His One Response: “I See”

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I have attempted to discuss my issues with my partner, whom we’ll call “K” in this letter. One of his major issues is that he has a very dry tone when talking to me – in person and via text. His most frequent response to anything I say is: “I see.”

I’ll give you a example Me: “I’ve been playing this super-cute game, and there’s a character that reminds me of you.” K: “I see.” There’s an 80 percent chance I’ll get “I see” as a response to most things I say. Sometimes I feel there’s no point in responding or texting if I already know what he’ll say.

Recently I attempted to discuss how it made me feel. He said he’ll try to change his tone (and the “I see” response), but if anything, it’s gotten worse. He’s even been saying it when we flirt, or when I need to vent. I’ve stopped venting to him because when I get these responses, they frustrate me – or he winds up saying “I’m sorry.”

One night, I decided to discuss the fact that we don’t live together. It was over text, and he said “I see,” but it turned out he was trying to make a joke – he was playing a game. It makes me uncomfortable, and it’s not just “I see,” it’s the overall tone. When he needs to vent, I’m able to listen, give advice, and pay attention.

To make matters worse, I haven’t ever really received a compliment from him. He’s much more open about the about the famous women he’s attracted to. I don’t know what to do.

– I don’t see


I know people who are stuck in a phrase. I’m stuck in a few, at the moment.

One of these phrases is: “you know what I mean?” According to my sister, I end every few sentences by saying, “you know what I mean?” This irritates her. I’m working on it. I’ve noticed that a bunch of other people in my life say it too.

I have a friend who’s always said “correct” when you say something he wants to validate. I happen to like it a lot – it’s nice to be told you’re correct, and the way he says it is very amusing. It’s part of his character, and it makes it easy to do an impression of him.

“I see” is your partner’s go-to phrase, it seems, for, “I hear you, but I don’t know how to respond.” It might be dismissive. It might be his equivalent of a head nod to show he’s receiving the information.

I don’t think “I see” is the big problem in your relationship. The real issue is something so much bigger. You don’t feel appreciated or loved. You’re talking about moving in with this person, but he’s not giving you what you need as a parter. His tone irritates you. The lack of compliments make you feel unseen. You believe the relationship is one-sided – that he can’t offer what you give him.

Based on the information in your letter, this isn’t the right relationship for you. Ask yourself why you stay. You can’t change him – nor should you.

I’m sure there’s a bunch of wonderful stuff you chose not to tell us, but is it enough to overshadow what doesn’t work? My guess is no.

You can admit this isn’t the partner for you. It’s OK to move on.

– Meredith

Readers? I didn’t see any categories for this letter. I need a new letter category called “you should probably break up, and I don’t fully know why you haven’t.” I should make that category and go back and put a zillion letters in there.

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