I Don’t Want to Get Married Because My Groom Is Taller than Me: Help!


AAPW: How do we talk to family and friends who make fun of us?

by Stephanie Kaloi, Content Manager

man and woman sitting in heart backed chairs

Q: I am 5 feet tall. My fiancé is 6 feet 3 inches. We are the same age, but because of the height difference and my looks, people often assume I am in my twenties or younger (I’m thirty-four). Most days, this is great. But when my fiancés boss thinks I’m a teen, it’s anything but—he works with teens, the appearance of impropriety is very, very bad. People have joked about our height difference and I mostly ignore it. Once, a friend told me he went to a Short Bride, Tall Groom Wedding and he spent the whole time making fun of the couple (with his entire table). This is my nightmare.

I dread my family and friends making fun of how I look like a child bride next my husband. Friends and family have admitted to making fun of us when we dance together, which is why we’ve stopped doing it in public. He happens to be a trained ballroom dancer and it kills me that I can’t dance with him unless I’m wearing four-inch heels, but all my tall female friends can do it in flats without ridicule. Honestly, the only time I notice the height difference is when people point it out or I see pictures of the two of us—I literally look like a child, half his size, when I stand next to him. When it’s just me and him, no cameras or people, size doesn’t matter.

Eloping is not an option, because my mother eloped, I’m the only girl, the youngest, and the last one to marry, etc. We’ve only been engaged a month and over four hundred people have expressed wanting to share in the celebration, and I’m dreading it. How can I get into having a wedding when I’m worried everyone is just going to be making fun of us?

Miri

 

A:Dear Miri,

I don’t mean to call out every single person who has ever admitted to making fun of you guys while you dance (and anyone who has done it behind your backs), but holy wow: I am astounded that enough people (read: ONE) have made fun of you that you guys have stopped doing something you love about it. Not because of anything you’re doing, but because that sounds unkind and unnecessarily cruel and like the opposite of what anyone who loves and supports you should be doing. My hunch, however, is that you already know this. So let me start by saying that this is not okay. Not now, not ever. And the fact that the people who are supposed to love you the most are mocking you and your partner to your faces? Eff that noise. You don’t need it, and you don’t deserve it, and they need to all spend a little time examining whatever’s wrong inside that makes them feel like this is ever okay.

After all, you’re in love! You’re with someone you adore, someone who makes you feel like you, someone who you are getting ready to marry… and someone who happens to be over a foot taller than you are. From this vantage point, it sounds like two things have been happening:

  • Friends and family have been making comments without thinking about what they’re saying, and
  • You have been passively listening to the comments without getting mad, or at least not mad in their faces

The latter is what I think needs to change.

If I were you, I would call a family meeting basically immediately and lay it down, crystal clear: it’s time your family starts respecting your relationship and ditches the jokes. If you haven’t yet, make sure they understand the point to which they’ve driven the two of you—that you no longer even feel comfortable dancing together in public because of their words and offhand remarks. It’s entirely possible that most of them don’t realize how deeply they’ve hurt you, especially if you’ve never laid it out for them. And unfortunately, a lot of the time family truly requires a very black and white, look-them-in-the-eyes-and-speak-your-truth, laying out of the information.

After that, I would pull together your closest friends and repeat what you’re dishing to family. I realize you both have large families and tons of friends (hello, four hundred guests!) but the guiding light of wedding planning might be your saving grace: you don’t have to invite anyone who is a jerk to you, period. And you especially don’t have to invite anyone who is likely to spend one second of your wedding doing anything other than celebrating your union and having a blast.

Because here’s the rub: people are still going to make offhand comments. You can’t sit down and have a heart to heart with every person you meet about why their comments are inappropriate. If it helps, take a page from the books of others—for example, pregnant women often find themselves (and their bodies) constantly discussed by strangers and friends alike, and have harnessed a plethora of snappy comebacks when people say things off-hand. I have found that whenever someone tosses an unwarranted, weird negative comment my way, that person is usually battling an insecurity of his or her own—and the important thing is to not let that insecurity control YOUR life.

And hey, before we depart, let me also remind you that you guys are in excellent company: Will and Jada? I love them. Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher? They look amazing together. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd have a huge height difference, and they just slayed the world when they dropped their homage to Toto. In other words, there are plenty of real-life examples of how and why height difference isn’t a big deal (and hopefully you already know that, too).

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTION, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her husband, their seven year old metalhead son, and a crew of beasts. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and smiley faces.

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  • Eh

    What really stood out to me in the letter was that the LW was compared to a child/teenager. My husband looks young. When I started dating him we were both 27 and people thought he was 18 when they saw pictures of him. People asked me why I was dating a teenager. He can’t grow facial hair to save his life. He dresses like he did in high school still (e.g., jeans and graphic tees – at the time, sometimes in clothes he had from high school), and he doesn’t get his hair cut for months so sometimes it’s a bit shaggy. For our wedding he got dressed up in a suit and it didn’t look like we had a 10 year (or more) age gap (note: at 31 he still gets carded to by alcohol and lottery tickets). I also have a friend who is 5 feet tall and a high school teacher. She is frequently mistaken for a student because she prefers to dress more casually. When she got married, also to a man more than a foot taller than her, she did not look out of place. She looked like a bride because she was dressed like a bride.

