Your Turn: “I Hate His Jokes!”

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In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I cannot stand the jokes my boyfriend makes. He does a variety of bad puns and forced jokes, usually sexual, and usually during serious/romantic talks. And it ruins everything.

A few examples would be: he’ll make a boob reference when I use the word “cup” to mean the drinking vessel, an oral reference when I say “job” to mean employment, or T&A (tits and ass) when I try to talk about a TA (teaching assistant). It drives me absolutely insane because he does this all the time and reuses them. I can’t even come up with a comeback because I’m so exasperated. I’ve tried talking to him, but he is on the other extreme end of the spectrum. He thinks his jokes are hilarious and he doesn’t see what’s wrong with them. I tried telling him how they’re inappropriate and annoying (in a nicer way), but his defense was “that’s who he is” and it’s not something either of us can change.

I try to accept him for who is he and in all fairness, he’s a wonderful guy apart from his jokes. But the problem is he doesn’t see how much they bug me, and I can’t see how much he appreciates them. He’s tried cutting back a bit, but it’s still…bad. He doesn’t seem to understand how frustrating it is for me when he pops a joke in the midst of a serious discussion.

On the other hand, I’ve tried another approach by telling him how a sense of humor isn’t important to me and I always tell him how much I love him, so it’s not like he’s trying to get my attention. I don’t know what to do anymore. How do I approach this? I’m in this for the long haul so I can’t just break up because I don’t like his jokes. But I’m not sure where we can find middle ground in this issue. Thank you very much for any help. — No Joking


  1. LW, I detect an irreconcilable difference here. Why stay with someone whose behavior fills you with such obvious contempt? MOA.

  2. >I’m in this for the long haul so I can’t just break up because I don’t like his jokes.

    Why not? If it drives you “insane” and has caused you to write in to an advice column, maybe you should reconsider that statement.

    1. I rephrased her statement as “I’m in this for the long haul so I can’t just break up because he’s incredibly annoying.”

      See the difference it makes?

      1. a) Reprasing changes the meaning; and

        b) no

      2. you don’t think she finds his constant immature jokes annoying?

      3. She says “it drives me absolutely insane because he does this all the time.”

        Drives me insane >>>> annoying.

        If someone did something all the time that drove me crazy, I’d be gone. It would permeate every other area of the relationship.

  3. kerrycontrary says:

    It seems like you just don’t like your boyfriend’s personality. Yeh, he may be a great boyfriend, but you need to essentially enjoy the company of the person you spend time with. And frankly, his defense of “that’s who he is” is actually a good defense. You shouldn’t want him to stop cracking these jokes nor should you have to change to appreciate them. There is a woman out there that has as vulgar of a sense of humor as him, and there is a man out there for you who doesn’t find sense of humor important. You two just don’t sound right for each other if he gets on your nerves all the time.

    1. blarfengar says:

      Isn’t it Wendy who always says that when people do you the favour of telling you early on who they are, you should you know, listen and take the hint? This guy has totally spelled out to the LW that this is who he is.

    2. theattack says:

      I don’t know…. One bad quality doesn’t ruin a relationship that’s otherwise great. I’m sure he spends much more time being a good partner for the LW than he does making these jokes and annoying her. This doesn’t sound like a dealbreaker for me. It sounds like something they can work through if she tells him it’s important to her, and then he’s willing to work on it and she’s willing to meet him halfway and overlook some of it. You’re never going to find someone that’s 100% perfect 100% of the time. This is a great example of something that would be really stupid to break up over.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I don’t know….this might not be that big a deal if he were willing to compromise a bit, instead of just insisting that she put up with it. There is the real problem-she has told him nicely how his stupid jokes make her feel-and I would probably feel trivialized and invalidated by someone who turns much of what I say into a dirty joke!-and he does not appear in the least bit concerned. That is not the behavior of someone willing to listen and work on a relationship.

  4. If a sense of humour isn’t important to you – then what is the problem? He has a different sense of humour than you do. I get that you would rather he have none than the one he has but I tend to think humour is an ingrained type of thing after a certain age. Just ignore it and continue on with what you are saying. As long as you keep responding to his “misinterpretations” – including exasperation – then he will just keep reusing them. I find it shocking that you say a sense of humour isn’t important though. I’d be all shades of miserable if my husband didn’t make me laugh every day.

    1. Agree– sense of humor is basically one of the most important things to me. I find it hard to believe that she actually doesn’t think it’s important– it seems like she just wants to tell him “oh, you don’t have to make me laugh” so he stops cracking jokes. Also, I mean, if it REALLY wasn’t important, then it wouldn’t be bothering her that he’s not funny.

      1. Yeah, I don’t think she really meant to say it’s not important at all to her, I think it just came out wrong. She told him it wasn’t important because she felt he was possibly forcing these jokes to try to make her laugh/impress her, and she wanted to remove any motivation for him to keep cracking these jokes. Clearly a BAD sense of humor drives her crazy, so I’m guessing she’d appreciate one that corresponded with her own.

      2. I agree with June, it sounded like it was an effort on her part to get the off-color jokes to stop. I am sure a sense of humor is very important to her, just that theirs don’t match. I can’t see this getting any less irritating for her. And perhaps she might start feeling on edge all the time if she’s constantly anticipating another bad joke coming.

  5. blarfengar says:

    No Joking, I know you’re in it for the long haul, but before you dig in your heels about that, I want you to think long and hard about something: 20-30 years down the road with these jokes. When he’s not your adorable awesome boyfriend, but when he’s a weird old man making weird creep jokes. Think about telling him about things that reallllllyyyy matter, like your parents elder care or something else that’s heart wrenching, and he makes one of these stupid jokes. When you have a child of your own, or a niece that he’s making these jokes around and you’re cringing because your boyfriend is now a dirty old man. Because that’s what he’s going to be someday. A dirty old man. You can’t fight it, he’s told you that that’s who he is.

    Really think about your own future because the only advice I can give you regarding what to do since you’ve decided to stick with him for the long haul is learn the art of temporary deafness. There are plenty of women in their 40s and 50s who write in to Dear Abby because their husband of 25 years is a creepy leech who embarrasses them in public and around company but insists that he’s hilarious and that’s who he is. Don’t think your situation will turn out any different. People don’t change.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Seriously! She needs to approach this with the mentality “I can’t ask him to change or force him to change his sense of humor. So can I live with it for 25, 30, 50 more years?” If the prospect of that makes her get break out in cold sweats or makes her jaw clench, I think she might REALLY quickly re-think the whole “I can’t break up with him” mentality.

    2. YES! I feel like I see these Dear Abby letters all the time “My husband of 25 years is driving me nuts because ….” I’ve never seen one from a girl who’s just dating.

      When you’re just dating someone, these minor annoyances often seem like cute quirks or perhaps they’re not as ingrained as they will be in 20 years. So LW, if you’re already having trouble with this, I think you need to think about MOAing.

      One final thing to try: the next time he makes a dumb joke in the middle of a serious convo, give him absolutely no response whatsoever. Pretend as though he didn’t even say anything and just continue your conversation. Most people make jokes because they want some kind of reaction (usually laughter), so if you just completely pretend as though nothing happened, maybe he’ll quit trying. (Sort of like ignoring a toddler until they stop.)

      Also, it’s possible that serious conversations make him bored or really uncomfortable, and he doesn’t have a mature way to deal. You can’t fix him, though, or make him grow up–if he won’t stop because it bothers you, and you’ve said that, you’re dating a manchild and again, MOA.

  6. That sounds really frustrating but yeah, it sounds like its here to stay.
    My boyfriend and I are going through some communication negotiations at the moment, although its about our arguing style, not our regular interactions. What we have decided to do is to make sure to call each other on what is being annoying, like when I start swearing (in frustration! at the situation! never at him!) he will stop the discussion and remoind me not to swear. And when he starts to talk in what I see as a patronising tone, I stop and explain to him what he is doing and to stop it. Then we dont get sidetracked in dumb things and actually talk about what we were talking about.
    Can you stop the discussion that results in one of these jokes and give him a quick reminder that you dont think its funny?
    Thats my only suggestion. To be honest, it seems like he thinks he is funny and you don’t, so maybe you will never share a sense of humour. Does that sound like something you can live with?

  7. What do you mean by “in it for the long haul”? If you truly are (like married and completely opposed to divorce) then you will have accept that the jokes are a part of his personality. You can’t change who people are at that basic of a level.

    And learning to live with it may not be so bad. I’ve been known to be pretty uptight, and my boyfriend is constantly making jokes (including racial ones, which used to be a dealbreaker for me). Now I find it hilarious and even make jokes back at him. It was helpful to realize that things didn’t need to be so serious all the time, and I began to appreciate that jokes were a way to help him deal with the tension of having “serious” talks. I know that even if he makes a joke about something serious, he’s still willing to give his true opinion as long as I don’t berate him for making a joke.

    So I guess my advice is lighten up or leave.

    1. “(including racial ones, which used to be a dealbreaker for me). Now I find it hilarious and even make jokes back at him.”
      If this was the effect my bf had on my principles I would be pretty sad.

      1. I know what you’re saying savannah, but sometimes offensive jokes CAN be funny if you know the person doesn’t really believe those things. Sometimes racist-sounding jokes are actually mocking the people who are dumb enough to be racist, if that makes sense?

      2. People who make them would like to think they’re just mocking racists and they’re not racist themselves, but they’re actually racist AND wusses who want the fun of it but not the responsibility.

      3. I know the kinds of people you’re referring to, but you’ll have to trust me that there’s a difference between THAT and what I’m trying to say? It’s just hard to explain without examples, etc. I don’t know what kind of jokes Christy was orginally referring to, but I do believe there are ways to incorporate race into humor without making it about “otherness” (like Nadine said) or stereotypes.

      4. So you could tell these jokes in front of any audience and be 100% sure that you were not offending or upsetting anyone ever?

      5. I am sceptical. I have a sense of humour, and I make fun of people and myself all the time. But race is one of those things (like sexual orientation) where the jokes are always exploitative.

      6. Maybe there are, can we have an example?

      7. The first thing that comes to mind is some of Louis C.K’s stuff, because he touches on a lot of sensitive topics (not just race). But in one sketch he talks about how if time travel were possible, it’d really only work out for white people because the history of most other racial groups’ is horrifying. So he’s acknowledging race AND his own privelge (he’s white) without it being about stereotypes (unlike some other comedians, whose idea of a joke is like “Asians can’t drive, amiright??”)

        If you can find the clip on YouTube, you’ll get a better idea obviously– I tensed up when I first saw it, because it’s like “oh god, where is he going with this?” I think that’s our first response whenever race is brought up, but sometimes smart observations can be cushioned in humor.

      8. Of course, so can genuinely racist observations & that’s why it’s tricky

      9. But that is a stereotype, one that continues to affect racial relations and perceptions to this day. The idea of primitive people plays out in many modern debates, from affirmative action to who should be the Pope. Simply because something is perceived to be factual or historically accurate by some doesn’t mean that the performance or acceptable of that idea is then somehow neutral. Thus why history is political.

      10. iseeshiny says:

        I remember that bit, and it’s super funny and not offensive to anyone except people who might want to deny the existence of white privilege. He’s basically like, ‘no, being a white man is awesome. Not because we’re actually better than anyone, but because life is just so much easier for us.’ Which is true, and he makes it funny.

        But that’s not really racist humor. It’s humor that has to do with race, but it’s not really like, all ________ are _________.

      11. iseeshiny says:

        Here’s the link:

      12. 6napkinburger says:

        -“I hate having to interview with these stupid co-opt boards, trying to convince them I’m worthy of living in their building! I’m so bad at public speaking and I feel like they are interrogating me! I just get tongue-tied and say nothing. This is impossible; I’m never going to get an apartment!”
        -“It could be worse…”
        -“You could be black.”

        ta da! uncomfortable and playing on religious stereotypes, check. Demonstrating actual racism on the part of the comment-sayer: nope.

      13. I think I know what you are referring to but there is no guarantee of avoiding offense though. And honestly the source matters. You can make fun of your own – not so much when others are the target. If you Youtube Russel Peters he is a good example of a comedian that questions/incorporates racial stereotypes in his jokes and tends to make people laugh at themselves. Context is important too – his crowds are mixed and he is a big deal in the communities he makes fun of. Not everyone’s cup of tea though.

      14. Definitely. I just feel like when race is brought into any kind of humor, people automatically imagine what iseeshiny said (all ________ are _________) but there’s a lot of shades and levels of it.

      15. theattack says:

        Fabelle, I know what you’re trying to say. My boyfriend is exactly like that. He’s completely anti-racist, and he thinks people who are racist are really stupid. Part of his sense of humor is being really facetious about things that are totally ridiculous, and it’s kind of how he subtly makes his opinion known. I don’t have a good example of it, becuase it’s hard to take a scenario out of the context of a person’s personality. Other people will just have to trust that this is a thing, and it is not racism.

      16. It IS hard to explain! But yes, this: “Part of his sense of humor is being really facetious about things that are totally ridiculous, and it’s kind of how he subtly makes his opinion known.”

      17. theattack says:

        The jokes aren’t directed toward the marginalized group of people. They’re intended to make fun of people who believe those things. This isn’t a great example, but it’s the only thing I can think of:

        Scenario: A girl says she shouldn’t have been so friendly with this black man on the bus. She believes she’s too trusting of strangers and that her friendliness put her in a dangerous situation.

        My boyfriend says: Ohh yeah, good point. He was most likely going to rape or mug you. That’s what those kind of people are like afterall. Black men can’t resist that opportunity.

        [End scenario.]

        His joke was obviously opposing someone else’s idiocy, but he used racist stereotypes to do so. I apologize if anyone reading this scenario is offended, and please know that neither I nor my boyfriend would ever truly believe anything like what he said.

      18. the fact that you have to include a caveat proves my point.

      19. BettyBoop says:

        I disagree, her having to add a caveat proves that not all people will read her comment fully. No matter the joke, no matter the intention, it’s always possible someone will be or will choose to be offended by it.

      20. theattack says:

        I didn’t ever say that no one would be offended by it. I’m just not that concerned with it. People can always find something to be offended about, but if your intentions are good, and you’re not actually saying anything racist (ie: you’re saying something opposing it), then I don’t see a problem with it.

        If we want to have real conversations in order to end racism, we should be open to people’s communication styles and their personalities. If we try to make every conversation about it dry and super serious, no one will participate. But if we can let some things go that don’t truly hurt anyone, we’ll get much further.

        In my example, this girl never would have listened to him if he had directly said “It’s racist that you think that man was dangerous.” His facetious comment, however, did make her realize how stupid she was being.

      21. theattack says:

        It’s generally best to reach people through engaging them in something they’re interested in. When I write prevention programs for at-risk youth, I don’t create lectures and powerpoints about the dangers of drugs and smoking. We play games and do activities about it to get them engaged. I don’t just try to explain addiction to them. I have them hold their breath until they feel a need to get air in order to explain that uncontrollable urge when drugs take control of your life. If you get people participating and talking, we can get somewhere. If we lecture them and force them to use dry language, they’ll tune out and may end up doing exactly what we didn’t want them to do.

