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How do you tell someone they're so easily offended, without offending them?
September 25, 2009 5:17 PM   Subscribe

How do I address my (probably ex-) boyfriend's tendency to be easily offended without offending him again?

We've been dating for four months, but I've become less and less interested in him, and had been thinking how to best break up with Mr Sensitive. Luckily (?) in the meantime I offended him so much by not being able to spend the night (I had to prepare something for work the next day, at my own place) that he pretty much told me it was over earlier this week. He's off to a conference now, but I told him we'd talk about things when he comes back (because it was such a spur of the moment thing to say that I didn't really have a response at the time, and it seemed like it needed a response!)

The problem is, we have never been able to talk properly, because he is always offended by everything. Even non-offensive things.

Examples?

He loves animals so much that he doesn't kill insects, and once stopped the car to let a grasshopper off so it wouldn't get lost. Yet he does eat meat, so I curiously wondered why, and asked. OFFENDED! (Basically, if you're curious like me, he tried and got sick after 3 days. Nothing to be offended about. That's a good reason.)

And you know the movie posters for District 9? The ones on bus stops that say "This bus stop for humans only"? He thinks they're offensive, against non-humans. ("But only humans use the bus stop anyway, and only humans can read the sign! It's a joke!" "Yes, but the message is very offensive. I don't want to see that film." And yes, that was serious.)

He also can't laugh about himself at all, and I've had to seriously cut back on my tendency to be sarcastic and snarky. That being said, I'm probably less snarky than the average MeFi user. I have a job that involves managing an online community and solving conflicts, and many of my friends describe me as "sweet", so I think I'm not over-the-top offensive at all. (In other words: it's not me.)

Now, the whole easily-offended thing is not at all attractive, and that is why I have been gradually pulling back, not saying anything about it, and trying to be understanding, but then the pulling back became offensive in itself, and I really need to explain things as we end everything.

Should I just uncork my bottled up frustrations, or is there a non-offensive way to tell someone he shouldn't be so easily insulted by everything? Or should I say nothing at all? (At this point I could even get away with never talking to him again, but that's kind of weird. And offensive.) Or am I meddling too much, and should I just go with his story (in which I am antisocial and don't understand relationships) and leave it at that?

Already not an option: showing this post.
Possible way I've been meaning to try but so far failed at: bringing him along to meet my delightfully sarcastic friends to get a taste of the kind of friendly insults I'm used to (and enjoy). We've had some scheduling issues lately, so he's only met my sweet and well-behaved friends so far.
Further info: No, I don't want him back, I just want him to know why I've been evasive. It's kind of an obvious trait of his, that nobody has pointed out to him because he has no siblings, no coworkers (grad school), very few friends, and too-doting parents who would never want to hurt his feelings.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (52 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You don't need to fix his problems. You do need to dump him.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:22 PM on September 25, 2009 [27 favorites]


Sounds like this problem is taking care of itself.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:24 PM on September 25, 2009


D,

TMF,

A.
posted by fire&wings at 5:24 PM on September 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Honestly, it's not your job to fix exes (which is certainly what this fellow should be). And no one, especially the easily offended, wants to have their faults explained to them by someone who is dumping them. Go forward with your life.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:24 PM on September 25, 2009


He's perfect just the way he is: A great provider of anecdotes for you to tell about a crazy ex.
posted by The World Famous at 5:28 PM on September 25, 2009 [28 favorites]


Nth the prior feedback. This is not a person to be accommodated. This is someone to dump, with great velocity.
posted by browse at 5:28 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I completely understand the near-biological urge to tell him that he's too easily offended--I say this as someone who spent three years dating a man who was offended by palm trees, the Sierra Club, and wigs, among other things--but make it easy on yourself. Get the hell out of this relationship and don't worry about him any more.
posted by corey flood at 5:32 PM on September 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


You do realize it's entirely possible that someone has told him, and he got really really offended and didn't listen to them.
posted by dryad at 5:33 PM on September 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


You know this already, but it probably bears repeating: DTMFA.

Having a sensitive soul can be sweet and romantic, but only up to a point, and people who can't laugh at themselves only become more insufferable with time. From the way you describe him, he's not so much sensitive as overly sheltered and irritating. I've known the type, and they're an utter drag to be around. He may lighten up someday, but it will only be after he realizes he's driven everyone around him away by his obnoxious behavior. The sooner you dump him, the sooner he'll figure out his problem.
posted by Diagonalize at 5:34 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nthing DTMFA. Ugh.
posted by mockjovial at 5:37 PM on September 25, 2009


You give him a copy of this Emo Bun picture, and tell him that you hope they'll enjoy their angst together.