    • Chris

      It’s not an opt$on for everyone, but I’m also 5 feet tall, look young, and work in a university, and I found that when I started buying more expensive clothes and dressing more formally, I stopped getting mistaken for an undergraduate. It does suck that people who are taller don’t have to spend a ton of money to be taken for their age, but that’s just the shitty world we live in.

      • Eh

        And unfortunately, it is a tax on women. Men can buy a button down shirt (and maybe some slacks) and look age appropriate.

        • Violet

          It’s funny, my first reaction to this comment was to think, “Yeah, but women at least have more options to age themselves that are accepted in general society, such as wearing makeup and high heels. Men have fewer options.” But then I started to wonder if women only have these options because it’s EXPECTED on some level that grown women wear makeup and high heels, therefore, women who don’t are perceived as younger. Which let’s face it, younger isn’t the problem. It’s the association between younger and less experience, less knowledge, less seriousness. And THAT is definitely a tax on women, whether they choose to participate in those appearance choices or not. Financial and time if they do, perception of competence if they don’t. Arg.

          • Eh

            “… younger isn’t the problem. It’s the association between younger and less experience, less knowledge, less seriousness.” – Exactly. My husband has been a manager of a restaurant for years and people take him seriously in his button down shirt and slacks. If a female manager looked ten years younger than her age, she would probably have to wear high heals and makeup and dress up to be taken seriously.

          • April

            I look young and don’t usually wear makeup. I also dress casually and usually just throw my hair up in a pony tail. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had people ID me and usually there is some jackass behind me in line who needs to jump in and let me know how much I’ll appreciate being seen as younger when I’m older. “One day you’ll love this hardy harrrrrrr”.

            I’ve noticed that I definitely get treated differently (ie: dismissed) before people find out how old I actually am, and I doubt I’ll ever be excited to have my competence and experience doubted unless I shell out time and money to look “age appropriate”.

            I am this age, therefore I look age appropriate because this is WHAT I LOOK LIKE AT THIS AGE.

          • tr

            If it makes you feel any better, I also dress casually and tend to skip putting on makeup. People generally assume I’m a hurried, 45 year old soccer mom. (Lets just say that I am definitely NOT 45. Not even close.)
            I know the “one day you’ll love this” people are annoying, but it really could be worse. Nothing kills your self-esteem faster than being mistaken for your father’s wife…

          • “It’s the association between younger and less experience, less
            knowledge, less seriousness. And THAT is definitely a tax on women,
            whether they choose to participate in those appearance choices or not.
            Financial and time if they do, perception of competence if they don’t.”

            THIS. I look very young, and am currently pregnant. I often worry about being mistaken for a teen mom, which (and despite that I have a lot of respect for young single moms) has such negative stigma in our culture. A lot of my coworkers assume I’m a student instead of someone with ten years of experience in the field.

        • A.

          YES, to the tax on women. People make very strange assumptions! For a long time, I would go to the airport wearing yoga pants and a casual sweater since I liked being comfortable on planes. When I was younger, I never noticed any specific treatment from the airline staff, but once I hit 25 it became weirdly clear that I was being treated…differently.

          Every. Single. Time. I would be greeted with something like a, “Oh, hi there, sweetie!!!” from the airline staff, clearly assuming I was a teenager flying by myself in sort of an, “Aw, it thinks it’s people!” kind of way. I considered that maybe it was in my head until a couple of years ago when flight attendant one time said, “And how old are you, sweetie?” When I responded, “Uh, 26?” she completely blanched and started apologizing, saying she thought I was an UNACCOMPANIED MINOR (aka a <14 YEAR OLD) who had misplaced her badge. Seriously.

          Now I dress up at the airport just to avoid weird age stuff. And I don't even think I look *that* young; I'm on the petite side (5'3) and I still have rounded-ish cheeks, but most people can clearly tell I'm in my 20s. It was all about how I was dressing and it clearly wasn't how a ~*~mature~*~ woman should.

          • I dunno, I see plenty of mature women dressed entirely top-to-bottom athletic apparelt these days. Maybe it’s time to try the yoga pants again?

          • Stacey Cuddhy

            Have you seen the Activewear song? It makes me laugh every.single.time I watch it…

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYRENWT8lz8

          • True story, I was once escorted off the plane as an unaccompanied minor when I was in my 20s. I was backpacking through Europe and was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and backpack. The airline staff ushered me through customs, etc., and I was completely bewildered as to what was going on, until they had me wait with a group of children in the luggage pick up area.

  • Christy

    I am filled with rage on your behalf. It seems to me like it’s time to get assertive on this. Are you generally assertive? If so, why aren’t you more assertive on this issue? I had to work on my assertiveness in therapy, and I didn’t even realize I had an assertiveness problem until my therapist pointed it out. I’ve gotten much more assertive and it’s made life a lot better. If you decide to try being more assertive, on this or in general, and you struggle, maybe a few sessions with a therapist would help. It helped me, definitely.

    • Nikki T

      Yeah, me too. What the heck is UP with these people? It’s ok to speak up. If my friend has said he spent the wedding making fun of the couple I’d have told him that was rude (and mentally crossed him off my invite list).

      Live your life! Their comments have crippled you, push back. And eloping could be an option.. why isn’t it? Because you feel pressure to have some big bash? YOU (the two of you) get to decide what is best for you. Don’t let people push you around or make you feel bad, dread your own wedding, or..STOP DANCING WITH YOUR MAN! Dance, dance, dance.

