Bantering between you and your spouse
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bantering between you and your spouse

A question to the guys...

Do you banter with your wife? If so, what sorts of things would you say? Would you do this in the same way as, say, you might do with male friends, or differently? How does she respond- can she give it right back, or does she get irriated, or upset? Maybe sometimes she'll be fine with it and other times not?

I ask because I am by nature a sensitive person, but have always enjoyed bantering with my OH and firing off some quickfire responses back to him. He loves it!

However recently I have noticed a lot of it is concerned about my physical appearance. Rather than throw it back, I've asked him about it ("many a true word spoken in jest" and all that) and he always says it's a joke, I'm taking it too seriously. He just always seems to pick something I'm conscious about right now - I'm not saying he purposely does this btw to hurt me.

I *think* it's come from a few weeks back right after baby was born, he made some flippant remark about me being fat and right after commenting on a pretty girl walking past around the same time he'd been making various comments about hot girls on the tv, which I'd been pretty sensitive about being as I'd just given birth and wasn't feeling my confidence in my usual physical self. I was livid- apart from the fact I'm not normally anyway, I'd HAD A BABY a couple of weeks before and of course my belly wasn't like it usually is. Being called fat really hurt, and although he apologised profusely, I obviously still harbour feelings and I think this is where my sensitivity has come from.

Anyway, it's kinda spoiled our bantering, I keep thinking what if it's his way of offloading indirectly with these comments about my appearance?

Any thoughts- what can I do to resolve this?
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

Escalate the 'banter'.

"You keep bringing up my appearance, and then insist that you're just joking. So let's be clear ... I don't think it's funny, and I certainly don't appreciate it."

He's not joking. He probably is VERY concerned about your appearance. I'm not going to get into the right or wrong of that kind of thinking, but he is expressing it in what he believes is a passive, playful way ... and it isn't.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

Banter is great, and it's key to keeping a fun rapport with your SO. The trouble is that sometimes the light insults of "banter" push a person's buttons, and unresolved issues start leaking out. So your post provokes two thoughts:

1. Keep the "banter" away from button-pressing issues. E.g., if one of you is struggling with your weight, then the banter shouldn't go anywhere near physical attractiveness.

Good banter is ridiculous, not hyperbolic. E.g., I once called my wife "sugartits." When she acted offended -- "why would you call me something like that??" -- I told her it was because I couldn't just call her "tits." It offended her political sensibilities, but emotionally it was a fun exchange.

2. Work on your weight. This is different from fretting over and discussing how much you wish you were lighter. Your husband is obviously growing angry because he perceives that you're not working hard enough to lose weight. The message he is receiving -- whether you mean to send this message or not -- is that you no longer care if he finds you attractive. Men have to be attracted to SOMETHING, it's what makes us tick. So let him see you turn down a dish, exercise, etc. **I know it's harder on account of recently having kids. It's the effort -- not the thought -- that matters.**
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

I'll restrain myself from comment on xander's 2nd point, suffice it to say OP had been enjoying the banter and wants, I imagine, to return to the fun
I love banter, my OH isn't actually terribly good at it, bit too serious and focussed, unfortunately -
I think if it was me I'd try for a while to keep under my hat how much it was hurting and fire off at him a few quips a bit near the unspoken line banter shouldn't cross
If he (let's hope, in a weird way) reacts even slightly badly, I'd probably shoot back 'yeah, it ain't so much fun when it hits a painful bit, is it' kind of comment, but in my best attempt at a lighthearted way - I might even add in 'when I get to 200lb THEN don't just take the mick, take me to the gym - up to then cut the new mum (or flabby belly, if I was feeling really strong at the time) some slack'
But this is in theory - whether I could hold out and do that's another thing But it's the kind of thing I think I'd aim for
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