I'm not one of the DTMFA crowd, as a rule...but seriously, DTMFA
posted by dejah420 at 5:37 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you're breaking up with him anyway why are you worried about offending him?
posted by amethysts at 5:37 PM on September 25, 2009


I just want him to know why I've been evasive.

There's no way you'll get him to hear you tell him this. None. Zero.
Don't bother trying.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:42 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you could say, 'look, you're a nice bloke and all, but I feel like I'm walking on eggshells when I'm around you, because so many MINOR things in life upset you. I need someone with a sense of humour, who is light-hearted and fun to be around'.

Sure, it will hurt him to hear that, especially coming on top of the break-up, but it is honest, and it is as constructive as possible in this situation. Maybe he'll learn something.

I don't understand those saying you shouldn't worry about offending him. Splitting up with him doesn't mean you no longer need to act with basic human decency. He may be offended anyway, but it won't hurt you to take the high road and at least explain why you're not compatible.

Do whatever will make you feel most comfortable with your actions when it's all over. If you can sleep with a clear conscience afterwards, then you need not worry if you offended him or not, because you did the best you could.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:46 PM on September 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


I think as long as you are okay with the fact that it doesn't sound like either of you are open to considering that the other' actions caused the breakup, you're okay. In such situations, I think it better for both sides to team up and blame incompatibility.

Anyway you look at it, even if you tell him that he is easily offended, it won't remove the fact that he thinks you are antisocial and not good at relationships. I mean, you don't believe you're antisocial and not good at relationships, and it's unlikely that he could say anything to convince you of this point. So, he probably won't believe that he is too easily offended. He'll probably believe that if you weren't consistently saying such offensive things (which you do, because you're bad at relationships), there wouldn't be a problem.

It seems to me that sometimes when relationships end based on incompatibility, you can take a step down and end it by pointing out what didn't work for you - usually their flaw - or try to step up and end them gracefully. The graceful version involves hearing what he has to say, saying what you appreciated about being with him, acknowledge that the arc of a relationship can be long or short, and yours was just right at about 4 months, with no real fault other than incompatibility, wish him well, and end this chapter.
posted by anitanita at 5:48 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Someone referenced "basic human decency." I think that is your hiccup.

Respectively, The World Famous and dryad got it spot on!

"He's perfect just the way he is: A great provider of anecdotes for you to tell about a crazy ex."

AND

"You do realize it's entirely possible that someone has told him, and he got really really offended and didn't listen to them."

Look. He'll tell the stories he will, his impressions are obviously skewed. Smile, let it go.

I know you dated for a while and you want to do the right thing. That is 99.9% impossible in this person's case. Nothing you can say will alter his reality or interpretation thereof.

That's OK and not your responsibility. Really.
posted by jbenben at 5:59 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel sorry for this guy, but you still have to drop him anyway.

If you want to be nice, feel free to tell him you can't handle someone so sensitive (it's not you, it's me!) and that there's probably someone else out there who would appreciate him more. And then LET him be hurt and offended by that, don't take it back.

Just a bad match.
posted by rokusan at 5:59 PM on September 25, 2009


Only tell him why you don't want to see him any more/don't want him back, and then, don't go into too much detail. It'll only wind him up and you won't get anywhere. Just tell him that you think he's too sensitive. If he asks, tell him that you think he's too sensitive, and leave it at that. If he doesn't ask, no amount of talking will convince him.

The way he is seems to work for him, or he wouldn't be behaving the way he does. He's not going to reconsider his attitudes until something comes along that forces him to. You can, if you want to, be that thing. But that's going to mean a massive outlay of energy for extremely little reward. Also, it's not your duty to get him to change. Ask yourself this: "how do I benefit by getting him to change?" He's already dumped you. If you want a relationship with him, consider that it's not a relationship with him you want, its a relationship with someone like him, but without the sensitivity. If you just want to be right, at the end of the day, as long as you know, nothing else really matters. Even if you do manage to change him, consider that he might not want to be in a relationship with someone who couldn't accept him as he was.

