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Bf called me naive - red flag?

(58 Posts)
YellowPoloRolo Mon 21-Dec-15 21:36:06

Not sure what to think - boyfriend of 5 months called me naive yesterday.

Scene was roughly us sitting down at this packed restaurant. There was a couple at the table next to us. As soon as I sat down I could feel the man looking gawping at me. I tried to ignore, pretended I hadn't noticed. We ordered. My bf went to toilet. Man stared quite openly, as if he was trying to make eye contact, wife noticed, looked towards me. Man looked away. Bf came back. Man kept looking but fairly more discreetly until they left.

When they left I told bf I was relieved they'd finished because I didn't fancy having a lech gawping like this throughout my meal. Bf didn't seem to have noticed, seemed incredulous. Then said that I was pretty and it was naive of me to think men weren't going to look at me because I didn't want them to.

Dunno, can't decide whether what he said is a red flag or whether he just didn't realise he said something patronising and it's me who's too sensitive. My ex was a physically/sexually abusive cheating sleaze who obsessed over me cheating with any men I came into contact with and made my life hell. He also used to gaslight me and call me naive whenever I pulled him up on his behaviour. I feel very uneasy about males looking at me, in fact it can still be triggering for me (which bf doesn't know).

Boyfriend hadn't put a foot wrong so far, always respectful and no games, quite a gentle soul really, he seemed to like me for me. It's one of the things I liked about him, and since yesterday I feel maybe actually he's no different, I just didn't realise it. I might be naive but I just didn't like this other diner staring the way he did - so disrespectful towards his wife.

I clammed up when he said that because I was already feeling quite rattled by the staring. I'm not sure whether I should mention it again.

Mince314 Mon 21-Dec-15 21:39:45

umm, most men will refrain from making a woman uncomfortable. That's not just a quick glance. He stared at you so much he made you uncomfortable and he was with a woman.

I think your boyfriend's comment that you're naive is too quick to excuse another man's behaviour. I'm not saying I'd have wanted a bf to go and start a fight! or even a scene, but I'd have thought that the most mature reaction to being leered at would be to agree that that is unacceptable. Not to basically tell you that you can expect no more respect... you ought not to expect better behaviour confused

pocketsaviour Mon 21-Dec-15 21:40:38

I think the word "naive" has triggered your insecurities, but your BF's reaction wasn't great.

Have you ever spoken to him about street harassment, the Everyday Sexism project, rape culture, etc?

I mean basically his answer was "Yeah well, blokes like looking so, put up with it" - I wouldn't be happy with this lack of awareness towards what's been quite a hot button issue for the last couple of years.

Imustgodowntotheseaagain Mon 21-Dec-15 21:42:35

Yep. Means he thinks he's better than you.

AtrociousCircumstance Mon 21-Dec-15 21:42:47

So he thinks because you're attractive you should just accept that men will stare at you and make you feel uncomfortable.

And that you should neither complain nor comment - or you will be criticised as naive and unrealistic.

He's telling you that men should be able to stare at you, and you shouldn't complain.

Big red flag.

If I'd said that to my partner, either five months in or five years, he would have been angry on my behalf, and wished I'd told him earlier so he could support me. You deserve the same.

LineyReborn Mon 21-Dec-15 21:47:12

Goodness. What a strange situation. I think you should detach from it all.

YellowPoloRolo Mon 21-Dec-15 21:57:18

There wasn't much conversation going between the couple actually. it all seemed a bit strained.

When I told my bf about the man he commented that they looked like they'd just had a row.

My bf said I was naive but he did say he wished he'd realised because we could have sat somewhere else, which we couldn't have as it was packed.

Somehow I felt the situation really triggered me. Maybe it's just me.

Hassled Mon 21-Dec-15 22:02:23

It doesn't sound like the BF has a very good impression of men, does it? I wonder what his mates are like. He thinks you were naive because you're pretty and so of course men are going to stare. Well - not all men will. Most men are sufficiently aware of appropriate behaviour that they don't gawp at pretty women.

I don't think it's necessarily any sort of red flag - I think the BF probably just has twats for mates and is fairly used to people gawping at pretty girls. That's his normal. If he seems gentle and nice, give it some time before you make a panicky response.

Rivercam Mon 21-Dec-15 22:06:17

I'm sorry that you felt uncomfortable during the meal and it doesn't surprise me that bf didn't notice the gawping. It could be due to the angle he was sitting, or because he simply didn't pick up on it.

I interpreted your bf's reaction that he was paying you a compliment, and that because you are pretty, then men may notice you. In an odd sort of way, he was trying to reassure you.

However, the man's behaviour was unacceptable, and your past history has triggered some uncomfortable feelings in you.

YellowPoloRolo Mon 21-Dec-15 22:08:18

That's the thing. He's not like this at all. Neither are his friends, I've met them. He's never ever said anything like this. He's always been respectful.
Maybe I need to talk to him about it.

YellowPoloRolo Mon 21-Dec-15 22:09:15

That was to Hassled.