Whatever your thoughts about my point #2, I think madimoff is going about it COMPLETELY the wrong way. Passive-aggressive sniping to undermine his confidence will only exacerbate the problem. If his "banter" insults are too stinging, you need to say something directly and immediately. Insults that approach arguments need to be squashed, not returned in kind. Otherwise you're just going to escalate the hostility.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Whatever your thoughts about my point #2, I think madimoff is going about it COMPLETELY the wrong way. Passive-aggressive sniping to undermine his confidence will only exacerbate the problem. If his "banter" insults are too stinging, you need to say something directly and immediately. Insults that approach arguments need to be squashed, not returned in kind. Otherwise you're just going to escalate the hostility.
I accept that's a possibility, I was just working from the couple's history of banter being something they'd enjoyed (and it wasn't to undermine his confidence, rather to demonstrate how he'd made her feel) - but yes, it involves a chance of failure or worsening things
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

Fair. In that case, the trick is to confront the insulting "banter" head on but to keep the real banter light and fun. The goal is to make sure that "banter" doesn't become verboten. It should continue to feel like something that is fun. The best way to do that is not to poison the banter, but to identify what is and isn't banter.

In other words, don't stop the real banter even as you correct his.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

Looking for MEM's post about "poking" - might be appropriate here.

Wife and I have always been smart-asses with one another. She recently asked me point blank to tone it down for awhile - kind of took me by surprise. Was hard to refuse.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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He's not joking. He probably is VERY concerned about your appearance. I'm not going to get into the right or wrong of that kind of thinking, but he is expressing it in what he believes is a passive, playful way ... and it isn't.
Would you expand on this- is it THAT obvious he's not joking? The rights and wrongs I want to ask about but not sure how much I want to hear...

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Originally Posted by Xander View Post
2. Work on your weight. This is different from fretting over and discussing how much you wish you were lighter. Your husband is obviously growing angry because he perceives that you're not working hard enough to lose weight. The message he is receiving -- whether you mean to send this message or not -- is that you no longer care if he finds you attractive. Men have to be attracted to SOMETHING, it's what makes us tick. So let him see you turn down a dish, exercise, etc. **I know it's harder on account of recently having kids. It's the effort -- not the thought -- that matters.**
Ok- I will point out here that *I* don't fret about and discuss- ever- how much I wish I was lighter. I am not overweight and certainly not in the medical sense of the word. I never have been. I never put excess weight on during pregnancy and people have always commented on this.

Also, he is completely aware of how much I have made an effort since baby has been born. The last thing I want to be is a frumpy mum going around in tracksuit bottoms and looking unkempt. He has commented on this himself, how I always make an effort. I certainly do care that he finds me attractive.

We have both spoken about going to the gym together to tone up when baby's a little older. The slight wait in doing this is because I am fully breastfeeding and until baby is on solids I don't want to jeopardise my milk supply as I am concerned I am not having enough calories anyway to supplement the breastfeeding at the moment, and he is a big baby.

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Originally Posted by nice777guy View Post
Looking for MEM's post about "poking" - might be appropriate here.

Wife and I have always been smart-asses with one another. She recently asked me point blank to tone it down for awhile - kind of took me by surprise. Was hard to refuse.
How did you respond when she said it? What were her reasons?
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

While I usually agree with Deejo on a lot of subjects, I am going to part ways with him on this one.

I never, EVER tried to engage in witty and insulting banter with my ex. or any of my girlfriends.

They're a spouse, not an online debating partner like a lot of you chuckleheads, a friend where you razz each other, etc. You are there to make them feel good about themselves and honor them, not degrade them, even in fun.

It's a fine line. . .you don't want to be on eggshells around your spouse but I think coming down on the side of respect and politeness helps fulfill your vows to honor your spouse.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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While I usually agree with Deejo on a lot of subjects, I am going to part ways with him on this one.

I never, EVER tried to engage in witty and insulting banter with my ex. or any of my girlfriends.

They're a spouse, not an online debating partner like a lot of you chuckleheads, a friend where you razz each other, etc. You are there to make them feel good about themselves and honor them, not degrade them, even in fun.

