“Please read the letter. I nailed it to your door. It’s crazy how it all turned out; we needed so much more. Too late, too late – a fool could read the signs. Maybe, baby, you’d better check between the lines.” ~ Please Read the Letter by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
I suppose it’s true that when you give someone a gift, it becomes theirs to do with as they please, and you shouldn’t be angry with them for not using it the way you think they should. I mean, it’s theirs. A gift with restrictions isn’t much of a gift.
On the other hand, when you give someone a letter, don’t you expect them to read it? Last August, I told my boyfriend about my websites. At that point, we’d been dating for four years, and it finally seemed like the right time. I saw it as inviting him to know more about me, a part that previously – for whatever reason – I’d felt like keeping to myself.
After sharing the link to my blog specifically, I cautioned him that sometimes I’d ranted, and though he seemed undeterred, I anticipated that his feelings might be a little hurt. Still, in my more optimistic moments, I’d pictured one of those so-called rants sparking a conversation between us to address the problem, thus improving our relationship. At the very least, I was hoping for some mention from him of some small comment I’ve made that he found funny or thought-provoking or just worth repeating. I’d even written that such a mention would make me feel great because I’ve told him how important it is for me to feel I’m being heard.
What I DIDN’T anticipate, was that he’d show no interest whatsoever in what I had written — or am writing.
I kept waiting for feedback, but after a few weeks passed with no word from him, I’d broach the topic by citing some website project I was working on. To each comment, he had no response whatsoever. And for Jeff, who has an opinion on just about everything under the sun, this is significant. I finally asked him directly a few months ago, “Not to put you on the spot, but have you had a chance to look at my websites?” The reply was a curt, “No.” (Doesn’t that sound as if he’s read it and it bothered him?) I said, trying to be casual, “Is there any particular reason why? I didn’t scare you off with my warnings about ranting, did I?” “I just haven’t had time.”
And, although I think that’s a pretty weak excuse – is it not true that we make time for what we want to do, for what’s important to us? – I decided not to bring it up again. I’ve been trying to look at it as I wrote above, as a gift to him that he can use (or not!) as he sees fit. However, now any time he mentions doing anything computer-wise in his free time, *especially* some blog or fanfic he was “checking out”, my feelings are a little hurt. “He’s got time to read ALL of that stuff, but doesn’t have time to read mine?” Right. I can’t help feeling that it’s not lack of time, but complete lack of interest in what I have to say that inspires him to avoid my sites.
I can picture any guys who are reading this rolling their eyes at my being such a girl about this, wondering why women want to overanalyze things. Well, news flash, fellas: we think about things that are important to us! And for relationships like girlfriend-boyfriend, right or wrong, we’re looking for validation that it’s worth pursuing, that the end result will be worth working past the rough spots. And news flash, Jeff: we’ve got some problems, and I know you know this, because in those two minutes we’ve talked about it in the past year, you admitted that things have “cooled” between us. If you did read the blog and are bothered by what you read, WHY are we not talking about it? And if you’re really not reading it… do you care at all to know what I’m thinking? Are you content with just having someone to call a girlfriend? Apparently. Do I have commitment issues? You betcha. But ignoring the problems doesn’t make them go away! Yet, as you may have also noticed, I bring them up less and less, not because they’re not still problems, but because you don’t want to hear it.
Which is sad, really. We can only go so far in neutral.