Dear Prudence

Help! My Fiancée Is Furious That All My Ex-Girlfriends Have Something in Common.

She accused me of having a fetish.

Laptop screen with a woman holding back her hair.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by OvsiankaStudio/iStock/Getty Images Plus and Deagreez/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Q. Red Flag?: My fiancée “Isla” and I have been together for four years and engaged for almost a year. Our wedding date is set for July 2023. We’re both highly strange, sensitive, particular people who seemed to have found our perfect counterparts in each other. We have the same political opinions, food preferences, and tastes in media—we even share the same uncommon kink. We never went into great detail about our past relationships, which is how we both seemed to prefer it. Recently, however, Isla got on my computer and found the (non-pornographic) pictures I’ve kept of my previous girlfriends. She became upset because of what they all had in common.

All three of them were natural redheads, as is she. The truth is, I’ve always been extremely attracted to red-haired women, for reasons I honestly don’t know—and, being a socially awkward introvert, I’ve only been able to muster up the courage to approach women I’m extremely attracted to. It just happens that all three who then agreed to go out with me were redheads. But when I tried to explain this, Isla accused me of having a fetish and not really loving her because I’m only attracted to her appearance, which is completely untrue—I initially asked her out because I was physically attracted to her, but would not have stayed with her for four years, let alone asked her to marry me, if I didn’t love her personality, spirit, and intellect even more.

We had the first serious, voice-raising, name-calling fight of our entire relationship, and I ended up leaving our shared apartment and staying with a male friend. But I’ve also been talking to a mutual female friend, who told me Isla has been acting unlike herself lately, although she doesn’t know why. She also told me that all four of Isla’s previous boyfriends have been at least 6’2” tall, even though Isla herself is barely 5’1”. I myself am 6’4”. When I finally got Isla on the phone, and brought this fact up, she said it wasn’t the same thing because women have traditionally been powerless and thus made to feel the need for taller, more powerful partners, as well as being socially conditioned to see tall people as superior and want taller men in order to have tall or at least average-height children. Whereas I have no excuse for what she still calls my “ginger fetish.”

The call ended on a bad note. I’m completely distraught. The only thing I can think of is that she’s having cold feet about marriage and is trying to force a breakup with me, and just seized upon the first reason she could find. Could this be true, or is there any merit to what she’s saying? Is there any hope that we can make it through this, possibly with counseling? If so, what can I say or do to convince her to try?

A: Everything you’re saying makes sense but you, unfortunately, can’t reason your way into a happy relationship. It doesn’t matter who’s right. What matters is how you each feel. And “Isla accused me of having a fetish and not really loving her because I’m only attracted to her appearance” is a hell of a way to feel about someone you’re supposed to be marrying. “She’s having cold feet about marriage and is trying to force a breakup with me” is not great either. I do believe there’s love and potential here, but you are not secure enough with each other to get married right now.

More Advice From Slate

I’ve been with my wife for nine years, and we’ve been married two. At the beginning of our relationship, I was very happy with our sex life. She was always willing to try new things (oral sex, rimjobs, positions, toys, and so on). Then, somewhere around our second year into the relationship, she took my phone and found some nude pics that a girl I used to date sent me back then.