Do guys use "sweetheart" as a form of endearment or as a way to undermine women?

I got a little jealous after my boyfriend started praising my friend a lot but ignored it. He kept doing it until I finally communicated it to him. He was surprised and asked how I had come to that conclusion. After I texted him 3 long paragraphs about what he was doing and how it made me feel, he texted "sweetheart". He only rarely uses forms of endearment so it confused and distracted me from my argument. He had to work but he said we'd finish talking about it later and that he wasn't trying to ignore the issue. I saw him saying sweetheart as a form of affection, but my sister said it sounded like he undermined every thing I had brought up. Which does it sound like?
  • I use it as a form of endearment // sounds like he was being affectionate
    Vote A
  • I use it as a form of endearment // doesn't soind like he was bring affectionate
    Vote B
  • I'm usually mocking, being sarcastic, or undermining // sounds like he was being affectionate
    Vote C
  • I'm usually mocking, being sarcastic, or undermining // doesn't sound like he was being affectionate
    Vote D
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Most Helpful Guys

  • Ask him.
    Stop asking her opinion and tell your sister to seek professional help.
    This isn't a gendered issue. Both men and women use the term honestly, ironically and condescendingly. Jumping to any conclusion without his word on the matter is ignorant and compulsive. Have a conversation with the man you're supposed to love, and work it out together. Leave your sister out of it, and everything regarding your relationship until she demonstrates remarkable improvement in terms of relationship understanding and commitment.

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  • It's always both at the same time. Here is why:

    1. If you do something sweet we go "aww" inside and want to call you sweetheart.

    2. When you act like a silly little jealous girl we go "aww" and want to call you sweetheart. Your concern isn't a real thing, you are being jealous, tbh its good you made him aware of it and I am sure he cares but when he is just complimenting your friend (I presume not "nice ass" but something more like "congrats on winning the art competition") that is really your problem.

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Most Helpful Girls

  • In the South many people use it in an insulting way to disregard what the other person is saying 😆

    I’ve been in this situation where a friend kept calling me sweetheart every time I said something they disagreed with.

    For example, I said to my friend, “Hey dude, when you said that I shouldn’t care about my family member trying to commit suicide that kind of made me uncomfortable” and his reply was a big annoyed sigh “Sweetheart...”. Another instance he would do this is if I mispronounced a word he was would say “Oh sweetheart” to make me feel ashamed and embarrassed in front of other friends.

    So it all depends on your boyfriend’s tone, how it’s used and where the individual is from.

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  • More than likely, he meant it as a form of endearment. He said it in order ro calm you down and appease you. Why would he exacerbate the situation by undermining you? I can already tell that the two of you fight and create problems in your own relationship over pointless things. Your sister is biased is will obviously always take your side on things and just tell you what you wish to hear. Honestly, if someone was using these terms as an insult... you would know. There would be no question about it.

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Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 39

  • It's a word created in a patriarchal laboratory designed purely to remind women if their place at the feet of men. For they are but slaves to the superior sex!

    I'm just joking. I never use sweetheart. For one thing I think it sounds weird so id never naturally say it. For another, I know a lot of women who find it patronizing.

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  • Maybe he likes that you got so jealous over him. It may make him feel cherished. You said he praised her a lot. Did he praise her to you? Did he praise her directly? What was the thing he said about her that made you the most incensed?

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  • Both.

    I don't normally call girls sweetheart, but when I do it's only with my very close girl friends. I'm not saying it to be disrespectful, but I do say it sarcastically. It's hard to explain without context, but there's no ill intent behind it.

    Now, of course, there are the times when I use it and am actually being endearing, but you can tell the difference

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  • I don't know the context, but I wouldn't jump to conclusions.
    Wait and see if he seriously contends with the issue, then decide.

    If he takes you seriously, and deals with the issue, I don't believe he undermined you.

    If he just ignores you, and keeps praising your friend, he likely did.

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  • It didn't sound like he was being affectionate. I never use that word even if I'm being affectionate. Mine I use to be affectionate is My Love. I'll use it like when saying good morning my love. However if there is an argument or dispute I don't use it. Plus I can't see sweetheart as an affectionate word. To me it's being a smart ass remark.

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  • It can be either endearment or sarcasm depending on the context in which it is used. In this case he is being condescending and not treating you with respect. Your mistake was having the conversation by text. Do it face to face. You can see his facial expression and hear the tone in his voice. That will tell you in an instant.