      • eating words

        Seriously, WHO spends a wedding making fun of the couple?! I can’t even cope with this level of rudeness. As someone said above, every height joke has already been made. These guests should figure out how to celebrate the wedding that they’ve been invited to attend.

  • Caroline Niziol

    I have the EXACT same height difference between me and my husband (I’m 5’2″; he’s 6’5″). People need to LAY OFF those comments. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten any negative feedback about our height difference; we get more jokes from my siblings about our age difference (9.5 years). To the OP, feel free to talk back to the people making inane comments and marry the man you love without fear.

  • KR

    True story: my mom is 4’10” and my Dad is 6’10”. My advice watching them over the years: have fun with it!! My parents have a pretty entertaining wedding album with pictures playing up the height difference. And at my recent wedding they somehow had the idea that they would need to do a parent dance, so they spent a year taking dance lessons and learning a totally choreographed dance to a country song – which was a total surprise to everyone (even us) and such a hit! People have certainly joked about it and strangers have made unsolicited comments throughout their marriage, but people have a tendency to do that about anything…

    • bsteak

      Having fun with it is a great way to go. You already know that everyone else is noticing the height difference, so if you can completely own it then they lose their power to be rude about it (and then you can dance again!)
      My cousin and her husband have over a foot of height difference as well and they worked it into the wedding. When it came time to kiss the bride, the ring bearer ran (literally ran) up with a step stool for my cousin to stand on to kiss her new incredibly tall husband. Everyone attending LOVED it and, all these years later, it’s still one of the few things I remember about their wedding.

      • Megan

        Yes to the step stool! My husband and I also have a significant height difference (I’m 5’3″, he’s 6’6″) and my father in law made a lovely square step/platform that I stood on throughout our vows and kiss. In addition to being a cute/funny/lighter moment, it also made it much easier to look right in my husband’s eyes as we said our vows, and made my dress look awesome. Best of all, it’s one of the pieces of our wedding that we got to hang on to, and now it sits outside in our backyard (my FIL decorated it with our initials and a heart).

        As for the haters – sheesh. I’m sorry folks in your life are being so rude and inappropriate.

        As for the rest of your life with a tall husband – I recommend frequent use of stairs, curbs, etc. for kisses/hugs. And enjoy!

        • Jess

          This is adorable! I have a friend that stood on a small platform at her wedding too! Nobody even commented on it, it just happened.

        • SarahB

          My husband and I also have a similar height difference; he’s 6’7″ and I’m 5’4″. I was really thinking about the foot stool idea at my wedding, but decided against it for a couple of reasons. I was worried that I might not be completely steady standing on a stool in the heat (outside wedding, uneven cobblestone patio), and although my husband always jokes about the height difference, I didn’t want to risk calling attention to it in case it might have actually embarrassed him. I doubt it would have, and I sort of wish we had gone for it. So glad it went well for you guys, and you have a wonderful keepsake from the wedding, so sweet of your FIL!

          To the original LW, I agree with others that suggested you talk to your friends and family. If the jokes hurt you to the point where you guys don’t want to dance, tell everyone that you’d rather not hear that crap on your wedding day, and that you’d really like to just enjoy it. My husband is no dancer, but you can bet we danced together and didn’t care if we looked goofy or silly. Don’t let this wreck your wedding!

      • My husband and I have the same height difference as the LW. I’m 5 ft and he’s 6’3″. During the first kiss, the best man pulled out a step stool and handed it to my husband. It was a surprise for everyone, and all our guests laughed.

    • laddibugg

      I think the one thing sort of in their favor is that your dad is taller than EVERYONE lol! Like, he could be with a tall woman and STILL conceivably be a foot taller. That might make it easier to deal with.

  • Emma

    I’m also 5 feet tall and my husband is 6’3″ and it was fine at our wedding! Don’t invite people who say rude things to you about this to your wedding. I don’t think that this type of height difference is uncommon – don’t let them drag you down!

    • CMT

      I agree — the person who already admitted to making fun of a couple throughout their entire wedding should not be invited.

  • Eenie

    If you don’t want to change your appearance to convey an older age, you can focus on how you project yourself. Not all the time, but when there is an important career related event for your fiance, focus on your first impressions of people and mentioning aspects of your life that you’re proud of that also convey an idea of your age. I have a hard time distinguishing people’s age personally, but I can typically draw a line between teenagers and young adults just based on maturity.

    As for your family and friends: you have to learn to have a sense of humor about it or stop putting up with the jokes and being vocal about it.

    For some perspective, my fiance and I are the same height and people joke about that as well. I kindly dismiss anyone who thinks I’m giving up heels for the rest of my life.

    • Greta

      Yes to this! I work at a high school and one of our female teachers is under 5 feet tall, and extremely petite. She’s also young, and so could look very easily like a student. However, she carries herself with maturity, doesn’t dress like a teenager at work, and there is no question she’s the teacher.

  • emilyg25

    1. Your friends are terrible.

    2. It sounds like you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder about being short. I’m short too (5’2″, husband is 6’2″) and it’s awesome! I know it’s easier said than done, but please try to care less about what other people think. Even if they comment on your height, I promise you they really don’t care that much. Please start dancing with your husband-to-be!

