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My boyfriend keeps making comments about the way I dress. Is he being protective or judging me?


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Hi! I want to start saying that I do not dress in revealing clothes but I do wear a lot of dresses and skirts because I live in country with a very hot climate. He is usually asking me if I receive a lot of attention from men because of that and he also asks me in daily basis if I get cat called or harassed on the streets because I am showing legs. I always explain to him that even with jeans that situation can happen.

When we walk together he says that he notices men looking at me. Once, we were looking for a place to have drinks, I suggested some sports bar but he didn't want to go because he told me that he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable with "creepy men" looking at me.

Please help me to understand this behavior. I am also very short (around 5′ 1) so maybe he just thinks I am fragile?

He swears he is not the jealous type.

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I would say to him -make it about you "I feel uncomfortable when you comment this much about how I dress and I also feel uncomfortable when you comment about how men are looking at me or might look at me.  I am comfortable with how I dress and I know how to deal with unwanted attention if that should occur. I'd appreciate if you stop making those comments."  

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15 minutes ago, Lily_sbv said:

He is usually asking me if I receive a lot of attention from men because of that and he also asks me in daily basis if I get cat called or harassed on the streets because I am showing legs.

On a daily basis? I'd go crazy! 😕 

Everyone 'looks'. It's normal. He's acting too insecure. Has he tried to prevent you from going out with your friends? ( that might be next).  He cannot do that!

If he won't stop it, then you stop it.  

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3 minutes ago, reinventmyself said:

It's a form of gaslighting.  Entry level stuff but it can be in indicator of more to come.

Putting ideas in your head that cause you to second guess yourself while simultaneously telling you it's not him, but you.

Listen to your gut.

Yes and don't be surprised if you see him leering at women or involved in those sorts of activities online.

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This is how abusive boyfriends work their control over you bit by bit.  Once it works, they move onto what you eat. Then, they move onto how these friends aren't good for you. They move onto family.  Things to isolate you from them.

RED FLAG ALERT.  This guy is no good.

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He doesn't think you are fragile. However, he IS fragile and insecure and is projecting all that mess onto you. So he is obsessing with who is looking at you, how you dress, and rathe than getting a grip on himself, he is seeking to control you. This is not attractive behavior, it's dangerous behavior and a massive red flag. The type of man to stay away from.

These sort of things may seem subtle and even a little cute at first, but it will erode at you, your life, and your confidence. As he continues to harass you, if you don't stop him cold in his tracks now by shutting him down, you will eventually start wearing different clothes to appease him, to avoid conflict and so it goes on until you no longer recognize yourself and who you are around him.

With guys like that, there is always something else. First it's your clothes, then where you go, then for how long, then who you are friends with, then your family.....it doesn't stop until you are isolated and completely under their thumb. Beware. This guy is a walking toxic red flag.

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Beware.  My sister is married to a very controlling, possessive man.  He treats her as if she is his property, commands her and she acquiesces. 

Gaslighting is very scary and gaslighters never quit.

You need to be with a new boyfriend who isn't alarming and knows how to treat you with kindness and respect.  Not all men are created equal.

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2 hours ago, Lily_sbv said:

He swears he is not the jealous type.

How long have you been dating? How old is he? Yes he's jealous and controlling. What you wear is your business. Be on alert for other controlling behaviors. Are you from the same culture?

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12 minutes ago, Jumpshotkid said:

people love to say "he's being jealous" "he's being controlling" how about the fact that sometimes is about respect. If my gf goes out with a belly shirt on and booty shorts just to go to the store I'm going to have a problem with that. I think certain things are about respect. 

Then you don't date a woman who dresses like that and leave her to date men who aren't bothered by that or don't see that as disrespectful. Period.

Shared values my friend. It's NEVER about telling, dictating, controlling, or seeking to change what the other is doing regardless of what reason or excuse you have for that.

Edited by DancingFool
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I agree with DancingFool.  Date a lady who dresses according to your criteria.  If you want a ladylike, modest dresser, then date a lady like that.  Birds of a feather flock together.  Be evenly yoked.

Have more in common with your date regarding your beliefs and values. 

Don't be with a woman if you disapprove of them.  Let her go and be more selective according to what you want and expect.  This way, there are zero disagreements and both of you are on the same page.

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20 minutes ago, Jumpshotkid said:

people love to say "he's being jealous" "he's being controlling" how about the fact that sometimes is about respect. If my gf goes out with a belly shirt on and booty shorts just to go to the store I'm going to have a problem with that. I think certain things are about respect. 

Ok but what i am wearing are basically sundresses, shorts o medium skirts. I mean, is 30 degrees here...

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1 minute ago, Jumpshotkid said:

I understand the shared values thing. People just love to label people with "he's being controlling" "he's being jealous" I also believe that you have to talk to your partner about these values.

OP has already pointed out in her post that she is not dressed inappropriately, but rather wears clothing appropriate for the climate.

Also, yes, it is controlling to tell your partner what they can and cannot wear because of whatever personal beliefs and values you hold. What she wears is visual and tells you what you need to know. No, it's not something you need to sit and discuss because that does roll back around to trying to change and control your partner.

You have eyes, you saw, if you don't approve, don't even ask her on a date. You don't get to have double standards where her attractiveness and what she wears is what you drew you to her and then try to change that because you feel threatened by other men or you cloak that as "respect".

