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My boyfriend is too sensitive, and I'm tired of being so cautious around him !

Tagged as: Long distance, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 June 2012) 10 Answers - (Newest, 1 July 2012)
A female India age 30-35, anonymous writes:

This is a very weird question...and I've been trying to write this properly since ages but I just can't seem to find the right words. So please bear with me!

My boyfriend lives abroad and works in shifts. He can only call me when he's on a break, or else before he goes to work. We keep in touch and talk every single day. We also text and exchange emails.

Tonight, when he called, I just began watching a very good film on TV. One of Majid Majidi's gems. When he called, I told him I wanted to watch this amazing film and that I hope he didn't mind if we spoke later. He went a bit cold and quickly said goodbye. Later he told me he was disappointed. It made me angry.

With my former boyfriend, I could always be myself. If I didn't feel like talking, I could just hang up without having to give elaborate explanations and without having to apologise. If I had something else to do, I could just tell him that I'd speak later. I didn't have to worry about how he'd feel or react about such little things. But with my present boyfriend, I have to be very careful. It's not as bad as treading on eggshells, but I often make up excuses that would be acceptable to him (like I have to attend a meeting, I have brought work home etc.) intead of saying something that wouldn't be acceptable (I want to watch tv, I don't feel like talking). The whole arrangement is too formal, I think. I'm not being myself. He's extremely sensitive and I always have to be extra cautious about wounding his feelings. That makes me behave unlike myself. I'm the sort of person who likes to treat a boyfriend like any other friend...you know, in a casual manner, where I can just let go...and not have to worry about hurting his feelings all the time. Our entire relationship has become saccharine-like...romantic and formal. I don't get the 'best buddy whom I can take for granted' vibe that makes one feel comfortable. Am I getting across my point?

My question is...am I being unreasonable in this case?

View related questions: a break, text

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A male reader, jay3532 United States +, writes (1 July 2012):

This is called clingyness. what you both need to do is give eachother space. You are both becoming attatched and any unbalancement that happens can effect him or you, clearly both of you at this time. Make arrangements at times you want to call and keep txt'ing simple. OR U WILL BOTH LOOSE UR MIND! LOL you both have to talk bout this, and send your bf this question you posted so he understands, its best thing to do, latley i have been sending my gf questions i post, and SURPRISINGLY (i fear it would hurt them or make them leave it ) IT ACTUALLY CAUSES THE OPPOSITE, they begin to understand... and remember... understanding is first step to accepting and fixing things.

Goodluck

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 June 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

"I bring this up because when you wonder " why do we have to stay on the phone when we've got nothing in particular to say " that's perfectly sensible , logical , true and correct .... but perhaps it's not the first thing which would come to mind to a woman in love."

That's significant, Cindy. Thank you! I'll have to think about what I truly feel.

Thank you Shadow Rose, Janniepeg and Shawtyinlove!

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (29 June 2012):

CindyCares agony aunt Let me assure you, that I read your question very carefully, and it was not that long anyway :).

Maybe I am generationally biased, I have trouble counting texts, and to some extent e-mails, as intimate, meaningful , satisfying communications. A text to me will never be nowhere close to a human voice... And, you did not say he wants to talk for hours , or wants to tell you I love you ten times a day. It said , though, that you are long distance, that he he works in shifts and can only call at certain set times. That would make it logical that for him to "catch " you at those times it's important , it's not like he's your next door neighbour who if he catches you when you are under the shower, can come back in 15 minutes. Those " appointments " will mean much to him, he'll be looking forward to them . After all, a LDR does not function on these same bases as an IRL, and that carefree vibe of camaraderie which you like, can exist , I want to say " only ", but let's say " better ", when you have easy, abundant regular access to the person, which lessen the intensity.

I also still think it's normal, at any age, to want to be among your SO's top priorities- not like, an overbearing, invasive, all-about-me attitude,.... but ,well, one hopes being more important than a snack or some Tv show.

Said that, it's quite possible that your bf , from what you say in the update, is too needy, clingy, obsessive, and needs too much reassurance. Talk to him, the frequency and quantity of contact is something that can easily be negotiated, adjusted and agreed upon to suit both. Tell him that you love him ,it's just you two have different communication styles, you prefer to talk when you really have got something new to say, and you want to have time to miss him . You need a bit more "space " and you can feel connected also without the daily update on every little thing, you like maybe less contact, but deeper ,more memorable, more meaningful. Tell him nicely, calmly, non confrontationally, and I think he will understand and you'd be able to work something out. But DO tell him. No point in getting secretly irritated and resentful, and tryng to find out who's at fault. You are not too cold, and he is not too warm- , it's not a matter of pointing fingers, people are used to different things in relationships, and they can find some balance between their different needs.