    • Kelly

      Yes x10 million. I think this is f*&%ing absurd on all levels. Like, all feelings are valid blah blah blah I get it, but at some point it’s on you to get over it and enjoy yourself. F the haters.

  • CJ

    This may not help, but I know several couples with the short girl/very tall guy combo and their wedding photos look cute! Also, I feel like there would be advantages for ballroom dancing, wouldn’t the height difference make dips and lifts easier? (I may be completely off, I know nothing about ballroom dancing.)

    For another perspective, I’m a couple of inches taller than my husband, which I used to be VERY self conscious about when we first started dating. I ashamed to say my friends and I used to make fun of short guys, before I met my husband. But I’m very grateful that all my friends had the grace to shut up about it once we started dating. I still sometimes try to look shorter in photos. But I’m much more comfortable with it now and I sometimes even wear heels around him!

  • Greta

    It’s not the same thing, but I’m three inches taller than my husband. I’ve been trying to shrink myself my whole life, especially as a teenager, because I felt uncomfortable owning my height and therefore have terrible posture as a result of years of slouching. As I got older I learned to embrace my tall height. When I first started dating my husband, I felt a little uncomfortable being taller than him. I asked him if he minded and he said “not at all!” and seemed surprised that it would even be a thing. I figured, if he didn’t mind being shorter than his girlfriend/wife, than I certainly shouldn’t mind being taller. We embraced our height difference at our wedding, and made sure that our photographer didn’t take any photos that made him look taller than he is – we wanted our photos to reflect who we really are.

    I’m sorry your friends have made comments about your height difference to you – people can totally suck sometimes. I agree wholeheartedly with the advice – honestly tell these people that when they say those things they are hurting your feelings and making you uncomfortable. And I do hope you start dancing again soon! I honestly believe that most people will see a beautiful bride and groom having an amazing time dancing at their wedding – I’ve been to a LOT of weddings and I’ve NEVER heard anyone making fun of the bride and groom during their dance or at anytime during their wedding. I would hate to think that you changed your wedding and didn’t do what you wanted simply to avoid what some small-minded people might say. This is you and your grooms day and you should do things for you!

    • Nellie

      I was just coming here to ask if anyone had experience the other way around. My former partner was about three inches shorter than me as well. We were living in Vietnam and were already quite an unusual interracial couple there as he looks Asian and I’m white.

      I think what’s similar about these situations is that society tends to be harder on the shorter of the pair. He would notice more often when people stared at us (all the time), but in general, he had a trick of turning the joke on them. Early on in our relationship, when I asked if he minded if I wore high heels for our date, he said it was cool as long as he didn’t have to wear them. Similarly, when people asked where he was from (Canada) and pushed back saying that couldn’t be right since he looks Vietnamese, he’d say he just ate so much pho that he turned Vietnamese. I would laugh, they would laugh, and he owned it. Like the LW’s fiance, he’s a great dancer, and anyone who might have thought we were an oddball couple were wowed when then saw us on the dance floor.

      All this to say I think the LW could benefit from a few witty responses in her pocket that she can turn to when these terrible people do make rude comments. Then blow them away with those dancing skills!

    • Danielle

      I’m taller than my husband too, bc he’s short and I’m average height. Being short his whole life, he’s used to it and we really DGAF.

      For my wedding I thought about wearing flats but my BFF convinced me that heels would look better with my dress; it was an airy knee-length number and she was right. So I was *considerably* taller than him on our wedding day. Some of our pictures I don’t love for that reason — I guess I still have the voice of society in my head that says “women should be shorter” but mostly I really DGAF!

      There are lots of different couples and different ways to be and look. It’s ok and good how we are!

    • Kelly

      I’m 6’1″ and a couple inches taller than my husband. We established pretty early on that we DGAF and find the topic very boring and not cute. Strangers, though, LOVE to ask “what’s it like being taller than your husband?” (a thrilling sequel to “what’s it like being tall?”). I’ve gotten pretty good at looking confused about why in the world they would be asking such a ridiculous question, saying “it’s great!” and immediately moving on.

      • Eenie

        A thrilling sequel! Ah that’s too good. Fellow tall woman. Although not quite as blessed as you!

      • Greta

        Yes, that’s awesome! My husband and I have a running joke when we hug each other where he says to me “you’re so tall!” and I respond “You’re so short!” – we embrace it, we own it, we find it awesome. If anyone ever asks us about it, we say “it’s awesome, she can reach all the stuff on the top shelf!” and that usually gets some laughs.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        Thank you for this! My fiance and I are the same height, and a couple of people asked if I’m going to wear flats at the wedding instead of heels. From now on, I’ll use the “Why do you ask?” tactic and watch them squirm!

  • Jess

    I will totally show up at your wedding and personally throw anyone who makes fun of your height difference out!

    I hope that one day you can find a little humor when it’s not meant maliciously, tell people to shut it when it is, and stand proud of your respective heights when you are dancing and married, happy of who you are and who you are becoming together. I’m not sure how the two of you can get there, but I really really hope you do.

    To have people make you stop doing something you love? To have people really dig in and fun of you for looking young (which is a real thing for short ladies, and that sucks on its own) while HE WORKS WITH TEENS? To fear standing up in front of people at a very important moment in your life that is supposed to be about your community supporting you and your relationship?

