Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: Mental Magpie on January 29, 2012, 12:43:15 AM

Title: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 29, 2012, 12:43:15 AM
If any of you have been following, I really have no skill in communicating with Dark Boyfriend when it pertains to my self-esteem.  This certainly is the man with which I want to spend the rest of my life.  Part of our very minuscule problem involves his inability to perceive things from others' points of view; the other (more important) part involves me being able to effectively express my emotions when they are hurt.

I want to point out right here and now that I know the onus of the following matter pertains specifically with me and that he has absolutely done nothing wrong.  This is definitely my hang up and I have not communicated that to him, ever, and he cannot be held accountable for something I have never told him.

We are currently at his brother's house.  Their mother and her long-term boyfriend are also here.  In a joke (and I know Dark Boyfriend knows it is a joke because I have specifically addressed it with him), I mentioned how I was the one repairing the fence (because 1 of 2 dogs was escaping) while he was putting away groceries (something even he posted on Facebook because we joke about things like that).  His brother basically quoted the quote that was next posted on Facebook, then I the next, and his brother the following.  Dark Boyfriend then replied, "Yeah, when was the last time you actually worked a job?"* Because I am a good sport, I replied, "When was the last time you worked a full time job, went to school full time, and still did things around the house?" (which I did about a year ago)  He chuckled, waffled, then said, "Around 2004."  This really was all kidding; this is normal for all of us (his mother included.)  That is not what bothered me.

What bothers me is that I know I don't contribute much because all I do at the present time is full-time school...and he knowsthat this semester is very easy for me, as was the last, because the majority of it is online (I am a visual learner who learns best by reading).  I constantly feel like I could be doing more to contribute (FTR, I have applied for a number of jobs but have not been called back or contacted again or the timeline for applications is not yet over), I wash the dishes (he absolutely never does per agreement), I mostly do laundry, I go to class every day, I take care of the dogs more because I am home more often, et cetera.

What he doesn't know is how awful this makes me feel.  I feel like I could do more, as in be more attentive about cleaning the rest of the house, or be more attentive about the dogs, but I simply don't do it.  That makes me feel useless.  I know that I should be spending a lot of time studying, but the fact of the matter is that it really doesn't take much of me studying for me to do well in a class.  I also know that I could spend that extra time I have cleaning the house...but I don't.  That makes me feel awful and useless.

...so when he said that about me having a job, I felt absolutely unimportant and like I contributed absolutely nothing to the world*.  To his merit, he has absolutely no idea how awful I feel that I don't contribute more to our household.  I honestly do not believe he said it out of malice, but that he said it more out of that is a) how we joke and b), that is the ultimate logical truth. 

The question is a) is it worth bringing up to him how his comment made me feel; and b)if it is worth it, what the e-hell do I say?  In answer to that question, I think it is important to consider the "*" below.

*Dark Boyfriend has told me at the very least weekly that he has sat around work and either watched a movie or played card games because they  have had nothing to do.  Dark Boyfriend has also only attended 1 semester of college.  At one point, I was at college full time AND was working full time.  He had the audacity to say to me once, "When was the last time you worked 13 hours straight?" to which I replied, "What do you think full time school AND full time work is like?  I have so little time on my hands that I do homework at work, then I come home, do more homework, then I cook dinner while doing dishes at the same time!  Usually after that, I can't play video games with you because I am still doing homework!"  He has never said, "When was the last time you worked 13 hours?" to me again...other than trying to stick up for himself, I can't imagine why he would make a comment about me not currently having a job.  Again, I must stress that I know that all of this transaction about jobs was picking on one another; he had absolutely no malice, picking on eachvother is something we do regularly.  He doesn't know that this is a soft spot for me currently because I have neither indicated that it was nor have told him so directly.  This really is all on me, hence the original question above.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Baxter on January 29, 2012, 12:57:34 AM

We are currently at his brother's house.  Their mother and her long-term boyfriend are also here.  In a joke (and I know Dark Boyfriend knows it is a joke because I have specifically addressed it with him), I mentioned how I was the one repairing the fence (because 1 of 2 dogs was escaping) while he was putting away groceries (something even he posted on Facebook because we joke about things like that).  His brother basically quoted the quote that was next posted on Facebook, then I the next, and his brother the following.  Dark Boyfriend then replied, "Yeah, when was the last time you actually worked a job?"* Because I am a good sport, I replied, "When was the last time you worked a full time job, went to school full time, and still did things around the house?" (which I did about a year ago)  He chuckled, waffled, then said, "Around 2004."  This really was all kidding; this is normal for all of us (his mother included.)  That is not what bothered me.


I think there is a problem with this sort of "joking".  Even though you find it funny, it is, at its heart, just mean. 

My family used to be like this, there was an unwritten rule that we could be as cruel & nasty as we liked as long as we were funny.  And we were funny, we were hysterical but we were also being really really rude and mean.  We have since corrected our behaviour and it has made a difference in a good way to all of us.

I seriously think that you need to stop doing these jokes because some will "hit home" like that one did and make you feel just awful.  Talk to your boyfriend and use that specific incident as a starting point to say, "these jokes aren't working for us anymore, they are insidiously taking away my (possibly our) self-esteem."


What bothers me is that I know I don't contribute much because all I do at the present time is full-time school...and he knowsthat this semester is very easy for me, as was the last, because the majority of it is online (I am a visual learner who learns best by reading).  I constantly feel like I could be doing more to contribute (FTR, I have applied for a number of jobs but have not been called back or contacted again or the timeline for applications is not yet over), I wash the dishes (he absolutely never does per agreement), I mostly do laundry, I go to class every day, I take care of the dogs more because I am home more often, et cetera.


As for this part, stop stressing, we all feel like we could do more.  You sound like you keep the household running well and you are all happy. 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Sharnita on January 29, 2012, 07:39:53 AM
While we all could be doing more the fact that you were already bothered before any of this might be a sign that you need to do more - not that you are slacking but that there is something out there that would make you happier.  It doesn't have to be housework or chores.  It might be volunteering, a bible study, book club, cooking class, bowling league, blogging...

It just sounds like you were feeling this way already and the jokes intensified it a bit.  I do agree that those jokes are potentially hurtful and people should probably avoid them. I just wonder it you were already feeling the need for something more and the jokes put a spotlight on that.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 29, 2012, 09:55:23 AM
It kinda sounds like you want it both ways - you want mean joking to go on, but not if its directed towards you. That's not fair. If you can't take it (and that's a reasonable thing to be hurt by!) you shouldn't be dishing it. Which isn't to say all teasing needs to stop but all pot-shots probably do. If you and DB are a team, partners, etc you need to act like one and back each other up, not knock each other down.

At the very least for every negative joke or comment you each make you should make 1-2 positive comments. Because otherwise it becomes all negative "jokes".

And you need to communicate this to DB.

You might also consider doing some online incentive stuff to bring in some household extras. Look into surveys, stuff like www.MyPoints.com, or doing consumer research panels. You won't get rich doing any of them, but you will be able to treat thetwo you to something once in a while.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: NestHolder on January 29, 2012, 10:57:22 AM
It sounds as though, yes, you do need to tell him how these 'jokes' make you feel.  I can't say that they sound particularly amusing to me, and if they are hurting you, it's high time for them to stop.  If you can't figure out a way to say it, try editing the post you made to eHell.  Cut out all the justifications and just pare it down to two or three sentences about your personal reactions to his joke.  Then, you know exactly what to say.

You obviously feel guilty that you aren't earning—which isn't actually reasonable, but since when was guilt reasonable?  I used to feel guilty when I stayed at home to look after the children, but I had no reason to.  It doesn't sound to me as though you are slacking—it's nice to have an easy ride with your studies, but that could change.  And meanwhile, it seems as though you are doing your fair share of the household work—and taking on more than your DB because you have more time available.

I recommend you analyse what your contributions are, and include the improvement in future contributions you expect to be able to make as a result of your studies.  Then, if you truly feel you should be doing more—housework, or some kind of part-time work—then do it.  If you truly ought to be doing more to keep the house tidy, if it's not just your I'm-not-earning guilt talking, then *do* more, don't just sit about feeling bad.  However, I think it's more than probable that you don't owe any more to your household, to your partnership, than you're already doing.  But money has a way of distorting the picture.

Basically what it comes down to is that you're not earning.  Money is a very delicate subject.  Being the member of the household who is not currently earning any can be a really uncomfortable position, which anyone would hate.  I think you owe it to your relationship to get this straightened out.

Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 29, 2012, 12:08:43 PM
Thanks for the great suggestions. I wasn't sure it was worth bringing up because we were joking around. I also didnt make it clear what exactly we were joking about which was who is more masculine in the relationship; he just made a low blow IMO that kind of came out of left field. Me being manly is a long standing joke that I usually am the one to initiate.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Dindrane on January 29, 2012, 12:45:05 PM
As a bit of advice that may help your underlying feelings, it's never a bad idea for two people who live together to reach specific agreements about who contributes what to the household.

