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Girlfriend's hypersensitivity is driving him away

Girlfriend's hypersensitivity is driving him away

Q: My girlfriend is extremely oversensitive and I don't know how to broach it with her. I'm tired of walking on eggshells because she might take a joke wrong, and I find I'm no longer myself around her.

I know you will ask me to look at myself to see if I'm the problem — I'm not. This is affecting every aspect of her life, including her job and family. She is always up in arms about her mom favoring her sister (not true) or taking an innocent comment from her boss and blowing it way out of proportion. Forget making a joke — I've learned the hard way.

However, part of oversensitivity is defensiveness, so it's a bit of a Catch-22.

How does one broach the subject with someone when it is sure to go badly? I don't want to dump her, but it's heading that way. Is being oversensitive so ingrained that someone can't change the behavior? Part of me thinks this is a lost cause. She's so sweet and loyal, and I feel terribly guilty that I am so close to giving up on her.

Oversensitive girlfriend

A: Actually, you are the problem: You're looking for reasons to stay with someone whose companionship you openly don't enjoy.

Your girlfriend is who she is. She's touchy, defensive, punitive and not receptive to reason. She is also giving you no cause to believe she wants to change, intends to change or thinks she needs to change. History says it's quite the contrary: Defensiveness is just resistance to any suggestion that she needs to change.

Breaking up with people is no fun, and it's even harder when the person you're dumping is showing signs of being vulnerable, ill, damaged or emotionally compromised in any other way. For your girlfriend to have her defenses jacked this high, and to be so resistant to holding herself accountable for anything, there has to be a fragile core indeed that she's so intent on protecting.

But you can't let pity obscure the truth: You don't love being with her, and a boyfriend who doesn't love being with her isn't what she needs to get happy, or get well, or whatever she needs to get. Even though it will be painful for her, please allow her to feel the full consequences of expecting the world to do things her way. Tell her you're through tiptoeing. Compassion demands it.

Better to bow out now if she has no interest in date's child

Q: How wrong of me is it to bail on a woman I'm dating when I just found out she has a child? If it matters, I am also female, and we are both 32.

Pennsylvania

A: Your face won't wind up on a dollar coin for your heroics, but it is actually better to heed the impulse to bail than it is to ignore it. In this particular case, at least: People who already have the responsibility for a child have to shoulder that responsibility, whether they want to or not, even if it means they force themselves to want to.

But people who don't have children counting on them yet, and who don't foresee ever wanting to be in that spot, owe it to everyone involved — child, parent and themselves, in order of priority — to bail, ideally before even the flimsiest bonds start to form.

Girlfriend's hypersensitivity is driving him away 05/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 14, 2010 2:20pm]

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