      22. “I didn’t ever say that no one would be offended by it. I’m just not that concerned with it.”- oh, then never mind, carry on.

        “But if we can let some things go that don’t truly hurt anyone, we’ll get much further”-“and you’re not actually saying anything racist”
        there is no way to know this, so why not err on the side of caution?

      23. I dont think you have to use dry language to not use racially charge language, I’m pretty sure there is a middle ground there.

      24. theattack says:

        I mean that I’m not concerned with people who choose to be offended by everything. I am concerned with avoiding racist comments. IMO, when someone is working to end racism, good for them! I’m not going to stand back and criticize how they choose to do it, unless they’re doing more harm than good. If you want to criticize people’s approaches, sooner or later you’ll have no approach in the world that is acceptable, and no one will be making any efforts. There’s not a perfect way to do things.

      25. Agreed. that is actually a big issue in the ngo world, everyone thinks everyone else’s solutions are bad so periods of inaction can take hold. But I think some of the ‘approaches’ mentioned are convenient ways to rationalize unacceptable behavior as to not cause a stir and to me thats bogus and indeed ‘doing more harm than good’. I think it also comes down to if you believe in the power of silence or not.

      26. theattack says:

        Certainly sometimes people say “I’m not racist, buttttt…..” and that doesn’t change the fact that what they’re saying is racist. I just see that as completely different from sarcasm and facetious comments that are used to point out and change another person’s racism. I see this as an individualized approach that is 1) effective and 2) well-intentioned. In the case of my boyfriend, he says stuff like this to basically draw attention to the underlying racist meaning in what other people say. He draws attention to the stuff they’re implying but too afraid to say because “they’re not racist.” It forces individuals to realize what they’re actually saying and to think critically about it.

        Also, I’m not sure what you mean by the power of silence in this context. Care to educate me?

      27. You actually kind of described it with your boyfriends actions. So downthread Silverdragongirl(i’ll use her as an ex. because you can see it) talks about her boyfriends use of racial slurs and ‘fag’. In those instances, if she’s believes thats not acceptable but is not speaking up either, then through her silence, she is giving her consent or approval of that language and the ideas they express. Your boyfriend on the other hand, speaks up and makes it known publicly that he does not find that language/behavior acceptable. The power of silence becomes important mostly in social group situations, where humans seek to act in ‘normal’ ways, and if no one calls an individuals out on their ‘non-normal’ behavior it can be considered normal. That is why 1 person can break up a fight or a bullying situation even if there are 15 other people involved. You can actually also be vocal in this way even if you don’t say anything at all. Examples of this would be a black person walking up to a group of people making racial jokes or a police officer stopping by a fight.

      28. theattack says:

        That’s what I thought you were referring to, but I was confused since you had been opposing the way my boyfriend chooses to speak up about it. And yes, about NGOs. I’ll be a social worker when I graduate in a couple of months, so that’s exactly where I’m coming from. I get really frustrated seeing people being overly critical of good deeds to the point that all of them are eliminated. It’s important to have a theoretical side of things and an action side of things, and of course I believe in combining those when possible. I just don’t think we should speak about the way some people address an issue as if they’re just as bad as the issue itself. This applies to individual conversations, agencies and organizations, policies, and all sorts of welfare programs.

      29. Yes, I don’t agree with the way your boyfriend does it, 1.because I don’t have that much faith in other people ‘getting it’ and 2. I think you can call someone out plainly without using that type of language or giving credence to stereotypes. But for the power of silence, it works as an example.
        re:ngo world. It is really a delicate balance. being in the field for a couple of years, I bet the people who see other people like that is because a lot of programs and approaches have done irreversible and heinous damage in the past and if you’ve ever had to deal with the aftermath of that, things can get heated and personal very quickly. Basically it gets that way because the ideas and concepts people are putting up affect other peoples lives. Combine that with the whole white savior baggage and the individual or organization is always under that type of intense scrutiny.

      30. theattack says:

        It’s certainly important to have those conversations about the way organizations handle things. But I don’t enjoy when people lose sight of their professionalism and get heated, like you said. And I don’t think it’s necessary to demonize someone who’s making an effort. Those same people can certainly find flaws with their critics too.

        As for my boyfriend… He doesn’t say that sort of thing around people that don’t know him. That’s probably a pretty important part of this discussion that I left out. He can say that to me or his close friends because he knows that we understand his perspectives and his sense of humor. He would never say that to an acquaintance or to someone random. You’re definitely right to point that out. It _could_ cause more harm than good to someone who didn’t catch the sarcasm. As for giving credence to stereotypes, I just disagree that that’s what’s happening here.

      31. I live in a conservative yet ethnically diverse area. Everyone in my age group can tell the difference between rascism and making fun of a stereotype. To us, Dave chapelle is not rush limbaugh. People do use what’s considered racial slurs, but not in the context of race or ethnicity. Language evolves.

      32. Avatar photo melissafawn says:

        This is just satire. Stephen Colbert does it, and it’s not offensive (unless you don’t follow it, I guess).

        My little brother is phenomenal at doing this to not only prove a point but collect arguments. For instance, he’ll make a sweeping statement such as “Abortion should be enforced to all pregnant women” which is obviously ridiculous. Then, someone can respond with all the reasons it violates a woman’s right to choose to carry to term. Upon that response, he can turn it around and show why women should have the right to terminate should they choose to. It’s actually very effective for humor and debate, as long as people understand what he’s doing. I definitely get what you’re explaining!

      33. theattack says:

        Yes! Exactly! Satire is the perfect word for it.

      34. Nope. Just sounds like you’re comfortable with perpetuating racial stereotypes because you ‘know none of your friends actually thinks like that’ or something- worse than actually owning up to those thoughts? possible.

      35. Its still ‘othering’ the race thats being joked about. Its creating an ‘in-club’ that revolves around jokes that could not be made in certain company. Racist stereotypes are not benign.

      36. Eagle Eye says:

        Eh, my boyfriend makes fun of me for being a Jew all the time, and then I turn it around and mock him for being a (sorta) Persian Muslim, its unbelievably twisted, sure, but it works – we just need to remember to cap it when we’re around other people…

      37. BettyBoop says:

        I’m with Eagle Eye. had a very good friend who was handicapped while I am multiracial and grew up in a very small midwest town. We had a running gag of making up the most offensive slurs we could think of about ourselves and each other. I ended up using a lot of the phrases we came up with when people who start in on casual racism at me. I’d helpfully suggest a much worse or more colorful insult they could have used instead. Really throws people off their game and helped diffuse potentially bad situations. A twisted sense of humor can come in really handy.

    2. I’m with savannah here, this dude is turning you into a worse person.

    3. silver_dragon_girl says:

      My boyfriend’s not a racist, but he uses racial slurs sometimes in conversation when he’s really worked up about something. And he’s not a homophobe, but he throws out “fag” occasionally at his friends when they’re talking trash. Do I like this about him? No, absolutely not. But it’s not a dealbreaker for me. Why? Because I know he’s not a racist and he’s not a gay-hating whackjob. He just grew up and lives in an EXTREMELY conservative part of the world, and the people he’s friends with and interact with on a daily basis are all the same way. Does that make it OK? No, of course not. But it is what it is. And if you want an example of racist humor that’s “OK,” just pull up about ANY stand-up comedian. George Lopez comes to mind. He spends half of his time making fun of super-preppie white people.

      1. What you are talking about is causal racism, casual homophobia and what you are describing is structural discrimination and hate. its not out in the open, its embedded within social interactions between those privileged enough to know how to hide it well. Its hard to break but it’s also some of the most destructive types of hate out there. Because he’s ‘not a racist’ and “not a homophobe’ but is an active member of those groups, directly or indirectly with his choice of language. His background as an excuse does not somehow dismiss his responsibly to other fellow human beings. Everyone has certain tolerances for sure but be clear about language, it is a choice, it is deliberate and it certainly can be changed.

      2. silver_dragon_girl says:

        I don’t disagree with you, but I think you really have to take context into account. If I walked around in my area and called out people every time they said something remotely racist or homophobic or religiously discriminatory, or every time someone made a joke about liberals or vegan hippies or women or men, I would never be taken seriously. Ever. It’s tolerance, yes, but it’s also practicality. People don’t change if you attack everything they say. Personally, I try to “lead by example,” and if someone asks my opinion then of course I will tell them. And if I see someone being hurt or offended by that kind of thing, I will leap to their defense. But you can’t eradicate all the problems and inequality in the world by throwing a fit every time it comes up, at least not in this situation. Is that “right?” No, of course not, and I’m not saying it is. But change comes slowly to areas like mine.

        It’s kind of like the LW’s boyfriend: Attacking him every time he makes a sexual innuendo or joke and getting mad and starting a big fight is just going to put him on the defensive and he will NEVER change. Sometimes you can’t fight things head on.

      3. Maybe I’m just from a liberal area but to me ‘racial slurs’ and ‘fag’ are not ‘remotely racist or homophobic.’ They are a huge flashing neon sign of hate and ignorance. I understand allowances for context but change needs vocal people behind it. Plus its 2012, I could never imagine being silent if that was what was going around me. I just don’t think there is ever an excuse good enough to tolerate hate.

        also: ‘And if I see someone being hurt or offended by that kind of thing, I will leap to their defense.’- yeah if you see it. This is what is most dangerous about this type of hate, the invisible parts.

      4. silver_dragon_girl says:

        Again, I’m not disagreeing with you. But if you are from a liberal area— how often do you hear someone talk about people who are conservative as “ignorant hillbillies” or “dumb rednecks?” It’s not the same thing, but it works both ways. Liberal people (and I’m one, so I know lots) can be every bit as discriminatory against conservatives as it is the other way around. I’m as guilty of that as anyone else. I practically ran away from home after college because I was sick of it. Now I’m going back. Partly because I think I can do more good surrounding myself by people who think differently and setting an example of my own beliefs than I can by surrounding myself with people who already agree with me and complaining about those who don’t. And also, I have known a lot of people who would never, ever use any offensive terms or language…and were just as racist/homophobic/intolerant as anyone else, if not more so. You just really can’t tell from the words sometimes.

      5. liberal and conservative are choices, being black or gay is not, and also can be much more visible than political idelogy-so for me, those are not comparable in terms of discrimination. (also I’m so far north that we don’t say hillbillies or rednecks…republican is good enough of a dirty word around here that is suffices)
        Also I think lots of people have prejudice inside them, true but making it visible, performing racism, performing homophobia, making it a daily part of those peoples lives has a much greater impact upon those populations. Words as important and impactful, they are the acted out results of thoughts and ideas. Saying it out loud and not getting called on it also implicates the society, it shows that it is acceptable speech and behavior and that the community endorses it, which is why silence can be so dangerous.

      6. grr some typos with the phone

      7. So discrimination because of political beliefs is OK???

      8. nope..!!! but it is not comparable in my mind to race and sexual orientation, something an individual would have a hard time hiding. You step into the political arena by choosing to identifying with one party or another and you have more control over how you participate in politics. Basically the power differential that exists in racial and sexual discrimination is not as prevalent in political interactions.

      9. iseeshiny says:

        I do it. I’m not exactly proud of it, but political beliefs here in the US (I’ll be the first to admit I know very little about your political parties down there so I don’t know if its the same) are so wrapped up in gender, race, sexuality and differing ideas of fairness and justice that racism and sexism plays a big part of politics. So while I won’t automatically think less of someone who identifies themselves as a Republican, I will be watching them more closely than someone who identifies as a liberal for signs of racism or misogyny. Not saying there aren’t some crazy liberals out there who go beyond my comfort zones and into fanaticism, too, but I think Helen Fielding put it best when she was talking about Tory vs. Labour in Bridget Jones:

        ” ‘So I vote Tory, what’s wrong with that?’ he said, staring at me incredulously.

        ‘But, but …’ I stammered. ‘I mean if I voted Tory I’d be a social outcast. It would be like turning up at Cafe Rouge on a horse with a pack of beagles and Charles and Camilla in tow or having dinner parties on shiny tables with side plates.’

        Honestly. If only Jude and Shazzer had been there it would have been all right since they could have explained it is perfectly obvious that Labour stands for sharing, kindness, gays, single mothers and Nelson Mandela as opposed to braying bossy men having affairs with everyone shag shag shag left right and centre and going to the Ritz in Paris then telling all the presenters off on the Today programme. And that it is important to vote for the principle of the thing, not on the itsy bitsy details about this per cent or that per cent.”

      10. I remember loving this quote, so much.

      11. BettyBoop says:

        If that is your experience, then I do believe you are from a liberal area. I grew up a small town where casually racist and homophobic remarks were the norm. It wasn’t considered homophobic to call somebody gay because it was “funny.” While one should not passively allow discrimination, you really, really cannot fight it by lecturing people every time you see it.

        My best friend’s husband was casual racist and it was some of his friends that were the worst at attempting to bully me with racism in high school. It does not make him a bad person, and I don’t know if he is really even racist, but demanding him to change would never have helped. It would have made him stubbornly dig in his heels. Instead it’s taken a slow conversation over many years, but he has now learned what it was like for me to grow up hearing those remarks and how it’s even more damaging when it’s casual. Like you don’t even matter enough to make an effort. He has gone from calling people gay and the “n” word to lecturing his friends for using racial slurs. I feel I’ve effected more change, and helped my hometown grow through him, by explaining my point of view than if I had continued to fight all the people who thought it was funny to see the brown girl all riled up.

      12. “then I do believe you are from a liberal area”- definitely not up for debate haha.
        I’m not taking about a ten minute lecture every time someone says ‘fag’. I’m taking about signaling to the person you are choosing to spend time with that it’s not ok, in whatever way you see as most effective. But ignoring it, letting it slide is when people think its ok and no matter where you came from its simply not ok. I think negative feedback can be motivational in a social setting and especially if someone can be convinced they’ve signaled to others something that they should not be expressing.

      13. BettyBoop says:

        I think it’s a case of knowing your audience. Some people will be jolted out of complacency with a well timed response, many others will just dig in and decide your behavior justifies their words, i.e “she’s clearly a dyke if she got so mad” kind of thing. Not that one shouldn’t stand up for what is right, but I believe one has to do so in a way that works rather than just makes one feel better. I’ve also, personally, found that finding a way to communicate your problem with the language is more effective when done with respect, even if you find the person reprehensible.

      14. would also like to point out that racism is an action, not a personality. Saying something is racist does not mean the perpetrator is automatically a terrible person, as we have all witnessed. Saying racist thins followed by saying that one is not a racist person only allows racism to exist in our culture without blame attached.