I can see why you'd want to undo 4 months of frustration. I just think that talking to someone who is easily offended about how wrong it is for them to be easily offended is going to be a recipe for frustration. It's going to leave you with more frustration, not less.

It's not you. It's him. You know this. He will probably never know this. You can try to get him to believe it, but I doubt he ever will. Count the blessing that this relationship is over, and move on.
posted by Solomon at 6:03 PM on September 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I really need to explain things as we end everything

Why? Seriously, why? Do you honestly think the personality you describe is going to get one single thing out of anything you're going to say? The picture you're painting is of someone who thinks he is right about everything, who enjoys (or at least gets some kind of positive reinforcement out of) being offended by the wrongness of all us lesser mortals, and just to make sure he is completely unbearable, is utterly humorless about it all. To the person who thinks they are always right there is no inoffensive way to say "you're wrong." Given the inevitability of his reaction, you certainly won't get any satisfaction out of doing it. It's a four month relationship and he dumped you. Collect your stuff, and better luck next time.
posted by nanojath at 6:06 PM on September 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is absolutely no reason to try and explain things to him. If he's ended the relationship already then he has done you a favor. Only if he comes back from the conference having reconsidered should you worry about explaining things to him and re-D-ing TMTFA - otherwise, just knock out all the logistics while he's outta town and get on w/ your life.

And if it comes to a night when you need to explain his toxicity to him, might I suggest doing so in public, among lots of strangers? And prefacing it with some sort of statement like, "There's no way I can tell you this without offending you, but I hope you'll be able to hear it before you react to it."

In short: What a drag. Run for the hills.
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:13 PM on September 25, 2009


I totally understand the urge to, at the end of a relationship, say "Hey, this is what's fundamentally wrong with your character! Fix it and maybe next time your relationship won't crash in flames!"

You feel like you're performing a service for their next girlfriend. You think they should appreciate this honest insight into their character.

It doesn't work.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:13 PM on September 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


I really need to explain things as we end everything.

No, you don't. It would be really satisfying to be able to once and for all explain that he's been unreasonable, but it's not a necessity for ending the relationship and it's not something he'll be able to hear and process like a reasonable person (if he were capable of that, he wouldn't be offended by sci-fi movie posters).
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:13 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


OOooo-baby, he sounds like a fun guy. I agree with everyone else, that you should just break up and you owe him no explanation other than the most generic "this isn't working for me", or whatever. But in the spirit of trying to actually answer the question you asked, the way to approach it is to use those trusty "I" statements: I'm not happy. I want a relationship in which I can joke around and be sarcastic. I'm not interested in changing the way I communicate. I like offensive humor. I want to laugh more in my relationship. I like verbal sparring. I wanna go see District 9.

This way, you're not saying anything is objectively wrong with him, but that you're the one with the unreasonable & bizarre need to be playful and sarcastic. Whether or not he chooses to reassess his approach to life is his responsibility. And he won't.

My prediction is eventually he'll find some mopey girl to hang out with, and at first they'll get along swimmingly. Then 6 months into it, you'll get a drunken phone call from him one night telling you that he's bored out of his mind, and he'll beg you to take him back with promises he'll change completely.
posted by tula at 6:19 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


he pretty much told me it was over earlier this week.

So, it's done. There's no need to go back to him, after he's ended it, just to explain yourself. Let it go.
posted by Houstonian at 6:21 PM on September 25, 2009


Yeah, definitely consider the possibility (as nanojath and solomon suggest) that his offendedness is at its root just a behavioral mechanism for getting him something that he wants-- attention, power in relationships, affirmation that he's somehow "special", another person apologizing to him (mmm, feels good), or whatever.