I work full time, and my husband is a full time graduate student.  We reached an agreement awhile ago that, because I have to dress up and go to work every day, he gets to do most of the "maintenance" style cleaning (because he works at home and is far more capable of doing it).  So he cooks dinner on weeknights, does dishes, and runs errands that are easier for him to manage (because he has control over his schedule and I don't).  I mostly focus on not leaving a trail of mess in my wake, but any household work I do is strictly on weekends.

This arrangement isn't permanent, however, and it hasn't always been this way.  Whenever either of us is unhappy with how things work, or when the situation changes, we reevaluate and sometimes redistribute who does what.  Because we mutually agree upon who is responsible for which household chores, neither of us feels as though we are not contributing our fair share.

But the other thing that has been really important for us to think about is the idea that money doesn't trump everything.  At the moment, it would be really easy for me to say that I'm earning all the money (or most of the money), and therefore should not have to do any chores.  But that's not what I want my marriage to look like.  I wouldn't want that to be the situation if I was the one not earning money (or earning less money).  Having more income doesn't exempt me from responsibility for taking care of our home, just like not having income doesn't mean my husband isn't contributing towards it.  It makes it harder to work together as a team if we're constantly comparing whose paycheck is bigger, and it goes against every philosophy I have about how marriage is supposed to work.

It's pretty hard to not fall into that trap (whichever side of it you're on), but it's a little easier to deal with if you count "earning income" on about the same level as "cleaning the bathroom regularly," particularly if the person working actually likes his/her job.  Income is essential to everything, but I enjoy going to work and don't view it as much more of a chore than being responsible for all the vacuuming. :)
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: EMuir on January 29, 2012, 01:57:58 PM
I think it's important for you to do enough at home that you can feel more confident that you are supporting your half.  Then even if he does joke, you'll feel secure enough to shrug it off.  In the meantime, I'd consider stopping that kind of joking for a while and if he does it, tell him you don't feel like that kind of joke is funny anymore. 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: figee on January 29, 2012, 02:36:53 PM
Thanks for the great suggestions. I wasn't sure it was worth bringing up because we were joking around. I also didnt make it clear what exactly we were joking about which was who is more masculine in the relationship; he just made a low blow IMO that kind of came out of left field. Me being manly is a long standing joke that I usually am the one to initiate.

I thought this was interesting.  If he's gotten increasingly sarky about things, maybe it's because he finds it tiring that this is the joke you make.  I find the balancing of gender roles in relationships about the most difficult part.  For instance, I earn more money than DH.  I've also got a better education.  He is a much better cook and irons better than I do.  However, joking about who is the more masculine (meaning, in some cultures, competent, in charge, all that stuff) is something we don't do because in saying or joking that I mam the more masculine of the two of us, just means that, for him, he isn't doing what he feels he should be in terms of taking care of me.  Please understand that it doesn't matter to me, but it matters at some level to him.

Is something like this going on for you?
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 29, 2012, 03:29:14 PM
Oh, not at all actually. The jokes are more along the lines of "I'm a boy because I'd ether play video games all day than go shopping" or "I'm a guy because it only takes me 20 minutes to get ready instead of an hour"; just things about how I don't fit the stereotypes at all. I can see in your instance though how jokes about me wearing the pants constantly would get old and would result in him saying what he did.

We have agreed upon chores for some things. I usually cook because of his work schedule and because I do the dishes in the mean time. He is responsible for taking out the trash before he goes to work. He feeds the dogs in the mornings. I keep them up to date on their shots and flea medicine. It is obvious though that we need to work out more exact things for other chores, though.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Dindrane on January 29, 2012, 04:06:09 PM
It's never a bad idea to be explicit when you're dividing up household responsibilities.  Laying it all out in a specific way lets both halves of a couple feel as though they have a fair burden, because they know exactly what the other person is doing.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: figee on January 29, 2012, 10:25:56 PM
Oh, not at all actually. The jokes are more along the lines of "I'm a boy because I'd ether play video games all day than go shopping" or "I'm a guy because it only takes me 20 minutes to get ready instead of an hour"; just things about how I don't fit the stereotypes at all. I can see in your instance though how jokes about me wearing the pants constantly would get old and would result in him saying what he did.

We have agreed upon chores for some things. I usually cook because of his work schedule and because I do the dishes in the mean time. He is responsible for taking out the trash before he goes to work. He feeds the dogs in the mornings. I keep them up to date on their shots and flea medicine. It is obvious though that we need to work out more exact things for other chores, though.

Fair enough, but from your description, you actually said that the jokes were about you being more masculine than he is. 

This started off being less about chores and more about how the joking made you feel.  You maybe need to both come to a realisation that college is work, and that it needs to be treated as such.  So you may need to stop picking up the slack and/ or come to some sort of agreement whereby you taking up the slack at home is recognised in some way, possibly by both of you having access to some 'mad money' each pay period which you can spend as you see fit or whatever. 

Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 29, 2012, 10:29:12 PM
Oh, not at all actually. The jokes are more along the lines of "I'm a boy because I'd ether play video games all day than go shopping" or "I'm a guy because it only takes me 20 minutes to get ready instead of an hour"; just things about how I don't fit the stereotypes at all. I can see in your instance though how jokes about me wearing the pants constantly would get old and would result in him saying what he did.

We have agreed upon chores for some things. I usually cook because of his work schedule and because I do the dishes in the mean time. He is responsible for taking out the trash before he goes to work. He feeds the dogs in the mornings. I keep them up to date on their shots and flea medicine. It is obvious though that we need to work out more exact things for other chores, though.

Fair enough, but from your description, you actually said that the jokes were about you being more masculine than he is. 

This started off being less about chores and more about how the joking made you feel.  You maybe need to both come to a realisation that college is work, and that it needs to be treated as such.  So you may need to stop picking up the slack and/ or come to some sort of agreement whereby you taking up the slack at home is recognised in some way, possibly by both of you having access to some 'mad money' each pay period which you can spend as you see fit or whatever.

I'm sorry, I'm being really confusing.  I joke all of the time about how I am masculine.  The joking around in this instance began because he made a joke about me being more masculine than he because I'm the handyman (as in I was fixing the fence and he was putting away groceries).  I was pointing out that I am usually the one to joke that I am masculine (though not necessarily more masculine than he) because I wanted to let people know that him calling me masculine is not a sore spot and I usually find it funny (which I did in this instance, too). 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: shhh its me on January 30, 2012, 12:25:47 AM
    I want to throw a few things out there.

  I think you may need to really think about your feelings a bit.  I would also consider that maybe he is resentful about the amount of work you're doing and is making PA jokes rather then talking about it and/or he may feel under appreciated sometimes and/or he may be insecure about the education level you're obtaining.


 You feel guilty , figure out if you actually have something to feel guilty about and if you do change it. If you don't then make sure your BF is on the same page. 

About this type of joke(I work more you work less) , was it ever funny to you? You can make a fat joke to me if I weight 125 lbs without bothering me at all, if you do it when I weight 140lbs I'm hurt and upset. Thing is if you see me the same at 140lbs you may not get why that joke just became hurtful.  IF he thinks " it;s funny because you're working so hard" then you need to have a different conversation then " well I guess I am annoyed with you about the amount of housework your doing" or " I know you work hard at school but you don't realize how hard I work." or " What I do is hard , what you do is alto of work but not as hard as what I do."

Last time  I advise you to say " I heard  this and was hurt"  this time I'd suggesting asking " when you make these (mention specific comments) what exactly are you thinking and feeling.   IF he says  "I don't know " ask  " when you joke I do nothing , are you annoyed?....Do you think you are doing more then you're fair share? "  and  put in you';re feeling too " do you mean I'm lazy,  do you feel I'm taking advantage" etc.

Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 12:30:47 AM
    I want to throw a few things out there.

  I think you may need to really think about your feelings a bit.  I would also consider that maybe he is resentful about the amount of work you're doing and is making PA jokes rather then talking about it and/or he may feel under appreciated sometimes and/or he may be insecure about the education level you're obtaining.


 You feel guilty , figure out if you actually have something to feel guilty about and if you do change it. If you don't then make sure your BF is on the same page. 

About this type of joke(I work more you work less) , was it ever funny to you? You can make a fat joke to me if I weight 125 lbs without bothering me at all, if you do it when I weight 140lbs I'm hurt and upset. Thing is if you see me the same at 140lbs you may not get why that joke just became hurtful.  IF he thinks " it;s funny because you're working so hard" then you need to have a different conversation then " well I guess I am annoyed with you about the amount of housework your doing" or " I know you work hard at school but you don't realize how hard I work." or " What I do is hard , what you do is alto of work but not as hard as what I do."

Last time  I advise you to say " I heard  this and was hurt"  this time I'd suggesting asking " when you make these (mention specific comments) what exactly are you thinking and feeling.   IF he says  "I don't know " ask  " when you joke I do nothing , are you annoyed?....Do you think you are doing more then you're fair share? "  and  put in you';re feeling too " do you mean I'm lazy,  do you feel I'm taking advantage" etc.

You have no idea how much that thought terrifies me.  What if that is what he thinks?