      15. Savannah — You are exactly right. Words have power. What Christy describes is basically the Rush Limbaugh approach of using racist/homophobic/anti-wowan jokes, based upon stereotypes as a way of desensitizing to hate speech and hate behavior. To single a group out for derisive humor is a way of drawing the us/them line in a way that is less blatant than the KKK would use, so that you slowly draw into your hate party those who would have been totally turned off, had you expressed the same ideas in KKK-speak. Christy’s bf is slowly changing her. By her own admission, she has happily crossed over one of her red lines. She is being groomed to think like him and to tolerate the sharper edge of his racist thinking, which will follow.

      16. Wrong. What I’m describing is humor that subverts racism by exposing the logic (or lack of logic) in it. Words do have power, but how can you know what words mean out of context? My boyfriend is no Rush Limbaugh.

      17. theattack says:

        I don’t think you understood what Christy’s boyfriend is saying. It sounds like he is opposing racism by showing its absurdity in a humorous way, rather than making racist jokes.

      18. Savannah or whoever else cares to comment…

        I’m a fairly conservative individual from one of the Southern states. One time I was hanging out with a guy (white) and some of his friends (several different races/ethnicities). So this guy’s friend starts making fun of me for having a very “Southern” name.

        He said, “Damn girl your name is so white, I’m sure your parents are like Lynn (not my real name) go down the road and help us hang some n——. Lynn your family must be some n—— haters with a name like that.”

        This guy was dying of laughter and so were the other friends. I turned very red because it was awkward and I wasn’t sure how I should react. Anyway, I laughed a little bit but still felt awkward because my parents raised me to be proper and respectful. Maybe I should’ve said something, but I doubt it would’ve made a difference because after a couple more hangouts, I realized they’re all just like that.

        So the guy who made this joke… he’s black. What do you think of people who use slurs that are derogatory to their own race?

        I have a friend who has cerebral palsy and he’s confined to a wheelchair… one time someone asked him if he wanted a beer or a drink, and he said, “Nah man, I’m driving tonight.” You know… referencing his wheelchair. We all roared in laughter.

        What do y’all think of that?

        I’m just curious.

      19. there are some theories out there about internalized racism, the idea that minorities are forced to perpetuate and “agree” to their own oppression. Some would argue that this has most affected black communities but a good example of this is a study on mexican mothers who change their mothering behavior in accordance with the idea of ‘dirty mexicans’. For black communities this is often looked at in parental expectations and resources allocated to children, but its a fairly controversial term, just like the n-word debate, not everyone agrees its valid or invalid. Racism and the performance of it is inherently connected to power so I don’t necessarily believe one word out of somebody’s mouth is the same as out of another persons. I don’t know, however if it changes the word and its meaning as drastically as some argue. I have read good articles on both sides of that debate as obviously not all black people agree one way or another. My sister for instance is a lesbian and usually refers to her friends as dykes but would take offense if someone else outside her circle did that and I haven’t yet figured out if I think thats correct or not.

      20. theattack says:

        Savannah, I’m curious what your professional background is. I know very few people who use the phrases and theories about diversity you’ve been using outside of Social Work. I talk about this stuff all the time too, but it’s rare for me to run across someone else who does!

      21. I have an undergrad degree in anthropology and political science and am just finishing my masters in human rights. I work domestically and internationally (mostly in West and East Africa) with refugees and women’s maternal health issues. I also come from a very liberal and political family and my sister is heavily into queer theory and dominant power theories and we talk a lot. But yeah, social workers I think of as domestic ngo workers so I’m not surprised we have common language.

      22. silver_dragon_girl says:

        That is very interesting. And by the way, I did disappear earlier because I was getting all worked up and defensive but I’ve been reading through this, and I really like your comments because they are very factual without getting as personal and angry as I tend to. So thanks 🙂

      23. I tried to keep it pretty academic because I do know that it can be a super sensitive and I thought you responded really well, not heated at all. It’s hard to have these types of conversations in general and online can be esp. difficult but I think we did pretty well.

      24. theattack says:

        Social workers actually work both domestically and internationally. We do all kinds of stuff. Some of us work individually with people, some of us work on community development, and some of us work on policy and human rights. But I live in the conservative South, so hardly anyone I know outside of my field uses or talks about or even understands most of those theories.

        I also wanted to tell you that even though we disagree on some details of how to go about doing it, I’m absolutely committed to human rights, social justice, and just general public awareness. Since I’ve been on the more lax side of the argument today, I wanted to make sure I didn’t come across as completely unconcerned or insensitive. I almost always identify with your liberalish comments and respect what you have to say about all of it.

      25. savannah, you are awesome! It’s true that just because someone makes a joke about their own race, that it’s ok or somehow better. It could be worse because we are all socialized in the same society and with the same stereotypes.

      26. I used to think this, that I couldn’t/shouldn’t call out people when they said offensive things. Then I stopped. I started calling people out, because I didn’t want to be the kind of person who let other people think, by my silence, that I was okay with that. There have been some bad reactions, sure, but the largest benefit by far, and the one that outweighs all of the negatives, is in my self-regard. I feel about ten times as confident about myself and about myself as a moral actor in the world since I started standing up for what I know I believe in.

      27. I actually disagree somewhat. I think it is important to call someone out every time they use racist/homophobic/whatever language. People aren’t going to learn that it’s not ok unless they are constantly getting hell over it. Where context comes in is if you know the person you can actually judge whether the joke is coming from a racist place or not. Two people can say the exact same thing–but it can be a joke if the person doesn’t believe what they’re saying, if they’re using it as humor and not a slur.

        Of course, you can’t always know who’s who, so I say err on the side of caution.

      28. Can we please not use “making fun of super-preppie white people” as a good example of “racist humor”? Humor is inextricably related to power dynamics. Power dynamics are not independent of race.

      29. silver_dragon_girl says:

        See, this is an idea I have never understood. Why is it acceptable for people to make jokes about majority races but not about minority races? Why is it acceptable for minority races to make jokes about minority races? I don’t get it. In my mind it’s just as disrespectful and perhaps worse to make fun of your own race or ethnicity as it is to make fun of someone else’s. I get that power dynamics are at play, but if we’re holding people to standards let’s hold them all to the same one.

      30. Do you see that white people “being racist” against African-Americans in the United States is more likely to hurt the Af-Am community at large in the US than African-Americans “being racist” against white people in the United States is to hurt the white community at large in the US? If so, you probably intuitively understand that the power to hurt comes from 1) numbers; 2) a history of past discrimination with serious and lasting effects; 3) a history of belief systems that justify discrimination against African-Americans, and no such comparable system that justifies discrimination against white people; etc. For a further example, when a person of color makes a joke that’s “racist against white people,” what is the likeliest trope that springs to mind? White people can’t dance. White people are nerds. White people like hummus and hiking. Etc. When a white person makes a joke that’s “racist against African-Americans,” what is the content of that “joke” likely to be? The answer’s going to be something that’s more serious in its connotations than being nerdy or not being a good dancer. And that’s the difference.

        Minority races “get to” make jokes about minority races, for the most part, because you don’t see the serious power differential discussed above (and people “get to” be self-deprecating). The whole point of power dynamics is that they mean that “holding everyone to the same standard” actually excuses some people more than others. And as you’ve seen, it provides cover for not holding the powerful people to an acceptable standard: “You shouldn’t say the N-word.” “Okay, but YOU say the N-word, why is it different when I say it?” So now they feel justified in using the N-word when they never actually articulated a substantive reason why they don’t agree that they shouldn’t use the N-word. If it’s bad to use it, then the fact that someone else is doing the wrong thing shouldn’t give them cover to also do the wrong thing. So why do they act like it does? Is it because really they independently WANT to use the N-word? If not, then why not stop using it regardless of what other people of any color do?

      31. bittergaymark says:

        That’s a tired excuse. A lame-ass, sorry excuse… That’d be like me making black jokes all the time and proclaiming that I do indeed have the right because blacks typically repress and treat gay people like shit. (And that, by the way, is a FACT! Talk to some gay black people sometime and you’ll see that is more than true…)

        Racism is racism not matter who says it in my book.

      32. Racism is racism but power is also an issue. White racism is going to have more effect because more white people are in positions of power and their culture is more acceptable. Yeah, it’s all bad, but if I had to choose I’d call out the person who had more power first.

      33. Well, not exactly. You’re talking about intersectionality, here. So even though you’re gay, you’re also white. (And male, for that matter.) And that makes a difference.

        And Christy’s point is the larger one.

      34. bittergaymark says:

        Um, okay. Whatever. But you both seem to be missing my larger point. And that that is as a gay white man, I have less rights and thus power than a black straight man…

      35. theattack says:

        I see what you’re saying and agree with your general premise, but I think a major difference is that black people have not specifically tried to (or successfully) oppressed gay people. White people have successfully oppressed black people. It changes it a good deal.

      36. And I think that’s an arguable proposition. Not to play the Oppression Olympics. (As well as theattack’s point.)

      37. bittergaymark says:

        Well, on average black voters tend to favor wonderful measures such as Prop 8 here in otherwise sunny California. As do most Latino voters, and, uh, the fucking Utah Mormons who bloody damn well paid for the whole thing… So, yes, I would argue that — when given the chance — blacks and other minorities often do go out of their way to oppress gays and have actually had far more success than I would like… And don’t even get me started with the way gays are treated in pretty much all of, say, Africa.

      38. I mean, you know that you’re talking about the confounding effect of churchgoing on voting behavior, right? Churchgoing is positively correlated with both the African-American community and opposing gay marriage. That explains the behavior, for the most part, that you’re talking about. So blaming it on “the African-American community” seems like bypassing the actual animating demographic factor (i.e. churchgoing). But by all means, go ahead and blame black people. Oh, and Latinos, who are also more churchgoing than the white community at large. (Mormons I don’t have a problem with, since they are defined by their churchgoing. So that seems like a relatively fair statement.)

      39. “And that that is as a gay white man, I have less rights and thus power than a black straight man…”
        Yeah, this does not work- because of the way that racial politics play out in the US, and I mean on a daily basis, not just in legislature you might have less legal power but far more actual racial power because despite being gay that does not change your racial profile at all. Thus racial structural issues affect blacks far more than you, making you have more power in the overall political context, in part because you can pass, your identification as a minority is something you can control, you chose who to come out to and who to not, and black people cannot do that. Blacks may participate in oppressing gays on one issue, (and its a big one) but it pails in caparison to the oppression of blacks via white men (a club you cant hid). intersectionality, its a bitch.

      40. bittergaymark says:

        That’s a tired excuse. A lame-ass, sorry excuse… That’d be like me making black jokes all the time and proclaiming that I do indeed have the right because blacks typically repress and treat gay people like shit. (And that, by the way, is a FACT! Talk to some gay black people sometime and you’ll see that is more than true…)

        Racism is racism no matter who says it in my book.

      41. Agree, no one should make them. And anyone that does gives up the right to be offended when someone else makes one about them.

      42. theattack says:

        re: “Why is it acceptable for people to make jokes about majority races but not about minority races?”
        It’s not okay, but it is different. Both are disrespectful, but only one of them is oppressive.

        re: “Why is it acceptable for minority races to make jokes about minority races?”
        This, my friend, is a highly debated and theorized issue. Some just think it’s okay to make fun of yourself and then extend the self to the rest of the race. Some think it’s okay to make fun of yourself but not the whole race because one person can’t speak for everyone. I don’t know if I would say that it’s acceptable, because people are very divided on the matter. But some explanations for why it happens include:

        -Internalized Racism.
        -Defense Mechanism.
        -Laughter to make a tough situation easier.

      43. The nature of slurs is to denegrate. Using them is racist/sexists/homophobic behaviour. If you engage in the bahaviour then you come by the adjective honestly.

  8. Making jokes during a serious/romantic conversation was something my last boyfriend did. Also about sexual things that would have annoyed me or embarrassed me on their own. And it also drove me nuts. We talked about it at length and at the end of the day it was something that became a dealbreaker for me. Just over jokes? seems a bit harsh no? well thats because its not about the jokes. It was about his inability to have a conversation with me straight-faced about ‘feelings’, our relationship or anything that made him think and form an opinion about those ‘dangerous topics’. It was about his inability to meet me half way there. Your bf’s response of ‘thats who he is’ is classic, because now this is about him and who he is as a person so he’s probably pretty defensive about it.
    It made me feel like a mom who was trying to get their kid to pay attention to them and that gets toxic pretty fast and I think you might already be there too. You can’t have a relationship or ‘be in it for the long haul’ when you are the only one doing all of the heavy lifting in the relationship.

    1. Anthrocuse says:

      yes! Also I’m pretty surprised that the words “emotionally immature” or even just plain “immature” have not surfaced yet. It’s not necessarily the jokes, but the fact that he is too immature to be in a relationship where they need to discuss real issues! You should not feel bad at all about MOA.

    2. I dumped my last boyfriend over jokes too. I have a pretty twisted sense of humor and I had liked his at first, until I realized he hid behind jokes all the time to avoid having to communicate with others in a deeper way.

      1. And then he made a rape joke on Facebook, when he used to get all uncomfortable and change the subject when rape came up in a serious way or tied to anyone’s personal history (for example mine). That’s what bothers me the most. If you’re going to joke about something, make sure it’s a topic you are comfortable discussing seriously. Otherwise it will just make you sound cowardly and lame. I still pat my own back whenever I read my farewell e-mail.

    3. THIS. THIS. AND MORE THIS. I’m pretty sure we didn’t date the same guy but I know EXACTLY what you mean and you just described my last relationship. At first, I shrugged his jokes aside or would even join in because I thought they were just related to the fact that he grew up surrounded by upper class white kids and I was his first ‘ethnic’ gf. But t got old FAST. And esp when I heard his mother being BLATANTLY racist in describing me. What pisses me off now is that I accepted it and adapted some of his mannerisms and started to overlook things–much like some people have mentioned-its not ok. I get angry and riled up now when I think of all the times I SHOULD have stepped up to defend the RIGHT views, and not go along with his crude jokes.

    4. i totally agree- just the fact that someone couldnt have a serious conversation without cracking jokes would make me nuts! and i dont care what jokes- just the fact that he had to insert them into our conversation would piss me off.

      1. ok, hold on. i got an idea! what if the LW tells her boyfriend that when she is trying to discuss something “serious” (to be determined by the LW what subjects she thinks are serious) the boyfriend isnt allowed to make the jokes? and then any and all of the other conversations they have he can chime right in! win/win, right? he gets to keeps his oh-so-funny jokes and she gets to have her conversations without his shitty jokes!

  9. Is it all the time every day that he makes these jokes?

    I´ll admit to having a pretty stupid sense of humour, as does my husband and we do crack stupid (puerile if you will) jokes from time to time. But if it was going on all the time I can see where it would get old quickly.
    Is there no way you can ignore this behaviour, being such a “wonderful guy”? It could just be his thing.

  10. ReginaRey says:

    “I’m in this for the long haul so I can’t just break up because I don’t like his jokes.”

