I'm going to be getting together with him this week, and if he starts in on that again, I'm going to come out and tell him he's doing it too much. I'll tell him that when he constantly asks me that over every little thing, it makes me feel as if he thinks I'm made of glass, or if he thinks I'm constantly on the verge of a heart attack. While I appreciate understanding that I'm not on the same fitness level, constantly fussing over whether I'm okay or not at the most minor provocations just gets old really fast and makes me feel like he thinks I'm some sort of delicate teacup.
Please remember--he is not doing something wrong. If I could offer you some advice, I would say, do not attack him, do not use these phrases. Try not to express your annoyance; you are asking him for a favor.
He is acting out of concern for you.
He is not being annoying. You may be annoyed (I probably would be too!), but *he* is not "being annoying." He's not saying "are you okay?" *AT* you; he is saying it -to- you.
I was thinking of you today as I drove over a speed bump.
I can understand both the "oomph" (I had the urge to do it) and the feeling of hearing it (it would have annoyed me).
I think one thing you might say, when you say, "I know you're acting out of concern to me, but I would really like to ask you to stop," is to say this:
"When you ask me if I'm OK just because I'm slower than you going up the stairs, or even if I seem to be in discomfort of pain, even, puts all the focus on my physical being--sometimes my lack of fitness, etc. And frankly, I do not want that to BE the topic of conversation. Or the focus of our time together. I would like to simply ignore it. So please follow my lead by ignoring it.
"I am trying to ignore it--I live with it, and it's annoying, but when I *dwell* on it, then it begins to dominate my life. I would like to ignore it.
"Also, please believe that if you don't enquire whether I'm OK, I won't feel neglected.
I won't feel that you are being inconsiderate because you got to the top of the stairs before me and are waiting. Just wait quietly. You can show me consideration best by simply respecting my autonomy and being patient.
"Believe me, if I am truly NOT okay, I will tell you. Don't feel that you need to hold that responsibility for my safety all the time. That also is a responsibility I do not want you to assume unless I specifically ask you to do it. It's a matter of being responsible for myself, and you NOT being responsible for me. That's a gesture of respect, not of neglect or uncaringness.
I was thinking about how annoyed I get because so many conversations I have end up being about my chronic cough. It's annoying to others, I know--and people who aren't used to it will ask if I'm okay, or sympathize with me. They're trying to be kind. But the truth inside of me is that suddenly I can't ignore it anymore, and in addition to causing me difficulty in and of itself, now it is ALSO derailing the conversation. It's so incredibly annoying.
I also was thinking about the elevator in my building, and my upstairs neighbor. And my dad. You can hear the elevator from inside my apartment, and sometimes my neighbor's footfalls are audible (not horrible, mind you--she's just walking; the floors are sorta thin).
Normally I don't even register the noises. I delete them from my brain.
But when my DAD visits, he has to comment on every little noise. "Boy, you can sure hear that elevator!" "Your neighbor is home, I heard her walk across the living room."
It makes me crazy. Something mildly negative (noise) that I had blotted out is now suddenly the focus of my attention.
In your case, there you are, laboring up the stairs. Your less-than-optimal physical condition is a negative in your life. But you're coping--you've blocked out the negativeness of it and are focusing your attention on the good things. It's "background only." Suddenly he's asking, "are you okay?" and BAMMO!--there's that negative, right there where you can't ignore it anymore.
That's demoralizing--it makes that negative thing FAR more powerful than it is on its own, even -before- the "blocking it out" thing.
Plus it derails your train of thought.
Then there's the idea that suddenly he is taking responsibility for whether you're okay--he's suddenly making it his business. You can take care of yourself, and him asking is sort of an implication that you can't. (Be careful how you say this!!) So that's kind of annoying for most competent grownups--we get a big case of the I'll do it myself
s. (I've been known to use that phrase in explaining my reaction sometimes--it seems to work. People get it, and it conveys the touchiness in a way that's actually a bit sympathetic.)
Try to find a way to explain it like that--that when he is trying to be solicitous it's actually sabotaging you. Which is NOT what he expected, and not what he meant to do.