A little humor goes a long way in creating a happy, harmonious relationship. But it’s not funny when someone’s being hurt by it.
If your boyfriend’s jokes always seem to involve putting you down, that’s a huge problem that needs to be addressed.
What does it mean when your boyfriend puts you down jokingly and how should you respond?
Why Does My Boyfriend Put Me Down Jokingly?
He Thinks It’s Funny
Is your boyfriend a bit of a joker? Does he like to be seen as funny by others?
Or does he often try to lighten the mood or diffuse tension with jokes?
If so, he might think his jokes towards you are amusing, or he may think your reactions are funny.
He also may not realize that they’re hurtful to you in a serious way.
It’s not an excuse for this behavior, but at the very least, this would mean his intentions aren’t negative.
He’s Going Through A Rough Period
When people are under emotional pressure, they may lash out at others.
If your boyfriend is experiencing a tough time or struggling with mental health issues, this could be a symptom of that.
He might lash out because he doesn’t like seeing other people happy while he’s in this state. He may do it because it makes him feel better.
Or it might just be an expression of all his bundled-up stress, directed at anything that crosses his path.
Regardless, note that his rough period is not an excuse for his put-downs!
He’s Hiding The Truth With Jokes
Some people believe that there’s always a grain of truth in every joke. While not necessarily the case, it’s certainly true for some people!
If your boyfriend is trying to convey information to you that he thinks you’ll take badly, he might cover it with jokes.
His put-downs told with humor in his voice, are genuine but masked.
He Feels Insecure
Some people feel insecure with their partners and need to bring them down to feel better.
He might worry that you’ll leave him because he sees himself as undeserving.
If you usually have high self-esteem, he might feel threatened by that.
He’ll chip your self-esteem down so that you don’t find it in yourself to break up with him.
He Wants To Control You
Control is an ugly, terrible thing in any relationship. It’s a sign of a toxic partnership and involves deliberate choices.
Your boyfriend may be putting you down in order to have better control over you.
Your reactions to his words may serve his purposes, prompting him to use this method regularly.
How Do I Respond When My Boyfriend Puts Me Down Jokingly?
Reacting strongly to being put down is completely understandable.
But in order to tackle the issue, you’ll have to keep your cool so you can discuss the problem level-headedly.
If necessary, take a breather before initiating a discussion or when you feel anger rise.
Sometimes, directness is the best option.
If you’ve been laughing when your boyfriend jokes around, he might not be fully aware of how you feel.
When your boyfriend makes a joke that is a put-down towards you, look him straight on and tell him to stop.
Use firm but productive language.
For example, you might say “I don’t like jokes like that”.
Talk To Your Boyfriend
Now that you’ve expressed your feelings about the jokes, it’s time to dig their roots out. Question your boyfriend about the reason for these types of jokes. Encourage him to open up and be direct with you and express a desire to solve the issue without judgment.
When communicating in this way, use “I” language, such as “I feel (blank) when you say those things”. This will reduce accusatory tones and keep the discussion productive.
During this period of communication, take note of any warning signs of toxic behavior.
Your boyfriend should not invalidate you, dismiss your experiences, or pretend his jokes didn’t happen. If this occurs and continues to occur over the course of the conversation, disengage and seriously reconsider the relationship.
Set And Enforce Boundaries
Once you’ve had a conversation with your boyfriend about his behavior, it’s time to decide what to do next.
If you want to remain in the relationship, then it’s crucial to set boundaries. Clearly explain the types of jokes you are uncomfortable with and tell him not to use them again.
Once these boundaries are set, develop a personal plan for enforcing them if he breaks them. You want to stick to your guns and leave no doubt that you’re serious about these boundaries.
Remember that repeated boundary-breaking is cause to leave a relationship.
If your boyfriend’s jokes come from a place of his personal pain, therapy can be helpful.
If he’s willing to work on his problems, a relationship can survive and even be healthily reignited.
You should also consider couple’s therapy if applicable. This will give you the chance for a professional therapist to be an unbiased, trained mediator between you.
They can help you to uncover problems and develop solutions for them.
Being put down for malicious purposes is inherently abusive. These purposes can be insecurity, a desire for control, or enjoyment of your distress. Recognizing abuse is crucial to handling and escaping it.
If your boyfriend is willing to work through his personal problems that cause this behavior, there is some chance of relationship recovery.
But it’s not your responsibility to stick around when someone is being toxic and verbally abusive towards you. Sometimes, walking away is the best thing you can do for yourself.
So learn to recognize signs of abuse from your boyfriend and break things off if necessary. You deserve better than to be treated in this way.
There’s a line between playful teasing where everyone’s happy and hurtful words masked with humor. When that line is crossed, it can be confusing and painful, especially when it’s from someone you love.
Remember that no matter what, you do not deserve to be on the receiving end of these words. Understanding why they happen and how to respond will help you decide what to do next to stand up for yourself.