    I love when LWs tell you that you’re not allowed to tell them they have to break up with their boyfriend. Sorry, but I’m allowed to tell you whatever I think is in your best interest. And in this case, his joke aren’t just “jokes.” A person’s sense of humor isn’t some surface-level thing you can brush off, like leaving the toilet seat up too often or the annoying habit of wearing 10-year-old sweatshirts that need to be thrown away. A person’s sense of humor is reflective of their personality, and you can’t ask someone to change their personality for you.

    I’ve been in your shoes before, in a way. I’m a pretty sarcastic person with a tendency to be snarky. I briefly dated this guy once who did NOT get my sense of humor. He kept telling me that “I shouldn’t say those things about other people,” when I, for example, poked fun at a passing stranger’s jorts. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t be with someone who thought I was a less-than-worthy person because of what I found funny. My next boyfriend and I had a very similar sense of humor, and it made our relationship really fun and easygoing most of the time.

    So, if your boyfriend’s sense of humor sets your teeth on edge, and fills you with the kind of contempt you’re expressing, it really probably IS right for you to move on. You’re basically asking us how you can get him to change a huge part of who he is, because it annoys you. Someone’s personality isn’t something you can compromise on. You simply have to find someone with a personality that better compliments your own.

    1. Jorts demand judgement. They are hilarious.

      1. Agreed.

      2. What are jorts?

      3. Jean shorts.

      4. All clothes that are an amalgamation of two items of clothing are ridiculous. Jeggings for example.

      5. Also:

      6. I cannot believe these are real.

      7. Ummm, what’s wrong with jean shorts? I love jean shorts in the summer! Not the really stupid-looking knee-length ones that used to actually be jeans but legit jean shorts that are sold at Deb as cute shorts.

      8. kerrycontrary says:

        lol it’s more like men who wear long jean shorts, not women who wear little jean shorts to run around in.

      9. Exactly. Men who wear long jean shorts.

        Women wearing jean shorts are fine. Unless they come down to your knees and are a horrible color and super baggy. Those I would make fun of. I should have clarified.

      10. Moneypenny says:

        You know what’s worse (on men) than long jean shorts?
        Short jean shorts.
        I see that around my city much more than long shorts. Eeks.

      11. iseeshiny says:

        Don’t mock the never-nudes. They have a legitimate disorder.

      12. Moneypenny says:

        Hahaha! Oops, my apologies! 😉

      13. theattack says:

        Is this sarcasm, or is that actually a legitimate disorder?

      14. iseeshiny says:

        It’s from Arrested Development. T

      15. iseeshiny says:

        How did that happen?????

        Anyway, Tobias is a “never-nude” and always wears a pair of cutoff jorts under his clothes, in the shower, and evidently while attempting to procreate.

      16. theattack says:

        Well, I know someone IRL who is a never nude, and our friends all jokingly make fun of him for it. I thought we were just making fun of a weird quirk, and when you said that I worried that I was making fun of a mental illness.

      17. Anna, most women don’t have a problem with women wearing them. It’s when guys wear them that they get turned off. I don’t get it either but then again most fashion is silly and arbitrary to me.

      18. For me it has to do with the length and fit. I like more like bermuda ones (if below the knee great, and loose).
        And look! D&G agrees 🙂 Although I wouldn´t pair them with those tops.

      19. I have a huge problem with his red mandals though 🙂

      20. Ohhhh god… not MANDALS!! Those are the worst.

      21. Ugh, I was completely drawn to the other picture, I missed those.

      22. $295 dollars for a pair of shorts!?!? Are you kidding me?!? That’s rediculious!

      23. haha- welcome to fashion!

      24. bittergaymark says:

        More like welcome to fashion don’ts… Seriously, those shorts look like utter crap. Worse, they somehow make those manorexic models look bloated and dumpy… Tragic! The days of D & G being stylish appear to be long over…

      25. lol i was just commenting on the price. i am not a fashion-forward person at all, but my sister is, and when i see the money she blows on things… it makes me sick. like, i could pay my rent this month for what you gave for that jacket!!! it drives me nuts.

      26. And women wonder why most men aren’t interested in it… If I’m going to be spending 300 dollars on something it will be on an kindle fire, or a new phone, or new video card, and tons more stuff I can’t even think about right now.

      27. bittergaymark says:

        Or at least make you look nice! 😉

        Seriously, one could just go to Goodwill, buy some shitty old jeans about three sizes too big and use a scissors to create these for oh, three dollars, tops?

      28. Brad, I feel like I have intervene. I LOVE the link JK sent and mostly because its D&G. But, just so you’re aware, that fashion is hip for its ‘ironic’ hipster statement. I wouldn’t recommend you wearing them UNLESS you were goin to a summer bbq filled with fashionistas who have a VERY discerning eye and can spot and appreciate that THOSE JORTS are D&G. And not levis. I feel conflicted with Men’s designer fashions because I think its less Ready To Wear in everyday life than women’s RTW is. And this coming from the girl who watches runway shows on youtube at work, and then gets a nod of approval from her boss.

        Ok, Fashion Blog commentary over . I really should start up my fashion and beauty blog…

      29. Is even what you wear that complicated in the US?
        Here most people (esp. guys) wear whatever they want, and unless it´s over the top crazy I´ve never really heard criticism of another person´s outfit.

      30. I work in fashion, so we are more aware of whats ‘in season’ and follow trends like, I’m sure no one cares but the color of the season is tangerine. I kinda adjusted with a corally orange because it suits my skin tone better, and now my fashion forward manicure is something that makes me smile every time I look at my nails. I also live in Seattle, Hipster Capital of the world so that makes my ability to spot ironic fashion a bit more fine tuned. I don’t think the majority of people who aren’t very interested in fashion even follow this, but eh, its where I work and what I enjoy so I will fill up my time with keeping up to date.

      31. Please start a fashion blog.

        I saw the thing about tangerine in a magazine….but orange so doesn’t work for me.

      32. Here I´ve been noticing lots of corallish things. Which works for me because somehow I have several tops in that colour. And I agree about the blog!

      33. iseeshiny says:

        Please please do!

      34. I am just reading this all now and it’s making me smile soo much. Throw out the jorts Brad!

      35. They’re just sitting in the back of my closet. And why would I deny my future girl friend the pleasure? No way. Besides I’m sure to get some sort of bonus points for being willing to part with them for my GF 😉 haha.

      36. Um that was supposed to read the pleasure of throwing them away. Damn brain goes faster than my fingers……

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Yeh I have an extremely vulgar sense of humor as does my bf and it works out great. I can’t even be friends with people who don’t get my sense of humor, nonetheless date someone!

      1. Yeah I can be fairly vulgar but normally I’m sarcastic/snarky.

  11. Wow, that sounds supremely annoying! I would never want to be around someone who could be that inappropriate and annoying and who was so blind to people’s reactions to such immature jokes. So, my question is, why do you? Usually this is stuff that you decide is a deal-breaker on your first date, or even your first conversation! I’m hoping that he has other qualities that you find so spectacularly wonderful that it makes up for this behavior, because otherwise this sounds like you’re settling instead of waiting until you’ve met someone that you genuinely get along with and like being around on a day-to-day basis. “I’m in this for the long haul” is not what I would call a ringing endorsement of a relationship as opposed to, say, “I love him so much and he makes me feel great in other ways and I’m committed to being with him,” but maybe that’s just a question of semantics….

    If you do want to stay with him, a good compromise may be that he doesn’t get to crack jokes in the middle of what you deem a “serious talk”. You may have to really spell this out for him, as unromantic as that may sound. Like, “I would like to have a serious talk now so no jokes, please.” When you’re not trying to be serious, though, he has every right to make whatever jokes he wants! And if that’s really so unbearable, you might want to consider why you’re staying in a relationship with a guy you find so difficult to be around.

  12. silver_dragon_girl says:

    Have you tried just ignoring it? Like, not laughing or calling him on it or giving him any attention on it at all? I’ve found that to be most effective when people think they’re being “funny.” Or ask them to explain the joke every. single. time. That gets old fast. Example:

    You: “I’m going to apply for this job…”
    Him: “I wish you’d apply for a job in my pants!!!”
    You: *blank stare* “Huh?”
    Him: “Job in my pants!”
    You: “I don’t understand.”
    Him: “It’s a blowjob joke.”
    You: *blank stare* “Oh…ok…anyway, so I’m going to apply for this job.”

    1. Eagle Eye says:

      yeah, that would be my advice

    2. So does this mean you’re not going to apply for the job in my pants? 🙁

      1. Does it come with full benefits?

      2. Well we can negotiate that 😉

    3. I like this suggestion. I don’t think it will work and I think she’ll have to break up with him anyway, but it would short circuit the dynamic they’ve got going now, for sure.

    4. Moneypenny says:

      I totally agree. It’s kind of like advice for dealing with a child throwing a temper tantrum- If you ignore them, they’ll see they’re not getting any attention and will stop. (Honestly I’ve never tried this as I don’t have kids, but I have heard it helps.)
      This would be my route to deal with this!

      1. With my 4 year old at least it doesn´t work. She just gets louder and cries harder and harder. She´s going through a lovely phase at the moment.

      2. Moneypenny says:

        Yikes!! That sounds tough!

    5. While this may be effective, it’s probably not the route to take in an intimate relationship. A friend/acquaintance/drunk uncle, maybe. But otherwise I think it’s condescending and/or passive-aggressive. I hate when I’m trying to make someone smile or laugh or lighten a situation (especially if it involves someone I deeply care about) and I’m met with an evil glare that says with the eyes, “Shut up. You are so f*cking stupid.” I think it would only serve to make him feel really bad about himself.

      1. From what I understand, she has already asked him to stop with the jokes on repeated ocassions, so I don’t think it’s all that passive aggressive; the problem has already been adressed to, more than once.

        But yeah, it could make him feel terrible, and I’m not sure if it’s a great strategy “for the long haul”.

  13. On one hand you say it bothers you, but then the next you say humor isn’t important. I’m not sure what you want. You don’t seem sure about what you want. If it really bothers you and you have had a serious conversation about it with him, and he’s not addressing your concerns, then perhaps you should move on. If he can’t knock it off and be serious sometimes, that’d annoy me too. Sounds like he needs to grow up a little bit.
    Not to say that making raunchy jokes is immature, (but I mean it is a little), because I do that myself. I wouldn’t say I’m immature, because I don’t pull them out in every conversation. There’s a time and a place for jokes like that. When I’m camping with my husband and brothers, definitely, I wouldn’t fit in if I didn’t. Sitting at home talking with my husband about something, probably a little, it’s what we do. At work while conversing with people in a workshop (which, incidentally is what I’m doing now), of course not. I don’t let my raunchy mouth leave the confines of my husband, friends and family. But then I’m a perv, so sexual jokes are my thing. If anyone saw me and what came out of my mouth this past weekend, you’d probably be annoyed with me too. 🙂

    1. I think what she means is “It’s less important that you make me laugh than it is for you not to drive me batshit, so stop trying so hard all the time with your juvenile humour.” Only she probably tried to say it nicely.

    2. You are the second person to comment that her perfectly logical comment ‘humor isn’t important to me’ is illogical, when paired with her comment that his jokes drive her crazy. The first comment says she’d be perfectly happy with a guy who never told a joke. She might also be perfectly happy with a guy who told good jokes at a time when they were appropriate. She is not happy that her bf tells basically the same unfunny, junior high school boys jokes over and over again at totally inappropriate times as a way of ever having a serious conversation. Another way of phrasing what she said is that she values being able to have serious back and forth conversations with a bf far more than having a guy make her laugh.

      I think her biggest problem is the guy refuses to engage in normal, especially serious conversation. He uses juvenile jokes as a way to derail whatever she wants to talk about. It has become an offensive weapon for ignoring her. She could ignore the joke, as some have suggested, but that wouldn’t force him to engage in a serious discussion. He’d just find some other way to deflect and drop out.

      Who wants to live with someone you can’t talk to? MOA. This guy is very immature.

  14. You need a douchebag jar.

  15. It sound like he’s a nervous joker. He might be doing this compulsively. Not that he isn’t aware of it, but that he’s blurting out these ‘jokes’ impulsively. If this is the case, you might try some behavioral conditioning – find some simple and consistent response that dissuades him from doing this.

    1. if he’s nervous about the ‘serious/romantic talks’ and not just in general do you think that will work? It seems to me less about the jokes and more about the situation and what is expected of him during those conversations, if he’s doing it most often during those times.

      1. I don’t know, but I think that it’s worth looking into, especially if his joking is triggered by anxiety.

  16. “I want you to think long and hard about something: 20-30 years down the road with these jokes. When he’s not your adorable awesome boyfriend, but when he’s a weird old man making weird creep jokes.”

    That’s totally right. One of my great-aunts is married to a guy with a really immature sense of humor. I thought he was great when I was about 10 years old, but eventually I noticed that I was growing up and he wasn’t. Nowadays, he has dementia and he cycles through the same five different lame jokes with everybody he meets. As part of his dementia, he’s been hitting on waitresses for years now, using those five lame jokes. The dementia isn’t his fault, but I remember what he was like 20-25 years ago, and he was kind of a pain even then.

    LW, don’t do this.

  17. From your examples, he’s got a dirty mind, and you feel in it’s inappropriate in non-sexual contexts. I also have a dirty mind, but I do know when it’s a right and a wrong place to express those types of jokes and puns. Does your boyfriend make those comments in a work setting? To his mother? I’m guessing not. So, he has some control over it, and it’s not just “who he is” (all the time), as he’s claiming.

    Either you need to completely accept this about him, or he needs to reign it in a bit with you. Even little things our significant others do that we initially find cute and endearing can lose their appeal after years together, so if you find it annoying now, it’ll drive you insane in another decade or so.

  18. BriarRose says:

    This seems to be a pretty serious area of incompatability for the two of you. You said that a sense of humor isn’t important to you, and to me that implies you could go either way on a sense of humor. In reality, it sounds like you’re looking for someone a bit more serious. Your boyfriend is right when he says this is who he is, just as you are who you are-someone who doesn’t find his jokes funny. All of us can say what we’d prefer in this situation, but that doesn’t matter at all, because it’s what YOU prefer in a mate. In this case, you don’t dig juvenile/sexual humor. And that’s fine. I know it’s hard to imagine breaking up with someone who you’ve started to view as a future husband, but this will never change. And any resentment that has started between the two of you about this will only get worse and worse as time goes on, until you’re asking yourself, “can I really divorce my husband just because of his jokes?”

    Do both of you a favor and end this before marriage and/or kids enter the equation. You are not the right match for each other.

  19. theattack says:

    My boyfriend sometimes makes jokes when I’m trying to tell him something serious (or at least not funny). Granted, he doesn’t make lame sexual jokes (which is incredibly juvenile, by the way), but I can still see where you’re coming from. When my boyfriend does it, I just stop talking, stare at him in an “I dare you to go on” kind of way, and then I don’t continue what I was saying. It makes him feel uncomfortable that I stop the conversation completely, and he ends up telling me to go on, so I ask “Are you sure you’re ready?” It gets the point across that his behavior isn’t funny. It’s just rude.