    I’m so sorry. That sucks so much.

    My brother and his GF have a similar height difference, and they are WONDERFUL together. Just. Wonderful.

  • Megan O’Hearn

    Sheesh. Yeah, that sucks, but maybe she’s being a little sensitive? I’m 5’1″, and I am constantly trying to get into pictures next to my 6’8″ brother-in-law because I think it’s hilarious. My fiancé is 5’6″, and while I’m sure he wouldn’t mind being a little taller, height is height. I’ve found that the best way to handle the jokes are to laugh at them. Being a petite woman is not an affliction–you fit so well in airplane seats!–and even when I was dating guys that were a full 14-16 inches taller than me, I embraced it. Heck, my own sister is about a foot taller than me when she straps on the heels, and all I can do is wear my flats with pride (and confidence, because I’m much less likely to fall down) and laugh.

    It does suck to be mistaken for a much younger person–I teach at a university, and I am constantly mistaken for a student–but treat it as an opportunity to surprise people with your confidence and intelligence when you do open your mouth to correct them. It’s kind of fun, and when we’re 50 and look 35, it will all be worth it.

    • Grace

      My fiancé and I are the same heights as you and yours. I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that we are going to have adorable tiny children. And that when we get older, we’re going to be the cutest little old man and lady. :)

      • Megan O’Hearn

        Haha! We aren’t sure kids are in our future, but it will be a hilarious set of cousins if we do- his sister is 5’8″ and her husband is 6’8″!

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    Wow, these are just mean people. I would never tell someone to their face that I made fun of them. I’m at a loss as to how you deal with it bc MY style is to scratch my nose with my middle finger and roll my eyes. I’m 5’0 and 100 pounds and my husband is 6’3″ and 250 pounds so both our height and size difference is quite great. The only time someone said anything to me about in all of the years we’ve been together was a former roommate asking me how we had sex. And since she had a tendency to say stupid shit from time to time, I told her it was a stupid question and chalked it up to her idiocy. Honestly, I would straight up tell people in all seriousness that they’re being rude and jerks and demand they stop. And it wouldn’t be a drawn out conversation. “You know, that’s a shitty thing to say to me. DOn’t tell me that again. You’re being a jerk.” Short and sweet. They will get the picture.

  • Mary Jo TC

    I really sympathize. I’m 5’1″ and my husband is 6’1″ and thankfully we never got any of the mean comments the advice seeker is getting. I agree she should try to be more assertive and let people know these comments are NOT ok, but it really sucks that she has to do this. I also agree about how dressing can age you up and make people take you more seriously. I had to do that when I was a TA in grad school, 22 years old leading a class of 18 and 19 year olds, and continued to do it when I moved to teaching high school at 25. It sucks to have to do that, and it is a kind of tax on women, but it can be pretty effective. I’m now 31, and I don’t think that I’m going to necessarily always be mistaken for a teenager. A pregnant belly has a way of aging you at least into your twenties (my teen mom students look years older than they are). And when I forget to dye my salt-and-pepper roots for too long, I’m convinced I look at least 38. So, no, those of us who look young in their early-to-mid twenties don’t necessarily get the consolation of the appearance of eternal youth for the next few decades. You can be short and still look old.
    I agree that the advice seeker is a little sensitive and insecure about her height, and that is something I really deeply understand. For most of my life, as a short woman, I have felt overlooked and ignored, like people literally do not see me. And sometimes people even bump into me as if I were not there, so I’m not making it up entirely. One of the worst moments in my wedding planning was when I decided I would make all my bridesmaids wear flats (in their cocktail length dresses) while I wore heels. My mom and MOH sister got me to change my mind, but the entire reason was insecurity (it really didn’t help that my taller sister has also always been the pretty and popular one).
    I wish I had better advice to give, besides just sympathy. It is possible to get over these feelings. I guess the main thing I did was focus on other things. Good luck!

  • karyn_arden

    Dax Shepherd + Kristen Bell = RELATIONSHIP GOALS. <3

  • annlynn

    I hear you, LW! I’m 5′ 1/2” and Hubs is 6’2″, he’s also 2 years younger than me and has grown a beard. I consistently get carded and he does not (alcohol I don’t mind so much, the R rated movie was ridiculous). If he were to shave his beard I would look like a cradle robber since he looks 17 with no facial hair.
    Something I don’t think we talk about enough is how people relate to teasing. Is it a fun gentle activity or is it a way to tear people down? I grew up hearing teasing used to tear people down, Hubs grew up with teasing as an expression of love. It was a real challenge for us when we were first living together. I had to parse out the difference between what he meant and what I was hearing and meet him half way. Because knowing he didn’t intend to hurt doesn’t take away all the hurt, nor should it, I’m entitled to my feelings. So now I try to remember that he doesn’t intend to hurt me and speak up when it does, and he is more thoughtful about his teasing and is very quick to self correct when he sees that it hurt me.

    • Nameless Wonders

      Same here WRT the differences in how teasing was dealt when we were growing up. His family caught on to my sensitivity and is noticeably gentler with me, which I really appreciate. My family still doesn’t get it and I end up coming home from visits internalizing a lot of bullshit until my husband calls me out on it.

