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Man Sounds Off About Being Quiet

DEAR ABBY: I am a man in my late 20s dating my on-and-off-again boyfriend of five years. I dread the parties and family gatherings he brings me to. I'm polite and good at holding conversations, but generally quiet around his friends and family members I don't know well.

He jokingly puts me down at each event and says things like, "Why do I even bring you?" or, "Thanks for not doing or saying anything" (which isn't true). When I tell him afterward that I find his jibes offensive and suggest maybe he should date someone else who doesn't irritate him at social events, he either plays it off as "joking" or says, "Well, it's true."

Any advice on how to handle this situation? -- QUIET ONE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR QUIET ONE: Humiliating someone isn't funny; it is cruel. If the shoe were on the other foot, I'm sure your boyfriend wouldn't like to be on the receiving end. If you have told him you don't like his jibes and want them stopped and yet he persists, handle it by re-evaluating your relationship and looking for someone who is more sensitive to hang out with. If the ridicule happens often, it may be a clue that you are really not compatible.

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