My husband believes that teasing is very funny – especially, when I’m the recipient of his tease.
He’ll react to something I’ve said or how I look, with mock sympathy. Then he’ll do a “comic” riff on it - “Are you sweating going upstairs because you’ve gained ten pounds, or is this the furnace’s fault?”
He’ll hang close hoping for a reaction, thoroughly enjoying if I start to get upset.
Mostly, I just walk away.
But he’s even more persistent at teasing me when we’re with friends. He’ll tell stories which he calls “her latest mess-up.”
It can be anything from a small computer error - pressing Send before I finished the document and having to re-send it – to a new recipe I tried that wasn’t great.
Otherwise, he’s a very good husband. We love each other, have good kids, and enjoy similar activities.
It’s ONLY the teasing that I hate.
He doesn’t get it how much he suddenly makes me feel hurt, embarrassed, and disrespected.
Am I Overreacting?
No, you’re not overreacting, and Yes, he does get it that you hate being teased. That’s why he does it.
It’s his passive-aggressive “control” mode. Especially when he teases you in public.
Until you confront him about why he does it, he’ll continue.
Meanwhile, the good feelings you have for him “otherwise,” may erode.
I cannot guess at what’s driving him to make “joking” putdowns, but you can.
Is there a power imbalance elsewhere, e.g. in child rearing, or in finances, in educational background or that of your families? Or, how you were each raised?
When you think you have a plausible reason, talk to him about it.
Be clear that while he gets a few laughs for himself or from friends (some friends!), you feel demeaned and hurt by the man who supposedly loves you.
Then suggest that you both attend counselling to deal with the teasing and its cause.
I’d become friends this past year with a woman who’d moved to my neighbourhood. We both walk our dogs in the local park.
I introduced her to another dog-walker with whom I had a nodding acquaintance and soon noticed that my new friend would look around for her.
I arrived late one day, just as they were discussing the area’s fanciest restaurant, and realized that they’d gone to lunch there without inviting me.
But now I accidentally overheard that the two women are going on a shopping spree together to the high-end mall.
Their reason for excluding me is painfully obvious: Both women drive luxury cars, and wear designer clothes even to walk their dogs.
That’s not my style. And I can’t afford it if I wanted it.
I’m very hurt and don’t know whether to visibly avoid them or just find another park.
So sad. Middle School has come back to haunt you. Yes, these are mean-acting women. And the lessons of exclusion that many kids have to learn early, still apply.
This says more about them than you. You were welcoming to a newcomer, regardless of social or financial status.
She’s ungrateful and a climber, more attracted to glitter than generosity of spirit.
She wasn’t a longtime friend. She’s a dog-walking acquaintance. Now that you know both of their characters better, they should stay in that category in your mind.
See them in the park, expect nothing more. Never hide from them; they’re not worth the emotional toll.
Grown-ups need real friends we can count on.
FEEDBACK Regarding the recently separated father whose teenage-to-grown children won’t speak to him (Feb. 9):
Reader – “While your reply is true – “it’s wrong to cast blame one way” – it ignores many fathers’ valid claims of purposeful parental alienation initiated by children’s mothers.
“You’re correct that “ex-spouses often blame the partner who left.” But in a majority of cases it’s the mother who feels she’s the supposed aggrieved.
“Barring abuse, most marriage failures are a result of both parties’ behaviour.
“Yet the court system is bent on affording the mother custody of the children with “visiting privileges” for the father, and not enforcing openly shared parenthood.
“It’d be more beneficial to the children if it were recognized that a large number of loving fathers have been living their post-marriage lives appropriately but are faced with undue influencing of children’s behaviour towards them.”
Ellie – I agree and courts are increasingly realizing that joint custody is usually better for the children
Tip of the day:
Constant teasing isn't funny to its target, and says more about the teaser that's also no joke.