    • Greta

      Yes to this about teasing, and to the comment above by Kelly about “making fun of” versus “commenting on”. I’m a big teaser and it is an expression for how I show love to other people – I’ve definitely had to work through it with some of my friends who are more sensitive, I definitely don’t want to offend anyone – but it is how I grew up and one of the ways I show love.

  • Kate

    Here’s what I’ve realized as the (average height) daughter of a 7 footer and proud sister/cousin to plenty of women well over 6′ 5″:
    When people comment about height, they often genuinely think they are being funny. They have no clue they are being offensive or simply tiresome (I can guarantee any comment you make about an unusually tall person’s height has been heard a hundred times before, there is absolutely no original material there). We had to institute a house rule when I was in high school that all guests be forewarned not to comment on height because too many usually polite friends or boyfriends had stuck feet very firmly in their mouths.
    That said, my mother is 5′ 6″. My parents can cut a rug like nobody’s business, and my favorite wedding picture of them has my mother stepping onto a white step stool to kiss him at the end of the ceremony. Own it.

  • Jenny

    So as a recently pregnant woman, my advice on many inappropriate comments is to act like you don’t understand them, or to repeat back to them what their comment actually means. Example: Are you sure you’re not having twins. Response 1: Yes, I’ve had all my ultrasounds and they’ve confirmed it’s just one. (in a concerned/confused tone), why do you ask? Have you heard something else? Response 2: Are you saying that I look so much bigger or fatter than other pregnant women you know that the only possible reason would be that I’m carrying twins? That’s rather rude. Example in your case might be simply asking Are you saying that two people who love each other dancing is funny? Or do think child brides are a matter that should be joked about?

    • Cellistec

      I love “Why do you ask? Have you heard something else?” as a comeback for pretty much anything.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      Telling people they’re rude I think is jarring for people. I really think people make comments and it never occurs to them that someone might tell them they’re assholes.

      • Cii

        THIS. Recently, my husband and I were at the end of a line at a restaurant where you order at the counter. Two additional people joined the twosome in line directly in front of us. One of the friends joining says to me: “You don’t mind if we join our friends in front of you in line, do you?” I responded back with an even tone that “I do mind a little because it is not a very polite thing to do.” She was TOTALLY STUNNED by my response — even though the reason she was asking was because she knew what she was doing was rude. I was completely surprised by the fact that she was stunned.

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          Yeah I get this too. It’s almost like people expect you to just tolerate their rude behavior. And it’s a completely bizarre expectation since they’re strangers and you owe them nothing.

      • April

        yup, it’s like it’s part of the social contract that rude people don’t get told they are rude because pointing out someone is being rude is seen as rude.

        I feel like if you don’t want to be told you are rude, you should probably just try not to do rude things.

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          I feel a certain glee whenever I tell people that they’re being assholes.

      • Lily

        And specifically WOMEN telling people they are rude is jarring to people.

      • archaeopteryx

        The great thing is that using the word “rude” is jarring enough that you don’t have to reinforce it with tone – you can say it calmly and slightly puzzled and that way they can’t say you’re overreacting or anything. Plus it gives the other person a chance to claim they misspoke or otherwise retract what they just said.

    • NotMarried!

      Yes. I am all over the “acting confused” when people ask inappropriate questions!

    • Colleen

      “Why do you ask? Have you heard something else?” is my new favorite response for jerks who ask jerky questions!

    • TeaforTwo

      Yeah, I give people a lot of blank stares followed by obvious comments. In LW’s case I think I would blink twice and then say slowly, “Yep, you’re right…he is taller than I am.”

    • Keri

      I love the idea of just reflecting back what they said, using their own words. “You think I look like a child bride.” It works in counseling to get people to realize what they are really thinking – why not here! :)

  • AtHomeInWA

    My mother is 4’11” and my father is 6’5.” They’ve been happily married for 35 years.

    Dear LW, I agree with the advice from Stephanie above, your friends likely believe they are lovingly teasing rather than hurting your feelings, set them straight. But also, I add this: Just love each other. Make each other happy, support each other. If the worst thing they can say about your union is you look funny dancing together, You. Are. Winning.

    • AtHomeInWA

      Also, pro-tip: You’ll have “normal” sized children, so don’t worry about that. I’m a 5’7″ female and my brother is 6′ even.

      • Nameless Wonders

        My husband is smack-dab in the middle of his parents’ heights (5’2″ and 6’2″). His sisters are just a little taller than their mom. But my high school best friend is 5’0″, which is shorter than either parent (mom is taller than dad, dad is shorter than the average male, so I think she got the dad’s short genes).

        • Jess

          Meanwhile, I’m shorter than either of my parents and my brother is taller than both of them! Genes are so weird.

      • Vanessa

        Enh, not necessarily. My parents and 2 brothers are all at least 8 inches taller than me. When people comment on it I just tell them I’m the fun-size version like those little candy bars.

        • laddibugg

          My ex is 6’1″ and both of his parents are under 5’5″, and I think his brother is 5’7″…I have no idea where he came from lol.

      • Sarah E

        A good friend of mine and his sister are both considerably taller (6′ or near) than their parents (mid to low 5′ range). I asked him one day, just in a “how on earth did that happen?” kind of way. He says his mom jokes the mailman is to blame. So they take it in stride (also, they look exactly like their dad, so totally a joke)

  • My mom is 4 foot 10 and my dad is 6’4″ – they’ve been married for more than 30 years. People mention the height difference, but most comments are about how cute they are!