As for that type of joke being made, it is not something he has ever said.  I don't know why he suddenly thought to say it or why he would think it was funny (I think, really, he that he wasn't "winning" so he thought of a shutdown to which I would have absolutely no comeback). 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Dindrane on January 30, 2012, 09:20:52 AM
Well, if that is what he thinks, isn't it better to know so that you can address it?  Either he's got a point, and you step up what you're contributing, or he's missing some stuff you're already doing and you can talk about that.  The alternative, if he thinks you're slacking off in some way, is that you have no idea and he quietly resents you until it's an actual problem.

In my experience, there are few things in relationships between people (but especially romantic, cohabiting relationships) that are best left hidden, unsaid, or buried.

The other thing I noticed, in going back and reading your original post and the one you just made, perhaps part of the problem with the joking is that it's kind of competitive.  Competitive joking can be fun, if everyone is in the right mood, but if the desire to "win" is strong, it can lead to bad feelings at the end.

In addition to that, the amount of work one puts into a relationship/household shouldn't really be a matter of competition.  Going down that path does not instantly lead to ruin, but it can set up some pretty bad precedents.  When you start comparing who works longer, who earns more, who washes the dishes more often, etc., and using those things to decide on a "winner" (and therefore a "loser"), things can quickly deteriorate into a mess of bad feelings.  It's important to compare stuff like that in order to determine a fair distribution of household work, but once you've distributed everything, it's not especially helpful to focus on it.  Better, I think, for both people to acknowledge the hard work the other person does, and express appreciation for their having done it.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: LadyL on January 30, 2012, 09:47:09 AM
Well, if that is what he thinks, isn't it better to know so that you can address it?  Either he's got a point, and you step up what you're contributing, or he's missing some stuff you're already doing and you can talk about that.  The alternative, if he thinks you're slacking off in some way, is that you have no idea and he quietly resents you until it's an actual problem.

In my experience, there are few things in relationships between people (but especially romantic, cohabiting relationships) that are best left hidden, unsaid, or buried.

POD. If you feel like you're not doing enough maybe you should get some feedback on whether that is guilt/perfectionism talking or if you really could use more of your free time to help out around the house. It's tough when an adult is not contributing financially to a household because it's harder to quantify what they do contribute. However, if it is spelled out clearly - i.e. "DM does X hours a week of household errands, maintenance, and cleaning in exchange for room and board" then you're not in this ambiguous, uncomfortable place wondering if you don't do enough.

These are definitely things you should be able to talk about with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. LordL and I are constantly renegotiating who does what chores based on what our schedules are like and what seems fair.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 30, 2012, 10:28:25 AM
Oh, not at all actually. The jokes are more along the lines of "I'm a boy because I'd ether play video games all day than go shopping" or "I'm a guy because it only takes me 20 minutes to get ready instead of an hour"; just things about how I don't fit the stereotypes at all. I can see in your instance though how jokes about me wearing the pants constantly would get old and would result in him saying what he did.

We have agreed upon chores for some things. I usually cook because of his work schedule and because I do the dishes in the mean time. He is responsible for taking out the trash before he goes to work. He feeds the dogs in the mornings. I keep them up to date on their shots and flea medicine. It is obvious though that we need to work out more exact things for other chores, though.

Fair enough, but from your description, you actually said that the jokes were about you being more masculine than he is. 

This started off being less about chores and more about how the joking made you feel.  You maybe need to both come to a realisation that college is work, and that it needs to be treated as such.  So you may need to stop picking up the slack and/ or come to some sort of agreement whereby you taking up the slack at home is recognised in some way, possibly by both of you having access to some 'mad money' each pay period which you can spend as you see fit or whatever.

I'm sorry, I'm being really confusing.  I joke all of the time about how I am masculine.  The joking around in this instance began because he made a joke about me being more masculine than he because I'm the handyman (as in I was fixing the fence and he was putting away groceries).  I was pointing out that I am usually the one to joke that I am masculine (though not necessarily more masculine than he) because I wanted to let people know that him calling me masculine is not a sore spot and I usually find it funny (which I did in this instance, too).

Obviously I don't know your boyfriend, but I've got lots of guy friends and I've had way more then my fair share of boyfriends  :P and while every guy is individual, one thing I can say is rather universal (to varying degrees of course, but always there) is that to a certain extent [straight] guys want their girlfriends (or fiances, or wives) to be feminine.  Even guys who are totally about equality, no gender roles, etc, still want to feel to a certain extent like "the man" to their "woman".  She can be a strong independent woman, but she needs to be distinctly a she.

Sure there's a place for joking, but if you are repeatedly calling yourself out as "masculine" what does that say about DB and his taste in mates?  That he likes manly girls?  Its the kind of thing that can subconsciously eat away at a romance.  There's the danger of him starting to see you as 'one of the guys' instead of as his girlfriend.  And guys joke a lot more harshly with one another then [successful] couples do, IME.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Reason on January 30, 2012, 11:49:45 AM
Seems to me like he was just saving face, not that you can blame him for that. You called him out (in front of his family?) about you having to do all the work around the house because he can't even fix a fence. Or that's how he most likely heard it. He responded with a joke about how you must have too much free time on your hands.

I completely agree with WillyNilly in that these kinds of jokes and subtle digs at each other's self esteem and confidence can very quickly eat away at romance. The way I see it is would you rather be in a relationship where the man brings you flowers out of blue every now and then and even tells you that you are beautiful or in a relationship where the man constantly makes jokes about how manly you are (even if you initiate it). Conversely would your man rather be in a relationship where you tell him that he can't even change a car tire and is scared of bugs or in a relationship in which you recognize and compliment his strength/competence/artistic ability/whatever draws you to him?

Of course, different things work for different people so this is just an opinion.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 12:43:47 PM
I am still having trouble finding a nice and calm way to respond to some of these comments.  In the mean time, I need to reiterate that he made the joke.  Initially he posted it on Facebook.  In talking about how our dog kept getting out, his brother mentioned the joke that Dark Boyfriend posted on Facebook.  I have never joked about being more masculine than he and I don't know where any of you are getting that idea (if I did make it seem that way, please point out where, because I didn't mean to).  I did not call him out and I don't know where you're getting that I have to do more work around the house because he can't even fix a fence.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 30, 2012, 01:02:02 PM
I am still having trouble finding a nice and calm way to respond to some of these comments.  In the mean time, I need to reiterate that he made the joke.  Initially he posted it on Facebook.  In talking about how our dog kept getting out, his brother mentioned the joke that Dark Boyfriend posted on Facebook.  I have never joked about being more masculine than he and I don't know where any of you are getting that idea (if I did make it seem that way, please point out where, because I didn't mean to).  I did not call him out and I don't know where you're getting that I have to do more work around the house because he can't even fix a fence.

Its not about you joking you "being more masculine than [him]" but just joking about being masculine in general.  Repeatedly saying you are masculine to your boyfriend can be problematic.  For several reasons.

It can, as previously mentioned impact the romance as he starts to see you as "one of the guys" and not as his feminine girlfriend.

It can enforce the ideas of gender roles (fixing a fence in 2012 doesn't have to be a "mans job" its simply a task that needed doing), and that can put pressure on him - especially once you bring the income factor into it.  This man is not even your husband (yet?) but he's financially pulling the weight in the relationship - a traditionally "male role" but bringing gender roles into play you could be making him feel like he is stuck supporting you, like its his role to do so.  Like its an obligation and not an offer.

On the gender role thing as well, if you are defining tasks by gender does that mean you are saying you do the masculine tasks and the feminine tasks in the relationship, thereby eliminating the need for him, or are you saying you do the masculine tasks and he should be doing the feminine tasks thereby emasculating him?

And at its most base, if you make pot shots at yourself, it opens the conversation to anyone making potshots about you.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Reason on January 30, 2012, 01:08:27 PM
We are currently at his brother's house.  Their mother and her long-term boyfriend are also here.  In a joke, I mentioned how I was the one repairing the fence. His brother basically quoted the quote that was next posted on Facebook, then I the next, and his brother the following. 

Dark Boyfriend then replied, "Yeah, when was the last time you actually worked a job?"*

Sorry, I tried to condense your post into the core miscommunication that I was able to glean from it.

Here is the thing about jokes. If you make a joke to a man about him having scrawny 10 inch biceps, or a joke about the tub of junk he calls a car or any joke that threatens his manhood - such as making your wife or girlfriend fix a fence for you - you can expect some heat back.

Please don't be offended, that's just how I see it. Doesn't mean I am right or it even applies to you if your boyfriend does not in fact care about such things. Most men I know do and that's all I am saying.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 01:16:34 PM
I am still having trouble finding a nice and calm way to respond to some of these comments.  In the mean time, I need to reiterate that he made the joke.  Initially he posted it on Facebook.  In talking about how our dog kept getting out, his brother mentioned the joke that Dark Boyfriend posted on Facebook.  I have never joked about being more masculine than he and I don't know where any of you are getting that idea (if I did make it seem that way, please point out where, because I didn't mean to).  I did not call him out and I don't know where you're getting that I have to do more work around the house because he can't even fix a fence.

