Author Topic: How To Not Sound Ungrateful  (Read 3500 times)

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Mental Magpie

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How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« on: July 31, 2012, 01:19:40 AM »
I love Dark Boyfriend, there is no doubt in my mind.  I am lucky that he tells me daily that he loves me...but, sometimes he tells me every 30 minutes and it seriously annoys me.

Also, when he is in that mood to tell me every 30 minutes, it comes out almost pleading and/or a question, but not quite.  To me, it sounds like a plea for attention.  This also means that whatever I'm doing, whatever I'm concentrating on, I have to stop to tell him I love him, too.  I don't know why he does it, and I haven't been able to tell what is different from one day when he does it to the next when he doesn't.  It's also not like I don't tell him I love him unbidden because I do!

Part of me also feels like him constantly saying it without an recourse cheapens it.  If he can just spew it out on a whim every 30 minutes, what makes that romantic time any more special?

I can't seem to get the words out to tell him that it annoys me.  Who is annoyed by their SO telling them they love them?  Me, I guess, but that also bothers me.  Every time I think to tell him, I sound ungrateful, rude, and plain old mean.  In my head, whatever I have to say sounds like, "How dare you tell me you love me?!  You're so stupid and lame and uncool and pathetic, you stupidhead."  That's not at all it, but I can't think of any good way to say that it is annoying and cheapens the real I love you's.  Help, please, before I stop answering him altogether...
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anonymousmac

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 09:03:51 AM »
It sounds to me like this might happen when he's feeling needy or in need of reassurance. 

Maybe, the next time it starts happening, I might turn to him and say, "I love you too.  Is something wrong?  You sound unhappy.  Is there anything bothering you?  Is there anything you want to talk about?"  or whatever it takes to bring it out in the open that he keeps kind of asking for your attention and sounding unhappy.

But that would annoy me too!  It's not the words, it's the way it's said, especially as an interruption and repeated almost demand for reassurance.  I'd personally want to either find out explicitly what's going on, or if he doesn't want to speak about it more clearly, get him to cut it out.

Jones

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 09:11:48 AM »
My DH does that too. Usually it means he wants me to say it myself, unprompted. If I wait about 15 minutes and suddenly say "I love you" he gets a little gooshy and happy, and leaves me alone to do whatever I was doing.

Just one of his special quirks that I haven't pointed out to him yet.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 09:17:52 AM »
I agree with the PP who says he's feeling a little needy. Say "I know you do. And you know I love you. Is there something that makes you doubt it?"

The King often calls me 4 or 5 times a day to 'check in'. I don't mind; usually we have something to talk about. But often we don't - he's bored, and we just spoke 20 minutes ago. He'll say "What's new?" and sometimes it's hard not to snap and say "In the last five minutes?" My sisters all say I should be appreciative, and I am, but sometimes ...

Reason

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 09:46:55 AM »
I am going to go out on a limb and say that this sounds like a comfort phrase when he has nothing else to talk about. Which, in itself, is not a problem though it can be annoying. I have yet to hear someone drop cute little phrases when in the middle of a discussion about the massacre of the Cathari or something like that.

So it may be that he feels the need to fill the silence. Do you have regular conversations that go beyond the normal day to day interaction? That said, I don't think there is anything wrong with telling him to cut back on the "I love you" phrases. It doesn't mean as much when it's said so often.

I have the opposite problem. I probably haven't said it to my wife in over 3 months. Come to think of it, I am going to go get some flowers...

SleepyKitty

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2012, 10:28:57 AM »
Oh my goodness, if you combine the OP's post and QueenofallThings, it would be like seeing into my head. My BF will do both those things at the same time.

(Twenty minutes after our last phone conversation, which I ended by specifically telling BF that I am off to do X thing and will be busy until 5pm.)

BF: "Hi babe! I love you!"
Me, trying to juggle the thing that I'm trying to do and the phone: "Great. What's your point?"