He may not even be aware of this, but in any case, your pointing out that it's crazy and annoying to be offended by these things won't change the fact that he gets some sort of ongoing emotional benefit out of the behavior. It's not about facts and reason, it's about pleasure and reward. And if you're going to DTMFA (please!), then you're hardly going to be in a position to change the whole reward structure of his life. Let this one go.
posted by Bardolph at 6:22 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Tell him you find him offensive and have to end it.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:31 PM on September 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I would just tell him if you guys do end up talking. Who cares if you offend him. Maybe one day when he starts reflecting on why his relationships don't work he'll remember you telling him this and might start realizing you were right. Don't try to fix him or anything, but just say something like "just fyi, this was a problem for me in our relationship. Now take care of yourself, goodbye." I would hate never knowing a huge problem about myself just because people were too scared to tell me.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 6:38 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You could tell him you're breaking up with him because you noticed recently that he ran over a bug with his car and you just can't get that horrific vision of cruelty out of your mind every time you look him in the eye. Or, alternatively, that you can't continue to date someone who treats insects with more respect than they give you. And then you could use the ol' "and I don't see that changing anytime soon."
posted by The World Famous at 7:43 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It sounds like you two are both already checked out of this relationship and the best thing to do is just make it official and go your separate ways. There is nothing you can say at this point - or possibly ever - to make him change or get him to examine himself. The best an explanation could do is make you feel like you tried to help, or like you're not the bad guy in this. And you probably aren't the bad guy, but he's probably going to think you are anyway.

Maybe someday down the road he'll start to see a pattern in his relationships and start to wonder if there's something he could be doing differently, but that's not your responsibility.

I'm tempted to recommend that you go the exact opposite route and phrase your breakup talk like you were auditioning for The Aristocrats, but that's just mean.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:52 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


The moment you realize that the person you're with causes you to be someone you're not should be the moment you decide to re-enact Paul Simon's classic song and hop on the bus, Gus.

You don't need to discuss much. Just drop off the key, Lee.

And set yourself free.

P.S. You can't not offend someone whose life work is to be offended. Don't even worry about it. He'll find something else to weep about in 5 minutes.
posted by inturnaround at 8:23 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow. Sounds like someone I used to know, who's name begins with ex.

You'll offend him if you go. You'll offend him if you stay. He'll get his panties twisted whether or not you try to explain everything. If you try, you'll only get exasperated because he'll be too "offended" to even try and hear what you're saying. Just say that it's not working out; it's over; and keep going.

I'm sorry you've had to come to this position, but seriously, it'll only drive you nuts.
posted by motsque at 8:31 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tell him. It's basic human decency to do so. You don't have to be mean about it, unless you want to.

Also, consider that he might not actually be that sensitive, and is really a control freak.

Either way, his behavior turned you off and while I don't think you *owe* it to him, maybe you do owe it to the rest of the world to tell him to lighten up or whatever.
posted by gjc at 9:13 PM on September 25, 2009


I can understand the desire to tell the ex-to-be why you're ending things. You want to be the dumper, not the dumped. You feel you need to tell him how he's made you feel. You need to say, "It offends me that you're so easily offended."

And of course he will be offended that you are offended that he is so frequently offended.

Which is why, if you do tell him, you shouldn't expect the conversation to go well. You'll be all, "You get mad all the time!" and he'll be all, "I am so mad that you said that."

But sometimes it's good to let someone know how you feel. You aren't doing it specifically to help him, or to provide a service to some future girlfriend, or anything quite so noble. You're doing it because you need the catharsis of flagging him as offensive before moving on. Just remember that, that you're doing it for yourself.

And yes, you do want to be as polite about the whole thing as possible. If only there were a discreet ex-boyfriend-flagging mechanism ... but alas, there is not. So jump in with your "I feel" statements, and try not to be offended when he is (predictably) offended.
posted by brina at 9:43 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


You don't like each other and have essentially called it quits. No need to complicate it beyond what it is. Beating a dead horse.
posted by naplesyellow at 10:38 PM on September 25, 2009


I wish I could remember who it was that said something about the person who was dumped always feels like they were interrupted before they were able to say something important. So I guess the question to ask yourself is why you feel that what you have to say is or should be important enough to say it to someone you no longer want in your life. You're not saying it as a prelude to turning the relationship around, so it sounds a bit like "evening the score".

I'm one of those people who can immensely enjoy snarky, bitchy humor, but I realise that it can cross the line and offend people. There's a time and place for it, but it's not something which is appropriate with all people at all times. If it's offending people I care about, then I'm going to modify my behaviour around them out of respect for their feelings - I'm extremely aware that sarcastic humour can be painful for those on the receiving end of it and that people some times use the "I was only joking" line to be nasty under the guise of humour.