Its not about you joking you "being more masculine than [him]" but just joking about being masculine in general.  Repeatedly saying you are masculine to your boyfriend can be problematic.  For several reasons.

It can, as previously mentioned impact the romance as he starts to see you as "one of the guys" and not as his feminine girlfriend.

It can enforce the ideas of gender roles (fixing a fence in 2012 doesn't have to be a "mans job" its simply a task that needed doing), and that can put pressure on him - especially once you bring the income factor into it.  This man is not even your husband (yet?) but he's financially pulling the weight in the relationship - a traditionally "male role" but bringing gender roles into play you could be making him feel like he is stuck supporting you, like its his role to do so.  Like its an obligation and not an offer.

On the gender role thing as well, if you are defining tasks by gender does that mean you are saying you do the masculine tasks and the feminine tasks in the relationship, thereby eliminating the need for him, or are you saying you do the masculine tasks and he should be doing the feminine tasks thereby emasculating him?

And at its most base, if you make pot shots at yourself, it opens the conversation to anyone making potshots about you.

We have been friends for 12 years and have had crushes on each other for 9-10 years; we've been dating for the last 2.  If he hasn't figured out by now that I'm a tomboy, he hasn't been paying attention.  Frankly, when he brags to his friends that he doesn't have to worry about his girlfriend nagging him about playing video games all day because she is doing it, too, or when he thanks me for not being "crazy" like a girl we have just seen behave "crazy", or thanks me for refusing to watch shows like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" or "Jersey Shore", I don't think he has any problem with the way I act.  I am more like one of the guys, and that's what he likes about me.

The reason I was having trouble responding calmly and nicely to some comments is because I feel extremely insulted.  Both you and Reason seem to think that I walk around saying I'm masculine 10 times a day every day.  I did say constantly, but that's like once a week; it is constant enough that it is a long running joke and has been during the entire 12 years I've known Dark Boyfriend.  Our friends joke about it, too.  Our tasks are not defined by gender; they're defined by who is in the better situation to be doing things.  When I got home with the groceries, he was in his PJs.  He would have had to get dressed in warm clothes to go outside; I was already dressed that way, hence I did that task.  We both do feminine and masculine tasks; I'm home more and have more free time, so I tend to do most of the tasks regardless of the gender usually associated with them. 

I make pot shots about me being a tomboy; those jokes I can take.  Saying something about me not having a job was out of line; it didn't pertain to the teasing at hand.  I've never joked about me not having a job, either, so I don't know why he thought it was appropriate.

Reason - I expected heat back, but not irrelevant or mean heat back.  As you can see above, he didn't make me fix it.  I was in the best position to fix it so I did.  Again, I didn't make the joke about me being outside fixing a fence with him inside putting away groceries.  He made that joke; he opened himself up for heat back, then he couldn't take it and made a low blow, IMO.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: amylouky on January 30, 2012, 01:17:23 PM
I am still having trouble finding a nice and calm way to respond to some of these comments.  In the mean time, I need to reiterate that he made the joke.  Initially he posted it on Facebook.  In talking about how our dog kept getting out, his brother mentioned the joke that Dark Boyfriend posted on Facebook.  I have never joked about being more masculine than he and I don't know where any of you are getting that idea (if I did make it seem that way, please point out where, because I didn't mean to).  I did not call him out and I don't know where you're getting that I have to do more work around the house because he can't even fix a fence.

I think it's a bit confusing as to what happened. You did say that
Quote
In a joke (and I know Dark Boyfriend knows it is a joke because I have specifically addressed it with him), I mentioned how I was the one repairing the fence (because 1 of 2 dogs was escaping)
 
which did sound like you brought it up. You didn't say that his brother was the one to mention the joke on FB first, and when I read this I was thinking it was a case of "it's okay for me to joke about myself, but not for you to." Kind of like, I might make a joke about myself being fat, but woe to DH if he ever hinted that he thinks I am.

You also said that jokes about you being masculine are frequent, which, even if you're not specifically saying "I'm more of a man than you", and even if DB makes jokes along those lines also, can still sting. The male ego is a strange and not always so wonderful beast. (Not trying to be sexist here.. we women have our own irrational sensitivities, to be sure.)

I'm speaking from experience.. DH and I went through this early in our relationship. He is basically completely useless at fixing things around the house, mainly because he's not that good at following instructions and has very little patience. I, on the other hand, generally love tinkering with things, so most of the home repair falls on me. It used to be a source of jokes for us until I realized that even though he was going along with the jokes, it really WAS making him feel like he wasn't doing his job as the "man of the household".

My first thought on reading your post, and the "joke" that he made about you having a job, was that he was feeling defensive about the manly issue, so he decided to shift the focus on you and make you the butt of the joke for a while. Which is why, as PPs have said, this kind of "teasing" joking can be really dangerous for a relationship and can get out of hand and lead to hurt feelings really quickly (as I think you've seen).

I don't think confronting DB about this is the way to go.. it sounds like you've both gotten into a habit of jokingly insulting each other, and he just happened to hit on something that hurt your feelings. Maybe talking to him about both of you easing up on the teasing is called for, so you don't accidentally get in this situation again?
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 30, 2012, 01:23:24 PM
We have been friends for 12 years and have had crushes on each other for 9-10 years; we've been dating for the last 2.  If he hasn't figured out by now that I'm a tomboy, he hasn't been paying attention.  Frankly, when he brags to his friends that he doesn't have to worry about his girlfriend nagging him about playing video games all day because she is doing it, too, or when he thanks me for not being "crazy" like a girl we have just seen behave "crazy", or thanks me for refusing to watch shows like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" or "Jersey Shore", I don't think he has any problem with the way I act.  I am more like one of the guys, and that's what he likes about me.


FYI none of those things are "feminine" or "girly" things especially.  I'm not a tomboy and I do not watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore nor do any of my girlfriends... but I know plenty of rather masculine guys who do (well Jersey Shore at least, and I know masculine teenage boys who watch the Kardashians).  And FYI being "crazy" has zero to do with gender at all either.  Same with video games - I know as many female gamers as male, perhaps more simply because I'm closer friends with more females then men.

But you know what does have to do with gender?  Joking about being masculine.  And calling yourself "one of the guys".

The reason I was having trouble responding calmly and nicely to some comments is because I feel extremely insulted.  Both you and Reason seem to think that I walk around saying I'm masculine 10 times a day every day.  I did say constantly, but that's like once a week; it is constant enough that it is a long running joke and has been during the entire 12 years I've known Dark Boyfriend.  Our friends joke about it, too.  Our tasks are not defined by gender; they're defined by who is in the better situation to be doing things.  When I got home with the groceries, he was in his PJs.  He would have had to get dressed in warm clothes to go outside; I was already dressed that way, hence I did that task.  We both do feminine and masculine tasks; I'm home more and have more free time, so I tend to do most of the tasks regardless of the gender usually associated with them. 

I did not mean to offend, but yes you wrote "constantly".  You put the idea of this happening over and over all the time into the equation.  So of course I took you at your words - that you do this constantly.

And as for gender roles, you also brought that up in this conversation as something you bring into conversation with him.  I am only taking you at your posted words here.  I don't know you make statements about how you act otherwise, I only know what you are providing on the boards.

Certainly my intent is not t insult you, but rather to help you see how your communications are coming across to others in order to help you have a better time of things.

Edited to add the the word "know", which makes the "but you know what...?" statement a whole lot clearer  ::)
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 01:25:49 PM
I am still having trouble finding a nice and calm way to respond to some of these comments.  In the mean time, I need to reiterate that he made the joke.  Initially he posted it on Facebook.  In talking about how our dog kept getting out, his brother mentioned the joke that Dark Boyfriend posted on Facebook.  I have never joked about being more masculine than he and I don't know where any of you are getting that idea (if I did make it seem that way, please point out where, because I didn't mean to).  I did not call him out and I don't know where you're getting that I have to do more work around the house because he can't even fix a fence.

I think it's a bit confusing as to what happened. You did say that
Quote
In a joke (and I know Dark Boyfriend knows it is a joke because I have specifically addressed it with him), I mentioned how I was the one repairing the fence (because 1 of 2 dogs was escaping)
 
which did sound like you brought it up. You didn't say that his brother was the one to mention the joke on FB first, and when I read this I was thinking it was a case of "it's okay for me to joke about myself, but not for you to." Kind of like, I might make a joke about myself being fat, but woe to DH if he ever hinted that he thinks I am.

You also said that jokes about you being masculine are frequent, which, even if you're not specifically saying "I'm more of a man than you", and even if DB makes jokes along those lines also, can still sting. The male ego is a strange and not always so wonderful beast. (Not trying to be sexist here.. we women have our own irrational sensitivities, to be sure.)

I'm speaking from experience.. DH and I went through this early in our relationship. He is basically completely useless at fixing things around the house, mainly because he's not that good at following instructions and has very little patience. I, on the other hand, generally love tinkering with things, so most of the home repair falls on me. It used to be a source of jokes for us until I realized that even though he was going along with the jokes, it really WAS making him feel like he wasn't doing his job as the "man of the household".