I feel your pain! It drives me batty. I think the PP's are right that it might be an attention/conversation opener. But it might not hurt to sit down with DarkBoyfriend and gently tell him that saying "I love you" is very meaningful to you and you prefer to say it when you're trying to convey that deep meaning, not every half hour. And if he says he is trying to convey that deep meaning every half hour, ask him why.


Judah

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2012, 11:04:44 AM »
You don't have to respond with "I love you, too".  Sometimes my response is "I know you do" because, really, I know he does and he might need reassurance that I feel loved by him. 
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys

Decimus

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 11:26:25 AM »
I have yet to hear someone drop cute little phrases when in the middle of a discussion about the massacre of the Cathari or something like that.

My beloved Cornelia and I have conversations like that... which is WHY she is my beloved Cornelia.  LOL.

There are a few reasons why Dark Boyfriend might be saying it.  He could need reassurance.  He could want to reassure YOU (whether you need this or not).  He might be using it as a conversational filler -- "We haven't said anything in 30 minutes, so I'll tell her I love her so she knows I'm not ignoring her." 

The solution is probably to simply ask him about it -- perhaps at a different time.  Just something like "Say, I've noticed you tell me you love me a lot.  I know you do -- I love you too.  So I was wondering if there's a reason you verbalize it so often."

cookiehappy

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 01:42:14 PM »
I had a boyfriend who would rattle off "i love yous" like automatic gunfire.

I thought in the beginning stages of the "L" word, it was nice.  But then he progressed to rapid succession in text form, email form, vocal form and mime form (which really grated on my nerves).  ALL. DAY. LONG.  After a couple weeks of this, I had to tell him that though I appreciate him loving me and that I loved him too, overuse of it makes it lose its luster.  Know what he said?

"Well, I need you to know that I love you.  My last girlfriend left me because I didn't say it enough."

Yeah.

So, that was the beginning of the end because after that conversation, he'd added a tagline to his "i love yous".  It went like this:

"I love you, okay?  Don't ever leave me."

 ???

LadyL

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2012, 01:53:59 PM »
Ha, LordL does this but for him it's an ADHD thing. When he's getting restless we have interactions that involve him in the living room, playing a game on his phone or otherwise poking around, and my in the adjacent computer room, that go like this:

LordL: HI LADYL!
Me: Hi.

(2 minutes later)

Lordl: Whatcha doin?
Me: Nothing. Are you bored?
LordL: A little.

(2 minutes later)

LordL: Hi! I love you!
Me: Love you too.

(2 minutes later)

LordL: Hi!
Me: (ignores)

(2 minutes later)

LordL: Hi! I love you!
Me: We need to leave the house, don't we?
LordL: Yes please.

He will do this to me all day. In the house, in the car sitting next to each  other on a road trip if 5 minutes have gone by without talking, etc. If I am in anything less than a really good mood it is pretty annoying! But it's how he's wired, and the intentions are good (maybe there's a little dash of neediness thrown in, but it's mostly him being understimulated in general I think) so I either humor him, make a joke out of it, ignore it, or find some way to alleviate the boredom causing it.

Other people have mentioned other reasons by that's my .02

QueenofAllThings

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 04:24:46 PM »
LadyL, you cracked me up - "We need to leave the house, don't we?"

For some men, perhaps they've been taught that 'we' need to hear it constantly. Or perhaps it's a quirk of the universe that those who don't need to hear it constantly attract those who need to SAY it constantly...

The King is not needy per se, but he was an only child and is used to being the center of attention. He just doesn't understand, intellectually or emotionally, that he is not the center of my world ALL.THE.TIME.  I adore him more than words can say, but don't need him in the laundry room with me, KWIM?

WillyNilly

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2012, 04:43:28 PM »
You don't have to respond with "I love you, too".  Sometimes my response is "I know you do" because, really, I know he does and he might need reassurance that I feel loved by him.

This.