BrandNewAndImproved Mon 21-Dec-15 22:12:12

It would of been a redflag if he had a go at you because the man was staring, or a go at the man, or asked you if you liked it/wanted it, accused you of flirting ect.

I think he just put his foot in it slightly.

gatewalker Mon 21-Dec-15 22:22:57

No. No red flag.

Some posters are hyper-vigilant to red-flag behaviour, imo.

And no one can make you feel uncomfortable - or at least not for long, OP. I would have walked up to the table and asked him not to stare at me.

PoorFannyRobin Mon 21-Dec-15 22:42:08

I could be wrong, of course, but I have a completely different take on this. Your BF stated that he didn't see/notice the man's behavior that so upset you and stated that he thought the couple may have had an argument. I think he called you naive and made a clumsy explanation instead of telling you that he thought you were imagining things. Certainly your being triggered, as you put it, by this man's looking at you (if he was) was a massive overreaction -- he may have been staring off into space and looking through you, as they say. If I were your BF, I'd be seeing a red flag.

YellowPoloRolo Mon 21-Dec-15 23:00:39

Poor Wow, OK, so it was all in my head ... I may have triggers but I think I still know if someone is staring at me or at a wall. I happened to be facing the man, my bf wasn't.

U2HasTheEdge Mon 21-Dec-15 23:21:40

Goodness, this is not a red flag. If you look into every word too deeply you might find yourself seeing things that just aren't there.

I took it as him trying to pay you a compliment-- you are naive to not realise how attractive you are. Sometimes people say things without thinking about it deeply and no ulterior motive was meant. It was a poorly worded thing to say but with no other worrying signs then let it go.

Many people will come along and tell you his behaviour was awful and he's an arsehole and you need to get out. Some people are too quick to see shit where there isn't any.

Enjoy dating him, don't look for trouble but keep your eyes open like anyone should in a new relationship. Take it slowly and see what happens, but this once 'incident' alone is not a red flag.

U2HasTheEdge Mon 21-Dec-15 23:23:34

FFS Fanny

So now the OP is imagining things? What are you basing that on exactly?

Man stares at her and makes her uncomfortable and she is imagining it and her bf should be worried... you read a lot into her OP didn't you?

moopymoodle Mon 21-Dec-15 23:28:34

To know he was looking at you means you was looking at him? Maybe he was thinking the same as you and paranoid you was looking. I do that sometimes, check to make sure somebody has stopped.

It's not a red flag at all. Men will look at you, that's life. What better reaction could your bf had given? He didn't over react he complimented you but dismissed the event as he was oblivious to it. He wasn't jealous.

LucyBabs Mon 21-Dec-15 23:35:05

I don't think your bf did anything wrong, maybe just clumsy wording op

It's quite obvious when someone is staring at you moopy you don't have to be looking at them to know.

PoorFannyRobin Mon 21-Dec-15 23:48:38

OP stated her boyfriend seemed incredulous. Her word. And, yes, I stated that I did have a different take on this situation. And that if the man was staring at her, she still had a massive overreaction -- which would give me pause if I were her BF. And just as I said, I could be wrong, but that's my assessment of the situation. Misstating what I said isn't going to change my opinion.

BuggersMuddle Tue 22-Dec-15 00:03:53

I don't think that's a red flag. It's not a green flag though. Age might be relevant though. I'd say in terms of men (who are predisposed to) gawking: anyone remotely average under 25 is fair game; slim and 25-30; after 30, it all seems to go to shit.

Epilepsyhelp Tue 22-Dec-15 00:14:33

He shouldn't have been incredulous as that doesn't really make sense - he obviously believed you do what exactly was he so amazed by?

However it was a bit of a drip feed to leave out that he said he would have found a new table if he had known, that sounds like a perfectly correct response - to take you away from an uncomfortable situation.

Shutthatdoor Tue 22-Dec-15 00:18:07

Some posters are hyper-vigilant to red-flag behaviour, imo.

I agree.

Anomaly Tue 22-Dec-15 07:01:36

Yeah, god forbid we have high standards!

I think your boyfriend sounds naive. Is he young? If he is and open minded then it could be fine but you would need to talk to him about things like everyday sexism. You would need to talk to him about your abusive relationship.

Not everyone knows these things and they're often not talked about. If he's reasonably intelligent you should be able to explain that the man's staring was unpleasant (bet your boyfriend would find someone staring at him threatening). That his explanation is it's because you're so pretty is not supportive of you and actually defends the man's actions.

How he responds to these topics will help you work out whether he's a keeper or not.

Lovelydiscusfish Tue 22-Dec-15 08:29:39

I can understand why you were unhappy with being called naive - it's very patronising - and his assertion that you just have to expect to be stared at because you're pretty does seem quite pessimistic. However, it's not clear to me that he thinks it is right that men should stare at you (that would be much more worrying). I would take it more that he meant unfortunately lots of men are like that, it's not right, but it's just the way it is. Which doesn't make him sound too bad to me.

If he's otherwise lovely, I would not consider splitting up with him over this.

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