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I've been dating a guy for a few years who is two years younger than me (I am 30 and he is 28). We've been living together for about a year. For the most part, we get along extremely well and have a good relationship. However, for the past year I've noticed he's been making more comments about my age, calling me an old lady and making general comments or jokes about me being old, even when I tell him they hit a nerve. Further, he loves to pinch/touch my stomach and judges me about the food I eat.
I have tried everything from swatting his hand away, yelling and crying, and trying to have a removed and calm conversation about how much it bothers me. But nothing works! If he really cared about me, wouldn't he make an effort to stop? I've asked him if he isn't attracted to me or thinks I'm fat and he says no, and reiterates how much he loves me and that I'm the most important person in his life. For reference, we are an active couple who works out together regularly, and overall I am happy with the way I look. Is this a deal-breaker? We've recently been talking about weddings and buying a house, but I truly don't know how much longer I can put up with this, which I've also expressed to him but it probably now seems like an empty threat.
I'm at the point where I dread eating anything that isn't a salad in front of him. What do I do?
– confused (and hungry) in Mass.
I believe it was Homer Simpson who said, "You don't win friends with salad."
You also don't maintain relationships by being cruel. Pinching someone else's stomach to make a weight joke is unacceptable.
You explained your needs and were super clear about how his "jokes" make you feel. If he can't modify his behavior after absorbing that information, this is a deal-breaker. If he's paying attention, he's probably seen how his little jabs have changed your behavior in your own home. If he's still pinches your stomach after seeing how miserable you've become, he just doesn't care.
Stop the talk about weddings and houses. Let him know where you are with this – yes, again – and that the threat is not empty. Then see if you can live on your own terms for a few weeks, even if it means ordering a pizza one night and sitting in front of the TV. You should be able to do that. If he's already shamed you out of enjoying that kind of normal, human behavior, it's over.
Readers? Should she walk now?