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Parallax - Advice            June 26, 2000

   She's dating super-sensitive guy...

Dear Conversely, Ask us a Question!

I started dating my current boyfriend about three months ago. Little by little I've realized he is a very sensitive person. Not just a sensitive guy, but an overly sensitive person with a very delicate ego. He takes things personally, and we're constantly arguing about how I don't seem to think enough about his feelings, etc. He is a wonderful man, but so high maintenance. I want to keep seeing him, but is there a way to deal with his sensitivity?

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Her view:

Dear Insensitive,

Hum, the high-maintenance, sensitive guy. Now you know what men have to deal with on a regular basis. The whining and the occasional tear - oh how the tables have turned.

Well, it can be annoying - I know the type. Tears over everything. He sounds a bit insecure, which is tough to deal with because this often results in defensive lashes - and I'm sure that is why you're arguing so much.

My question for you is: do you think you might love him? If so, or if you like him enough that you think it's close, then I think you should have an open conversation around your feelings. Tell him how much you care, what you think of him, where you see the two of you going... This will make him more comfortable with you and less defensive. He needs to stop worrying about what you think. Make him secure in the relationship, give him a real chance and nurture him to become a normal happy guy. Constant love and affection from you will make this really easy.

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His view:

Dear Insensitive,

Personally, I am very intolerant of high-maintenance and overly sensitive kinds. Admittedly, one of my weaknesses - so keep that in mind as you read the rest of this response.

The answer is quite clear-cut to me: abandon ship.

My dear colleague will probably suggest that you go on a little weekend trip somewhere nice and try to sort it out over a candlelit dinner. She'll tell you to find a compromise where you offer to be more understanding and he agrees to loosen up a bit.

Believe me, it's not going to work. He might even hold the little talk against you, saving it up for some future argument where he'll accuse you of being manipulative.

If you are not the kind to be stroking people's egos gratuitously, and I have a sense you aren't, don't waste your time on this one.

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