It's a fine line. . .you don't want to be on eggshells around your spouse but I think coming down on the side of respect and politeness helps fulfill your vows to honor your spouse.
I get you. Thing is, until relatively recently, we both engaged in it and had no problems. He could be quite "insulting" but funny with it and he loved my reactions to it, and I had no problems with hearing and responding. I have had to say to him now though that he is "not at work" - he works in a very male environment and I have heard their banter which goes way past what we have said to each other previously. He has acknowledged this and apologised a number of times, it is just that now he is overstepping the mark with the comments.

I have found myself a lot more conscious about my little baby belly since his comments, finding myself trying to cover it up, which has made me angry both with him but also with myself - FGS my baby is only 4 months old, there's no way I can be looking like I did in that space of time!
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I get you. Thing is, until relatively recently, we both engaged in it and had no problems. He could be quite "insulting" but funny with it and he loved my reactions to it, and I had no problems with hearing and responding. I have had to say to him now though that he is "not at work" - he works in a very male environment and I have heard their banter which goes way past what we have said to each other previously. He has acknowledged this and apologised a number of times, it is just that now he is overstepping the mark with the comments.

I have found myself a lot more conscious about my little baby belly since his comments, finding myself trying to cover it up, which has made me angry both with him but also with myself - FGS my baby is only 4 months old, there's no way I can be looking like I did in that space of time!
If he doesn't love your baby belly ask yourself THE question
but I do understand the banter in a 'male' environment - I'm not and never have been thin, and a newsroom was not a kind place to work despite modern thinking!
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

Tobio,
Banter is NOT a mechanism for saying hurtful things that you can then "deny" that you meant them.



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A question to the guys...

Do you banter with your wife? If so, what sorts of things would you say? Would you do this in the same way as, say, you might do with male friends, or differently? How does she respond- can she give it right back, or does she get irriated, or upset? Maybe sometimes she'll be fine with it and other times not?

I ask because I am by nature a sensitive person, but have always enjoyed bantering with my OH and firing off some quickfire responses back to him. He loves it!

However recently I have noticed a lot of it is concerned about my physical appearance. Rather than throw it back, I've asked him about it ("many a true word spoken in jest" and all that) and he always says it's a joke, I'm taking it too seriously. He just always seems to pick something I'm conscious about right now - I'm not saying he purposely does this btw to hurt me.

I *think* it's come from a few weeks back right after baby was born, he made some flippant remark about me being fat and right after commenting on a pretty girl walking past around the same time he'd been making various comments about hot girls on the tv, which I'd been pretty sensitive about being as I'd just given birth and wasn't feeling my confidence in my usual physical self. I was livid- apart from the fact I'm not normally anyway, I'd HAD A BABY a couple of weeks before and of course my belly wasn't like it usually is. Being called fat really hurt, and although he apologised profusely, I obviously still harbour feelings and I think this is where my sensitivity has come from.

Anyway, it's kinda spoiled our bantering, I keep thinking what if it's his way of offloading indirectly with these comments about my appearance?

Any thoughts- what can I do to resolve this?
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bantering between you and your spouse

I asked him earlier... Are you happy with how I look after having babies? Do you think I've put on weight?

He was quite reluctant to talk, he said he didn't want to speak about stuff like that with me in case he hurt my feelings?

I said I wouldn't ask if I didn't want to know. I ended up finding out he thought my belly was a little bigger (yep I kinda knew you thought that!) but that it wasn't fat, it was just where my skin has stretched from being pregnant a little bit. He said he could put up with it! Good job really, there's not much there to do anything with anyway, and tbh I'm not neurotic enough, apart from his banter, I'm happy with myself, I look pretty good to say I've had four children and he knows it!
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Tobio,
Banter is NOT a mechanism for saying hurtful things that you can then "deny" that you meant them.
Yup. Thing is, where do you draw the line? My take is I will say things to him that are true, not pleasant exactly but meant in jest and often said with a lot of fondness (if that makes sense?) I'd call it affectionate teasing, and I'd certainly never call attention to anything I knew he was sensitive about.
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