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  • Is all in the context. Basically if it is ever used in an argument, chances are it is demeaning.

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  • It sounds relatively innocent, I do use sweetheart as a legitimate term of endearment though and hadn't really thought of it as a way to undermine someone.

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  • I use it as a term of endearment... It is too hard to say but he definitely could be using it to manipulate. Guys do that and it is wrong!

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  • Depends on the the situation. I've heard it used both ways and you can definitely tell which way it's being used. If I use it endearingly I usually shorten it to sweetie, but that could also be used both ways.

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  • In this context I personally feel like he is trying to put you in your place in a passive aggressive way. But in other scenarios, I would use sweetheart as a flirtatious gesture

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  • sounds more like a "don't be silly, you need not be jealous" moment, not so much undermining. if that was the case, he'd be done with the subject and wouldn't have mentioned about talking more later

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  • It's like any word. It's how you use it. Look at the southern saying of "bless his/her heart." It can be said with emotional investment or it can be said with a condescending or mocking tone.

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  • I've literally used it both ways and it depends entirely on my tone.

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  • I can’t tell how he used it based on what you said.
    Did he just send that word only and then s not another reply after?

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  • Nope but that creep does.
    That or he was just being friendly and encouraging with her.

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  • It's meant to highlight someone's innocence, that can be complimentary or critical entirely dependent on context.

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  • I would use it as a way to show my love but I don't know the dude or the whole story so there's no way for me to tell

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  • Are you kidding me it is a term of Endearment affection he was being nice

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  • I use it as a form of endearment, but I think he probably said it as a way of taking your mind of the subject but I could be wrong. Try to being it up again see what he does this time

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What Girls Said 16

  • Really depends. Cause tbh when someone pisses me off i say "Sweetheart, ______" just out of anger or annoyance. Since you were arguing and he never does it, maybe? Honestly, you may need to ignore it or ask him about it

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  • If it was at work I'd be insulted as we are professionally so such words are kept for your loved ones like your boyfriend.
    He wasn't wrong and don't be sensitive.

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  • Sweetheart & sweetie are both endearing. Now, only my boyfriend (not currently got one) calls me darling and me, him. I don't like others calling him darling. Pisses me off!

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  • Speaking on your dude specifically... He wasn’t being endearing. There was a tiny bit of sarcasm in there (given the context)

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  • Most guys use it as a term of endearment, and I believe that was the case here

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  • I don't think he used it to undermine you. The intent behind the words are different for everyone but most if the time I think it's used in an endearing way

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  • My boyfriend uses words like “sweetheart” when he wants to show endearment during our arguments.
    It all depends on the person who’s using it. If he’s calling every other girl like that (yes it’s common where I live) so I would say it means nothing. If he calls you “sweetheart” all the time I still would not pay attention. In your case he definitely wants you to feel good about the matter and trying to diminish whatever he’s done wrong according to you.
    From other hand your sister is right that some men are trying to undermine women by calling them sweet names.

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  • When I use endearments in arguments, i do it to remind him that i can love him and be mad at him

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  • I think without knowing the context it's hard to tell. Depending what kind of compliments he said to your friend that frustrated you, depending what you said and how you worded, and what his previous responses were, before he said he had to work.

    If he genuinely meant what he said, that you 2 will continue the conversation, then he might've addressed you that way to calm you down, to reassure you that he will talk to you about it later and he wasn't evading.

    If he initially reacted in a way that he thought you were making a big deal out of nothing, or he knew he was not behaving appropriately, but wanted to do whatever he wanted, then he could be patronizing you.

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  • Sounds like he was saying Sweetheart I know how you feel and I try to understand it but have a bit trouble to do so

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  • Depends on how it’s being said that may give it a different meaning lols..

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  • Neither. It was his instinct to use that word because it would assure you he loved you no matter what the argument or issue was.

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  • i like to think endearment but it was over text so u can't pick up on tone

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  • Yeah probably

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  • depends how he worded it

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  • Whenever someone calls me “sweet” or “sweetheart” they usually aren’t taking me seriously and it is NOT meant as a form of endearment unless they use it often when you are in normal everyday conversation. For example, my mum calls me sweetheart and tweety, but these are her names for me. When a male BFF of mine called me sweetheart, he meant it as a “you’re like four years old” and in an overall condescending way (FYI, he isn’t my bff anymore...)

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