My first thought on reading your post, and the "joke" that he made about you having a job, was that he was feeling defensive about the manly issue, so he decided to shift the focus on you and make you the butt of the joke for a while. Which is why, as PPs have said, this kind of "teasing" joking can be really dangerous for a relationship and can get out of hand and lead to hurt feelings really quickly (as I think you've seen).

I don't think confronting DB about this is the way to go.. it sounds like you've both gotten into a habit of jokingly insulting each other, and he just happened to hit on something that hurt your feelings. Maybe talking to him about both of you easing up on the teasing is called for, so you don't accidentally get in this situation again?

Ok, for ease of explaining this, this is how the convo went:

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too."
Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin-
DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money.
DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy.
DB: I've had to go shopping lately.
DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?
DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job?

Please refer to my previous post in response to WillyNilly.  Dark Boyfriend has thanked me for the very things I do that are "more masculine", like playing video games.  I can see where if I was daily saying I'm masculine, he would feel resentment.  He has only ever thanked me for these things, so I don't think that's the case in our situation. 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 30, 2012, 01:29:33 PM
Dark Boyfriend has thanked me for the very things I do that are "more masculine", like playing video games.

This statement alone is offensive to billions of females everywhere.  Video games are not considered "masculine" in 2012 by most people I know, gamers or not.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 01:31:18 PM
We have been friends for 12 years and have had crushes on each other for 9-10 years; we've been dating for the last 2.  If he hasn't figured out by now that I'm a tomboy, he hasn't been paying attention.  Frankly, when he brags to his friends that he doesn't have to worry about his girlfriend nagging him about playing video games all day because she is doing it, too, or when he thanks me for not being "crazy" like a girl we have just seen behave "crazy", or thanks me for refusing to watch shows like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" or "Jersey Shore", I don't think he has any problem with the way I act.  I am more like one of the guys, and that's what he likes about me.


FYI none of those things are "feminine" or "girly" things especially.  I'm not a tomboy and I do not watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore nor do any of my girlfriends... but I know plenty of rather masculine guys who do (well Jersey Shore at least, and I know masculine teenage boys who watch the Kardashians).  And FYI being "crazy" has zero to do with gender at all either.  Same with video games - I know as many female gamers as male, perhaps more simply because I'm closer friends with more females then men.

But you what does have to do with gender?  Joking about being masculine.  And calling yourself "one of the guys".

Thank you, I am fully aware that they are not particularly "girly" or "feminine", nor that only females can be "crazy", nor only men play video games.  I am saying specifically that boyfriend has thanked me for not being someone that watches those or acts like that or harps on him for playing video games.  Those are the specific things about which I joke about being more masculine.  Another one is fashion.  I joke about my fashion sense being that of a teenage boy's: whatever is on top of the laundry pile.

Re the bolded:  I honestly don't know what you're saying here  :-[ I am thoroughly confused by it.


They are regarded as things only or mostly guys do with everyone I know and have met in classes.  The surprise I hear/see when I mentioned I spent all night playing MW3 is testament to that.  I did not mean to offend anyone, the statement is true to what I know.
Dark Boyfriend has thanked me for the very things I do that are "more masculine", like playing video games.

This statement alone is offensive to billions of females everywhere.  Video games are not considered "masculine" in 2012 by most people I know, gamers or not.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: LadyL on January 30, 2012, 01:37:11 PM
Ok, for ease of explaining this, this is how the convo went:

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too."
Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin-
DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money.
DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy.
DB: I've had to go shopping lately.
DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?
DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job?


I think this is a relationship issue, not an etiquette issue. It sounds to me like your boyfriend is a bit resentful that you don't contribute financially to the household, and in turn you are self conscious about it.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 30, 2012, 01:40:00 PM
We have been friends for 12 years and have had crushes on each other for 9-10 years; we've been dating for the last 2.  If he hasn't figured out by now that I'm a tomboy, he hasn't been paying attention.  Frankly, when he brags to his friends that he doesn't have to worry about his girlfriend nagging him about playing video games all day because she is doing it, too, or when he thanks me for not being "crazy" like a girl we have just seen behave "crazy", or thanks me for refusing to watch shows like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" or "Jersey Shore", I don't think he has any problem with the way I act.  I am more like one of the guys, and that's what he likes about me.


FYI none of those things are "feminine" or "girly" things especially.  I'm not a tomboy and I do not watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore nor do any of my girlfriends... but I know plenty of rather masculine guys who do (well Jersey Shore at least, and I know masculine teenage boys who watch the Kardashians).  And FYI being "crazy" has zero to do with gender at all either.  Same with video games - I know as many female gamers as male, perhaps more simply because I'm closer friends with more females then men.

But you [know] what does have to do with gender?  Joking about being masculine.  And calling yourself "one of the guys".

Thank you, I am fully aware that they are not particularly "girly" or "feminine", nor that only females can be "crazy", nor only men play video games.  I am saying specifically that boyfriend has thanked me for not being someone that watches those or acts like that or harps on him for playing video games.  Those are the specific things about which I joke about being more masculine.  Another one is fashion.  I joke about my fashion sense being that of a teenage boy's: whatever is on top of the laundry pile.

Re the bolded:  I honestly don't know what you're saying here  :-[ I am thoroughly confused by it.

But him thanking you for not doing things he thinks are annoying is one thing.  You turning that into you being masculine is a whole new other thing.  The first that's cool and fine - my DF would probably not enjoy spending as much time with me if I watched those programs or was "crazy" either, but he sure as heck would be insulted, emasculated and bit disgusted if I referred to myself as masculine regularly - especially if I referred to myself as masculine to his brother and his male friends.

There is a huge difference between not being a "stereotypical girly-girl" and calling yourself "masculine".  Its coming across as though you think the two ways of being are one and the same.  I described earlier why I think the usage of the specific word "masculine" in reference to yourself and the roles you play in your relationship/home life can be problematic in a romantic relationship.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 01:41:35 PM
Ok, for ease of explaining this, this is how the convo went:

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too."
Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin-
DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money.
DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy.
DB: I've had to go shopping lately.
DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?
DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job?


I think this is a relationship issue, not an etiquette issue. It sounds to me like your boyfriend is a bit resentful that you don't contribute financially to the household, and in turn you are self conscious about it.

Yes, that is the truth and kind of how I see it, too.  At the very least, he isn't resentful and I'm being sensitive about it.  My etiquette question was whether it was worth addressing, and if so, how.  I am awful at wording things nicely when I am hurt, and that's why I need help in how to say it if it is worth saying.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: amylouky on January 30, 2012, 01:47:42 PM

Ok, for ease of explaining this, this is how the convo went:

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too."
Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin-
DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money.
DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy.
DB: I've had to go shopping lately.
DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?
DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job?

Please refer to my previous post in response to WillyNilly.  Dark Boyfriend has thanked me for the very things I do that are "more masculine", like playing video games.  I can see where if I was daily saying I'm masculine, he would feel resentment.  He has only ever thanked me for these things, so I don't think that's the case in our situation.

Ah okay. Actually, that does change my opinion a bit, but I don't think you're going to like my new one.. this convo sounds like you were both getting a bit defensive about who pulls more weight in the relationship. The fact that DB pointed out that it was his money that bought the groceries does seem like he's at least somewhat sensitive about being the provider, or "the man" in the relationship.

I'm not in your relationship, so can only know what you post about, but it does sound like you and DB don't always communicate so well. Just a thought, and forgive me if it's completely off track.. but the fact that you two were friends for so long before dating made me think that maybe you are still relating in some ways as just buddies.. not thinking how those interactions can be different as part of a romantic relationship? What I mean is.. like, in this case. A guy being teased by his friends about his SO fixing the fence instead of him can feel completely different than being teased by his SO about the exact same thing. I thought that somewhat in your thread about the video game too.. seemed like he was treating you like "one of the guys" instead of thinking about how his actions seemed to you as his partner.

Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 01:48:46 PM
We have been friends for 12 years and have had crushes on each other for 9-10 years; we've been dating for the last 2.  If he hasn't figured out by now that I'm a tomboy, he hasn't been paying attention.  Frankly, when he brags to his friends that he doesn't have to worry about his girlfriend nagging him about playing video games all day because she is doing it, too, or when he thanks me for not being "crazy" like a girl we have just seen behave "crazy", or thanks me for refusing to watch shows like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" or "Jersey Shore", I don't think he has any problem with the way I act.  I am more like one of the guys, and that's what he likes about me.


FYI none of those things are "feminine" or "girly" things especially.  I'm not a tomboy and I do not watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore nor do any of my girlfriends... but I know plenty of rather masculine guys who do (well Jersey Shore at least, and I know masculine teenage boys who watch the Kardashians).  And FYI being "crazy" has zero to do with gender at all either.  Same with video games - I know as many female gamers as male, perhaps more simply because I'm closer friends with more females then men.

But you [know] what does have to do with gender?  Joking about being masculine.  And calling yourself "one of the guys".

