He Said…She Said

by Mark Pleiss and Mindy Marks

My boyfriend is really wonderful. The only problem is he keeps calling me names that really upset me. I’ve tried to tell him that I don’t like them (example, Stinky – and I don’t even smell!), but he says I’m being too sensitive. He says he’s walking on eggshells around me when I say things like that, but I just want respect.

-Clean as a whistle

Mark says:

I’m sure your boyfriend means no harm when he says things like that, but if they really are offensive and are bothering you that much, then get in his face about it. It’s one thing to joke around when you’re in private, but if it’s in a public setting, I’d be really upset. My mom still enjoys calling me “Markypoo” around my friends and groups of strangers, which always bugged me. But she’s my mom, so I dealt with it and now get a kick out of it. I’m not saying that’s what you should do by any means, for a mother’s love is far different than a boyfriend’s, but keep in mind that it probably comes out of affection.

Why not set up a system of punishment for every time he embarrasses you? I’m sure you can be creative. Or you can start calling him by an embarrassing name. In an episode of “Desperate Housewives,” one of the women was being embarrassed by her husband at a dinner so she happened to mention that he “cries after he ejaculates.” I know that’d suck. I probably wouldn’t call you anything after that.

Mindy says:

Stinky really isn’t the most endearing nickname and I don’t think you’re asking too much to want to be called something respectful.

A good nickname is like respect, you have to earn it. If perchance you were malodorous then that’s one thing, but using Stinky as a noun toward someone you care about is not cool. It’s one thing if he wants to call his roommate or the kid down the hall Stinky, but his partner? Wow.

Relationships are all about communication and it’s important for him to be open to your feelings. Don’t let him tell you you’re too sensitive because you can’t help the way you feel.

Likewise, listen to his reasoning behind the odd nicknames. Maybe in some peculiar way he has good intentions or maybe he just wants to get a rise out of you.

Have you thought about retaliating? Try calling him something really disgusting like Cupcake or Muffin in front of his friends and see how he likes it.

VOR – Mandy Fox


This seems to be both about respect and boundaries, as well as intentions. Your boyfriend may think his words are cute little nicknames or terms of endearment. If so, maybe you can learn to hear them in the way they were intended. By your letter though, it seems as if this might not work. Perhaps this is because you actually don’t only hear the words he is using, but how he says it and other non-verbal communication. It’s up to you to decide what is really going on in your situation. Once you are able to determine what his behavior means and his intention, your actions should be clear. If his intentions are to be cute, but you still feel disrespected and he won’t respect that, you should let him go. Regardless of his intentions you should not remain in a relationship if you feel continually disrespected. This is called self-respect.