    1. Hah. I will use this. Love it.

    2. Related tactic: carry a notepad and pen (hopefully this won’t take too long to work) – or just use a smartphone with some sort of Notes app.

      Every single time he makes an inappropriate comment, take out the notepad and pen (or phone) and write down what he said,t he date (time, even, if it’s all day long) and a brief summary of the situation, speaking aloud as you do.

      “Cup: 2012-04-14. Was discussing getting a cup of water. He made ‘cup’ joke again.”
      “T&A: 2012-04-14. Mentioned needing to get something to my TA. He made ‘T&A’ joke.”
      “Cup: 2012-04-15. Said I needed to buy a couple of things. Somehow worked in dumb cup joke, again.”

      Do this every single time he says something like that, pausing everything to do so.

      See if it makes a difference.

      He should be able to realize that his ‘jokes’ are repetitive and not even remotely funny. Hey, maybe they were funny the first time (probably not). But not the 100th time with the exact same joke.

      I agree with the consensus that this is not behavior you want to deal with for 50 years. But it might well be fixable, if it becomes clear enough to him that it’s just stupid, not funny.

      1. and this is the spot where a crazy ex girlfriend story was born.

      2. “Stop talking about this ex girlfriend all the time!”

        “Why do you keep calling her my sex girlfriend?”

      3. I like this idea; it sounds like something I would do. 😉

      4. theattack says:

        Ehh… this seems like an attack on his sense of humor (ie: telling the same jokes over and over again) more than it is an assertion that his comments are out of place. I wouldn’t use this tactic, because it seems like it would just contribute to unhealthy relationship dynamics. Writing things down everytime your bf says a certain thing? It’s a little neurotic. Which is fine if your intention is to win the argument instead of build a good relationship.

      5. My intention is to break him of a dumb habit quickly by associating his comments with an undesirable – and visual, and non-transient – behavior (pausing the conversation, taking notes). It’d work just as well if there’d be some whiteboard with tally marks.

        My point is that he likely assumes that (a) he doesn’t make the same dumb joke all that often, and (b) he doesn’t turn everything into a joke. This would refute that. Stares when he does it would probably be fairly effective, but he’d still think he didn’t say things that often because he’d forget the previous stares. Something visual that stuck around would work best.

        However, it’s also possible that the age-old pet behavior remedy would work: just carry a spray bottle and spray him when he’s bad. Use scented water to make it especially unpleasant for him. 😉

        As far as building a good relationship goes: if he can’t stop acting like a 12 year old with limited improv skills, I don’t see how the relationship can last. I see this as a last-ditch effort to get him to understand how annoying he is, and if it fails, I think she should let the next, possibly deaf, girlfriend try to accept him “as he is”.

      6. theattack says:

        I agree that your approach would be appropriate for a last-ditch effort, but only then. If someone decides to do something like this, they need to realize that they will be damaging the relationship while doing so. It needs to be a well-calculated risk taken when you’re at your wit’s end.

      7. I’m not sure I could see it damaging things unless she did it in public (not a good idea), but I can definitely see it not working… although I’m starting to think the spray bottle, possibly with a light tap on the nose with a newspaper coupled with a stern “no!” might work better.

        Still, I see doing nothing as being the most damaging, because then he would continue to engage in unnecessary behavior which irritates her. If “who he is” fundamentally has to include telling repetitive and stupid jokes (not even jokes… partial comments), then best that she verify that, because that shouldn’t be a fundamental part of anyone. I say my fair share of dumb things, most of which are attempts at puns, but I’ve stopped around people who don’t appreciate them (most of the population), and I’d never defend them as core to being who I am.

        In fact, my use of them in conversation dropped precipitously when someone pointed out that constantly making comments like that just showed that I was paying attention to someone’s words only to be able to say something mocking (or seen that way) back to them, but not because I was actually listening to them. It was a way to show the conversation didn’t mean much to me. Once I saw it that way, it made a huge impact on any urge to say such things. Maybe that should be said to the LW’s boyfriend.

      8. theattack says:

        I totally agree with your last paragraph. Excellent, excellent point. She should definitely explain that to him, if she feels it applies.

        It’s hard to explain why I think this is such a bad idea. People talk about keeping tallies of stuff in your head (ie: Two years ago you neglected to take out the trash three times in a row, and now you’re doing it again!), but this is actually keeping a tally, and it’s doing it maliciously. It may seem like it’s just to enlighten him, but in reality, it would probably hurt his feelings, embarrass him, and anger him. It’s the sort of thing that would make a person feel as if they’re disrespected as an adult. Like they’re treated as a child. It’s much more overwhelming to say “Here’s a list of every time you’ve done this. I have proof you do it all the time! Look at this piece of paper to see how unfunny and rude you are!” He would probably react defensively instead of making change, but that would just be the start of the relationship problems to follow. It would be much more effective to address it qualitatively once when he does it. She should stop, tell him that it really bothers him when he says that because of x, y, and z (maybe including your last paragraph above!), and ask him if he could try to understand where she’s coming from and if he’s willing to cut back or stop.

      9. quixoticbeatnik says:

        Okay, you know deaf people can wear hearing aids or cochlear implants, right? I’m deaf but I can still hear pretty well and I wouldn’t be with someone who told bad jokes all the time because that’s just not my kind of humor.

      10. I’m fully aware of that. My brother was partially deaf, and it wasn’t meant as an insult to anyone who is, merely an insinuation that they’d be less afflicted by the LW’s boyfriend’s comments. I apologize sincerely if it was offensive.

      11. quixoticbeatnik says:

        It wasn’t really offensive, but I do hear a lot that “oh, it must be so nice to just turn off your hearing aid if you don’t want to listen to someone,” or for some reason some guys think having a deaf girlfriend would be so great? And it’s like I would NEVER turn off my hearing aid just so I didn’t have to listen to someone. I think that’s rude.

        Besides, I actually have a good sense of humor. Jokes about boobs and stuff like that will get old fast if they say it a lot around me.

      12. bittergaymark says:

        That a great way to solve her problem, all right. In that he’ll dump her ass right away.

        I mean, can you imagine this scenario in any other context? Especially if the genders were reversed? Say somebody’s wife won’t stop shopping….

        “Purse: 2012-04-14. Shows me she brought yet another hideous tacky handbag. Barf.”
        “Shoes: 2012-04-14. More black pumps. Ugly ones, too. Now has 37 pairs of pleather shit.”
        “Earrings: 2012-04-15. Said she need to cheer herself up. Said they were just too cool… Frankly, I think they make her ears look fat and her skin blotchy, but hey, what do I know? I can never go out and buy anything as we have no money left…”

        Whomever choses this tactic is so not dealing with the problem. Instead, they are just acting out like a completely passive aggressive bitch. Yeah, it’s oh so very attractive… All the world wants to date a smug, I-don’t-think-I-know-I-am-smarter-than-you, condescending bore…

  20. Skyblossom says:

    It sounds like you feel contempt for your boyfriend and if that’s true you probably need to move on because once a woman feels contempt for a man the relationship is usually over. Check out “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How to Make Yours Last” by Dr. John Gottman. He studies married couples and has become very accurate at predicting which couples will divorce within a few years. The research about contempt in a marriage comes from him.

    There is something I would try. Tell him you don’t understand his humor and don’t find it funny so you’d appreciate it if, during serious talks, he thinks the jokes in his head but doesn’t say them out loud. Ask him to save saying the jokes out loud for when he is with people who can and will enjoy his humor. This way you aren’t asking him to change but you are asking him to not share them with you. If he can’t stop blurting them out at inappropriate times then I think you are done.

    My husband and I joke together all the time and it is one of the reasons we get along so well so it seems sad to me that the two of you are so mismatched and it does seem like a reason to find a different partner.

    1. Ditto a hundred times.

      Accepting everything about the person you share a life with, knowing that they are the sum of ALL their parts, is critical to long term happiness. If there’s anything in one partner’s behavior that incites repeated eye-rolling in the other partner…that’s contempt.

      The LW minimizes this as being “just one behavior” and not worthy of a break-up and I dissent. She shows contempt in her language, especially in the way she discounts the value of a sense of humor as a method to get him to stop making jokes…she’s going into a place of lose-win just to stop a behavior she doesn’t want to deal with.

      LW, my opinion is that loving him means freeing him to find someone with whom he can share a life free from contempt because that’s what he deserves. You do too. Unless, of course, you can find a way to honestly dissolve your contempt and accept him with all his lovable quirks and unique traits. In this case, maybe you need to see his sexual outbursts during serious conversation as a self-care mechanism…like the possibility that he needs to do it to stay present with you and not run screaming from the situation. Maybe, if he wants to and is willing to put in the work, he might learn other methods of self-care, but my guess is that he’ll come back to this one when he’s really stressed, that’s normal.

    2. I wish I could like this 1000x for the John Gottman reference!

      1. Skyblossom says:

        I love his research and I love to read his books! He makes so much sense and it’s all based on facts, not speculation.

  21. sarolabelle says:

    this is weird…you obviously knew when he made these jokes the first 100 times that this is who he is. When you tell a person you love them it’s because you really do love everything about them. You don’t say “I love you except for your stupid jokes”

    This is who this man is. Do you love the jokes? No. Can you live with them forever? Only you can answer that. But I agree with others. It will be really annoying in 20-30 years. I mean a lot of things happen when you have kids. Is he going to laugh and make a weird joke every time your baby poops or pees? When your child asks daddy for a cup is he going to say “you are too young for that?” and then laugh? If so, can you live with that? I know I couldn’t. I would have been gone after about knowing this guy for about 3 months.

    Side story: I once worked with a guy who had a potty month. Every other word was the F word. I was sitting in the same room with him working with about 3 other people and he was talking to one of the guys and it was F this and F that and he wasn’t even angry. I was so so uncomfortable. I sat and listen to this for 10 minutes until I pretty much exploded. I calmly got up and as I was walking by him I said “F this and F that. You overuse that word way too much and I am no longer going to just sit here and listen to it because it makes me uncomfortable” then I left the room. I came back 5 minutes later and the guy didn’t say that word for the rest of the day!


    So this story goes to show you that your boyfriend CAN control what comes out of his mouth. He just doesn’t want to and I believe he is disrespecting you by not listening to your concerns and backing off. You can a relationship that is not based on respect?

    1. CollegeCat says:

      wow victory? the last thing your side story makes me want to do is cheer.

      Your co-worker is a grown man. He can cuss all he wants. You may think it is wrong but that’s just your opinion and he doesn’t have to adhere to it. I also think cussing is very inappropriate in the work place but if his boss didn’t care and it didn’t affect his work who are you to berate him for being himself? You say it made you uncomfortable? Why didn’t you pull him aside sometime when you were alone and ask him to stop before publicly calling him out (for using the f word in a conversation with someone else) without giving him a chance? He seems reasonable enough to have stopped when you came back to the room. I can’t see how anyone who witnessed your “explosion” could see you as anything other than immature and irrational.

      p.s. you don’t have to be angry to curse, some of us just enjoy it!

      1. but at work? thats where you lose me. He’s not just responsible for what his boss thinks but also the working environment he helps to create. Should she perhaps have talked to HR about it instead? maybe. but this was probably much more effective.

      2. CollegeCat says:

        Like i said I don’t agree with it at work either but neither do I agree with seething in the background for 10 min and then blowing up at someone who had no idea they were causing you discomfort. He even could have reported her to HR for yelling at him for what he may perceive as no reason at all. These kind of issues are very subjective.

        I believe she should have left the room and discussed the situation with him when she was in control. I highly doubt her passive aggressive/aggressive aggressive behavior helped to foster a positive workplace environment either. She should have asked HR or her boss what the policy was on this matter and if they agreed that this behavior was negative for the company/workplace environment they could have spoken to him. I mean plenty of people act in ways I don’t agree with but I don;t expect them to read my mind or change to make me more comfortable. The workplace is definitely a special situation but there are still ways to speak to be people respectfully while keeping derisive and petty judgment and behavior in check.

        also just because the behavior worked doesn’t mean it was a good thing for her in the long run. Sure she doesn’t have to hear the f-word anymore but if I worked there I would think she was cray cray and stay away away. Even if I was still friendly with her I would always keep in mind that she has an explosive personality

      3. A lot of people swear where I work…the rule of thumb seems to be to watch it when you are first meeting a co-worker, but overtime that falls off. It’s situational…most people really don’t care and you just manage it by who is up-tight about it and who isn’t.

      4. We tend to be pretty vulgar where I work. It comes with the territory, though (STD). It definitely wouldn’t fly anywhere else!

      5. CollegeCat says:

        Exactly. This is not the case in my current workplace but it has been in previous employment. It all depends. However I can’t imagine chatting with my co-worker completely unaware only to have someone ridicule me and blame me for making them uncomfortable. Next thing you know they are claiming victory and I would be the one feeling “so so uncomfortable” every time I was around THEM!

      6. Because I think those up-tight about it are an over-whelming minority…at least in my experience. I mean when I travel for my company I obviously watch my language for prospective customers as I “represent” my company at that point…but internally is a different ball of wax.

  22. It sounds to me like your boyfriend’s jokes are a defense mechanism. You say he starts with them as soon as you start having a serious talk about work or your relationship. Maybe he has nothing to add to those conversations or is uncomfortable being serious so he throws a joke in there to try to lighten the mood. I’m not condoning his behavior or saying it is appropriate but it’s just a possible explanation. It also could be the root of a much more serious issue than just some jokes. Maybe he’s just not ready to be an adult and have adult conversations. If that’s the case, you might want to consider if you can really endure that for the long haul.

    When I read your letter, the image that came to my head was of Homer and Marge Simpson when she tries to start a legitimate conversation about something and all of a sudden you see the blank look on his face and a monkey playing the cymbals in his head as he says “uh huh…sure, honey.” LW, I fear that you may be dating Homer Simpson.

  23. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but I will tell you what I did.

    I was cursed/blessed with a sense of humor that enrages the humorless. My snark has gotten me into more trouble than I care to go into at this moment.

    I also once dated the sweetest guy for a couple of years. He was a doll. He loved his family, he loved me, he thought I was the end-all-be-all. Unfortunately, he didn’t get my sense of humor. Not one bit. The only thing he thought was funny was when I would do exaggerated physical comedy, impressions or slapstick humor. As an ESL teacher, I do this quite a bit. My favorite things to do are to play on words or throw around an intentional malapropism. He never knew when I was joking. It drove him nuts. I also became tired of having to explain my humor. There is also the possibility that I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am….nah.

    After a couple of years, I sadly ended the relationship because I felt that he just didn’t “get” me (Also, he really liked romantic comedies *shudder*). He’s probably burning an effigy of me at this moment.

    Do you really want to be in a relationship with someone you don’t get? Do you think he wants to be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t get him?