Thank you, I am fully aware that they are not particularly "girly" or "feminine", nor that only females can be "crazy", nor only men play video games.  I am saying specifically that boyfriend has thanked me for not being someone that watches those or acts like that or harps on him for playing video games.  Those are the specific things about which I joke about being more masculine.  Another one is fashion.  I joke about my fashion sense being that of a teenage boy's: whatever is on top of the laundry pile.

Re the bolded:  I honestly don't know what you're saying here  :-[ I am thoroughly confused by it.

But him thanking you for not doing things he thinks are annoying is one thing.  You turning that into you being masculine is a whole new other thing.  The first that's cool and fine - my DF would probably not enjoy spending as much time with me if I watched those programs or was "crazy" either, but he sure as heck would be insulted, emasculated and bit disgusted if I referred to myself as masculine regularly - especially if I referred to myself as masculine to his brother and his male friends.

There is a huge difference between not being a "stereotypical girly-girl" and calling yourself "masculine".  Its coming across as though you think the two ways of being are one and the same.  I described earlier why I think the usage of the specific word "masculine" in reference to yourself and the roles you play in your relationship/home life can be problematic in a romantic relationship.

His male friends are my friends, too.  There are friends that were his first and friends that were mine first, but they are all mutual friends.  The jokes about me being a tomboy started before he and I were ever together, the entire time we were friends before that, and with my guy friends that later became his friends, too.

I was using the word masculine as to say that I am more masculine than most girls, or as you put it, not stereotypically girly-girl.  I didn't mean it any other way, because, well, I do thing they are one and the same.  I don't think I've ever actually said, "I'm masculine" but I have definitely said, "I'm not a girly-girl", and I have said that regularly.  I do not see why your DH would be a bit disgusted by that, but I think it comes down to how you and I are using the word "masculine" differently.  So that we are on the same page, I have been using "masculine" in the way that I first described at the beginning of this paragraph.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 01:50:20 PM

Ok, for ease of explaining this, this is how the convo went:

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too."
Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin-
DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money.
DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy.
DB: I've had to go shopping lately.
DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?
DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job?

Please refer to my previous post in response to WillyNilly.  Dark Boyfriend has thanked me for the very things I do that are "more masculine", like playing video games.  I can see where if I was daily saying I'm masculine, he would feel resentment.  He has only ever thanked me for these things, so I don't think that's the case in our situation.

Ah okay. Actually, that does change my opinion a bit, but I don't think you're going to like my new one.. this convo sounds like you were both getting a bit defensive about who pulls more weight in the relationship. The fact that DB pointed out that it was his money that bought the groceries does seem like he's at least somewhat sensitive about being the provider, or "the man" in the relationship.

I'm not in your relationship, so can only know what you post about, but it does sound like you and DB don't always communicate so well. Just a thought, and forgive me if it's completely off track.. but the fact that you two were friends for so long before dating made me think that maybe you are still relating in some ways as just buddies.. not thinking how those interactions can be different as part of a romantic relationship? What I mean is.. like, in this case. A guy being teased by his friends about his SO fixing the fence instead of him can feel completely different than being teased by his SO about the exact same thing. I thought that somewhat in your thread about the video game too.. seemed like he was treating you like "one of the guys" instead of thinking about how his actions seemed to you as his partner.

I think you're on to something...that sometimes he may forget that I am not just one of the guys any more.  It rarely happens, honestly, but I can definitely see where you're going with this. 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 30, 2012, 02:03:06 PM
We have been friends for 12 years and have had crushes on each other for 9-10 years; we've been dating for the last 2.  If he hasn't figured out by now that I'm a tomboy, he hasn't been paying attention.  Frankly, when he brags to his friends that he doesn't have to worry about his girlfriend nagging him about playing video games all day because she is doing it, too, or when he thanks me for not being "crazy" like a girl we have just seen behave "crazy", or thanks me for refusing to watch shows like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" or "Jersey Shore", I don't think he has any problem with the way I act.  I am more like one of the guys, and that's what he likes about me.


FYI none of those things are "feminine" or "girly" things especially.  I'm not a tomboy and I do not watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore nor do any of my girlfriends... but I know plenty of rather masculine guys who do (well Jersey Shore at least, and I know masculine teenage boys who watch the Kardashians).  And FYI being "crazy" has zero to do with gender at all either.  Same with video games - I know as many female gamers as male, perhaps more simply because I'm closer friends with more females then men.

But you [know] what does have to do with gender?  Joking about being masculine.  And calling yourself "one of the guys".

Thank you, I am fully aware that they are not particularly "girly" or "feminine", nor that only females can be "crazy", nor only men play video games.  I am saying specifically that boyfriend has thanked me for not being someone that watches those or acts like that or harps on him for playing video games.  Those are the specific things about which I joke about being more masculine.  Another one is fashion.  I joke about my fashion sense being that of a teenage boy's: whatever is on top of the laundry pile.

Re the bolded:  I honestly don't know what you're saying here  :-[ I am thoroughly confused by it.

But him thanking you for not doing things he thinks are annoying is one thing.  You turning that into you being masculine is a whole new other thing.  The first that's cool and fine - my DF would probably not enjoy spending as much time with me if I watched those programs or was "crazy" either, but he sure as heck would be insulted, emasculated and bit disgusted if I referred to myself as masculine regularly - especially if I referred to myself as masculine to his brother and his male friends.

There is a huge difference between not being a "stereotypical girly-girl" and calling yourself "masculine".  Its coming across as though you think the two ways of being are one and the same.  I described earlier why I think the usage of the specific word "masculine" in reference to yourself and the roles you play in your relationship/home life can be problematic in a romantic relationship.

His male friends are my friends, too.  There are friends that were his first and friends that were mine first, but they are all mutual friends.  The jokes about me being a tomboy started before he and I were ever together, the entire time we were friends before that, and with my guy friends that later became his friends, too.

I was using the word masculine as to say that I am more masculine than most girls, or as you put it, not stereotypically girly-girl.  I didn't mean it any other way, because, well, I do thing they are one and the same.  I don't think I've ever actually said, "I'm masculine" but I have definitely said, "I'm not a girly-girl", and I have said that regularly.  I do not see why your DH would be a bit disgusted by that, but I think it comes down to how you and I are using the word "masculine" differently.  So that we are on the same page, I have been using "masculine" in the way that I first described at the beginning of this paragraph.

Again though, I'm only going by what you are posting here on e-hell - the usage of the word "masculine" in reference to what you call yourself was introduced by you into this thread.  I (and everyone else) had every reason right up until this post to believe that was the specific word you were using.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: amylouky on January 30, 2012, 02:11:13 PM

Ok, for ease of explaining this, this is how the convo went:

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too."
Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin-
DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money.
DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy.
DB: I've had to go shopping lately.
DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?
DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job?

Please refer to my previous post in response to WillyNilly.  Dark Boyfriend has thanked me for the very things I do that are "more masculine", like playing video games.  I can see where if I was daily saying I'm masculine, he would feel resentment.  He has only ever thanked me for these things, so I don't think that's the case in our situation.

Ah okay. Actually, that does change my opinion a bit, but I don't think you're going to like my new one.. this convo sounds like you were both getting a bit defensive about who pulls more weight in the relationship. The fact that DB pointed out that it was his money that bought the groceries does seem like he's at least somewhat sensitive about being the provider, or "the man" in the relationship.

I'm not in your relationship, so can only know what you post about, but it does sound like you and DB don't always communicate so well. Just a thought, and forgive me if it's completely off track.. but the fact that you two were friends for so long before dating made me think that maybe you are still relating in some ways as just buddies.. not thinking how those interactions can be different as part of a romantic relationship? What I mean is.. like, in this case. A guy being teased by his friends about his SO fixing the fence instead of him can feel completely different than being teased by his SO about the exact same thing. I thought that somewhat in your thread about the video game too.. seemed like he was treating you like "one of the guys" instead of thinking about how his actions seemed to you as his partner.

I think you're on to something...that sometimes he may forget that I am not just one of the guys any more.  It rarely happens, honestly, but I can definitely see where you're going with this.

That can be a tough switch to make, and I think that it can be on both sides.. Like.. before you two were dating, would the video game situation have bothered you as much? I can't see two friends really caring if they're playing a game in the same group/arena/whatever (can you tell I'm not really a gamer?) but I can definitely see getting my feelings hurt if my SO went off and did his own thing when we were supposed to be having "together time".
It just sounds like maybe you two are having a little trouble adjusting to the rules changing.. but that's just learning to relate to each other in different ways, and it sounds like you two care enough about each other to figure it out.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 02:12:38 PM
We have been friends for 12 years and have had crushes on each other for 9-10 years; we've been dating for the last 2.  If he hasn't figured out by now that I'm a tomboy, he hasn't been paying attention.  Frankly, when he brags to his friends that he doesn't have to worry about his girlfriend nagging him about playing video games all day because she is doing it, too, or when he thanks me for not being "crazy" like a girl we have just seen behave "crazy", or thanks me for refusing to watch shows like "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" or "Jersey Shore", I don't think he has any problem with the way I act.  I am more like one of the guys, and that's what he likes about me.