  • Kelly

    I think there’s definitely a distinction to be made between “making fun of” and “commenting on.” Although neither is ok (especially when it comes to anyone’s physical appearance), one comes from a person being malicious, and the other comes from a person being clueless. I think it’s important to realize which camp these rude folks fall into, since they warrant different responses. As far as your FH’s boss and workplace, though, perhaps your fiance can do some work to shut that shit down?

    • laddibugg

      and you can make fun of people without being downright evil. If you KNOW something bothers me, and you tell me you ragged relentlessly on someone about that very same thing….you’re an a-hole. I feel her family might just be clueless but that ‘friend’ sounds like a jerk.

  • My uncle was 6’5 and my aunt was 4’10. I’m sure there were people who had a few laughs at their expense but they didn’t care. They were in love and not afraid to show it. Don’t let the haters mar your happiness. They might just be a little jealous of a love like yours. :)

  • Kelly

    This is f-bomb absurd.
    I’m 5 feet and I think I’m aging well (I’m 31, not even a single sign of a eye crinkle). No one confuses me with a teenager (although one time when I was in my early twenties I went to an IHOP with some “normal heighted” friends and our group was asked if we need a children’s menu. I’m STILL pissed off. But I made sure that guy knew it. “Look at my face, ahole.”). My husband is over 6 feet. The shortest guy I’ve ever dated was 5’10”. I am not attracted to men shorter than 5’8″ pretty much ever. Some people comment on my height, sometimes, but never in the context of my relationship (or previous ones).
    These people are disrespecting you and your relationship. The bottom line is exactly as Stephanie recommended: you need to stop standing for it and everyone you know needs to get over it.
    I tried to share a photo of my wedding to show you how awesome two people more than a foot apart in size can look together but it wouldn’t accept it. Rest assured, you’re going to look and feel awesome on your wedding day because you are marrying the man of your dreams. Period, end of story. Best of luck dealing with the haters!!!!

    • Riot

      Yeah – I actually thought this type of height difference was the ideal for most women. The ones in a relationship with a much taller guy seem to revel in it. And studies show that people exaggerate the average height difference between men and women when picking a partner. I’m with a shorter guy, but most women I know won’t even consider s short guy good looking. I’m baffled by this piece. You learn something new every day.

      • MDBethann

        I’m 5’10” and tended to gravitate towards guys who were around my height or taller. An inch or so difference didn’t matter to me (I hate heels anyway), but the one or two times I dated guys who were considerably shorter than me, I just felt really really awkward bending down to give them hugs and holding hands was weird too. My husband is 6’2″ so we’re pretty evenly matched (especially since he slouches a lot).

        I often felt self-conscious about my height as a child and young adult – people would make comments (“it must be so nice to reach everything!”) and most of my friends are shorter than me (two of my bridesmaids are only a bit over 5′ tall) – so that might have played into my dating preferences when I was in high school, college, & grad school. Once I started working, I kind of didn’t care as much anymore. I just lucked out with my husband’s height.

        • Riot

          I remember making a conscious decision as a 12 year old that I would never let my height bother me. I’m not going to say I never did, but I remember that “mind over matter” decision very distinctly. I remember another survey where the women who took part wouldn’t pick the shortest guy in the lineup, even when the taller ones were murderers. The only time they’d pick the shortest one was when the others were pedophiles. Maybe it’s just in the community I’m from, but women who are substantially shorter than their men seem to be very “look how cute this height difference is”. So at first this letter felt a bit like “thin people get discriminated against too”, though I realise, as someone else said here in the comment section, that all feelings are valid. In the meantime, my fiance and I laugh at those women who would rather pick a murderer than a cool shorter guy. And we also laugh at the surveys that say shorter men “get away” with doing less housework, and taller women are happier in their relationships. Though that last one is quite heartening ;)

  • eating words

    I’m reminded of the figure skating pair Duhamel and Radford. They have a vast height difference that you almost never see in skating — it makes it harder to do certain complex elements in unison, for example — but they’ve learned to make it work for them. Rock it.

  • KPM

    I think this may be one of those things that once one comment is laughed off, it becomes just a “thing” that is brought up, which happens especially with families. My family is not at all a bully-ing type, but we do all make fun of each other. I used to be teased constantly about sleeping super late which I laughed off in high school but by college was sick of. A few sharp reminders that “Uh, I just finished exams and pulled three all-nighters” and a serious talk to my mom who passed it on, and the comments stopped. I think bringing up to your family and close friends that it bothers you can do *a lot* to make it stop.

    Also, my sister in law is about a foot shorter than my brother. They looked wonderful on their wedding day.

    (My sister and I did have to point out that the 4.5″ shoes she was going to wear wouldn’t work so well on us, unless she wanted two of her bridesmaids taller than her groom… and tripping down the aisle.)

  • Amy March

    I just can’t get past 400 people expressing enthusiasm to attend your wedding! Either you are prone to exaggeration, in which case maybe this teasing isn’t all that bad, or you are actually wildly popular beyond most people’s experience, and who cares if a handful of people are making fun of you because obviously you are extraordinarily well-loved!

