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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple Suffers Conversational Mismatch

DEAR ABBY: Sometimes when my boyfriend and I go out with another couple and I'm talking, he abruptly says, "I never get a word in," or, "Can anyone else talk?" Abby, if I don't talk, he just sits there like a lump on a log. It's embarrassing, and I have asked him not to say that in front of other people. How should I respond when he makes cruel remarks in front of other people? -- AWKWARD SILENCE IN NEW YORK

DEAR AWKWARD: Is what your boyfriend says true? Or is it that he has trouble making social conversation? If that's the case, perhaps you should make more of an effort to draw the "lump" into the conversation. However, if it's not true, then what he's doing may be an effort to appear to be the dominant partner in your relationship.

When it happens again -- and I'm betting it will -- your response should be, "Ouch. That was hurtful and embarrassing. If you have a complaint about my behavior, please be considerate and make it privately."

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