FYI none of those things are "feminine" or "girly" things especially.  I'm not a tomboy and I do not watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore nor do any of my girlfriends... but I know plenty of rather masculine guys who do (well Jersey Shore at least, and I know masculine teenage boys who watch the Kardashians).  And FYI being "crazy" has zero to do with gender at all either.  Same with video games - I know as many female gamers as male, perhaps more simply because I'm closer friends with more females then men.

But you [know] what does have to do with gender?  Joking about being masculine.  And calling yourself "one of the guys".

Thank you, I am fully aware that they are not particularly "girly" or "feminine", nor that only females can be "crazy", nor only men play video games.  I am saying specifically that boyfriend has thanked me for not being someone that watches those or acts like that or harps on him for playing video games.  Those are the specific things about which I joke about being more masculine.  Another one is fashion.  I joke about my fashion sense being that of a teenage boy's: whatever is on top of the laundry pile.

Re the bolded:  I honestly don't know what you're saying here  :-[ I am thoroughly confused by it.

But him thanking you for not doing things he thinks are annoying is one thing.  You turning that into you being masculine is a whole new other thing.  The first that's cool and fine - my DF would probably not enjoy spending as much time with me if I watched those programs or was "crazy" either, but he sure as heck would be insulted, emasculated and bit disgusted if I referred to myself as masculine regularly - especially if I referred to myself as masculine to his brother and his male friends.

There is a huge difference between not being a "stereotypical girly-girl" and calling yourself "masculine".  Its coming across as though you think the two ways of being are one and the same.  I described earlier why I think the usage of the specific word "masculine" in reference to yourself and the roles you play in your relationship/home life can be problematic in a romantic relationship.

His male friends are my friends, too.  There are friends that were his first and friends that were mine first, but they are all mutual friends.  The jokes about me being a tomboy started before he and I were ever together, the entire time we were friends before that, and with my guy friends that later became his friends, too.

I was using the word masculine as to say that I am more masculine than most girls, or as you put it, not stereotypically girly-girl.  I didn't mean it any other way, because, well, I do thing they are one and the same.  I don't think I've ever actually said, "I'm masculine" but I have definitely said, "I'm not a girly-girl", and I have said that regularly.  I do not see why your DH would be a bit disgusted by that, but I think it comes down to how you and I are using the word "masculine" differently.  So that we are on the same page, I have been using "masculine" in the way that I first described at the beginning of this paragraph.

Again though, I'm only going by what you are posting here on e-hell - the usage of the word "masculine" in reference to what you call yourself was introduced by you into this thread.  I (and everyone else) had every reason right up until this post to believe that was the specific word you were using.

Yes, I agree, that is the word I was using.  What I was using it to mean is different than how it was being taken.  Again, this communication error is solely on me  ;) I should have been more descriptive.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 02:14:11 PM

Ok, for ease of explaining this, this is how the convo went:

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too."
Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin-
DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money.
DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy.
DB: I've had to go shopping lately.
DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?
DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job?

Please refer to my previous post in response to WillyNilly.  Dark Boyfriend has thanked me for the very things I do that are "more masculine", like playing video games.  I can see where if I was daily saying I'm masculine, he would feel resentment.  He has only ever thanked me for these things, so I don't think that's the case in our situation.

Ah okay. Actually, that does change my opinion a bit, but I don't think you're going to like my new one.. this convo sounds like you were both getting a bit defensive about who pulls more weight in the relationship. The fact that DB pointed out that it was his money that bought the groceries does seem like he's at least somewhat sensitive about being the provider, or "the man" in the relationship.

I'm not in your relationship, so can only know what you post about, but it does sound like you and DB don't always communicate so well. Just a thought, and forgive me if it's completely off track.. but the fact that you two were friends for so long before dating made me think that maybe you are still relating in some ways as just buddies.. not thinking how those interactions can be different as part of a romantic relationship? What I mean is.. like, in this case. A guy being teased by his friends about his SO fixing the fence instead of him can feel completely different than being teased by his SO about the exact same thing. I thought that somewhat in your thread about the video game too.. seemed like he was treating you like "one of the guys" instead of thinking about how his actions seemed to you as his partner.

I think you're on to something...that sometimes he may forget that I am not just one of the guys any more.  It rarely happens, honestly, but I can definitely see where you're going with this.

That can be a tough switch to make, and I think that it can be on both sides.. Like.. before you two were dating, would the video game situation have bothered you as much? I can't see two friends really caring if they're playing a game in the same group/arena/whatever (can you tell I'm not really a gamer?) but I can definitely see getting my feelings hurt if my SO went off and did his own thing when we were supposed to be having "together time".
It just sounds like maybe you two are having a little trouble adjusting to the rules changing.. but that's just learning to relate to each other in different ways, and it sounds like you two care enough about each other to figure it out.

Definitely would not have been as upset had we been just friends.  I would have been secretly hurt because I had a crush on him, but it would have been nothing like the hurt I felt recently.  You've definitely given me something to think about...
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Twirly on January 30, 2012, 02:17:22 PM
I think it is completely possible to continue to have a teasing rel@tionship with one or two of the touchier subjects taken off the table. DH and I are both teasers and enjoy wicked banter but every now and then something will sting more than expected. It took a couple of conversations to iron out which insecurities we each had that just aren’t laughable no matter what. Which for us was better than just cutting out the jokes altogether because If I wasn't allowed to mercilessly tease my DH about how bad he is at Guitar Hero or what a scaredy cat he is about blood onscreen I would probably have to leave. I can only control the sarcastic beast inside me for so long.

Obviously you're rel@tionship is it's own thing but here is how I remember one of our conversations going:
Me: "Hey remember the other day when you said my nose looked like a rabbit?"
DH: "haha yea that was hilarious"
Me:…really quietly…"do you really think that? Because I've always been really self conscious about my nose and now I can’t stop staring at it in the mirror. All I can think about now is how rabbit-like you think I look" (sidenote- obviously this was not the actual issue we were discussing)
DH: "no honey I was just joking. I don’t think you look like a rabbit at all"
Me: "OK, would you mind not ribbing me about that again? I know its silly and I can usually take a joke but I'm feeling pretty irrationally bad about this whole rabbit-nose thing"
DH: "Of course! As long as I can still get digs in about your ridiculously large animal print sock collection that only crazy ladies wear we're good!"
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 02:31:53 PM
I think it is completely possible to continue to have a teasing rel@tionship with one or two of the touchier subjects taken off the table. DH and I are both teasers and enjoy wicked banter but every now and then something will sting more than expected. It took a couple of conversations to iron out which insecurities we each had that just aren’t laughable no matter what. Which for us was better than just cutting out the jokes altogether because If I wasn't allowed to mercilessly tease my DH about how bad he is at Guitar Hero or what a scaredy cat he is about blood onscreen I would probably have to leave. I can only control the sarcastic beast inside me for so long.

Obviously you're rel@tionship is it's own thing but here is how I remember one of our conversations going:
Me: "Hey remember the other day when you said my nose looked like a rabbit?"
DH: "haha yea that was hilarious"
Me:…really quietly…"do you really think that? Because I've always been really self conscious about my nose and now I can’t stop staring at it in the mirror. All I can think about now is how rabbit-like you think I look" (sidenote- obviously this was not the actual issue we were discussing)
DH: "no honey I was just joking. I don’t think you look like a rabbit at all"
Me: "OK, would you mind not ribbing me about that again? I know its silly and I can usually take a joke but I'm feeling pretty irrationally bad about this whole rabbit-nose thing"
DH: "Of course! As long as I can still get digs in about your ridiculously large animal print sock collection that only crazy ladies wear we're good!"

I spend a lot of energy keeping mine at bay when I'm in public  ;D  That's just it, we tease about a lot of things (how I leave fingerprint bruises on his forearms when he tries to tickle me because he bruises easily, how if he touches my nose he may get zits on his fingers, how he doesn't love me because he elbowed me in the throat once when I leaned down to kiss him), this time it just wondered into sensitive territory.  I've never actually told him I'm sensitive about not having a job, so he couldn't have known it was going to effect me so much.  The last time he teased about something I was sensitive about, I got really sarcastic with him (he was talking about Anna Paquin's gap...though mine isn't as big, I still have one, and I don't like it).  It got my point across that what he said was really insensitive to say the least, but I know I could have gone about it better.

I was thinking the conversation would go something like what you described.  In my own words, it would be a bit along the lines of:

"I know we were joking about you putting the groceries away and me fixing the fence, but what you said about me not having a job really hurt my feelings.  I am a bit sensitive about that.  The way you said it made it sound like you resent me for it.  Is that how you really feel?"
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: figee on January 30, 2012, 03:33:29 PM
The above sounds good, as long as you're prepared for the reply.  And possibly prepared to delve deeper to work out what's going on.  I agree with the others above who claim that this is more a relationship than an etiquette issue and that you might benefit from a bit of thought about how what you're saying affects how he sees you.

