Ask Amanda: Is Sarcasm Unhealthy in a Relationship?
posted on July 3, 2015 | by Amanda Holstein
My boyfriend and I have been dating for 10 months now. It’s been the longest relationship I have ever been in, and I’m learning so much every day. He has been amazing these past 10 months — showing me unconditional love (not just in words, but in his committed actions), being respectful, giving me many chances, and supporting me in all of my big decisions.
However, recently, we have been through a lot. He just got on a certain medication that I read makes people depressed, irritable, fatigued, and tired (this is hard for him, because his hobby is fitness, so this makes his hobby not so enjoyable). I’m also seeing a therapist because of my HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) trait and low self-esteem. After all of this turbulence, things are slowly beginning to simmer down and I am at a much better emotional state.
But the thing is — he’s just too sarcastic lately. I made a funny comment a few weeks ago that he would miss my kisses if I died, and he sarcastically said, “Oh, right, like I wouldn’t find somebody else.” We laughed about it, but it hurt. I just miss the early phase of us love birds…when he had a unique spark in his eyes. He still shows that he loves me, but sometimes I just want to hear it! It makes me doubt him, and I may just be a novice at this whole relationship thing to see he really does love me.
I just want to know — is sarcasm unhealthy in a relationship? How do you know if it is too much? How do you know if he is emitting signals of, “No, things are not okay”?
It looks like you have two concerns: the first being the sarcasm and the second being the decrease in passion. Let’s start with the first.
1. Is sarcasm unhealthy in a relationship?
The question isn’t necessarily if sarcasm is unhealthy for a relationship, but it’s whether you feel it’s unhealthy for your relationship. My boyfriend and I are very sarcastic with each other, but I understand that when the sarcasm turns negative or hurtful, it can go over the line. And if his sarcastic comments hurt your feelings, then you have every right to talk to him about it and let him know your concerns.
You have two choices: either bring up the sarcasm issue in a moment when you’re both getting along and feeling open to hearing each other out, or respond to it in the moment, when he says something that hurts. Let him know you love him and you love joking around, but that when he jokes about your relationship and your love for one another, it scares you a bit and you don’t like it. I’m sure he’ll say he doesn’t mean it, and you can tell him you know that, but for some reason it still stings. All you want is for him to apologize and not make sarcastic comments that become negative or hurtful. I also think if you feel super comfortable with your relationship and your love for one another, these sarcastic comments won’t affect you so much. Which brings me to my next point…
2. How can I tell if he’s emitting signs that things are not okay?
As for the decrease in passion, this is completely normal. I’m sure you’ve heard of “the honeymoon phase” that every relationship goes through and it sounds like you guys are just entering the next phase. Try to look at this as a good thing. There are amazing things about the next phase in the relationship – you feel a sense of comfort and intimacy with each other that you don’t feel with others, you become high priorities in each others lives and even begin to talk about the future. And from what it sounds like, you have a truly great relationship. The fact that you both have been able to get through hard times together shows a lot of strength.
I would try to ask yourself what it is that makes you feel loved and what you need from him to ensure you are getting the love and attention you deserve. For me, it’s feeling understood and feeling like my boyfriend truly thinks about my needs. Once you figure out what it is that makes you feel loved, see if he does that for you. Either way, I recommend you talk about this together. I’m sure you are both noticing the honeymoon phase is starting to pass, so put it out in the open and discuss how you both feel about it and how you both want to move forward in making sure you don’t lose that spark. Just being able to talk about this together and go through it together will make you feel closer and make your relationship stronger.
The most important thing to remember is that everything you are feeling is normal. Never question that. If you’re feeling it, then it is true, so act on those feelings and trust your gut.