Month: October 2010

sarc(h)asm is no way to bridge the gap

As an update to a previous situation, I present two snippets from my most recent email to Michele.

I have been waiting to vent since Saturday. As Jeff and I were sitting down to eat, he mentioned things he’d read at two different websites. So I took the chance to inquire, “In all of this website-reading, have you had the chance to look at mine?” “Not lately.” I felt like pressing the matter with, “Um, exactly how long is lately?” But he then proceeded to say, “Oh, I might need for you to send me one of the addresses again, because I lost them. When I moved to a new computer…”

Okay, I’m really trying to appreciate his (FINALLY!!) being honest and to not be petty about this but there is SO MUCH about this that bothers me. First, again, I wanted to press the matter and ask when exactly he moved to a new computer, because he’d told me (when I previously asked about the websites a few months ago) that he’d have time to visit them during his vacation, which was in August. Second, he cares so little about it that he waits until I ask him point blank about them to mumble, “oh, yeah, could you resend that?” Along that line, he obviously doesn’t care about them – or ME – at all to even remember ONE of them in the first place?! (This makes me especially peeved because as I’ve said, he prides himself on remembering tons of useless trivia -and yet! He can’t remember what matters to me. Un-freakin’-believable. )

I’d suspected many months ago that the reason he wasn’t emailing me is because he’d lost my email address, and I’d say that’s all but confirmed, with him asking me to send them to him. At that I did get a little venom-y and replied, “We haven’t emailed since 2008. Why break tradition?” And about re-acquainting him with the websites, I wanted to respond like a typical scorned woman and withdraw with a chilly, “Don’t bother.” Again, I know it’s petty, but I have no intention of sending him the websites’ link again. He didn’t care to visit them in over a year, despite my repeatedly saying how much that would mean to me – and him saying repeatedly that he WOULD visit them!

As I said, this really threw me for a loop, and I was quiet for a few minutes. Then I tried to get over it and finally responded to his attempts at making conversation, but now I kinda hate that I “gave up” so easily, because (as ever) he really, truly doesn’t understand that he lost even more points there. When he talked about losing the address, he wasn’t even apologetic; he was just stating facts, like he does.

A few days later, I finished the letter with the latest development.

About Jeff, I did see him yesterday, and I did manage to bring up the websites thing. I broached the subject by referring to an article I’d seen this week which said that women tend to apologize more than men. (That’s sort of a “Well, duh!” but the article went on to say that it wasn’t because men thought apologizing was weak (or whatever) but it was because they had a higher “threshold” of what they thought merited an apology.) Then I was like, “Along those lines…” and I simply explained that my feelings were hurt when he confessed that he lost the websites’ addresses. I didn’t want to beat a dead horse, but I did want him to understand why, and I pointed out how he prides himself on a good memory yet nothing about not even one name or one of the 20(!) topics of websites I have stood out to him…? And that I’d repeatedly said how important it was to me to be heard (esp. with the sites) and he’d repeatedly said that he’d visit them, even as recently as during his vacation, “yet that came and went without a word about them.” He listened quietly, and I don’t think he felt too beat up on, which was good. I wasn’t trying to put him on the spot; I didn’t really even expect him to say anything in response. I explained that I simply wanted to get that off my chest, “and maybe later, if I decide to share the sites with you again, you’ll make a little more effort to visit them? Maybe.” Then I let the subject drop and moved on to another article I read.

Will this little speech change anything? :shrug: Who knows. At least I’m trying! As with my previous efforts, I was pleased with having said something, and in a way that I didn’t think was harsh.

I’ve very recently been thinking about that truth “you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Like when I tried talking to Jeff about my hurt feelings, and I acknowledged that it might not change anything, but I’m trying. It’s actually kind of unrealistic for me to think that I’d say a few sentences, and he’d understand them perfectly, and respond perfectly. ‘Cause you know, I don’t understand or respond to people perfectly either. I think that’s why the Bible so often repeats itself on important matters: because we’re all works in progress. Maybe when we understand that – in ourselves, and in others, and in our relationships with each other – we can find the patience it takes to stick with them and work on it.