Most people enjoy laughter and want a relationship full of it. What happens when the jokes are no longer funny and shines light on issues in the relationship? Making light of your partner or the relationship problems can be problematic and sometimes abusive. Here are 3 reasons joking in your relationship is no laughing matter.
Have you ever heard a joke about yourself that felt good? A joke about a flaw that didn’t leave you laughing uncomfortably to keep people from saying you can’t take a joke? There is no denying that being able to laugh at yourself is a good trait to have but that doesn’t mean you enjoy when others laugh at you. Sometimes the jokes are just not funny. Mean-spirited or belittling jokes may not be your thing especially if they’re aimed at you. So while it may seem lighthearted to make fun of each other’s flaws, a lot of times being the butt of a joke is everything but a laughing matter.
2.The jokes are just a form of passive-aggressiveness
Jokes are meant to be funny until you realize it’s the way you or your partner complains about an aspect of the relationship. Joking about an issue in hopes that your partner gets that it is a real problem is the same as saying “I’m fine” while stomping around the house not engaging in normal conversations. There is some expectation that your partner will be able to see the seriousness behind your words and make an adjustment Joking keeps the emotional confrontation at a distance while “expressing” concerns. The problem with hiding real concerns in humor is there is no guarantee that the concerns will ever be addressed. The joker is left with unmet expectations and if their partner picks up on the passive- aggressiveness, they can begin to harbor some resentment.
3. The jokes can leave you feeling blindsided.
This is probably the most harmful. You’re hanging out with your partner, alone or maybe with friends, and your partner makes a joke about your cleaning habits. You know that you don’t have the best cleaning habits, but it’s never been addressed in the relationship. You thought your partner was fine with it or maybe hadn’t really noticed. Then, you hear the joke and it feels like you got punched in the chest. Something that you may have been or know that you need to be working on has been pointed out in front of everyone. Being hit with an issue in the relationship that you didn’t know was an issue, especially in front of other people, is one of the worst feelings ever. Joke or not, the pain you feel is serious.
If you are using jokes that point out flaws, address real concerns in the relationship or that leave your partner feelings exposed, then it’s time to reevaluate. What function do the jokes serve for you? Identify why you struggle with addressing issues directly in your relationship and what negativity you are trying to avoid by not addressing the issues head on. Making a real problem into a joke does not help anyone. It either lessens the impact of your concern or harms the other person so much they will not wanting to discuss it. Sure, you shoulder jokes, laugh together, and enjoy each other’s company but don’t make each other the butt of the joke especially when you know the joke is about a genuine issue or concern.