Is it wrong to tease my boyfriend? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I tease my boyfriend a lot! Just for fun, and I am sure he likes it. But my mum says I should be more respectful. Is that right? Am I wrong to tease him?

Can I Tease?

 Chris says,

Hi, Can I Tease?

You are not wrong. Teasing is a valuable social skill and an important part of a healthy relationship. But teasing inevitably treads a fine line between criticism, sarcasm and respect, even for the happiest couples. Because no one likes disapproval. So the whole point of teasing is mixing signals into your nit-picking and fault-finding that say you should not be taken too seriously.


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Which means your boyfriend knows that you still love him despite poking fun at him. So teasing is always ambiguous, and it can sometimes be hard to figure out. But when lovers tease one another, they invariably wind up feeling more positive about one another.

Just make sure everything is playful. Full of funny expressions, laughter, exaggeration; funny voices, coy smiles, secret phrases, and lots of touching. And when you think about it, teasing is very similar to flirting, isn’t it?

It allows you to test the limits of a developing relationship while still leaving an escape route. Because you can always say “I was only teasing...” Just be aware that men and women tease differently.

Women tend to focus on personal habits and sexual issues, while men often focus on their partner’s physical characteristics. Women are more likely to find teasing hurtful, while men tend to find it arousing.

Mostly because men tend to interpret the closeness implied by teasing as a sign of sexual interest, while women do not! And maybe men are just more used to being teased, as they get more of it throughout their lives. While women tend to be more sensitive to anything that might be potentially hostile.

So go on teasing, and encourage your boyfriend to tease you. It will help you grow closer and will give your relationship a bit more breathing space. Especially around potential trouble spots. Tease each other well, and your relationship will become ever deeper.

 All the best,