You don't need to be a girly-girl, but treading the line between femininity and not can be difficult.  I am also not a girly girl - I played rugby, lift weights, ride horses and play with my dogs.  However, some years ago a friend and I decided we'd try to move from being 'low maintenance' to 'medium maintenance'.  Which just meant remaining capable and strong, but dressing a little different, allowing people to take care of us and taking care of them in more 'traditional' ways.  For me, it also meant doing things like getting hair cut regularly, stopping biting my nails and so on.  This still works for me, despite very strong feminist beliefs, because DH is able to feel that he is nurtured and nurtures in response. 

Jokes are one thing in private, but many men like to 'win' and will usually carry on until they do.  You might need to think about how to manage that.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 30, 2012, 04:06:18 PM
The above sounds good, as long as you're prepared for the reply.  And possibly prepared to delve deeper to work out what's going on.  I agree with the others above who claim that this is more a relationship than an etiquette issue and that you might benefit from a bit of thought about how what you're saying affects how he sees you.

You don't need to be a girly-girl, but treading the line between femininity and not can be difficult.  I am also not a girly girl - I played rugby, lift weights, ride horses and play with my dogs.  However, some years ago a friend and I decided we'd try to move from being 'low maintenance' to 'medium maintenance'.  Which just meant remaining capable and strong, but dressing a little different, allowing people to take care of us and taking care of them in more 'traditional' ways.  For me, it also meant doing things like getting hair cut regularly, stopping biting my nails and so on.  This still works for me, despite very strong feminist beliefs, because DH is able to feel that he is nurtured and nurtures in response. 

Jokes are one thing in private, but many men like to 'win' and will usually carry on until they do.  You might need to think about how to manage that.

The etiquette issue is how to word bringing up it it because I have a tendency to be sarcastic (and thus unhelpful) when I'm hurt.  All I asked was if it was worth saying anything and if so how to say it nicely.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Surianne on January 30, 2012, 04:34:52 PM
What about just putting a moratorium on the nasty teasing for a specific amount of time?  Say, a week or a month?  See how it goes, and if you guys have fewer communications problems without the teasing. 

You keep emphasizing that it's fun, but it seems to be causing you a lot of hurt and confusion -- and I wouldn't be surprised if he was feeling the same way.  When you both describe it as "teasing" and "fun" rather than "insults" it can be very hard for one of you to say "Actually, this particular insult isn't fun anymore" because you worry you're taking it too seriously.    Maybe making a pact to try interacting without insults, even if only for a few days or a week, would give you some insight there.

Similarly, whether or not you feel you're masculine or feminine, does it really matter?   Does it matter whether it's the man or the woman who fixes the fence or watches Jersey Shore?   Could you try just deciding for a set amount of time that you're both "people" and not male or female stereotypes, and just talk to each other without the manly/girly elements to it?   

I wonder if that might help identify which issues are developing because of the teasing, and which ones are actually bigger problems in your relationship.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: wolfie on January 30, 2012, 05:52:18 PM
From the conversation you posted it sounds to me like he is sensitive in this area also. I think Suruanne's idea of backing off the teasing for a while is a good idea. It sounds like you are hitting each other's hot buttons.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Allyson on January 30, 2012, 06:41:25 PM
I have absolutely no problem with really harsh teasing, but it can be used to 'subtly' get across real resentments. So I think if this is starting to happen, backing off the teasing for awhile could be really helpful. My ex boyfriend (who is still one of my best friends) and I would say absolutely terrible things to each other all the time and it was truly a non-abusive, non-PA situation. That wouldn't work as well in my current relationship, though we do tease. Not because either way is better, just for the personalities involved.

Oh and also just because many guys like their girlfriend to behave feminine-ly, doesn't mean all do, or even care, or will feel emasculated by the same things. My boyfriend loves bringing up how he does all the cooking and I am the full time worker. But he's had people who are convinced he must secretly feel badly about it, because they would. Everyone's different. So I say the teasing about gender roles is totally fine if it doesn't bother you guys. It doesn't necessarily seem related to the overall communication issue too. Just as you need to tell him that it bugs you when he jokes about you working, if your joking about being 'manly' bugged him, it would be on him to tell you. 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: cheyne on January 30, 2012, 10:59:26 PM
I took the liberty of copying and pasting the conversation, as I wanted to reply to each verbal sally.  These are my observations only.  I am not a counselor, nor do I play one on TV.

DM: So when I was outside fixing the fence, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "I don't just hug trees, I kiss them, too." Nothing wrong, teasing or PA about this statement.  It sounds like you were just making an observation.

Brother: You mean while DB was inside putting the groceries away? -grin- Brother was needling DB about doing a "womans" job or at least the more feminine job while you were doing the "mans" job.

DB: Yeah, that she bought with my money. I think DB was just replying to brother, to show that he was "bringing home the bacon" or doing the "masculine" job.  I don't believe he intended to hurt you with this remark, he was defending himself to his brother.

DM:  Yeah, but you didn't have to go shopping (something we both hate), so you got off easy. DB's statement hurt you when he told his brother that you had used his money to buy the groceries.  You have guilt associated with not having a tax paying job right now, so you are trying to show that you do contribute to the household.  But this shifted the pseudo argument from DB's brother to you.

DB: I've had to go shopping lately. DB is now replying to your saying he "got off easy", he is now directing his anger/frustration at you instead of his brother.  DB is still trying to prove that he does his fair share in the household.

DM:  Yeah, but when was the last time you went alone for the both of us?Your reply because it's bothering you about your contributions to the household.  You both have left the realm of teasing and moved to PA comments/arguing.

DB:  Like a year ago -chuckle-...-pause-  Well when was the last time you had a job? DB wanted to cut you down to size a little.  First his brother was needling him about his masculinity, now you have picked up the baton and won't stop needling him.  He struck back at you in a way that he knew would hurt you.

Does brother often needle/tease DB about your rel@tionship or in other areas?  Did they grow up in a family that do this often?  When brother is teasing DB it may help your rel@tionship with DB if you stayed out of it.  I believe that DB was only responding to his brother with the "my money" comment.  I don't believe he meant to hurt you or even tease you.  However, you turned his attention to you when you jumped in with the "got off easy" and DB felt he had to defend himself to both his brother and you.

Surianne has the right idea.  Try to not tease each other for a week and see how it goes.  If he doesn't want to/can't, you stop teasing him with other people or when anyone else is around.  If DB continues to draw you in or make remarks that hurt you, it will be time for a rel@tionship talk.


 
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: WillyNilly on January 31, 2012, 10:30:34 AM
^ I think cheyne makes a great point.

I sort of touched on it earlier but not as well.  I think this is a part of the whole teasing issue.  I've definitely been there and had to learn this subtly too:

Teasing between you and BD can be sweet, and funny, and cute and relationship-y.  But once you add in an outsider, things need to shift.  Inside your relationship you and BD are individuals but outwardly you are a couple, a unit, a team.  So when someone outside the unit gets a dig in, you (and DB to you) need to defend, not join in, on the teasing.  You need to be on his team.

Think about a sports team - when its just the team, say practice time, the team plays against one another - teammates might do a trick, or score a point in an unconventional method, or even just play hard and strong against one another.  But once there is an opponent, the team stands together and plays against the opponent, totally united with their teammates.

I had to learn that too.  I used to join in, for example when an ex-BF's parents would gently rib him about his job or other stuff.  But then he and I had it out and he told me how hurtful it was and how unsupportive it felt.  I had to learn I could rib him privately, but once others were around I would stick up for him - his dad would rib him about his crappy job and I would say "yeah but its great his schedule allows him to take my car in for an oil change!"
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: Surianne on January 31, 2012, 10:33:28 AM
Teasing between you and BD can be sweet, and funny, and cute and relationship-y.  But once you add in an outsider, things need to shift.  Inside your relationship you and BD are individuals but outwardly you are a couple, a unit, a team.  So when someone outside the unit gets a dig in, you (and DB to you) need to defend, not join in, on the teasing.  You need to be on his team.

I agree.  It's also a hugely different dynamic if it's two against one, than if it's just you and your boyfriend teasing each other.  Your boyfriend likely felt a bit ganged up on when both of you started teasing him about the same issue.  I think Cheyne's whole analysis of the motivations behind each line is pretty astute.
Title: Re: This communication error is solely on me...
Post by: June24 on February 08, 2012, 12:16:00 AM
I don't think you should say anything. You say that you could be doing all these extra things (cleaning the house, being more attentive to the dogs, etc...). So do them. Instead of complaining to your bf about how your lack of motivation/whatever makes you feel bad, I think you should try to work more at actually doing these things. I don't think he can do much to help you work through these feelings. They're your feelings, and you know what to do to make yourself feel better. No point in complaining to him when you could just do more stuff around the house so that you feel like you're pulling your weight. In the long run, I think that will make you feel better than talking to him.

Also, the jokes seem really mean spirited, PA, and under cutting to me, but all relationships are different. If it were my relationship, I would not be comfortable with that type of joking, but I'm not sure if that's something you want to change. If you do, then I think that's definitely worth talking about.