    1. Yes! LW, hold out for someone you *click* with. Otherwise, you’ll just get more and more frustrated trying to fit his square peg into your round hole.


  24. evanscr05 says:

    The problem here is not that your boyfriend makes jokes you find offensive or inappropriate. The problem here is that your boyfriend completely disrespects you every single time he makes them when he knows, because you have told him in no uncertain terms, that you find them offensive and inappropriate. People makes jokes all the time that fall flat, but annoying as it is, it’s not the same thing as blatantly disregarding how they make you feel when he’s well aware. I think you need to move on, not because you don’t like his jokes, but because you should date someone who learns from his mistakes and trys not to repeat them. It’s indicative of his maturity level. A guy who respects you is worth being with in the long haul. Your current boyfriend is not that guy.

    1. sarolabelle says:

      I wish I could like this more than just once!

      1. IKR! There should be a super like or applause button….

    2. I respectfully disagree. I’m super sarcastic and fairly blunt. I also call things like I see them. I also get quiet if I’m having a serious conversation. If I was dating someone who asked me not to be sarcastic any longer or to speak up when I’m uncomfortable, I would break up with that person.

      I don’t think you can fundamentally change who a person is. Are his jokes immature? Maybe. But it’s either his coping mechanism or his sense of humor. I don’t think it makes him a bad person though. Just not right for the LW. She should MOA.

      1. * can change who a person fundamentally is

      2. evanscr05 says:

        I agree. I don’t think that he’s necessarily a bad person just because he jokes around and she finds it immature. I do think, though, that when she DOES speak up about it making her uncomfortable and he lacks the ability to either tailor his humor to the person he’s with or break up with her, he comes across as disrespectful. You absolutely can’t change who a person fundamentally is, but it’s fairly natural for people to curtail certain behaviors around certain people who they know don’t receive it well or to amp it up around others who have a similar personality. I don’t think he should necessarily stop being who he is, but he’s certainly lacking in maturity if he doesn’t respect that his partner finds his sense of humor offensive and stops doing it around her specifically.

      3. See, I don’t think that he should have to “tailor his humor to the person he’s with.” Of COURSE he should know his audience and censor himself appropriately depending on the crowd/situation… but for his significant other, his life partner, I think he should be able to be exactly who he is, lame jokes included. If he finds that he can’t do that, or she can’t accept it, then they might just be incompatible.

      4. evanscr05 says:

        You absolutely should be yourself with your significant other. I would never say different. I would never have married my husband if he didn’t love me because of and in spite of my flaws. But just because I should get to be myself around him doesn’t mean I don’t have habits that can annoy him. And if it annoys him enough that he tells me “hey, I don’t like it when you do xyz”, then, because I love him, and because I respect him, I make sure to remember what it is he’s not so fond of so that when we’re together, and I do my best not to get on his nerves. He does the same. That’s healthy. It’s respectful. It doesn’t mean I’m changing who I am, it just means I’m making sure that he knows I hear him when he tells me something and my actions reflect it. I love him FAR more than I love some of my minor habits, and if it makes him happy that I not do some small thing that bothers him, I’m more than happy to accommodate that. If he asked me to change something MAJOR about myself, though, well, we’d have an issue.

        I think that’s the case here. This guy is not inherently a bad guy, but he has a habit that his girlfriend finds not only annoying, but offensive. She has made a point to tell him this, and his response is to defend his actions and basically tell her to get over it. Well, you know, that’s fine if he wants to act that way, but what’s not fine is that he continues to act that way in this particular relationship. She doesn’t get it, he doesn’t get that she doesn’t get it, and neither are really doing the healthy relationship thing and either compromising or ending it.

      5. Yeah. I think some of the debate around this centers on whether or not you believe that his humor is an innate fundamental part of who he is, or if it’s a minor behavior that can be modified. I tend to think it’s an essential part of one’s personality that can’t really be changed. I want to find my partner funny, and I want him to think I’m funny too. I would always be sad if I said something I thought was hilarious and he just rolled his eyes or got irritated with me.

      6. bittergaymark says:

        Why can’t we just spin this one right back around onto her? Why is always that he is disrespecting her? Why isn’t she is disrespecting him by complaining all the time about something so trivial? Why is it always about her feelings?

      7. theattack says:

        If we frame it that way, the only options for her become 1) Suck it up and be silent about it; or 2) Break up with him all of a sudden after not even trying to discuss the thing that’s bothering her. Right?

        Are we sure that she’s complaining all the time, or did she just bring it up once? I thought the latter, but I don’t remember and just got too mysteriously dizzy to look it up.

        Right now her options are both of the above, plus 3) trying to work through it and see if he’s willing to modify his behavior after she informs him just how much it bothers her (ie: enough to write into an advice column). Why not throw in an extra option? The other two options are still available for both parties if this one fails or annoys the crap out of him.

      8. theattack says:

        I agree, CatsMeow. Of course, we decided this already somewhere else in the comments section, but it’s definitely just two different understandings of the behavior and where it comes from.

        I hope the LW pipes in and gives her opinion about which it might be.

      9. evanscr05 says:

        I can see both sides, but, I guess, personally, I just don’t get how making offensive jokes at inappropriate times is a fundamental part of who a person is. Making jokes to diffuse tension, sure; being fairly blunt, sure; but living as long as he has without learning about appropriate times and places for his commentary, particularly with a girlfriend who has told him she doesn’t like it, I don’t know, it reeks of disrespect to me. Does he do this with his grandparents, or at work? If he’s learned not to do it in other situations, and if he cares enough about his girlfriend, I think he’d WANT to make an effort to not offend her so much. The LW needs to learn to be a lot more assertive when there is something she doesn’t like, and they absolutely need to have a conversation about it to see if there is any middle ground so that they can BOTH have a better understanding of the other person, but how is she supposed to have this serious conversation if her boyfriend is just going to make stupid jokes about boobs? I think they really only have two choices – compromise or break up. But the LW needs to attempt to convey to him how she feels, or else it’s going to seem like it’s coming out of the blue. I don’t think she necessarily should have to be the one that sucks it up and deals with it, nor should he be the sole person that sucks it up and changes his personality; they both need to make some adjustments or else the relationship is doomed. Honestly, I think everyone pretty much agrees with that. There’s a disconnect that they need to get to the bottom of. I don’t think it really matters what kind of jokes he makes, I think what matters is whether or not their conversation styles are in sync. If they’re not in sync, and no one, either person, is willing to make any adjustments, then why continue? She should be with someone who isn’t going to offend her, and he should be with someone who isn’t going to feel offended.

  25. LW, it sounds like you’re dating my most recent ex. I completely understand where you’re coming from on this. The occasional dirty joke is fine, but the constant barage over the most innocent activites (like peeling an ear of corn, going out for a burger) followed by listening to him giggle at his own joke gets real old real fast. Calling him on it did nothing but make it worse, since he apparently thought it was cute that he’d gotten on my nerves.

    My take-away lesson from that was that incompatible senses of humor can kill a realtionship, even if the person is wonderful otherwise, because the last thing you want to do is get sexy with someone who makes you cringe almost every time he opens his mouth. So yes, you can break up with your boyfriend over this, and if you can’t work out some kind of humor compromise you probably should.

    1. SweetsAndBeats says:

      I agree with the whole ‘it gets old fast’ thing. I have had a boyfriend who did crap like what the LW’s boyfriend does and it drove me insane. He would make ridiculous sexual references, like “You should check YOUR firmness” when at the grocery store picking out tomatoes. Then he’d get this big, shit-eating grin on his face like he was so damn clever and also a childish, hopeful look on his face like he was about to enter into a porn scenario where I did fondle my chest for his entertainment in the middle of the store, or his comment somehow would magically make us appear in the bedroom with me desperate to jump him. It ended up making me feel like a) I was dating a sexually frustrated buffoon (he definitely got enough sex, just FYI) and b) he was an idiot who had no concept of context or time/place-appropriateness.

      Needless to say, it didn’t work out. And I don’t think it’ll work out for the LW. I think she should save herself some of her valuable time and get out of this relationship right away.

      1. “he definitely got enough sex, just FYI” Woah woah woah just wait a minute! You mean it’s been discovered what that amount is?!?!?! WHY WASN’T THIS ON THE NEWS?!?!

  26. EricaSwagger says:

    Hey LW, you’re dating a 10th grader.

    You’re in this for the long haul? You can’t “just break up”? Can I ask why not? You can do whatever you want, for the record. You can break up with him if he drives you crazy, which, he clearly does.

    Yes I’ll repeat it. He drives you crazy!! Get away from him. If you can’t even have an intelligent conversation with the guy you intend to spend your life with, it’s time to think about a change of plans. It sounds harmless “I don’t like his jokes,” but the real issue here is that you’re not intellectually compatible. You need to be with someone who you can talk to. I mean, your ideal mate should be someone who listens to you and has something to add to the conversation. Not someone who spends the time you’re talking to him thinking of a crude joke to make. I’m positive there’s a guy for you out there who can hear the word “job” and not instantly think “blow.”

    Now, if you WANT to be with him despite his sense of humor (if that’s what you want to call it, and good luck by the way), then writing in for advice was pointless. You’ve tried to talk to him. Aside from telling him straight up “I can’t stand your stupid jokes, you have to stop making them forever,” I really don’t know what else you can do. Breaking up is an option.

    1. Breaking up is always an option. It may make things diffcult, especially if there are kids involved, but it’s always an option if things become intolerable. A better option is to acknowledge that things aren’t right from the beginning and get out before things get difficult. You don’t seem to like your boyfriend very much. He embarrasses you. Do you want to be with someone who embarrasses you?

    2. blarfengar says:

      I don’t understand the refusal to break up either. They’re dating, not married. The point of people dating is that it’s a time when you can walk away and it’s not a devastating thing – sure personally, but you’re not undoing some major commitment or anything.

  27. “On the other hand, I’ve tried another approach by telling him how a sense of humor isn’t important…” But that’s a lie, dude!

  28. This sounds SORT of like my ex, except his jokes were at a higher-level and generally made me laugh like crazy. I thought he was the most hilarious person ever, and he knew this, so he was able to derail serious conversations pretty easily by making me laugh. So, even though he was funny, I still got annoyed because the timing of his jokes became almost manipulative.

    However, this situation might even be worse because you don’t even find him funny? You actually are being driven “insane” by his idea of a joke. That sounds like a giant incompatibility to me, so you might want to re-think “being in it for the long-haul.”

    A short-term solution though– beat him to it? Like “Oh my god, today I got this sandwich from the new place down the street and it was so huge I couldn’t even finish– THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID, yeah, boyfriend, I know. ANYWAY….”

  29. LW, I ask this nicely but do you have a sense of humor? I ask because some people don’t and that’s fine but if that’s the case you two aren’t a match. If you do have a sense of humor, does he know what makes you laugh? Is this his only style of humor or does he try to make you laugh in other ways? If there’s another style of jokes he makes that you do find amusing then encourage him to tell those kinds instead.

    You said that you’ve spoken about this with him before and he’s toned it down so that suggests to me he’s open to working with you. Just bring it up again. You could open on a positive note that you’ve noticed he’s telling fewer of them but you need him to tone it down even more. You also need to accept that he’s probably not going to stop doing it entirely. The advice about completely unacknowledging them when they happen is an option.

    I do also feel that some of the other commenters brought up a good point that it might be a red flag if he isn’t taking it seriously when you’re trying to have a serious conversation and he keeps trying to crack jokes. Is it just one or two to try and ease the tension or a steady amount the whole time? The first isn’t such a bad thing but the latter should be a serious red flag to you. Respect is critical in a LTR and if he always tries to make light of the situation when you’re trying to have a serious conversation about your concerns/feelings then I’d start wondering how much he has for you or how (im)mature he is.

    I’m typing this from my phone so I apologize if my train of thought bounced around a little but hopefully I’ve given you a few things to think about.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Part of me wonders if what rubs her the wrong way about his humor isn’t necessarily the vulgarity, but that he can’t think of anything FUNNIER to say than “boobs” and “blow jobs.” I mean, in my opinion, your sense of humor is pretty reflective of your intelligence. Smart people tend to be quicker, wittier, etc., and a dude who can make nothing but tits and ass jokes isn’t exactly going to sound like a genius. Maybe she’s secretly craving someone who’s smart enough to have a more elevated sense of humor…and she’s obviously not going to find it where she is.

      1. That’s entirely possible and why I wondered if he ever says anything that makes her laugh. I sometimes say stupid puns because it amuses ME when people make that face/reaction to a stupid joke/pun, so maybe that’s why he keeps doing it? Who knows. I try to do it sparingly to avoid being annoying. I just don’t understand why her BF is still around if he can never make her laugh. Doesn’t that get to his self esteem/confidence any? I know I’d be a little bummed if I wasn’t able to ever make my GF laugh.

  30. I also don’t get the “I can’t break up with him because of his jokes” thing. Um, why not? It’s a behavior you can’t stand and he is refusing to change it or even really talk about changing it. What if he made racist jokes all the time and told you that was just who he is? I mean, you would probably break up because something in his personality is offensive to you – even though he’s not a racist, this is still offensive and annoying to you. I also tell my boyfriend sometimes (when he is annoying me with jokes) “know your audience”. The whole point of BEING WITH ANOTHER PERSON is having an interaction with them and if he doesn’t give a shit about your feelings, he should just be by himself.

    1. I take it to mean that she believes that they have a substantial relationship that isn’t worth throwing away over some dumb jokes. She’s in a much better position to gauge this than a bunch of strangers. Also if she knows this forum, she knows that there are a lot of people here who seem to relish telling others to MOA. I think that this is where Tina Fey got her idea for the DealBreakers ™ skit.

  31. Tell him he gets a very enthusiastic massage + blow job he doesn’t need to return for every week in which he refrains from making lame jokes during serious conversations.

    1. I swear by the honor code I havn’t made any so can I have one? 😀

  32. If he was just completely ignoring how you feel about his jokes, I might have said you’d need to MOA because he won’t even make an effort to stop for you.

    But LW, you said that he tried to cut back and it still hasn’t gotten any better? Does he behave like this around your friends/family/at work? If so, it might be time to sit down and have another talk about why he feels the need to constantly behave this way. I had an ex-boyfriend a couple years ago who got fired after making one too many inappropriate jokes; this was after he had been warned twice but he couldn’t understand what was wrong with behavior and thought other people just needed to lighten up. It was definitely a red flag for me because it made me realize I couldn’t imagine presenting this person to my mother.

    But in your situation, if he understands that his jokes aren’t always appropriate but continues making them around you, then I see no reason why you can’t MOA from someone who doesn’t respect your feelings.

  33. Skyblossom says:

    I just wanted to add that many, many couples who have been married for years use some type of ice breaker/tension reliever during difficult or serious conversations or arguments. Often the tension relief comes through doing something very juvenile that makes both partners laugh and eases the tension. Then they can continue talking. So it isn’t necessarily a bad thing if he tries to inject humor into a serious discussion, he just needs to find a bit of humor that works for both of you and you need to realize that sometimes a conversation flows better if there is a break in the tension.

