Today, I read this brilliant post on fet by @TheFerrett. (For those without fet accounts, find it here, if you’re interested.) He talks about love languages and how acting from a place of your partner’s love language instead of your own can, at first, feel awkward.
I am one who practices empathy on a regular basis – sometimes voluntarily, often not and it seems the involuntary empathy is always from other’s pain. I want everyone to be happy. If happiness isn’t possible, I want the people I love to know I stand by their side.
If my partner needs to explore the world of, oh I don’t know, green grapes, let’s say. I think green grapes are an absurd, ridiculous waste of time, energy, and money, because hey, what did green grapes ever teach me and you’re only going to flush them down the toilet (metaphorically) in a few hours anyway. Being a loving partner, I not only support their eating of green grapes but I seek out new varieties. I send them hyperlinks to Green Grape Enthusiast blogs. I make the attempt to understand the basics.
This is what it is to be an active partner. I do not force my views of green grapes on my partner. This won’t change how they feel about grapes. All it will do is make me look like a selfish clod who has a closed mind. If I tell them how stupid grapes are every time they talk about it, they won’t share that part of themselves with me anymore. My partner won’t stop loving, eating, trying, reading about grapes. They will do it when I’m not around.
This is how walls are built. This is how relationships fail. I guess what I am saying is, I get it. I get what @TheFerrett is talking about: Practice empathy. Be there for your partners, not in the way you want to be or in the way that is comfortable for you. Be there in the way they need you to be.