You're incompatible - that doesn't make either one of you objectively wrong, it just means that you're not well-suited. Given that dating is supposed to be about finding out whether or not you're compatible, I don't see why anyone needs to feel like they've "failed" if you're not. If you have that desire to make him feel like he's deficient in some way, then you might want to ask yourself why. It's sure as heck not for his benefit.
posted by Lolie at 11:00 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think malibustacey9999 has the best take on this, by far. I'd probably make a couple minor edits (italicized):

I think you could say, 'look, you're a nice bloke and all, but I feel like I'm walking on eggshells when I'm around you, because so many things that are MINOR things to me in life upset you. I need someone with a sense of humour, who is light-hearted and fun to be around'.

There. Honest, kind, helpful, and non-blaming. 'Not so hard to do, really. Cutting someone off without an explaination (yes, it seems obvious, but it's astonishing how many can't see the obvious) seems to me unnecessarily harsh and cold.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 3:02 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


yes, this guy is unreasonable and driving you nutty. you should break up.

that said, breakups are (usually) not hostage negotiations. aside from being uncomfortable, the stakes are comparatively low. be honest and brief, and leave. if he's offended, well, that's why you broke up and he has to deal with it, not you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:07 AM on September 26, 2009


No, I don't want him back, I just want him to know why I've been evasive.

I'm not sure if we understand why you've been evasive. The way that you describe yourself ("sweet" and "less snarky") is admirable, but I wonder if possibly you may have some issues with assertiveness and confrontation. Just a thought...

Anyhow, you are breaking up with him. He's told that to you, more or less. You've told us you concur, but you don't know how to talk about it with him.

You don't have to go into great detail about why. If he cares for you, there's no way to avoid hurting him. From your description of him, it sounds like he is likely to become offended again, no matter what you say.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:07 AM on September 26, 2009


As everyone is saying, it sounds like this problem has taken care of itself already. If Mr Sensitive calls when he gets back and asks "What did you want to talk about?" just say "Oh, nothing. I realized there was nothing more that I needed to say. Best of luck in your future endeavors."
posted by adamrice at 9:55 AM on September 26, 2009


I don't think it'd do any good to point out to him that he's offended too easily, because that's not really the problem. The problem is that he's an idiot and a hypocrite (lost grasshopper? got sick? bullshit.). Getting offended is his defense against the apparently frequent assaults on his completely fucked up and self-centered worldview.

That said, I think he'd be fun to mess with.
posted by cmoj at 10:08 AM on September 26, 2009


> Cutting someone off without an explanation (yes, it seems obvious, but it's astonishing how many can't see the obvious) seems to me unnecessarily harsh and cold.

This is simply not true. They are essentially broken up already; they each know what is wrong with the relationship from their separate points of view; they will go their own ways and in a year the whole thing will be a distant memory. Can you go through each of your previous relationships and recount exactly what was wrong with them from your ex's point of view? I can't. Let's face it, relationships usually end, it's a fact of life, and unless you're planning to write a book about it it's not really important to hash out exactly what each person felt about it.
posted by languagehat at 10:53 AM on September 26, 2009


You are not responsible for him. If you are behaving in a reasonably calm, honest, kind manner, then his reaction is his problem. If you want to help him grow, you can tell his that you find him too easily offended. He is likely to refer to you as a psychobitch, one way or the other.
posted by theora55 at 10:55 AM on September 26, 2009


You know, you don't owe this guy anything. By patiently explaining to him that you think he's oversensitive, the most likely outcome is that he is going to get angry, and you don't deserve that.

If he calls you again, just remind him that he had said it was over between the two of you, that you are moving on, and that you are going to hang up the phone now. And then hang up the phone.

We don't always have to help other people change their lives. It was his responsibility to understand that you are a treasure. He could not. It's not your fault.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:09 AM on September 26, 2009


Boy has this gut made it easy. He dumped you, you don't have to take any action, if he asks you about taking about the reliationship yopu kust say "you're right, this isn't going anywhere/ we're not right for each other/I'm not right for you/ yu're not right for me" and if he goes anywhere with it, you just remind him he dumped you and the relationship is over.

Something similar happened to a friend of mine, he called one morning, told her it wasn't working and that it was over, which surprised her (she was playing a little below her game I would say). He called back that night saying they needed to talk about their relationship, she reminded him they didn't have one, he had dumped her. I would read it that he was trying to play some ludicrous head game to make her come running, it doesn't sound too dissimilar to what your guy is doing with his ridiculously affected bullshit.
posted by biffa at 12:23 PM on September 26, 2009


> Cutting someone off without an explanation (yes, it seems obvious, but it's astonishing how many can't see the obvious) seems to me unnecessarily harsh and cold.