All the above, supposing you really DO love him,also including the being- romantically - in- love part ( not just the affection, appreciation, respect ,etc. ). Because, another possibility might be simply that perhaps you are not that into him anymore. I bring this up because when you wonder " why do we have to stay on the phone when we've got nothing in particular to say " that's perfectly sensible , logical , true and correct .... but perhaps it's not the first thing which would come to mind to a woman in love.

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A female reader, Shawtyinlove United States +, writes (29 June 2012):

Shawtyinlove agony aunthe's too clingy and you sound like you are independent, so try talking to him and saying how you would per fur it if he would allow you to have your own time. if he get disappointed than i'm sorry but your going to have to not ask and tell him.

Good Luck

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 June 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Cindy, I think you did not read my question carefully (maybe because it's too long). I don't make excuses all the time. I said that we speak, text and email every single day. I think we have far too much contact than is necessary. So if occasionally I don't feel like talking, I don't see why I have to lie in order to spare his feelings. Maybe I don't understand how relationships work but why do you HAVE to speak to your SO for hours every day, even when there isn't much to say? And why should he sulk because I wanted to watch a film that I've wanted to see for ages but never got a chance?

I just think he lays it on too thick at times. Saying 'I love you' some ten times a day, every day, doesn't count as normal for me. I force myself to say it when he does, because that seems appropriate. I do love him, but I don't see the point of saying it all the while or waiting for his phone calls like a dreamy teenager. Are our emotional needs different? Or am I being cold? I don't think of myself as emotionally cold at all. I just think he over-does everything and that puts me under pressure to 'perform', if you know what I mean.

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A female reader, janniepeg Canada + , writes (28 June 2012):

janniepeg agony auntThe problem is that this is long distance. If he were with you sitting at the sofa, you can still kiss him and make out during commercials. I strongly believe that people who rely so much on the phone to feel connected should not be in long distance relationships. I would tell him what you wrote here. See if he will be reasonable and let you be yourself.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (28 June 2012):

CindyCares agony aunt No, you may just not be that suited to each other. Maybe he does not like that casual , "best buddy " vibes that you enjoy. Maybe he's got tons of casual , comfortable best buddies , what he misses is a girlfriend in love that will be eager and excited to hear his voice , and willing to put him before , I don't say all, which would be excessive, but SOME of the things that fill her days.

Otherwise, what's the difference between having a special someone, and just having one more hang out buddy ? None.

I don't say that you have to see it his way- just that you should try to understand how it is seen through HIS eyes. He's not necessarily a primadonna or a crybaby- maybe he 's just a person who's got different emotional needs from you.

I am not a clingy person at all , I am so self absorbed, I live so much into my head and into my own world that , even when I am very smitten... I need a very modest amount of contact . Yet, I think I'd feel bad too if my attempts to communicate were frequently meet by a " gotta run " " quite busy right now " " call you later ". I mean, everybody is busy, there's work, friends, family, social engagements, errands to run, classes and hobbies, ... ... you've got to draw the line somewhere ! There must be SOME things that are less urgent and important than your SO ! That's why " I am busy at work " is fine , " I am at the doctor " " I am at the bank " goes down well... but " I can't talk right now, I need to shave my legs, or to clip my toe nails " does not cut it. Or " I was going to take a nap .... or to play with the cat ". WTF ! Do it later ! People need to learn to prioritize , and if your SO does not take SOME priority over other stuff, then he/she is a " not so significant one " and maybe you don't need to be with him / her.

" I'm watching TV " may be good if that's your favourite show that you have been looking forward to all week, or all month .... but if you normally would choose watching TV over talking to your bf, then you need a TV guide, not a boyfriend.

That's why I don't think , from what you say, that your bf is oversensitive or touchy - he just wants in your life that place that normally a bf would have . If you feel that giving him this place is too big an effort for you,-that's your choice, but you can't expect him to be thrilled about it.

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A female reader, Shadow Rose United States +, writes (28 June 2012):

Shadow Rose agony auntDon't worry, Jinxx, I fixed it for you, but if you have a better title in mind, feel free to change it to that.

And to the OP, I wish you luck, and perhaps you should try a tentative approach, like, something small, don't try to lie or anything to make sure his feelings don't get hurt, and then if he does get upset, ask him why he's upset, and try to talk to him about this issue of him getting upset.

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A female reader, jinxx Canada +, writes (28 June 2012):

jinxx agony auntOops! That was me. I apologize! I will see if I can find a way to fix this.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 June 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I said it's "not as bad as treading on eggshells" but the moderator chose a title which says just the opposite!

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