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General Dating Questions/Am I too sensitive? How can I change?


QUESTION: My boyfriend always tells me I get too easily upset and overreact to things. He says if I'm not upset about one thing, I'm annoyed about another.

Example of how I'm too sensitive:
This morning, my boyfriend was making jokes about how I should have already done his laundry for him without his asking and how I don't do a good job of waking him up when he needs to be woken in the morning. I feel that it's not my job to be his mom and wake him up and do his laundry, but I do it because I love him and I try to do my best to make him happy. The jokes hurt my feelings. When I told him that, he told me I was just being too sensitive again because he was just joking. I told him that I know he didn't mean it in a mean way, and that I could take a joke, but two in the same 10 minute period hurt my feelings. This turned into a fight and ended with me saying that maybe I'm just not the girl for him. He either needs a girl who doesn't care what he says or does, or one who doesn't speak up when she's upset. I'm the kind of girl who wants to be able to tell my boyfriend how I feel, have him listen, and then be able to move on without him attacking my character or telling me what's wrong with me. It feels like he's saying it's my own fault when I get upset because if I didn't have all these issues with sensitivity, everything would be fine. Any time I tell him how something he said/did makes me feel, I end up feeling like I'm being a drama queen for being upset and that the problem is with me. I usually end up apologizing to him.

I'm starting to feel bad about myself as a person and I'm not sure if I'm actually as crazy as he tells me I am. I need help. Opinions please? Am I too sensitive? How can I change?

Note: I am not living with him, he spends almost all nights in my apartment though (not paying rent# and I buy groceries, alcohol, body wash, deodorant, toothbrushes, etc. for the both of us #again with no help from him#. I do his laundry and wake him up in the morning as he asks, but he's usually very grumpy and ignores me and rolls over 2-3 times before he wakes up but them blames me when it's later than the time he asked me to wake him at. This morning, he said that I should have already done his laundry #as a joke) because he only had two pairs of clean boxers left amongst the stuff he keeps at my house.

ANSWER: Hello Christina!

Are you "too sensitive"? My answer: no, you are not. You're the same girl he originally met and started dating. You're the same girl he continues to see and is in a relationship with. None of those things have changed.

Now, in fairness, your sensitivity may not have come out to this degree when you and he first met but there were certainly clues and I'll bet that many aspects of your sensitivity are what still keep him attracted to you today.

That said, it doesn't mean that you both couldn't stand some change - in understanding.

There is a huge gap in understanding between both of you for the other and it's this gap more than the symptoms that are causing you problems.

Here's what you don't understand about him (and in fact, most men): we are problem solvers. We are pre-wired by nature to turn every problem into a puzzle and try to solve it. When we see or hear unresolved problems, we are left feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled until things are fixed.

When you bring him a "problem" (as he sees it) like having your feelings hurt he instantly goes into problem-solving mode. What's the solution? It's for you to be less sensitive, to let things roll off your back and to understand that he has no internal need to hurt you emotionally. Thus, he comments are "jokes". By telling you this, he fulfills his own internal programming.

He doesn't understand something important about you: you don't want the problem "solved". You want him to be sensitive, aware and understanding of your needs. I'd bet that if he were to completely eliminate any possible comment that you might deem critical or insensitive, you'd drop him like a used diaper! In fact, him being snarky and even a little critical are qualities that you actually find attractive in him.

Do you see the gap here?

I'll go even further. I'll bet there are times when he says things that you just ignore and don't take offense to at all and at other times, they cut you to the core. Likely, there are times when he holds back comments (and "solutions") too whether to avoid arguing or simply that they don't matter to him.

So here's the solution:

Instead of telling him what he's doing to hurt you focus exclusively on how YOU feel about things. In other words, saying "What you said hurt my feelings" makes HIM the "active party" here instead of taking that role yourself. When you do that, he can only address it from a solutions standpoint.

On the other hand if you say to him, "I'm feeling a little insecure right now and I was a little hurt by what you said" carries an entirely different message. He can't argue with how you feel can he? Further, if there's a solution it's going to be to help you feel less insecure. There could be many different reactions from him but most of them will center around dealing with the insecurity like, "That's ok - you know I love you, right?"

How will THAT feel?

Now that you understand what he's doing, if he goes back to the old script you can say to him, "Oh yeah - I know. You're problem-solving again! Thanks, but that's not what I need right now."

At the same time, you can go back and accept that you may be feeling extra sensitive right now and while you don't want to discourage your boyfriend's connection, something different might be a good choice. Accepting your own extra sensitivity will help to lessen the impact of things he says.

To wit:

Regarding waking him up and doing his laundry: I appreciate that this is how you show your love for him. Hopefully he sees this too. If so I don't see any reason not to continue doing it, but you shouldn't take HIS responsibility for it. In other words, if you wake him up and he gets up late, don't accept responsibility for him not doing what he should be doing for himself.

You're both adults here and have to accept responsibility for your own things: You for your occasional insecurity and him for being on time and having clean underwear. Helping each other with those responsibilities is something to give out of love, not take by demand or expectation.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sometimes when I tell him how I feel, and he tells me that I'm making a big deal out of nothing, that feels like he's dismissing my feelings and saying that they're not valid. He tells me I create problems for myself. For example, I saw inappropriate messages to another girl pop up on his phone when I was shutting off his alarm on his phone and he told me that it was my fault for looking. I created the problem by looking for trouble. The way i see it, the problem already existed, I just didn't know about it. Another time, we were in bed together and I caught him trying to take a picture of me on "Snapchat," an app where you send other people pictures for a short amount of time. I told him that made me feel disrespected and degraded and he told me that I was overreacting, that he probably wouldn't have actually sent it to anyone, and that it wasn't a big deal.

To me, it seems like he doesn't listen to what I say or why I'm upset and is so focused on maintaining that he has never done anything wrong that he blames it on my and my "irrational" reactions without examining the behavior that caused my reaction. The example this morning was just a tiny, insignificant example of how he treats me whenever I'm upset.

He has called me pathetic for attempting to work on our communication skills and trying to figure out how to relate to each other without it escalating into a full fight. He says it's pathetic that I try so hard and when I start crying and tell him that I'm just trying to work on our relationship with him, he tells me that he's judging me and waiting to see how "hysterical" I'm willing to let myself get.

I don't think he's trying to solve my problems. I think he's looking for any excuse to deflect my notice of his inconsiderate behavior. DO you still think he's just trying to help me out by fixing things for me?

Hello again Christina!

Yes, I still think he's "solution-oriented" but I never said he was trying to fix things for you. The difference is in communication style.

That said, what's important here is your impression - not mine. You seem to feel disregarded and like he has no respect for you. Thus, my question to you is: why are you still in this? If you're not happy with how he treats you and you're not willing to try my suggestion about how you communicate then it must be time to move on, don't you think?

If all you want is for me to tell you he's a bad man, I can't do that. I know him less than I know you. He has certainly made some bad choices, but then, so have you. What I do know is that there is never only one "victim" and one "perpetrator". Both of you are responsible for the quality of your relationship and if you insist on staying in it as it is without trying to fix thinks, then what can I say?

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder


I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: You can email me directly at:


I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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