Am I Being Oversensitive?

Updated on October 31, 2017
K.M. asks from Oklahoma City, OK
17 answers

My FIL was in town last weekend and stayed the night with us. As we were all finishing dinner and cleaning up, my husband said to my FIL, "I think I have more common sense than [me]." He went on to say that I am "book smart" and an intelligent person. Apparently he thinks I just lack in the common sense department.

I'm not sure what gives him this idea. I feel like I have plenty of common sense. Yes, occasionally I make mistakes or have an accident, but doesn't everyone?

I feel like we have different backgrounds and therefore different “common” sense. Our common sense is not in common, haha. Also I think gender differences play a role.

Anyway, it hurt my feelings. Why is he even comparing us? It never would have occurred to me to compare our levels of common sense and decide who has more. Who cares? And not only did he compare us in his own mind, he told his dad he thinks he has more common sense than I do – right in front of me. Who else has he told that to?

I'm curious if anyone else would be upset by this. It's a few days later and I'm still thinking about it. We talked about it once, and he did not back down from his statement. He offered to start pointing out to me when I do something that he thinks shows my lack of common sense. You know, to "help" me. My response to that was, “and we’ll be that much closer to divorce.”

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the feedback. For the record, I don't feel like I "threatened divorce" and I don't think my husband thinks so, either. I did not say, “If you keep doing that I’ll divorce you.” But I did want him to know that continuing to treat me like that would not be good for our marriage. Is that the same thing as threatening divorce? In my mind, it’s not.

What he said was not said with malice and I will try to hold on to that. I know I have thin skin sometimes but I'm not sure how to remedy that. It's leftover baggage from a past part of my life where I did have to defend myself from people who really were attacking me, so now I'm super sensitive to it. Trying to get a handle on it which is why I asked the question here, to help me realize if I'm taking things too harshly.

Thanks again for all your comments.

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M.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I have worked hard over the years to not feel wounded by comments and situations that don't involve malice. Do you think he was being mean-spirited or just sharing his unwanted opinion? If he did this out of malice than there are bigger issues in the marriage.
My husband has the common sense and I am more book-smart. Neither of us feels insulted when we playfully remind each other of this fact.

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K.C.

answers from Anchorage on

My husband and I openly say that I have more book smarts and he has more common sense. It's not a put down in my opinion. It's an observation that happens to be true. It's like a ying and yang thing . We compliment each other in that way. We balance each other out. I think you are being way too over sensitive. And not cool to threaten divorce. Even joking. Not ok.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Tell your husband to show you some respect in front of others.

Did you ask him if you could point out HIS flaws? If it's onesided? He can pound sand.

The fact that you used "divorce" as a retort? You're not committed to the marriage. If you're looking for a way out - take it. But figure out what's WRONG first so that you don't have to re-open this chapter of your life again. Learn from it.

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M.6.

answers from New York on

Was what he did out of malice? Doubtful. Possibly thoughtless, but not malice. The fact that he has offered to tell you WHY he thinks that and you threaten divorce, speaks volumes about your unwillingness to seek any compromise or understanding of the situation. Why can't you take the good from his comment (about how smart you are), and leave the not so good behind? How did it get turned into "comparing" when it was likely just an off handed comment. Why are you so worried about who else he might have said it to? Good questions that you need to sit down and ask yourself.

So yes, I believe you are being oversensitive. Let it go.

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E.A.

answers from Erie on

My husband and I have an agreement to not even joke about divorce when we're arguing. Having been on the brink of it at one point, we know what a serious thing it is and so we agreed to never use it as a threat once we decided to stay together. I think it's bad form to say things like that to your spouse, just as it's bad form to criticize them in front of others. I agree that you two need counseling. Now.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

I think you are being petty about it and your response regarding divorce leads me to believe things are not all great with your relationship. How long have you been married?

My husband and I (married 27 years before his sudden death) had a good relationship. We also would banter back and forth in things such as common sense, etc. it was never meant as harmful remarks to each other. If my husband thought my feelings were hurt, he would not participate in banter.

We didn't have contests or such to determine who was smarter.

It sounds like you need to work on your communication skills. If this hurts you so much then he should respectfully refrain from remarks due to your sensitive nature.

It does sounds like you both like to think you are right, therefore you dig in your heels and don't budge. Keep this up and your marriage could well be effected. Marriage is compromise.

Even when hubby and I had disagreements, we NEVER threatened divorce. That's just not ok.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

Well, it's proof that he lacks common sense in saying that right in front of you! Just say, "Uh, huh, you tell yourself what you need to believe honey". PS - Your feelings are your feelings. If this hurt your feelings and you told him so he should apologize and stop talking about it to others/you. I don't think it is that big of a deal, but it is a bit unkind.

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D.D.

answers from Boston on

I think he was a little stupid to bring up the subject to his father unless it was part of something they were talking about. I have 4 children and 2 are book smart with less common sense than the other 2. No different than someone being more athletic or better at cooking. Everybody has different strengths. Your hubby might very well have more common sense than you but that doesn't diminish your talents and gifts.

So while I can see how your feeling were hurt I can also tell you that instead of focusing on the negatives and letting things both you you should either talk about it to him letting him know that you felt hurt or let it go knowing that his common sense failed him because if he really had more common sense he would have kept his mouth shut.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

I think there are a bunch of things to consider:

Was he malicious and trying to denigrate you, or was he thoughtless?

Why, even if the thought occurred to him based on whatever was said just before this, did he think it was a good idea to put you down in front of his father? Has he done this before? Not just with his father, but with other people (neighbors, people at parties, whatever)?