Try not saying it back.  I very purposely don't always say "I love you back" and quite honestly I would be offended and insulted if my DF always repeated it back to me every time I told him I love him.  Because then, to me, its like fishing for a compliment - like the annoying friend who says "I look fat!" not because she does, but because she wants to hear "you look great."  Or it becomes rote.  If you want to be told you're loved, or that you look nice, ask for that.  Don't fish for it - I'm not a lake.  And don't just say it because you think its the proper response, only say it if the mood is striking you to say it.

Saying "I love you" is giving someone an emotional gift IMO.  To immediately just say it back as a rote response, is kinda to throw the gift in their face "you gave me this emotional gift from your heart, I'm going to give you back a gift because I'm supposed to... not because I'm moved to say it to right now, just because its expected" - doesn't sound too loving to me.

So try, when he says "I love you" randomly to look him in the eye, and say "thank you, I do feel loved" or something to that effect.  And try to occasionally give him an unprompted "I love you" once in a while.

Mental Magpie

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 11:14:24 AM »
I am going to go out on a limb and say that this sounds like a comfort phrase when he has nothing else to talk about. Which, in itself, is not a problem though it can be annoying. I have yet to hear someone drop cute little phrases when in the middle of a discussion about the massacre of the Cathari or something like that.

So it may be that he feels the need to fill the silence. Do you have regular conversations that go beyond the normal day to day interaction? That said, I don't think there is anything wrong with telling him to cut back on the "I love you" phrases. It doesn't mean as much when it's said so often.

I have the opposite problem. I probably haven't said it to my wife in over 3 months. Come to think of it, I am going to go get some flowers...

We talk a lot about a lot of things, but now that I think about it, he doesn't do it when he's playing video games because his concentration is there...but he does it when I'm playing video games or when I'm reading something.  More briefly: when his attention isn't fully on something and mine is, he does it.  Maybe he feels like I'm ignoring him?  I don't see how, though, as when something happens or I think of something, I talk to him.

LadyL: That made me laugh but I know that's not it, either.

QueenofAllThings: Dark Boyfriend wasn't an only child, but he is 6 years younger than his brother.  Maybe it is a center of attention thing.

WillyNilly:  I give him unprompted I love you's, that's why I'm kind of confused by this.  If I didn't, I would think he was saying it because he wanted me to say it more often without a prompt.  I do like your solution, though.

Thanks for the insight, everyone; I'll have to give these a try.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

heronlady

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2012, 02:50:53 PM »
I say "I love you" a lot, too.  Mostly to my boyfriend and mom, though.  My mom teases me about it because some days I might say it and then 5 minutes later say it again.

For me, I get this... overwhelming feeling of "I love this person and they are very special to me and I appreciate them" and so I say "I love you" because it's hard for me to have that thought and not want to tell them.

I try to watch how often I say it, though, because I know it bugs my boyfriend when I say it too much and it's kind of silly to say "I love you" that many times to my mom.

I generally verbalize all of my overwhelming thoughts, though.  I get struck by a thought/feeling and express it.

zyrs

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Re: How To Not Sound Ungrateful
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2012, 03:26:16 PM »
I say "I love you" a lot, too.  Mostly to my boyfriend and mom, though.  My mom teases me about it because some days I might say it and then 5 minutes later say it again.

For me, I get this... overwhelming feeling of "I love this person and they are very special to me and I appreciate them" and so I say "I love you" because it's hard for me to have that thought and not want to tell them.

I try to watch how often I say it, though, because I know it bugs my boyfriend when I say it too much and it's kind of silly to say "I love you" that many times to my mom.

I generally verbalize all of my overwhelming thoughts, though.  I get struck by a thought/feeling and express it.

I'll be doing something that doesn't take my full attention and so random thoughts will be going through my head.  And some of them are about my wife.  Maybe the day we met, or something that has happened in the years since and I will feel good so I tell her "I love you."