A while back, I heard an interview with the author Joyce Carol Oates on my local NPR radio station. Afterwards, I couldn't stop thinking about her take on sharing her feelings with her spouse.
A snippet of the interview (full interview available here):
Joyce: He would be helpful if I needed help, but I would not come to him with problems that would upset him. If I got a terrible review . . . I would never tell him about it. . . I don't believe in upsetting people, unless I really, really had to.
NPR: But then you're upset and don't you at least want to get some commiseration?
Joyce: No. No. No, I don't think it works that way. If I had gotten a devastating review or something terrible had happened to me and I went to (my husband) he would be sympathetic, but then he'd be upset. And then he'd feel like he'd need to talk to me about it.
NPR: So you want to protect him from getting upset?
Joyce: Yeah. And then you talk about it for an hour. Whereas when you're all alone, you might have forgotten about it in five minutes. As soon as you share something with somebody, it's gonna come back, someone will always bring it up, or you'll remember it together. Better to move on and forget about these things.
This is such a foreign idea to me. Perhaps I am an over-sharer, but I can't imagine having a crappy day or having something happen to me, either good or bad, and no sharing that with my partner. Not sharing how your feeling seems to take the whole "we're a team", "we're in this together" concept out of a relationship. And really, that's the best part about a relationship! Knowing you have someone to commiserate with, someone to talk over what happened and figure out what to do, that's what's so great about being married!
Am I the strange one? Or is Joyce Carol Oates? Am I wrong in thinking that most people in a relationship share everything? Well, nearly everything.
What is your relationship sharing like?
1) I agree with Mrs. Pin Cushion. Me and my partner are big sharers. Sharing is caring.
2) I agree with Joyce Carol Oates. There is no need to share everything, some things are better kept to myself.