Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Pessimist won't show enthusiasm for optimist partner's joys

Carolyn Hax on

Hello, Carolyn:

My partner often feels I don't react to events in his life as a supportive partner.

He believes that when he is excited about something or happy about an upcoming event, I should be just as happy as he is, and express myself that way to support him.

I am more of a glass-half-empty kind of woman, so it is difficult for me to express myself otherwise. I always seem to want to talk about the what-ifs and my concerns and my personal outlook on things, which always differs from his.

This upsets him very much and usually causes him to lash out at me, saying I need to stop this and start thinking about how it ruins the moment for him. He tells me no one else who loves him reacts this way but me.

I feel this is controlling behavior on his part: "If I share something with you that is good to me, you have to say only positive things about it as well, otherwise I am going to get mad at you."

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So what am I supposed to do? Give in and stop being me and only say what I know will make him happy? Or say what I am really thinking at the time, which I know he does not want to hear and will get angry with me for saying?

I really need an outsider's view because we have been going around this for too many years.

-- Annoyed and Confused

About this "give in" thing -- is it possible? Can you, in fact "stop being me" (which we'll get to in a bit) and "only say what I know will make him happy"?

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