Social Question

phoebsshmeebs's avatar

After four years together, my fiance is still embarrassed by his tourettes around me... What to do?

Asked by phoebsshmeebs (77points) November 25th, 2011

Okay, well, I have a question regarding my fiance, James. We met in sort of a strange way; I met him through a friend who brought me to a party at him and his roommate’s place. My friend ended up getting drunk and fell asleep in their living room. James and I don’t really drink much, and somehow we started talking. We spent 4 hours talking in his room after the party was over, and I really liked him. He’s so sweet, and kind, and understanding. It was really late, and somehow we started getting a little touchy; things escalated, and we actually ended up having sex (which is crazy, because I’m not that kind of girl at all. I had only had sex once before with my boyfriend of 6 months). I slept at his place that night, and since then, we’ve been inseparable (We were 21 then, we’re 25 now and we live together, as well). We just got engaged a couple of weeks ago, too. :)

Anyways, James has mild tourettes as well (It’s nothing big; his hands will twitch sometimes, and he’ll occasionally furrow his brows or roll his eyes, etc. You have to really pay attention to notice it), but it gets more frequent when he’s nervous or stressed. Otherwise, it’s nothing ground-breaking; a slight tic every now and then. However, even after 4 years together, he still seems to act funny about it sometimes. He knows that I don’t care that he has tourettes; I rarely even notice anymore. However, there’s certain times where he seems embarrassed about it. If he has a tic (sorry to be blunt) while we’re having sex, he looks almost ashamed, and he’ll stare off for a bit before he’ll look at me again. Sometimes if we’re cuddling, his hand will twitch or something, and he’ll get quiet and look away, or sometimes he’ll even apologize for it. Every time he does, I tell him, “James, I don’t care, it’s fine. Don’t apologize, love.” His tics are just like another part of who he is, and I love everything about him.

The other night, we were laying in bed going to sleep, and I had my head on his chest, and his arms were around me. His hand kept twitching, and he apologized, saying “I’m sorry, that must be really irritating for you.” I don’t know how to get him to realize that his tics don’t bother me? It doesn’t matter to me; he’s the same person to me, whether he has tourettes or not. What should I do? Why is it that after 4 years together, and 2 years of living together, he still seems embarrassed by it? I feel terrible that he’s embarrassed by his tics when really, it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. Advice?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

whitetigress's avatar

I don’t think you need to nail any kind of idea into him to let him know that you’re okay with it. Actions speak louder than words, just smile and he says “I’m sorry it bothers you huh?” Just smile at him and shake your head in a nay fashion. Simple. You’re not the first person he’s been self conscious with this disorder, and you’re not the last. In my opinion its more about him that it is about what you can do, just make him feel comfortable with your actions, not with what you say.

marinelife's avatar

Tell him exactly what you said here.

“I don’t know how to get him to realize that his tics don’t bother me? It doesn’t matter to me; he’s the same person to me, whether he has tourettes or not. What should I do? Why is it that after 4 years together, and 2 years of living together, he still seems embarrassed by it? I feel terrible that he’s embarrassed by his tics when really, it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other.:

6rant6's avatar


I suppose it depends on the relationship. But maybe you can turn it around, make a game of it.

“If that hand twitches just one more time, I’m going to feel compelled to give someone a blowjob.”

If you carry through just a couple of times, he’s going to have a whole new relationship with it.

Bellatrix's avatar

And in addition to all of the above, just give it time. Prove by your actions that you care and it doesn’t matter. In time, hopefully he will just get used to you not reacting or being bothered by it. He probably always will be though. He has a lifetime of having people look at him strangely no doubt or reacting to his tic etc.

I would let him read this thread too. It shows how much you care that you bothered to ask. Other than that, just love him and congratulations on your engagement.

Sunny2's avatar

Stop his apology with a kiss or a finger on his lips. Tell him his apologizing all the time is more annoying than his tics.

wundayatta's avatar

I think his apologies are not about you, but him. It is his own acceptance of himself that perhaps he needs to work on. If he accepts himself, he won’t need to apologize to you (or anyone) about his his behavior. Perhaps therapy? You could volunteer to go with him, if you like. It might make you both feel a little more comfortable about everything. Just a kind of relationship tune-up before you get married.

spykenij's avatar

Gotta look him in the eyes and tell his heart and soul. If nothing else, get juvenile and show him something or share something with him that’s embarassing to see how he feels about it and try to compare if he doesn’t care either.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Okay.. I have something I’m deeply embarrassed about (and no, I won’t say what). I find it so embarrassing, and it’s such a giant issue for me, that I can’t imagine how it’s not a giant problem for other people I’m dating.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve dated a bunch of people and not one of them ever had the slightest issue with it. It doesn’t matter that they tried reassuring me. It’s the deep embarrassment that’s difficult to shake, and I completely and totally understand where he’s coming from.

The words are nice to hear, in terms of reassurance, but they may not sink in entirely. For me, the most reassuring thing would be some verbal reassurance combined with my partner’s behavior regarding the issue over time. As in, calmness, acceptance, non-reaction, etc. It might take a while, but gradually, I relax about it and feel much less self-conscious, at least with my partner.

spykenij's avatar

You could tell him it could be worse. Some people fart loudly with every step they take. Other people shart (aka – fart n shit their pants) and so on. Maybe some comic relief will relax him. It could always be worse.

Also, maybe some cognitive-behavioral tricks could help. Ask what he feels about it and closely analyze the language he uses. If he says he feels stupid for doing it, well “stupid” is not a feeling, it’s a thought. Now, is that thought accurate, is he stupid? NO! He feels embarassed, so why? What thought in his own head (because that’s the only person in there allowing him to feel certain ways and he’s gotta kill all assumptions because they are useless and almost always wrong) is making him feel embarassed? Maybe he is sick of it, but until he loves himself, it’s kinda hard to love anyone fairly or properly. I think tourettes is just as much a part of one’s unique personality or characteristics. Like Letterman’s teeth,, how some people find larger people sexy or even someone with a wandering eye. Hell, I think it’s kinda sexy for someone to have a slight wandering eye. It makes a person who they are. Had he not had his condition, you may have never ended up together because he could be completely different. Embrace it. I’m transgendered (don’t identify as female, even though I physically am) and I like girls, so I am living as gay (I say gay because lesbian = girl to me). Gay people really do have the right idea when it comes to embracing people for who they are and embracing their differences or what makes you unique. Tell me what you think. I hope this helps.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther