Q. I’ll call my partner “K.” One of K’s major issues is that he has a very dry tone when talking to me — in person and via text. His most frequent response to anything I say is: “I see.”
I’ll give you an example. Me: “I’ve been playing this super-cute game [online], and there’s a character that reminds me of you.” K: “I see.” There’s an 80 percent chance I’ll get “I see” as a response to most things I say. Sometimes I feel there’s no point in responding or texting.
Recently I attempted to discuss how it made me feel. He said he’ll try to change his tone (and the “I see” response), but if anything, it’s gotten worse. He’s even been saying it when we flirt, or when I need to vent. I’ve stopped venting to him because when I get these responses, they frustrate me — or he winds up saying “I’m sorry.”
One night I decided to discuss the fact that we don’t live together. It was over text, and he said “I see” — but it turned out he was trying to make a joke about the issue. But it’s not just “I see” — it’s the overall tone. When he needs to vent, I’m able to listen, give advice, and pay attention.
To make matters worse, I haven’t ever really received a compliment from him. He’s much more open about the famous women he’s attracted to. I don’t know what to do.
— I Don’t See
A. Many people get stuck in a phrase, myself included. One of my favorites is, “You know what I mean?”
According to my sister, I ask “You know what I mean?” all the time. This irritates her — a lot. I’m working on striking it from my vocabulary. It’s not easy!
I have a friend who often replies “correct” when you say something he likes. I appreciate that quirk. It’s nice to be told you’re correct, and the way he says it is very amusing. He’s excited to agree.
“I see” is your partner’s go-to phrase, it seems, for, “I hear you, but I don’t know how to respond.” It might be dismissive. Or it might be the equivalent of a head nod to show he’s receiving the information. Regardless of what it means, it’s not the real problem: You don’t feel appreciated or loved. You’re talking about moving in with him, but he’s not giving you what you need as a partner. The lack of compliments makes you feel unseen. You believe the relationship is one-sided — that he can’t offer what you give him.
Based on what you told us in your letter, he’s not a great match for you. You can’t change him — nor should you. Ask yourself why you stay. I’m sure there’s a bunch of wonderful stuff you chose not to tell us, but is any of it enough to overshadow what doesn’t work? My guess is no.
It’s OK to move on. Sad, but necessary.
Your partner has communication limitations, but it’s hard to tell if it’s a quirkiness thing or if it can be translated to him not caring about you. I would think communication would fare better in person, so you can read his facial expressions and body language. BKLYNMOM
“I decided to discuss the fact that we don’t live together. It was over text.” . . . I like to be open-minded and give the benefit of the doubt to the letter writer. Then I read stuff like this and want to send you to your room to think about what you’ve done. JSMUS