in the modern industry. Go read the life stories of some of those extraordinarily beautiful, widely-agreed-to-be-the-human-ideal supermodels.
But the best is having tall friends who are confident and beautiful and desirable, because it breaks down all of the gross stuff you've been telling yourself when you see yourself reflected out in the world and not just in a mirror.

3. Feminism. I'm not kidding. As you get older, you start to look at the world we're handed and what's expected of us, and you start to wonder why. You start to see the things you've taken for granted, like "every man wants a smaller woman who he can protect and treat like his princess." Your boyfriend isn't telling you that, culture is. You want to feel cute and vulnerable in order to feel sexually desirable, and maybe that's just who you are or maybe that's how you've been trained. If it's the former, there are a lot of ways to feel cute and vulnerable that don't depend on the specifics of your body. If it's the latter, then looking critically at culture will really help.

Also, as you get to know more guys, you'll start to notice that the sexy, confident, mature guys genuinely don't give a damn (aside from the normal this-is-the-body-type-I-personally-prefer, which may be tall or short or gangly or fat). The guys who care a lot about their relative heights are the kind of crappy boy-children you have no interest in at all, and actually being tall helps weed out those sexist jackasses and can be a pretty nice protective thing. And it makes men take you a bit more seriously in the workplace.

I'm really genuinely sorry you're struggling with this, and I want to hug you. But you should know that I'm in my early thirties and wear heels now pretty regularly and when I do I feel sexy as hell. When I see other tall ladies in heels I want to high-five them. You'll get there too. And I will high-five you.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:42 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

(correction: not saying supermodels are the human ideal, just that today's culture often views them — or at least their image — that way)
posted by you're a kitty! at 12:58 PM on May 14, 2014

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