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to assume that a teen is married to a middle aged man?

251 replies

Asianfemale · 28/03/2021 21:32

My middle-aged white DH was in a large computer store getting his and my laptops repaired. Our mixed race (but looking more Asian than white) teenage DD came with him for company. DH mentioned that one of the laptops belonged to his wife. Without skipping a bit the engineer asked DD to describe what was wrong with her computer assuming that she was the wife.
DD was really embarrassed and walked away. DH says it happened before and he is worried that she wouldn't want to be seen with him in the future.
Innocent mistake or WTF? Would that happen if DH was out with a white teenager? Has this happened to you? AIBU to be concerned?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


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Asianfemale · 28/03/2021 21:59


He mentioned (unnecessarily, on the face of it) that one of the laptops belonged to his wife. I think the assumption that the female accompanying him was the wife in question was quite natural?
Why else would he say it? (Why did he??)

Because it is registered in their systems as a laptop belonging to me and not him. And because I logged the problem with them under my name.
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YourHighness · 28/03/2021 21:59

My dad is only 18 years older than me and he looks young for his age so quite often he was mistaken for my boyfriend or my sister's when we went out anywhere

badpuma · 28/03/2021 22:00

I went to the USA with my dad when he was at a conference so the hotel was expensed and I just had to pay for my flights. There seemed to be a general assumption that dad had brought his girlfriend along 🙄.

It was a bit icky, but we knew that it was wrong and the suggestion was gross. As people found out during the course of the week (calling him dad repeatedly at breakfast helped), no one apologised but treated me very differently.

2021mumma · 28/03/2021 22:00

I took a flight with my dad and child and was referred to as a couple... I was like as if!! Ha it was gross but people make assumptions

80sMum · 28/03/2021 22:00

This happened to my friend's husband and their daughter about 30 years ago. Both are white. It's an easy assumption for a salesperson to make, I think. Teenage girls often look older than their years. My friend's DD was 15 at the time, but could easily have passed for early 20s.

orpah · 28/03/2021 22:01

your ‘AIBU to...’ title makes zero sense

Asianfemale · 28/03/2021 22:03


I think there's just as much chance of it being an innocent mistake as it being a micro-aggression sort of thing. I was often mistaken as my mum in my teens when out with my dad and it's a common occurence especially with a young looking parent and older looking child.

Perhaps their masks contributed to the confusion?

Didn't think about the mask. This could be the case.

DH is middle-aged and overweight. DD is teenage and slim and looks and wears no make up. The age gap is very obvious.

I guess for my own sake, I will lean towards 'honest mistake' rather than micro-aggression.

And will start getting used to the idea that DD is now a young woman.
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Blimeyoreilleystrews · 28/03/2021 22:04

I am mixed race, my dad is white. It happened all the time (from when I was about 14!) - never, ever happened to any of my (white) friends.

Asianfemale · 28/03/2021 22:04


your ‘AIBU to...’ title makes zero sense

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Easterbunnygettingready · 28/03/2021 22:04

I took my 20 yo to hospital daily after an accident.. I also took newborn ds. They all assumed ds was ds's df!! Ds wasn't amused as he had been trying to catch the eye of a nurse about his age!! He must have looked a real twat!!

tyranny · 28/03/2021 22:04

Um. If the sales assistant had carried on asking the man what was wrong with the computer if the female companion present HAD been the wife, it would absolutely have been plain old sexism, and far worse than an acceptance that any two people out shopping together could be in a relationship. At least the salesperson considered women capable of answering their own tech questions.

Sicilianna · 28/03/2021 22:05

I can’t tell ages in masks.

Also, I’ve been mistaken for my DH’s daughter (asked if I wanted a discount when out with him and his mate - mortifying!)

And DH has also been mistaken for his twin sister’s son! So there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

Dirtyplates · 28/03/2021 22:05

Op it happened to me and my dad once, and we are both white. I was 17 at the time and my dad was 42. We were both creeped out by it.

NiceGerbil · 28/03/2021 22:06

The race point is about possibly assuming she's a 'mail order bride'.

TheWaif · 28/03/2021 22:07

My then 14 year old niece was mistaken for my brother in law (not her dad, my other sisters DH)'s wife once. They are both white.

CloudFormations · 28/03/2021 22:09

I was mistaken for my dad’s girlfriend once when I was sixteen and he took me out for dinner. We’re both white, it happened in London. I can imagine that there may also have been a racial element in your DD and DH’s situation though - unconscious biases can manifest in weird ways.

It was a horrible, awkward experience for me so I do feel for your daughter. I think it’s always a bit creepy when people assume a romantic relationship rather than a familial one where there’s clearly a massive age difference. It was probably an innocent mistake, but still a gross one. Hope your daughter has moved past it now Flowers

Stellaroses · 28/03/2021 22:10

I see others have had similar experiences and attributed it to race so perhaps you’re right. I definitely still think it was probably just lazy thinking - he said “my wife” and there was a female, wearing mask, no time to assess...
Your slightly separate point about people assuming you’re some kind of young mail order bride - yes I absolutely think that train of thought is still rife unfortunately.

DarkMatterA2Z · 28/03/2021 22:11

I think you're right that it's a bit creepy but another angle to this is that Asian women often age extremely well compared to Westerners (there's actually been research done on the reasons for this). So it can be difficult to tell ages accurately sometimes. One of my DM's nicest neighbours is Asian and, although they're a similar age, she looks at least a decade younger than my DM.

LoveCauliflowerCheese · 28/03/2021 22:12

I once asked my male boss who was about the same age as me if the lady in the lovely picture with his kids he'd put up in his office was their granny. It was his wife! I wanted the ground to open!!! 🙈🙈🙈 (all white people in this case).

museumum · 28/03/2021 22:12

People often find it hard to age people of other ethnicities. I myself often get Asian women’s ages very wrong (in general women my age - 40s - with darker skin look to me far younger than I do, probably due to having less visible sun damage)

MixedUpFiles · 28/03/2021 22:13

It started happening from time to time once I turned 13 and was out with my dad. I actually remember one time we were standing in the line at the market and a little kid asked her mom, “is that a mommy or a kid” and pointed at me. Her mom whispered back that she wasn’t sure and she shouldn’t point. If I hadn’t been such a shy kid I would have told them I was a teenager.

The truth is that you can’t really tell the age of young women and we often rely on other context clues. As often as people thought I was older as a teen, I was accused of truancy once as an adult. Another time traveling back from a business trip where I had advised clients on a billion dollar deal the border agent didn’t believe I wasn’t a student. probably because I was still using my old suitcase from my student days and was wearing sweats and no makeup because I was exhausted from the whirlwind trip, plus I hadn’t yet acquired those perfect polished traveling clothes professional women wear.

Asianfemale · 28/03/2021 22:14


Um. If the sales assistant had carried on asking the man what was wrong with the computer if the female companion present HAD been the wife, it would absolutely have been plain old sexism, and far worse than an acceptance that any two people out shopping together could be in a relationship. At least the salesperson considered women capable of answering their own tech questions.

We noted that too. Often sales assistants would speak to my husband even if I am the one buying, asking all the questions and paying. So we did give him credit for giving agency to a woman.
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NaToth · 28/03/2021 22:14

Hospital staff recently thought my friend was my mother! She is only six years older than me.

These things happen.

Kochicoo · 28/03/2021 22:15

Happened to a couple of my white friends with their white dads. We all laughed but they were horrified.

MixedUpFiles · 28/03/2021 22:15

Oh, forgot to mention I am white.

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