This is simply not true.

Perhaps I’m being too sensitive, but: You are incorrect; I’ve bolded the relevant text to support this assertion.

Can you go through each of your previous relationships and recount exactly what was wrong with them from your ex's point of view?

I’m old enough that I can no longer recount –anything- exactly, but I do appreciate those who have made the effort to explain their point of view.

I can't. Let's face it, relationships usually end, it's a fact of life, and unless you're planning to write a book about it it's not really important to hash out exactly what each person felt about it.

It’s not about “…exactly what each person felt about it", it’s about closure. The OP has obviously given a lot of thought to this, and is asking for outside perspectives to help choose the best closure method for them. What would work well for one might not work well for another; the OP can decide which perspectives apply to them, and act accordingly.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 10:21 PM on September 26, 2009


He hurt your self-image.

Consider why? He broke up with you. But you seem to need to feel like you are better than him.

But this is not a competition or a game, where one person has to be right and the other wrong.

Some people don't have room for snarkiness or sarcasm in their lives and consider it hurtful. Some people enjoy it. Ok. Life goes on and you are still the same person you were yesterday, and the day before.

Maybe you should think about toning the sarcasm down with those who are not your particular group of friends, instead of trying to acclimate people to behave just like your group of friends. Different interactions for different relationships, can be incredibly fulfilling and add extra dimensions to you life. Let your guard down and be 100% sincere with someone...or not. I don't really know you!

The district 9 thing sounds wacky, but maybe he was offended because of the "clever" reminder of the horrible destruction and pain of segregation and apartheid? Maybe there is was a lack of communication or more argument than attempting to understand.
posted by kathrineg at 12:24 AM on September 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're incompatible - that doesn't make either one of you objectively wrong, it just means that you're not well-suited. Given that dating is supposed to be about finding out whether or not you're compatible, I don't see why anyone needs to feel like they've "failed" if you're not. If you have that desire to make him feel like he's deficient in some way, then you might want to ask yourself why. It's sure as heck not for his benefit.

I probably should have just said this...I think this is a good summary.
posted by kathrineg at 12:29 AM on September 27, 2009


By the way, I'm sure he has coworkers (or the equivalent) in grad school...
posted by kathrineg at 12:36 AM on September 27, 2009


Late to this post, but your (hopefully) soon-to-be ex sounds a lot like my verbally/emotionally abusive ex husband. I don't know, without more information, whether your bf is like my ex, but this strange I-am-offended-by-so-many-things-you-say-or-do was how my ex started with me. It seemed that I frequently offended him by the weirdest, most unexpected things and I was constantly trying to figure out what I could do differently.

I have long since come to realize that this was just a way to get control over me by, among other things, keeping me on constant eggshells not knowing what would set him off. He only was like this with me--no one else (a clasic sign of an abuser). If your guy isn't hyper-sensitive with anyone else run away as fast as you can. It will not get better and will get far worse and drive you crazy.

Even if he isn't abusive and just strangely sensitive, I think you should follow your gut and dump him anyway. This can't be any fun and you have to be a different person than you naturally are around him. That is not a recipe for happiness. Good luck!
posted by murrey at 7:50 AM on September 27, 2009


> This is simply not true.

Perhaps I’m being too sensitive, but: You are incorrect; I’ve bolded the relevant text to support this assertion.


Fair enough; I should have said "I disagree." At any rate, while I agree the poster wants closure, I'm pretty sure her telling the guy he shouldn't be so easily insulted by everything is not going to achieve that. But as you say, she can choose among the opinions offered here.
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on September 27, 2009


should I just go with his story (in which I am antisocial and don't understand relationships) and leave it at that? ----> yes, go with his story and get out and then laugh about it all.

his sensitivity is his way of controlling his world. it won't get him much, but it´s all he knows. your reaction to pull away from him is very sane, very healthy. your worry about how to breakup with him without offending him is not. that's the part of you that has already gotten caught up in his bullshit.

i did this last year for a few weeks. i genuinely liked the guy, but he was very sensitive, would get angry for unexpected things, etc and I did try to talk to him about his personality - but he got really angry, didn't want to talk about it. at that point there´s nothing much else to say!
posted by Locochona at 10:28 AM on September 27, 2009


"Lighten up, Francis."
posted by klangklangston at 12:08 PM on September 29, 2009


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