THE LONG HEART TO HEART

I thought of you when I read this quote from “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin –

“Learning about this research made a difference in my attitude toward Jamie. I love him with all my heart, and I know he loves me, and I know that I can absolutely trust and confide in him, yet I often felt frustrated because he never wanted to have long heart-to-heart discussions. In particular, I wished that he would take more interest in my work. My sister, Elizabeth, is a TV writer, and I envy her having her writing partner, Sarah. Practically daily, she and Sarah have marathon conversations about their writing and career strategies. I don’t have a partner or any colleagues with whom to discuss work issues, so I wanted Jamie to fill that role for me. Also, I expected to be able to dump all my insecurities into Jamie’s lap. I’d start conversations with enticing openers such as “I’m worried that I’m not living up to my potential”or “I’m doing a bad job of networking”or “What if my writing is no good?”

Jamie, remarkably, didn’t want to have these conversations, and that made me angry. I wanted him to help me work through my feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Learning that men and women both turn to women for understanding showed me that Jamie wasn’t ignoring me out of lack of interest or affection; he just wasn’t good at giving that kind of support. Jamie wasn’t going to have a long discussion about whether I should start a blog or how I should structure my book. He didn’t want to spend hours pumping up my self-confidence. He was never going to play the role of a female writing partner, and it wasn’t realistic to expect him to do it. If I needed that kind of support, I should figure out another way to get it. My realization didn’t change his behavior—but I stopped feeling so resentful.”

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