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You Asked: My Boyfriend is Insensitive

Dear Sugar--

I had a fight with my boyfriend yesterday and wanted to ask your advice.

We both had just come back from a weekend apart and were really happy to see each other. While we were unpacking, my mom called (I had just spent a few days with her) to make sure that I had arrived ok, and we chatted a bit. She told me about the counseling session she went to that morning. I could tell that she was very upset by it (she was talking about some horrible things that happened to her when she was younger that I had never heard about). So I offered some moral support and we talked for a while.

When I put down the phone after 20 minutes, I was very emotional and my boyfriend asked what had happened. I told him that my mom was having a hard time dealing with some stuff and started seeing a counselor to try to work through some of her issues. He replied in a way that seemed insensitive to me, saying that he did not understand why so many people overreact and turn to therapy. At this point he was already really annoyed because he said my mom's phone call ruined our evening, and because I felt attacked by this remark, the conversation got rather harsh.

I was really upset - if he had acted a little bit more understanding than we never would have gotten into this fight. And this happens a lot. Do you understand this kind of behavior? Or am I seeing it all wrong?

--Emotional Emma

To hear DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Emotional Emma--

If your boyfriend acts annoyed with you when you get emotional, (which I'm sure makes you feel even worse than you did in the first place) then something needs to change because he clearly isn't respecting you or your feelings. While it's true that men tend to be less emotional than women, being insensitive is just not acceptable towards the people you love.

Relationships are all about supporting each other through the good times and bad times. Life is full of ups and downs, and it sounds like you can't count on this guy one bit for emotional support when the going gets tough. You need to see this as a huge red flag. Talk to him, let him know how upset you are by his insensitivity and if nothing changes, it's time to find someone who is there for you no matter what. Good luck to you Emma.


Join The Conversation
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 10 years
What a jerk. Sorry if that's harsh but I hear that whole "people who do therapy just need to suck it up" all the time from my conservative Asian family, and now that I'm studying psychology, I learn more every day how hard it is to need therapy. My family is Chinese and the Chinese culture says if you can't handle things, your family helps you. If they can't help you, you just fail at life. There's no such thing as psychological disorders; you're just too lazy to change and control yourself. Not true. NOT TRUE. If he's dating you, he's dating your issues, your family, your family's issues, etc. If he can't support you emotionally, then why do you have him?
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
sounds like his reaction had little to do with your mom's phone call and everything to do with his overwhelming feelings for you. no guy is going to say "oh your mom is going to therapy! that's so great, she'll really get in touch with her feelings and emotions". come one, guys deny and come up with ways to get out of emotion. i'd let this one go. he was probably just glad to see you again and then your mom called with even more emotion and it was like "EMOTIONAL OVERLOAD" for the poor guy. think about it like this; dogs bark because it's a dog thing. women are emotional and talk about feelings because it's a woman thing. men slap each other on the back and tell rude jokes to avoid expressing emotions because it's a guy thing. dog's gotta bark.
junebrug junebrug 10 years
I think he really, really wanted to be with you that night and he missed you, and when he learned that wasn't going to happen, he handled it like the average 5 year old rather than an adult. But many men do tend to handle things like a 5 year old. There is a big difference between a guy who misspoke once or twice because he was really disappointed and a guy who honestly thinks he gets to tell you when you can talk to your own mother. Martini Queenie, I so get you, I have had more than one person in my life like that. You feel like the little idiot girl, and nothing you can do is good enough, you become ashamed of your own feelings. I know how terrible it is.
martini-queenie martini-queenie 10 years
Um not be be dramatic but I had a boyfriend exactly like this who basically completely discounted my feelings whenever he perceived them as being “weak” or whatever. I stayed with him for like two and a half years. Even though he wasn’t overtly abusive per se, I am still to this day trying to recover from the damage he did to my self esteem. My advice would be to get out right now if this is a pattern behavior. If it’s a one time issue then just tell him how it made you feel and hopefully he’ll change.
nicachica nicachica 10 years
wow, i was in your exact position last week but my boyfriend was actually very understanding. my bff called and was upset so i talked to her for an hour even though my boyfriend and i were supposed to go bike riding right then. i felt bad and apologized for making him wait but he just asked if everything was okay with my friend and then we went on with our plans. i'm not trying to say my bf is better or anything but i think that's a much more appropriate response to this particular situation. if he's not normally this insensitive and it's just a one-time thing, then i'd talk to him about it (maybe something else was on his mind?). however, if this type of thing has happened before, then i would start seeing this as a red flag.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I agree with DearSugar. Who is he to judge who has the right to go to therapy? He should be happy that your mom is seeking help froom a professional, not bringing you down. I would take this as a red flag. What else he is going to get annoyed by and create a mountain out of a mole hill? I don't think your evening was ruined by your mom's phone call, it was your boyfriend who ruined it. Talk to him like DearSugar said. And he does something like this again, you might want to give him his walking papers. Good Luck!
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