    I got this from the book “The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts” by Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      This is a good point that I forgot about. A lot of couples do end up cracking up in the middle of arguements or serious discussions. Especially when you are having an all out arguement over someone forgetting to take out the trash or buying the wrong type of eggs (which I’ve seen happen with my parents-married for 40years).I think the problem in this situation is that she doesn’t appreciate the humor, so the whole non-serious thing in the middle of an arguement needs to be mutual.

    2. CollegeCat says:

      “Often the tension relief comes through doing something very juvenile that makes both partners laugh and eases the tension.”

      Yes but his jokes and juvenile behavior are a source of tension for the LW. Based on this letter she does not enjoy joking around or behaving like an adolescent period. I understand how this could work for some, but you have to look at each couple individually. How can he find some humor that works for both of them when she has never found him funny? One’s sense of humor cannot be molded or restructured. These two are intellectually incompatible which has led to an inability to communicate successfully (in both casual joking settings and during serious conversations). There are no breaks in their serious conversations because she can’t even begin to engage in one before he says “boobies.”

      1. *giggles* hehe you said boobies.

  34. It’s reasonable to assume that you aren’t always going to love every single thing about your partner. Some of the things you don’t particularly like can be overlooked in light of the wonderful qualities and some might be deal breakers. If neither of you is going to change then only the two of you can decide if you can tolerate his continuing jokes and he can tolerate your lack of appreciation for them.

  35. Speak his language: Tell him that the ball is in his court, you’re blowing this popsicle stand and giving him the shaft if he doesn’t grow a pair, untie the panties he has in a bunch, and quit with the unfunny sex jokes right now.

    Seriously, this isn’t about his sense of humor, or lack thereof. I find it especially disturbing that he continues this behavior (and has seemed to ramp it up a bit after a cursory attempt to scale back) after you’ve told him how you feel. This is about his lack of respect for you, his unwillingness to work on serious issues, and his passive aggressive acting out toward you for calling him on it.

    Believe him when he tells you this is who he is. He’s telling you that he will not deal with conflict or serious topics in a mature manner, that he’s passive aggressive, that he has little respect for you or your relationship, that he’s happy being immature and avoiding the tough topics all adults have to deal with. A truly great guy does not behave or treat his partner this poorly. Since he can’t (or won’t) tell you where this is coming from and won’t honestly work to change, then it’s more than time to MOA. You deserve better.

  36. quixoticbeatnik says:

    LW, if you don’t find his jokes funny, you’ll probably never find them funny, especially if they are only of the lame sexual variety. My algebra teacher in high school was a comedian on the side who thought he was the funniest person ever. Well….I didn’t find him funny at all. He actually really annoyed me and other people I know because he was always making stupid jokes that weren’t funny and laughing at them. The funniest joke he did was a joke that he stole from another student. I don’t know how he makes money as a comedian.

    My point is, if you’re annoyed now, you’ll just keep being annoyed. Eventually you will just resent him and hate him and that is no way to live. Your boyfriend seems open to changing, but I don’t think he will change as much as you want him to and you should probably realize that. There isn’t anything wrong with making bad jokes or breaking up with him because of his jokes. It’s just a part of his character that I think you are starting to realize is something that you can’t live with. And that’s okay.

  37. How long have you been dating? My husband makes similar jokes, along with the “YOUR MAMA” type. I usually do a obviously fake laugh and then tell him how NOT funny the jokes are and why. And then every chance i get I make the same type of ridiculous jokes about Men or Man parts. Funny, how its not as funny anymore. And then the jokes start to fade away. I’m pretty open about my feelings, so if i think something is very sexist, ridiculous or just down right NOT FUNNY , I let him know. He usually listens, but then again, there will be the occasional, “OH YOU JUST DON’T GET IT” because your not one of his guy friends that laugh at his jokes even though they are not funny.

  38. It seems whenever I decide to actually comment on a letter, everyone has already said what was needed to be said. So…I guess I’ll still give my two cents about this one, and hope it resonates.
    LW, if his sense of humor bothers you THAT much, that you can’t stand it, I’d say it’s time to find another less jokesy type of guy. He is who he is. You can’t change that, nor does it seems like you can tolerate for very long.
    One thing I learned from these writers/commenters on DW is that you don’t need a harrowing excuse to break up with somebody beyond the reason of “It just doesn’t feel right.” I thought that was so weird! But it’s true. It may feel petty to break up with him over his jokes, but it seems that it’s more than that. I, too, would get annoyed if said boyfriend cracked jokes every single time I tried to be serious. My boyfriend has done that a couple times when I try to express my feelings, and it hurts. But, you know, beyond that, he respects when it’s time to get down to business and talk it out.
    Now, like people above had said, if you feel like you can deal with this in the long run, then go ahead and stay! But if you will be as miserable as you come off in your letter, I’d go. And also give your boyfriend a chance to find someone who will equally enjoy his jokes, and you find someone less..jokey. I know if I made a bunch of jokes and my boyfriend never laughed at them or didn’t find them funny at all, but just annoyed, I know I’d be dating the wrong guy.
    For me, sense of humor is a must, especially someone who gets my weird humor. And my boyfriend gets it, as I get his nerdy puns and sometimes raunchy jokes. It’s a mutual appreciation.
    So, LW, it’s really up to you! But you should take into consideration what the commenters are saying. They’re wise! (Fo reals.) It might seem like not the ideal situation to let him go, but in the end, I think it’ll lead to a happier ending than this for the both of you.

  39. When anyone says something along the lines of “that’s who he is”/”that’s who I am” or “I just have to be me”, they’re about to be either offensive or an asshole. The guy may be great, but he’s just told you his sense of humor is that of an asshole. If you’re good with dealing with that at home and socially for the next however many decades, great. If not, he’s told you now and it’s your own fault for sticking with him if that’s a deal breaker for you.

    1. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

      Hahahah- I LOVE your observation- it’s just like when people say “I’m not racist, but…” they actually mean “Heads up guys, I’m about to say something racist, but don’t call me out on it. Cool? Cool.”

  40. Though you say you can’t just break up because you don’t like his jokes you can break up because you find him immature. I know a guy just like your boyfriend and I would never date him in a million years – it is such a turn off when guys continue to act like 12 year old boys.

    Is this the only thing he does that is immature? Or does he do other immature things? Personally it turns me off when someone is immature and then I just can’t date them

  41. I know you say you’re in it for the long haul, but you really need to consider ending the relationship. I know sense of humor doesn’t seem like a deal-breaker… they’re just jokes, right? But multiply the exasperation you feel by years (and consider that it’s probably an exponential relationship rather than a linear one), and eventually it will be unbearable for you.

    But the sense of humor doesn’t seem like the only issue here. There is a time and place where dirty jokes can be hilarious, but to make them ALL THE TIME, even in inappropriate conversations, is a sign of immaturity. Sometimes people grow up… but sometimes they really don’t, especially with their senses of humor. Also, the fact that you’ve told him this really bothers you and he hasn’t stopped, at least around you, shows that he may be a bit insensitive toward you. Yes, he can’t change that these jokes come into his head, but if they really bother you he should be able to tone them down significantly around you. Of course, you did say that you talked to him in a nice way, and that you told him that sense of humor doesn’t matter to you, so maybe he really doesn’t get how much it bothers you. Maybe try talking to him again, a little more straightforwardly.

    I kind of hesitate to share this because I may be projecting, and this sense of humor thing really may be the only thing wrong with your relationship (though I’m doubtful). I dated a guy for over 5 years, and it had gotten to the point where I would have panic attacks at the thought of marrying him (which we were planning to do in the future) and I really didn’t want to be with him anymore. So I broke up with him. I did NOT understand why. The ONLY concrete reason I could give was that our senses of humor were different; we both joked a lot, but neither really thought the other was all that funny. Yes, that weighed on me a lot, but that was actually just one issue, and it was the one I could easily identify. After removing myself from the situation, I can now see that there were 100 reasons that we were a horrible match and I should NEVER have dated him. I don’t know why I didn’t see those things, or in some cases ignored them, but I am SO glad that we didn’t have the same senses of humor, because I might have ended up marrying someone who was completely wrong for me. So I encourage you to not only look at this issue, but look at everything, this might just be a symptom of being incompatible people.

    And finally, fwiw, not liking someone’s sense of humor is a totally legitimate reason to break up with him/her.

  42. LW, if you were truly in love, I don’t think the jokes would bother you that much.

    You would love him for who he is and not change a thing. I would MOA.

    I would think that maybe he is socially awkward but it seems like he does these things when it is just the two of you.

    Irreconcilable in my opinion. You can’t change someone.

    1. BettyBoop says:

      I have to disagree with “if you were truly in love, I don’t think the jokes would bother you that much.” You are allowed to be annoyed by somebody you’re madly in love with.

  43. Moneypenny says:

    I don’t know if I can add anything that hasn’t already been said. I have dated men who had senses of humor that I didn’t particularly find very funny, and it just made things worse. (Especially the one who did stand up, and would tell me his jokes with a certain panache, but they were pretty cheesy to me and I never knew how to respond very enthusiastically.) Anyway, if a sense of humor *is* important to you in a relationship, or at least having similar senses of humor, stick to your guns and don’t compromise on what you really want/what is important to you. And don’t try and fool yourself either! A sense of humor, to me, should add to the relationship dynamic and communication styles of your relationship, not the opposite. If it’s that important to you, he should be able to curb the immature remarks he makes around you, but you also shouldn’t expect him to drastically change himself just for you. When it comes down to it you may just not be compatible, and that’s ok.

  44. I’m marrying a guy like this. He makes sexual puns and jokes all the time. But you know what? I love that about him. I love his sense of humor, his naughty jokes, even the way he can kill a sentimental moment with inappropriate (and witty) commentary. I think it’s hilarious and I wouldn’t change that about him if I could.

    Your boyfriend is right – unless his jokes are actually intolerant or sexist, this is just his sense of humor and he shouldn’t have to change it. I think it’s VERY important for a couple to have compatible sense of humor. After all, if you can’t laugh together, how are you ever going to weather the hard times in life?

    The one caveat I have here is that he needs to know when to stop making jokes. When you’re having a serious conversation and you say to him, “This is really important, so please listen and stop kidding around,” does he stop with the jokes? And does he know better than to say inappropriate things when he’s at work, around your family, at weddings and funerals, etc? If he doesn’t, then I’m afraid he’s just immature and there’s nothing you can do to change that. But if this is the only issues that bothers you – if he’s otherwise a mature guy – then you need to learn to laugh along with him or you need to reconsider whether you two are actually compatible.

    1. I agree with this completely. I don’t think he should HAVE to change (aside from the inappropriate timing, like when they’re trying to be serious. Even though LOTS of people tend to do this, including myself). He should be able to be himself around his partner and be appreciated for who he is.

      I think the solution, if LW wants to stay with him, is to learn to appreciate this as one of his “quirks”. Or learn to give it back! When a boyfriend of mine says something stupid, I usually just make fun of him. Or say, “Shut up, turd.” That’s how it worked with my ex anyway. He would say something turdy and I would make fun of him and then he would say, “I hate you so much” (but in a nice way if you can picture it), and I would say “I know” and then we would kiss. But we were kinda weird like that.

  45. Isn’t it a universal law that people who say that they are hilarious, aren’t? Sort of like the guys who claim to be ‘Nice Guys’ who are actually quite manipulative.
    He sounds a lot like my ex (half the time he was like a bad version of The Todd from scrubs, along with repeating the last word of most of my sentences with a stupid voice), so many bad jokes to the point that I could barely have a conversation with him. It just sounds like immaturity and not getting that sometimes it isn’t appropriate to make jokes.
    It’s something that probably isn’t ever going to go away completely but try talking to him again to make a compromise so he can make them in non serious conversations / with his friends. I know it’s quite passive aggressive but if he then continues to do it during serious conversations just ignore him or say you don’t get it and get him to explain it to you every single time.

    1. That should be ‘ non serious conversations / with his friends and take it down a notch during serious talks.’

  46. This reminds me of an ex of mine. Not only did he make these kinds of jokes All. The. Time. but he also liked to just exclaim really random things. It was kind of funny at first, but eventually got really annoying, and then just kind of sad because I realized he was like desperate to be the center of attention. I mean, it got to the point where I would cringe inwardly every time he did it, which was not fun. And, honestly, by that point, I was also over HIM, over the relationship, though I wasn’t ready to admit it for an embarrassingly long time. So, LW, I don’t want to tell you to break up with him over the jokes, but I want you to really think about whether you enjoy spending your time with him, or if you just don’t want to let go.

  47. Avatar photo caitie_didnt says:

    I don’t get your confusion, LW: either you recognize that your boyfriend’s dumbass jokes are the “price of admission” to date him, or you realize that they drive you crazy. And if you realize that they drive you crazy, you recognize that you and your BF aren’t compatible and go your separate ways.

  48. katiebird says:

    Honestly this kind of reminds me of the Office. How none of Michael’s girlfriends liked or understood his sense of humor, but then he meets Holly and she loves his sense of humor and is the exact same! I know it really sucks, but you guys should probably break up so your boyfriend can go find his Holly and you can find someone better suited for you. And don’t beat yourself up over it seeming “shallow”. It really isn’t. This isn’t the right person for you, and there is someone out there who is.

  49. theattack says:

    The comments on this letter are a reminder of how break-up happy everyone is around here. Seriously? You don’t have to break up over everything. Nothing’s going to be perfect. This seems like a very minor problem that the LW just needs some advice for how to handle, especially since she specifically stated she was not interested in ending the relationship. If you don’t try to work through these TINY TINY TINY things and just jump to break ups, I can guarantee you’ll be alone at 95 years old. Sheesh.

    1. I disagree that this is a minor problem. If you are planning on spending the rest of life with someone and they annoy you and disrepect you, how are you going to make it through the long haul?

      1. theattack says:

        I don’t think it’s disrespect. I think it’s slow change, but he has cut back some. And it sounds like it’s something that he’s so used to doing, he may just have a difficult time stopping, but if he’s trying, that’s not disrespect. The LW says she thinks he doesn’t realize how important it is to her, which says to me that they need to try some more things to fix the problem. It’s different from him knowing how much it bothers her and continuing to do it on purpose.

      2. I see what you are saying, but I think it’s very disreceptful to being having a serious conversation and the person can not or will not stop with the sexual jokes…………to me they are not respecting my feelings. My husband is a joker and I love his jokes, but sometimes I want to have a serious talk and I will tell him to please stop and he does. Its when you ask to stop and they don’t how is that not disrecpetful?