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31 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

How long have you been dating? How old is he? Yes he's jealous and controlling. What you wear is your business. Be on alert for other controlling behaviors. Are you from the same culture?

We have been dating for 4 months and he is 26, I am 25 and yeah, same culture. He is so relaxed on so many Things but is only this specific topic where he is acting like that.

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This is something you have absolutely no control over but he still blames you. He's being a total tool about it for sure. He's probably falling in love with you...and love makes people jeeeealous. 

Edited by smackie9
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Date someone who dresses similar to you and / or doesn't mind what you wear. 

This problem will not go away.  Either be satisfied with each other or peacefully part ways and be with those who share similar beliefs and values. 

Edited by Cherylyn
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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Cherylyn said:

Date someone who dresses similar to you and / or doesn't mind what you wear. 

This problem will not go away.  Either be satisfied with each other or peacefully part ways and be with t those who share similar beliefs and values. 

...

Edited by Lily_sbv
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42 minutes ago, Lily_sbv said:

We have been dating for 4 months and he is 26, I am 25 and yeah, same culture. He is so relaxed on so many Things but is only this specific topic where he is acting like that.

Ok, just keep wearing whatever you wish and do not defend yourself to him. He has the problem, not you. Keep your eyes open for other controlling or problematic behaviors.

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I doubt his attitude and behavior will change, even if you have a talk with him, but you can certainly ask, one time only. If he argues your points, or continues with this unhealthy behavior, run, don't walk, away from this toxic situation.

I'd say: I'm a grown woman and have survived just fine, without being attacked or followed or groped, because I know to handle any situation that arises. You treating me like some defenseless child is not something I'm going to allow. If I thought I needed a security guard, I'd hire one. And I'm comfortable with what I'm wearing. If you're not comfortable dating someone who wears dresses, you belong with someone else.

And he's either lying or delusional to say that everywhere you go, numerous men are gawking at you. Men aren't going to incite fights from another man, who's with his female partner, like this. And the general population is, or at least I hope they are, mentally healthy and keep their occasional glances at someone attractive as furtive as possible. 

Look up articles on controllers and manipulators in dating situations. If that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will. Take care and let us know how it goes.

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4 hours ago, Lily_sbv said:

Hi! I want to start saying that I do not dress in revealing clothes but I do wear a lot of dresses and skirts because I live in country with a very hot climate. He is usually asking me if I receive a lot of attention from men because of that and he also asks me in daily basis if I get cat called or harassed on the streets because I am showing legs. I always explain to him that even with jeans that situation can happen.

When we walk together he says that he notices men looking at me. Once, we were looking for a place to have drinks, I suggested some sports bar but he didn't want to go because he told me that he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable with "creepy men" looking at me.

Please help me to understand this behavior. I am also very short (around 5′ 1) so maybe he just thinks I am fragile?

He swears he is not the jealous type.

Most men know not to open their mouths like this as it comes across as deeply insecure. They may regard a woman's dress as a very personal choice and leave it at that.

That he feels the need to ask you about whether you get cat called or harassed is curiosity going in the wrong direction. He's inquiring because he wants you to feel self-conscious about what your choice of dress is and then change the way you dress so that you don't feel that you're doing anything wrong. 

He may not be jealous but he is insecure. He may have been conditioned with the mindset that women are only allowed to behave a certain way from young. Be very careful that you don't get caught up with a man or his family who doesn't accept you on such a deeply personal level or attempt to change you or make you feel self-conscious about such basic personal choices.

Regarding his comment about creepy men staring at you unfortunately that's his opinion and he's entitled to being uncomfortable regardless. If he doesn't feel comfortable around you you're incompatible. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, DancingFool said:

OP has already pointed out in her post that she is not dressed inappropriately, but rather wears clothing appropriate for the climate.

Also, yes, it is controlling to tell your partner what they can and cannot wear because of whatever personal beliefs and values you hold. What she wears is visual and tells you what you need to know. No, it's not something you need to sit and discuss because that does roll back around to trying to change and control your partner.

You have eyes, you saw, if you don't approve, don't even ask her on a date. You don't get to have double standards where her attractiveness and what she wears is what you drew you to her and then try to change that because you feel threatened by other men or you cloak that as "respect".

Well said.

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4 hours ago, Jumpshotkid said:

Little story. I went to see a scary movie with a coworker of mines. My gf at the time didn't like scary moves so I went with a female co worker who loved scary movies. she was only a friend. I told my gf about it the next day and she told me that she would appreciate if I didn't do that in the future because it make her uncomfortable. I told her I didn't know she felt that way and I didn't do it anymore. I wasn't like "o, your just insecure"....

Glad you were both on the same page with that.

The originator of this post is not. 

That's the difference.

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He doesn't think you're fragile, OP. 

He is insecure. Tell him you aren't comfortable with his comments and if he cannot trust you to conduct yourself appropriately, then the relationship cannot continue. Don't enable his jealousy, and don't let him control what you wear. 

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These sound like comments from someone who views his date as his personal property.

When someone guards you, he doesn't trust you to manage yourself, and worse, this kind of control will only increase and escalate--it never decreases. At least not without some serious therapy.

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