Dear Carolyn • I have been with my boyfriend for a year now but lately I feel like he is losing interest in me and the relationship. He’s making unnecessary rude comments and belittling me.
He also is constantly commenting about other girls and wanting to be with them. I know it’s natural for people to look, but he does it a lot and he knows it bothers me. When I try to tell him to not make the comments, he laughs and says he’s joking and that I get offended too easily or I’m too sensitive.
I’ll admit I’m not the most confident person and I may be taking some of his comments to heart, but it makes me feel like I’m not good enough or that he no longer wants to be in the relationship. He also makes comments about my appearance or the way I dress.
When I ask him if he wants to be in this relationship or if he loves me, he says he does. But I fear he’s not being honest.
Am I being too sensitive or am I just holding on to a failing relationship? — Not Taken Seriously
Answer • You are not being “too” anything. You are you, and you are fine as you are.
I hope it hasn’t been a long time since you reminded yourself of that, but I suspect it has.
What aren’t fine here are your relationship and the way your boyfriend is treating you. Belittling? Openly lusting for others? Just, no. These are abuse. And what “rude comments” are ever necessary?
These are all easy to fix, though, by ending the relationship — or, if not easy, then at least straightforward:
“I don’t like how you treat me. We had some good times, but fewer and fewer lately, so it’s time for me to move on.”
Do you see what I didn’t do there? I said nothing about how he feels about you, whether he loves you, whether he wants you. Because those are his to manage, they’re ultimately unknowable for you anyway, and they’re exactly where you’re stuck: “I feel like he is losing interest in me”; “it makes me feel like ... he no longer wants to be in the relationship”; “I ask him if ... he loves me.”
You have handed your power over to him, entirely. And he’s abusing that power.
So stop. Deep breath. Turn 180 degrees:
Are you losing interest in him?
Do you want to be in the relationship?
Do you love him?
That is all your business, and it’s all knowable. (At least as much as anything is in one’s own mind, but that’s not important right now.)
So claim your own power. Take direction from your own experience, please: He’s unkind to you, he’s dismissive of your feelings, and his behavior has hurt your confidence. Again, this is abuse. What more are you sticking around to find out?
End this and any relationship with someone who isn’t kind to you. Shore yourself up with counseling if needed. Any pressure he applies for you to stay — expect it — is about his needs, not yours.
Meaning, forget about his taking you seriously — take yourself seriously. Being good to yourself is how you learn to recognize the sensation of someone being good to you.