Why, when you raised the issue and indicated that you were hurt, did he stick to his position and not, in your words, "back down"? Were you clear that you were looking for a retraction or at least an apology? Does he normally take a strong stand and never, ever apologize or waffle or change his mind? If so, wouldn't that be what's bothering you, and not just this one episode? You said this: "He offered to start pointing out to me when I do something that he thinks shows my lack of common sense. You know, to "help" me." That sounds pretty stubborn and arrogant, to my mind.

Maybe you and he have different backgrounds, but it sounds to me like you aren't feeling very confident. If he said you were intelligent, why didn't you hear that? Was he saying that you are smarter than he is in that way, and was he, perhaps, building up his own shattered confidence by saying that at least HE has common sense (like street smarts).

I think, if you took the time to say, "occasionally I make mistakes or have an accident, but doesn't everyone?" then you are highlighting some insecurity there.

I think that joking about divorce is a really bad idea, at least in the middle of an argument. Those are statements that are hard to take back, and it's not really "fighting fair."

Sounds to me like both of you would rather be right than reach an accommodation or understanding, and that concerns me a lot more than this one episode, thoughtless as it was.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

That's (in my opinion) just unecessary for someone to say.

Those are the comments best left unsaid. Whether they are true, untrue (and like you - I'm not even sure how you would measure this .. and like you say, what's the point?) - what is the point in saying it? It's just kind of hurtful, isn't it? Or at the very least, makes someone feel awkward - not just you I'm guessing, but your FIL most likely also.

It says a lot about your husband.

To give him the benefit of the doubt, I'm guessing he didn't intend harm - but really, that's a bit clueless. I would let it go - and just chalk it up to him not really having manners (in this instance). Is he always like this or was it a slip?

The decent thing for him to have done, was once you told him it had bothered you, would have been for him to apologize and then move on. My husband knows this. We have had a few instances as you describe (not about common sense, but on things we've disagreed upon) and we have come to the decision to deal with it as - if I'm upset/you're upset - the other person says sorry, won't do it again, let's move on.

I don't like that he offered to point these instances out to you. That's a bit immature.

Anyhow - I'm with you. I think he just needs to clam up.

Maybe in a bit, if you do feel the need to revisit it - just say that there's no need to point out differences in front of other family members (or anyone else) as it draws attention where you don't feel there's any need to have it drawn. If he feels the need to tell you - so be it - you still won't be thrilled to have your flaws pointed out (and why does he feel the need?) but please don't do it infront of others.

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D..

answers from Miami on

Your husband is being a jerk. Your father should have said "I don't want to hear you maligning my daughter." If your dad laughed about that, then you are outnumbered.

Husbands do sometimes tend to poke fun at their wives. But you must not let him continue this with impunity.

There is a cost to this kind of behavior. Either the cost is to you in loss of love and trust in him, or to him for you standing up for yourself and demanding that he treat you more respectfully. I hope you have the fortitude to make it the latter.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't understand your outrage at being compared. I know that if something minor needs to be fixed at our house and someone says "Oh, to fix that you need to..." - directing the comment to my husband (gender role assumptions), I will smilingly say "I'm the handy one around the house, thanks for the tip." He laughs and agrees with me - compared to him, I am better at that kind of stuff. That doesn't mean that I'm a better overall person, just that we recognize and appreciate that we each have strengths and weaknesses. If you take your husband's comment in that context, I don't see why it's a big deal.

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T.D.

answers from Springfield on

sounds like you two could benefit from some marriage counseling...

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Well, he hurt your feelings - and what's worse is - he doesn't care that your feeling are hurt.
Because you care about his opinion - you are vulnerable.
We all are when it comes to people we love.
Since we can assume he's not going to change and/or be remorseful about hurting your feelings - you have pretty much one choice and that is to not care so much about his opinion.

In a way you are right - it is perhaps one step closer to divorce - but there might be 10 or a hundred steps in that direction and one step doesn't necessarily mean you've arrived at that destination.
I don't think it's a straw breaking the camels back situation (unless there's a lot of other things going on that we don't know about).

Going forward - you know you need a slightly thicker skin.
But - if he really HAD 'more common sense' - making that statement right in front of you like that totally demonstrates that he in fact doesn't have common sense to begin with.
If it were a cartoon - he'd have the word 'jerk' flashing across his forehead when he said it.

You can let it go or get some marriage counseling.
A marriage tune up and better communication is not a bad idea.

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J.N.

answers from New York on

I don't know if your a couple who banter back & forth with comments like that as sort of tongue & cheek joking....I'm curious to know what area exactly he feels you lack in common sense. You just might see things differently and sometimes that's a nice balance. But if he seriously makes a comment like that and he's upset by your "lack of common sense" then I think he needs to learn some manners. He should not be disrespecting and degrading his wife/partner. If he has a problem with your opinion on something he should privately say so in a constructive way. If you can't let it go because it bothers you so much he needs to know and correct that behavior because he is your husband. Good luck?

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

Yeah, I've been there from time to time. Sometimes people just say or do things that are insensitive. It's just how humans are. My husband has said things that hurt my feelings. Sometimes he apologizes, and sometimes he just says I'm being overly sensitive, which does not help.

I told him, whether he things it should upset me or not, it did, and he needs to accept that. When you say or do something that upsets your partner, the least you should do is say, "I'm sorry I hurt you."

My husband has a thicker skin than I do. That's just the way it is. He also has a tendency to just blow something off if he doesn't understand. He doens't have to understand why something affected me a particular way, but he does have to accept it. And that might be something you want to say to your husband. He doesn't have to get why it bothered you. But it did bother you, and he should care about that.

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

Well if you can't handle him thinking that maybe you do need to go to counseling. My husband and I say stuff like that about our oldest that is so stinking smart it's not even funny but no common sense. He was probably not meaning it to hurt you and if it was just someone off I might be offended. But he feels he can be himself with his father. That's family.

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