My boyfriend and I just got back together after six months apart. I’d gained ten pounds.
When he was hugging me in bed he touched my stomach and said, "I can feel it kicking." I was mortified and soon left.
I let him know by email that I was so embarrassed by that, I’d just wanted to leave. He got so mad and called me absurd for not knowing that he was just joking.
He frequently puts me down with sarcastic remarks. He says he misses me terribly when I leave yet he seems to constantly belittle me when together.
I’m an educated, professional woman who’s comfortably self-supporting. Men are always attracted to me.
If this guy loves me, why the demeaning jokes? I get really hurt. Am I just being too sensitive?
No, you’re not just being over-sensitive, he’s being too much of a jerk.
Sarcastic put-downs are neither humour nor even teasing, despite what his excuse was.
If you ignore comments that demean you, it gives him permission to “joke” disrespectfully about you in front of others, too.
The significant question to ponder is this: Why does he need to put you down? After all, it’s your first time together again after a break-up, and you are an attractive woman he wants in his life again.
So, what moved him to screw up the reunion moment in bed? His own insecurities?
Perpetual “jerks” often have a history of personal need to make fun of people and/or get others to laugh at someone else’s expense.
Often, they’re also the “critic” who’s always telling someone what’s wrong with them… in this case, you.
You lived without him for six months. He just sent you a strong signal at his first opportunity, that you should consider living without him, indefinitely.
The only (uncertain) chance for an improved relationship with him is if you tell him that you can’t/won’t accept his putdowns, period.
If he doesn’t know how to change, he must get personal counselling before you’ll try dating him again.
We’re a couple in our early-50s with a close female friend recently widowed, two close divorced friends (one male, the other female) and another man who’s a widower of one year.
We periodically went out with these people when they were married and now don’t want to exclude them. But we also don’t want to be matchmakers or constant listening posts.
There are also complications when it comes to paying a restaurant bill or for tickets to a show or event.
We feel awkward asking the widow (who’s husband’s will was modest) to pay a share, but less so with the widower, who’s got a good job.
As for the divorced woman, my husband feels he’s supposed to pick up her bill when we’re with her (I disagree) but not the divorced man’s bill.
How do we handle their changed circumstances?
Be natural with close friends. They’re the ones who’ve experienced major change, so take your cues from how they’re managing.
Since the widow’s strapped for money, don’t choose pricey outings, include her in a gathering at your place, and, if she offers, tell her to bring something simple and inexpensive.
The widower can manage financially but still needs to get out socially when he’s ready. Include him, but not for set-ups with women unless he asks. The same applies to divorced singles – treat them as friends, not as problems.
As for listening, that’s what real friends are for, at least for a while.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding a personal thank-you and the reason behind it:
“As a local high-school student, I was doing a co-op education program at a retirement home. Usually, I read to the residents but it happened that one day I read about you talking to someone about their experience of sexual abuse.
“It triggered something in me to come forward about my past and how it happened to me too, when I was younger.
“Ever since I told someone about it, I no longer think about what happened to me and I feel so relieved and happy. I wanted to let you know these “#MeToo” stories and your advice really helped me. I’m so very thankful!”
Ellie – I’m also very thankful to have this space where innocent people, young and old, male and female, can unburden their painful feelings of misplaced shame/guilt.
I encourage others to tell their #MeToo stories here - always kept anonymous.
Tip of the day:
Don’t accept repeated putdowns and sarcastic criticism as “just joking.”