Sometimes it’s hard to anticipate what’s going to happen or how other people are going to treat you. It’s much easier to guess when you’re on the outside looking in.
But it can be really hard to give a loved one feedback, especially when it’s something we think they won’t want to hear, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
The Redditor, who has since deleted his account, shared his concerns about how he knew the conservative people in the town where he grew up would treat his goth girlfriend, simply because of her appearance.
But when he tried to express his concerns to her, in an effort to help her, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked when his girlfriend accused him of being controlling.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my girlfriend to change what she was wearing?”
The OP was supportive of his girlfriend’s goth style.
“My girlfriend (24 Female) and I (25 Male) were staying at my parents’ house for two nights.”
“My girlfriend typically wears super goth clothes. Of course, she looks gorgeous every time. I love her and her style, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about her.”
But he was concerned about how she would be treated in his family’s conservative town.
“My parents live in a really small conservative town, and a lot of the people there would give my girlfriend s**t for what she wears or at the very least look at her weirdly or stare at her.”
“A few months ago when we were out together, some old guy said something mean to her about what she was wearing and it really upset her.”
“I know that if she went out wearing what she was wearing, she’d get looks and mean things said to her, and it would really f**king upset her and probably ruin her day.”
The OP tried to help his girlfriend, but it totally backfired.
“I suggested that maybe she should wear something else for the reasons I said above. She got really upset and said some stuff about me trying to control her.”
“She’s been really upset since and I literally don’t know what to do to make her feel better. My intention wasn’t to upset her at all.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some understood the OP’s intentions were good but said the comment still made him YTA.
“YTA, although your heart was in the right place. It probably would’ve been better to remind her that the last time she was upset with a comment someone made and ask her if she felt comfortable wearing her normal clothes this time.”
“Reiterate you love her in them, but also don’t want her to be upset. Also, stand up for her if there’s ever a next time. Say to the stranger/person that she looks incredible etc.” – SafariSpecialist
“What if you’d told your girlfriend that you love the way she dresses and looks, but that your parents and their entire town are judgmental AH who will comment on her choice of dress?”
“What if you promised her to support her when said AHs make comments? (By saying something like, ‘Hey, is this hurting you at all? Show me where my GF’s choice of clothes is hurting you.’) What if you also reminded her that this town is apparently filled with AH?”
“She could decide how she wants to dress. You’d have her back if there were any crappy comments. It would still be her choice, but she’d make that choice knowing that you’d defend her.”
“Do you think that might work out better? You wouldn’t be controlling her. You’d be making your stand clear; you love your GF and how she dresses, and the rest of the world can f**k off.”
“No judgment at this time.” – lisaann03071961
“NTA. You’re not trying to control, you’re trying to protect the way you know how.”
“When we choose to be in an alternative style, we also have to have the guts to stand against mean comments, because they WILL happen, and not to be overly upset because it is expected already. Old and conservative people won’t likely change, and yes they’ll look for anything to criticize, BUT ALSO we have to protect ourselves sometimes because we don’t want to feel like s**t, and be a target.”
“The world won’t cater to us, it would be ideal? Yes, but won’t likely happen. It will cost her nothing beyond her own mental health to use more modest clothing, or whatever she normally uses, after all, goth fashion comes in many forms and styles.” – marunkaya
“For intentions, I’m gonna say NTA even though I thought I would vote YTA based on the title. You didn’t mean to be controlling or try to change her, but it did come across that way.”
“The best thing you can do is apologize and reassure her you don’t actually want her to change. This can definitely be tricky with conservative areas where non-conventional people might be judged.” – GreenPhone5697
“YTA if you:”
“1. Haven’t been defending her and on her side about her agency to wear what she wants.”
“2. Are upset about having to deal with her upset affecting you (she gets to be upset about the state of the world/judgment of others, I’m sure she supports you in your upset with the state of the world).”
“3. Can’t empathize with why she would think you were trying to control her and be upset.”
“If none of those things are true, you’re just terrible with wording, haha, and you’ll just need to explain to her what you actually meant and how you were trying to help, not hurt.” – AdInitial7598
“I’m gonna go with NTA, You simply made an observation of what could possibly happen in the future. Your decision to say this to her left you between a rock and a hard place.”
“I can see you looking out for her feelings, but if an entire town or whatever is going to alienate someone just because of how they dress, then I can only recommend not to return. Love is love and f**king things up sometimes is inevitable, but you both will get through it. Good luck.” – IrishAndIKnowIt7612
“NAH. It sounds like you were just trying to protect her. Maybe she has experienced somebody trying to control her in the past and it brought back bad memories. Also, most people who dress in goth fashion have experienced bullying or at least stares and weird looks for it at some point, so it’s possible that she is ‘used to it’ and doesn’t care, and thinks that for some reason you do.”
“Maybe it’s best to just clarify that you only said it to protect her and not because it would bother you in any capacity. Tell her you are proud of her and that you look forward to showing her off just the way she is, no matter what she is wearing, but it was only ever to protect her.” – PandaLoose3535
But others felt the OP’s comments were enough to make him YTA no matter what.
“YTA. How about you defend your girlfriend when someone is an a**hole to her, instead of expecting her to change herself to try and avoid abuse from a**holes.” – Embryw
“So, let me get this straight, in order to avoid her being hurt by comments about her clothes you decided to comment about her clothes, and did exactly what you were trying to avoid, which was ruin her day?”
“YTA, but just a little one. I get your intentions came from a good place, but they didn’t land very well.” – Negative-Product6401
“YTA. The solution to people making fun of your girlfriend’s style is to call people out for being rude to her and then reassure her that you think she looks gorgeous, not to tell her that she should alter herself just so a**holes will leave her alone.”
“Tell the a**holes to screw off instead of making it her fault she’s being picked on. I don’t think you meant it this way, but this could very easily slip into victim blaming.” – badhuckleberry
“YTA. My girlfriend also dresses like this, and I love taking her to small towns to upset the hillbillies. Also, why aren’t you defending her against these old men making unsolicited comments about her?” – Raivnholm
“YTA. You’re both grown-a** adults, so grow some nuts and say f**k everyone’s opinion. Let her wear what she wants. If family members are being pricks, tell them it’s none of their business how she dresses and she looks good.”
“If that causes a rift in your family, they weren’t family to begin with. Been there, done that, stop catering to other people bulls**t beliefs over small s**t like a fashion choice.” – Fack-_-You
“YTA. If my girlfriend was treated badly or people said things about her looks, I would immediately go defend her, shout at the person, and even hit them (and I am a skinny little five-foot, four-inches dude), because nobody has the right to do that to her and make her feel awful with how she looks.”
“Grow some b**ls, apologize to her, and next time, even if it is your own family, defend her, cause if she really is the love of your life, then it only matters to you how she looks, and the other can go kiss a donkey´s a**.” – ThatManWithQuestions
“Ooohh, buddy, YTA. Classic blunder. One does not simply get the goth girlfriend and then tell her not to be the goth girlfriend when around a judgy family.”
“She’s probably feeling insecure and rejected. It is your job in this case to step in and say it’s not anyone’s business how she dresses, and she’s not hurting them.” – pumpkinsyo
While the subReddit could empathize with the OP and understood that he was trying to save his girlfriend’s feelings, they felt that the situation could have been far better dealt with than how the OP handled it.