      3. theattack says:

        Are you saying that it’s disrespectful for him to slip up and do it again in the future, or that it’s disrespectful if he makes multiple jokes in the same time-frame after she asks him not to? Because those are two very different things. Yes, it would be disrespectful if when she asked him to stop, he immediately started telling more jokes. But if he told the joke, she said she didn’t like it, they continued the conversation, but then he did the same thing again at another point in time, it’s not necessarily disrespect if he’s trying but slipped up.

      4. I think I am saying in the same conversation. We all slip up now and again and I agree we need to let things go and forgive. Esp when someone is trying. I also think I am coming from the point of view of having been in a situation like that and the bad timed jokes were just one of the many ways that person disrepected me. So perhaps I see that as a warning sign of things to come and that may not be the case. I just know I dated someone like that and also had a close friend like that (bad jokes at bad times) and felt much better when I no longer had to deal with that.
        I just think when it comes down to it when you chose a partner (And I am looking at it from a point of view of marriage or for life) I think someones who annoys you on a regular basis is just not going to work out. And life is too short to be with someone who annoys the crap out of you!

    2. Temperance says:

      I think that it really depends. For me, this would be a huge issue, but I hate puns, impressions, and stupid jokes. It would be a dealbreaker.

      I’ve been with the same person for 7 years, so I’m not alone. I’m just not willing to settle. LW may feel differently.

      1. theattack says:

        I agree that it depends on the person, but the LW said she didnt’ want to break up over it, so that’s how I’m taking it. I also dont’ think it’s settling to stay with someone who does something that annoys you. My boyfriend likes to occasionally interrupt me when I’m saying something serious so that he can belt out some loud opera-style noises. It annoys the hell out of me, but my love for him is greater than my annoyance at that habit. It’s not settling. It’s relationship economics.

      2. I personally think it’s something she should learn to live with if she truly wants to be with him, rather than trying to change him. Telling him to stop when she’s trying to be serious is a good idea (and hopefully he does stop when she asks in a situation like that), but otherwise just let it go.

      3. I had a boyfriend who had SERIOUS concerns because I never laughed at his jokes. I actually enjoyed his sense of humor, but he was very dry and usually drew more of a snicker or a little chuckle than an actual laugh-out-loud. It was an issue for HIM because he prided himself on his humor and he thought that me not laughing was disrespectful. He thought I just didn’t “get” him. So I bet the boyfriend might be feeling kinda let-down as well.

      4. theattack says:

        I think there’s a difference between trying to change a person and trying to change one single behavior of theirs. People shouldn’t do or expect a complete personality overhaul, but they should expect that they’ll have to work and make adjustments when they enter a relationship. I’ve learned that some things I joke about are hurtful to my boyfriend, so I’m making an effort to stop because that’s what you do when you care about somebody. The LW’s bf may not be interested in working for their relationship at all, but I dont’ think she should give up to avoid asking him to change.

      5. I dunno. I just think sense of humor is so ingraned in the personality. It’s a big part of who you ARE. Telling a joke at someone’s expense is one thing, but making harmless jokes because you want to make your SO smile is something else. I think she should lighten up a little.

      6. theattack says:

        My example might not have been a great one because it’s too similar to the situation here. I see what you’re saying. I guess I just don’t believe that he’s right in saying taht these jokes are who he is. I think he’s using that as an excuse to avoid accountability for them. Which is fine. If he doesn’t want to make an effort, he doesn’t have to, at which point the LW has to weigh out her annoyance against all the good stuff.

        I just mean to say that people have to work at stuff. There are some things we can change and some things we shouldn’t change. If my bf was annoyed that I “aww”ed at puppies or that I stood up for women’s rights, he’d be out of luck because I can’t change those things. But if he gets annoyed that I bite my nails or occasionally say something out of line, I can work on those things. I’ve been filing the LW’s boyfriend’s jokes into the nail-biting, easily controlled category rather than a person’s innate qualities. Only thsoe two can decide which one it is, I guess.

      7. I totally see what you’re saying. This one’s tough. I would actually really like to see Wendy’s take on it.

    3. And the joke of it is that these folks would probably never MOA over such trivial problems in their own relationships. I suspect that the MOA reflex is a sort of vicarious thrill for some people. They get to play Queen of Hearts and ruthlessly dispose of all of the men who’ve disappointed them.

      1. Well, I think a lot of the MOA Happy comments come from us who can identify with the issue from some time in our past and feel relieved to be rid of them currently. Does this apply to EVERY LW, no. But, it can’t be dismissed that wanting a partner who is free of ”insert particular issue’ is more appealing than learning to adjust to it. And, we have the people in happy relationships now who can assure us single people that the guy who doesn’t make us cringe, or feel insecure on a constant basis is out there. Thus the MOA suggestions.

      2. It seems like we’re saying something similar.

    4. kerrycontrary says:

      If everyone on DW is so breakup happy then why are a ton of us in happy relationships? Including wendy…

      1. theattack says:

        I meant more about the advice to move on so often. I’m betting that most of us in happy relationships that have lasted more than a year or two have worked through some issues to get there. In our personal lives, we don’t say “Oh man, that thing he does really annoys me so I have to break up with him.” I see an inconsistency between the preaching and the practicing, and for the most part, I think the practicing is usually right on.

  50. I find it hard to believe that is the only facet of his sense of humor…so I’m working with “that part of his humor is a continuous irk for you.” Not over-used those jokes can be funny…like a well placed “that’s what she said”, but sounds to me like he wore it out similarly to how a man’s underwear will look before he finally decides an elastic band of tattered cloth will no longer suffice…

    Regardless of any of that I feel like you have two different communication styles. Humor seems to be his way of navigating serious talks…it might be immature…or it might be that he isn’t comfortable getting serious or needs to add in his own humor to make it more “manageably serious” for him. If this is something you can’t understand I think you will always be frustrated. Maybe he needs a woman that handles serious talks similarly? And you a man that handles talks similar to you?

    Another way to look at it is he isn’t trying to take away from what you are trying to talk about…he is trying to make himself comfortable with the topic. Maybe if you transfer your thinking that it “belittles what you are saying” to “he is trying to get comfortable with what we are talking about” it will be less frustrating for you. If you can’t do that I would MOA because this is pretty much his personality.

  51. I had to write in when I read the line “sense of humor is not important” WRONG WRONG WRONG! It is the the most important thing that gets you through life when you have been married for several years and that nervous spark is gone and you are getting old and tired and life is full of pressure and kids and bills etc. Don’t get me wrong my life is great, becasue my husband and I have the SAME sense of humor and laugh at everything life throws our way. Yeah life sucks, but not with him laughing beside me. And trust me those little things that annoy you now will only get bigger and bigger as time goes on (ex boyfriend also did the same as your boyfriend and it was such a relief after we broke up) So please please MOA! Find someone else.

  52. Temperance says:

    He sounds immature from this letter, but that’s just my take.

    I don’t think that it’s wrong to find stupid jokes to be a deal breaker. There are plenty of men who are able to have serious conversations without making a bad pun, and there are women out there who might like his bad jokes and stupid puns.

  53. “I’ve tried another approach by telling him how a sense of humor isn’t important to me”

    Really? You know damn well you wouldn’t be happy with a guy who never LOLed and never made any jokes (even bad ones). This is clearly an aspect of his personality that he doesn’t seem interested in changing for you. If your boyfriend annoys the crap out of you, break up with him before you end up on “Snapped.”

  54. bittergaymark says:

    Another clueless woman trying to change her man… Typical. This is who he is. This is who you started dating. This is who you are dating. If you don’t like it, move on already… Go out and find somebody who (like you!) apparently has no sense of humor and is both boring along with childishly petty. Just constantly do everything to sound like your letter and you’ll land Mr. Blah in no time at all, I assure you.

    PS — I blame SEX AND THE CITY for why guys world-over assume women must just LOVE really shockingly bad and obvious sexual puns… 😉

    1. I agree. Accept it or move on. I don’t think I’d try any of the “training” tips I’ve seen mentioned either…

      1. bittergaymark says:

        Those training tips? Hah! So fucking condescending… Text book examples of why too many men think women are nothing but controlling bitches.

      2. An ex actually once asked me to train him to be a better boyfriend. I told him that was ridiculous, plus I was not going to put that much effort into his own shit-I am not his mother.

      3. bittergaymark says:

        Curious choice of words as far too many women seemingly DO want to act like their mothers… And it’s a big turn off to men. Huge. Many of the responses above very much sound like women dealing with their children and NOT their men…

      4. totally. He must have picked up that nuts idea somewhere, likely from another relationship.

    2. And, I blame SEX AND THE CITY for making straight women think they can have a non-bitter, supportive gay best friend like Stanford!

      I joke, I joke!!

      1. bittergaymark says:

        Stanford is actually VERY bitter… 😉

      2. You know if he cut back on coffee, it wouldn’t be so bitter. 😉

      3. bittergaymark says:

        Or simply dressed better. I couldn’t ever really like THAT character because his fashion choices were so over the top ridiculous and just made gays look like tragic fashion victims — meanwhile, I’ve never ever even seen one dressed that way… Just bad. Embarrassingly so.

      4. Oh come on, BGM – you missed that “forced sexual joke” I just made in this anti-humor thread!

      5. bittergaymark says:

        Coffee equals bad tasting sperm? Uh, yeah. Gross. That one definitely sailed “under” my head… 😉

      6. You know who I want as a GBF–Derek Blasberg. Interned at Vogue, so fashion forward He even wrote the book on being Classy. No seriously. Its a great read. I own it 🙂

    3. What gives you the impression that enough men have even seen Sex and the City for it to have had a noticable impact on the behavior of men world over???

      1. I agree. My husband cringed every time he noticed I was watching it.

      2. bittergaymark says:

        That’s actually too bad. Men could learn a lot from that show. So could most women now that I think about it…

      3. Not going to lie, I’m perfectly fine with bad sexual puns. And bitter gay men who sorta look like Ed Harris. Sex and the City either made my life awesome or ruined it forever.

  55. This would most definitely be a deal breaker for me. I have to be able to share in the sense of humor of my significant other. I think my fiance is hilarious (and to be completely honest, so do a great many people), but what I like best about his humor is the side of it he shares with me and me alone. We make up stupid little songs about our everyday life, or make faces at each other, or sometimes take gentle jabs at each other. It’s a big part of our connection, and a lot of the reason I chose to date him. I’d have a hard time finding someone else to be that silly with, in the right way.

    My point is, humor can be a large part of someone’s personality, and it can really be a pain if you don’t like that part of them. And it’s not going to change just for you. Perhaps you need someone with a more mature or more intellectual sense of humor. Unlike what Bittergaymark said, just because you don’t like his sense of humor, that doesn’t mean you don’t HAVE a sense of humor.

    1. bittergaymark says:

      Uh, she actually says flat out that having a sense of humor isn’t important to her….

      1. iseeshiny says:

        Evidently not having one is, though.

  56. I think you need to believe him when he says he’s not going to change. That means you have two options: leave or stay and learn to deal with it. Not saying you have to pretend to love his jokes, but you have to learn that he’s going to make them. How you deal with them, is up to you. I don’t think though that continuing to remind him that you dislike them for the next 30+ years is going to go over well. For you or him…..

  57. LW, I know you don’t want to hear MOA, so how about this – your relationship will not survive. Other people wrote about ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them’. Take him as he is now, because he won’t change.

    I’m just curious – he must have always been like this. In the beginning, you must have found him adorable and charming and endearing and other cute adjectives, and now you’re finding that his behavior irks you. What else happened? Stress at your job, other family problems? Something must have happened that his behavior, previously tolerated, has become unacceptable for you.

    Try to put yourself in your bf’s shoes. His gf is telling him that when he is being himself, she’s going insane. How long do you think he can repress a side of his personality before resentment starts to creep in? Why would he be in a relationship with someone around whom he’s going to have to censor himself?

    I feel this is a lose-lose situation. I hope you’ll try some of the advice here. Maybe some of it will work. Maybe some of it will work in the long term, but I doubt it. In my own relationship, once I got to that point where I couldn’t tolerate something that previously didn’t bother me, it was all downhill from here. I hope you won’t be like me, wondering why the hell didn’t I leave sooner. Best wishes to you

  58. Wow! I’m glad my comment stirred up some conversation. I should be clear, the kinds of jokes he makes to me are not the things he would say in front of anyone else. He’s not racist. He uses the jokes to make fun of racist people and to push my buttons. I’m very involved in social justice work, and sometimes we can get very P.C. His jokes poke fun at that, but of course he respects my work and understands the reasons behind it.

    It is all about context. I used to be in the camp that making any kind of racial joke was horrible, but you can play with race in ways that actually critique stereotypes (a la some of Dave Chapelle) more than a straight response could.

  59. bittergaymark says:

    Oh, and hey, everybody. Good luck finding a life partner who in no way ever even remotely annoys you…

    1. Annoying is fine. Disrespectful to me or the social justice causes I care about? Not Ok.

  60. Avatar photo copacabananut says:

    OK, I’m too lazy to read through all the comments (because there are a LOT), but one thing that crossed my mind: if this guy goes through the trouble of making jokes during serious conversations, is there something larger going on? I know I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable. Maybe his jokes are the result of something bigger going on that needs to be discussed, like that certain serious discussions (or discussions in general) are difficult for him for some reason or another. Just a thought!

    If it is just an annoying personality quirk, though, I think it’s really necessary to think about how you’ll feel 30 years down the line when you’re discussing something legitimately serious (a mortgage or something) and he finds a way to turn it into an unappreciated joke.

  61. Speaking from over 20 years down the line, break it off now. Sense of humor is an indicator of much deeper values and beliefs. He can’t change who he is and what he finds funny, and over time it will make you both crazy.

  62. Anonymous too says:

    I’m not sure when this was posted but I have a similar problem and I just had to look on the internet to see if I am the only one who feels that my boyfriend’s jokes are annoying to the core and he does not get that I don’t appreciate them. His ‘jokes’ are more of a personal attack if I can describe them than they are just silly. Frankly I have my own theorie about them: I think that he is not really joking but actually means what he says UNTIL he reads that I don’t take too kind to it then would respond with ‘you didn’t catch the joke in this?’ This is a constant phenomena hence I say that, he is not really joking but what he says, which is usually very condescending and patronizing, he actually means!
    I have so many examples of his supposed ‘jokes’ that I can’t even list here.

    It all went downhill after he saw a folder with my qualifications in and saw that I have a Master’s Degree, at the time he totally seemed proud of me (we just started the relationship) but not long after that he had some philosophical (for a lack of a different word) explanation of something that I truly could not grasp as it did not make sense to me and he pulled away with ‘Are you sure you have a Master’s Degree?’ Needless to say it psd me off! He played it down as a joke until today.
    Having said this, I didn’t find this relationship very comforting I was in a constant state of guessing whether he was now serious or ‘joking’.
    I doubt that the author of this post would want to be in a relationship where they will be constantly annoyed or driven insane; it does not end it just gets worst almost as if it is being done deliberately to get some reaction from you and in my case, my reaction is seen as a tantrum as if I’m crazy. I hate that so I walked.

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