Dear Amy:

My boyfriend is kind and funny and well-spoken - he's what my mother would call a good catch. But we have a problem between us that I don't know how to handle. He tickles me.

I'm very ticklish, and whenever he thinks I'm "taking myself too seriously" he starts to tickle me. I laugh and I can't stop until he stops touching me. He thinks it's fun, but I don't like it. I've said so, but he says I'm ridiculous.

When I'm laughing like that, my heart races and I can't breathe. He's tickled me until I've wet myself. I was mortified, but he thought it was hilarious.

- Tickled Out

Dear Tickled:

I don't want to burst your whole "he's a good catch" bubble, but tickling is what schoolyard bullies do when they want to physically and mentally dominate someone. When you're being tickled, you're disabled to the point where you can't protest. This is abusive.

You say your boyfriend strikes when he thinks you're "taking yourself too seriously," but he shouldn't get to decide how seriously you take yourself. He has ignored your request that he not touch you in a specific way and denied your right to make it by calling you ridiculous. If your boyfriend can't respect you enough to stop tickling you, throw your "catch" back into the pond.

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