    • hipsterbarbie

      I know, I too found this slightly unrealistic. I’m inviting about 120 people to my wedding, but I wouldn’t even say that all 120 of them have directly “expressed wanting to share in the celebration”. Maybe 50 of them? It just seemed like such an extreme statement. You’ve spoken to over 400 people in *one month*?

      Something tells me LW has a flare for the dramatic.

  • My husband and I have this same height difference, along with the perceived age difference (actually, I’m older). No one has ever made fun of it to my face though. What I say is, “this is how you can tell we met online!” because height doesn’t matter on twitter. No one has ever really made fun of us about it though, mostly because we know what our heights are, so…

    In every photo of us, our body language shows what we know to be true – we are really into each other. I am always on my toes trying to whisper in his ear, he is leaning slightly to be able to look me in the eye, and that’s what I see when I see those photos. And I am jealous that your husband likes to dance. I think you should do it whenever you want, in whatever shoes you want.

    • emilyg25

      “In every photo of us, our body language shows what we know to be true – we are really into each other.”

      This. My husband is 20 years older than me (and have a 12″ height difference) and when we started dating, I was way sensitive about the age difference. But it’s just so damn obvious that we’re meant to be together that no one cares.

  • Bandy

    I’m (almost) 5’2″ and my fiance is 6’7″, so I can relate. At the one wedding we have attended together, my fiance was actually the one to make a comment about dancing – he told me I looked like a circus performer jumping up and down so much while we danced. I admit it, it got to me. And we won’t have an opportunity to practice our first dance, so I expect to look much the same.

    I am actively trying to make my peace with looking ridiculous at our wedding in general. I’m a bit of a clown so I’ll probably be happy if I can get a few height-related giggles. I just like to be in on the joke.

  • My sister-in-law (husband’s sister) is about 5 inches taller than her husband. My brother is a foot taller than his wife. My brother and I and my husband and his sister would make far ‘better’ couples – which where the conversation is usually directed if anyone decides to make stupid remarks about the relative height differences :)

  • laddibugg

    “Once, a friend told me he went to a Short Bride, Tall Groom Wedding and he spent the whole time making fun of the couple (with his entire table). This is my nightmare.”
    Oh, honey. That is not a friend. Yes, friends make fun of you for many things. And there is a line between poking a little fun at your height difference and telling you that he trolled someone over the exact same thing he knows you’re self conscious about. That’s a super dick move.

    I honestly don’t know what to tell you about how to feel…it’s easy to say get over it, but I admit that I sometimes feel weird about my guy being 60 pounds lighter than me (more now that I’m pregnant)…but we’re past the ‘I see you like them big’ stage we went though at the beginning (insert roll eyes)

    (I just visited a friend over the weekend who has the same height difference, give or take an inch between her and her hubby. But they both have baby faces so they don’t get the age comments. They DO get people assuming she’s the nanny because he is white and she’s Hispanic, though.)

  • Keri

    I wonder if you have talked about this with any friends or family who haven’t jumped on the “making fun of you” train – just talked about how you feel, instead of addressing it or asking them to stop. It might be helpful to feel like you have an ally or someone who understands what you’re thinking as you approach it with family and friends – as well as someone who can reality check you a bit. Because it’s something you feel self-conscious about (when it comes to thinking about other people’s perceptions)- it might be good to have someone to bounce ideas off and get a little real-world validation of people who know you and know the people making the comments.

  • Amanda

    “We’ve only been engaged a month and over four hundred people have expressed wanting to share in the celebration”

    This excitement about your love and future is LOUDER than all the height criticism. Over 400 people love you, and happy for you, and want to celebrate. The height thing is not a thing. You are within an average height range for a woman, but on the shorter side. He’s in a normal height range for a guy, but on the taller side. You’re not actually a teenager, so it isn’t an actual concern. Don’t validate it.

  • tr

    My fiance is a 270 lb., incredibly muscled up former football player. When we first started dating, I was a 110 lb. twig (sadly, age is catching up to me, so I’m becoming decidedly less twig-like by the day). Even still, well meaning, very nice people giggle about how huge is compared to me.
    And you know what? It’s totally not a big deal. He’s massive. I’m not. We look a little silly together. We also love one another very, very deeply.
    Is it right for people to make jokes? Probably not, but the truth is, even good people say insensitive things, not realizing how hurtful their comments can be. That seriously happens at almost every wedding, regardless of how the couple looks together. If the comments aren’t about a size difference, they’re about the non-traditional vows, or the centerpieces, or the ice sculpture, or the cake topper, or the food served….basically, some people are going to make jokes about anything. You can’t let that dictate your life.

    Now go dance in public and be thankful you have someone who can reach the really high shelves at the supermarket for you. If people laugh, that’s on them. They’re probably just jealous that they can’t reach the stuff on the high shelves.

  • I would have loved to fall in love with a man taller than me – at 5″10 and easily 6″ in heels, I chose to wear flats on my wedding day as my husband is an inch taller than me. I’ve photographed weddings where brides are 5 inches taller than their husbands and yes, it’s not so conventional to see but who cares? They’re in love and their height difference doesn’t matter. They looked amazing and in love on their wedding day and that’s what counts.

  • Jessica dee

    I guess You know your people, but I have been to weddings where there was a similar height difference and I don’t remember anyone mentioning it at all let alone joking about it.