Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Emotional differences can be a challenge for partners

Work with partner to reconcile your emotional differences

Q: I recently found out that my boyfriend deletes all his emails, including ones from me. I was so surprised when I heard this because I've never met someone who doesn't keep any personal emails!

I was also a bit hurt and upset because we've had some heartfelt email exchanges, especially when we did long-distance for a year. I've poured hours of thought into our correspondences.

Admittedly I am somewhat of a sentimentalist and enjoy reading old messages, or at least knowing they are available to be read at any time.

When I asked him the reason, he said the messages themselves don't matter so much, it's the feelings they bring out. He also explained that he doesn't delete my messages immediately after reading them, but maybe a week or a month later, after the messages have exhausted their use.

I can't believe he doesn't value our correspondences enough to keep them. Since then, I'm having a hard time writing to him at all, knowing my message will eventually be deleted.

I don't want this to be an issue, and I don't care about his email management per se, but it's been on my mind for longer than expected. Advice?

C.

A: Please don't take this the wrong way — man I want to be your boyfriend.

A clean email queue . . . I'm just going to close my eyes and feel it for a second . . . sigh.

You do realize, I think, that what you have isn't just an email-sav(or)ing difference but a difference in the way you live your emotional lives. That's why you haven't been able to shake this off as you expected you would — and that's why it is an issue, even though you don't want it to be.

For a sentimental person to pair off happily with an emotional modernist, both need to feel gratitude for the difference, versus pain or contempt, and neither one can harbor the goal of changing the other's approach.

His preference is about him and yours is about you; if you remain unconvinced of that, then the path I see for this relationship is a frustrating one for you both.

So can you, Sentimental, appreciate his uncluttered emotional shelves — or will you keep buying him knickknacks and then feeling rejected when he doesn't display them?

And can you, Modernist, regard her nostalgia as a warm place that's available to you when you want or need it — or will it always be, in your eyes, the unholy spawn of silliness and a hoarding compulsion?

The way people show affection isn't in itself a measure of how much affection they feel — effusive gestures can be empty, of course, and quiet ones both powerful and profound. He could be archiving emotions just as you tuck away mail. But believing this intellectually isn't enough: The quality of his affection has to be there, as does your ability to appreciate the way he chooses to show it.

The clearest way to judge these is to see whether each of you is getting what you want and need from the other. How you measure that is up to you, with only one ground rule: You can tell someone what you want, but you can't tell anyone what to give.

Comments
Plan your weekend April 27-29: Jeff Dunham, Flo Rida at Busch Gardens, Sunscreen Film Fest, dragon boat races, Green Thumb Fest

Plan your weekend April 27-29: Jeff Dunham, Flo Rida at Busch Gardens, Sunscreen Film Fest, dragon boat races, Green Thumb Fest

Plan your weekendAthletes St. Anthony’s Triathlon: Elite professional athletes and Olympians from around the world will be at this St. Petersburg race this weekend, one of the premier triathlon events in the country. There’s a big incentive, with ca...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

PUPPET MASTER: Jeff DunhamCelebrated ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is no dummy. The record-breaking comedy superstar sells out arenas around the world, bringing along his ill-behaved puppets including grouchy Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, redneck Bu...
Published: 04/25/18
This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

ROCK ROYALTY: Queens of the Stone AgeWhen Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme got in trouble recently for kicking a photographer at a show, local fans might have seen it coming. During a gig here in 2014, a fan got up on stage and tried to gree...
Published: 04/25/18

Tell Me About It: Father-in-law loses it over baby’s name

Q: My husband and I are late-20s and expecting a baby girl. My husband and I both kept our own last names. My father-in-law, ["Phil"], has absolutely lost it upon learning that we plan to hyphenate the baby’s last name, reportedly crying and fuming e...
Published: 04/25/18

Tell Me About It: Addressing the party no-show epidemic

Q: My family recently celebrated our son’s birthday. We had a number of guests RSVP "yes" to our invitation who not only didn’t show, but also didn’t even have the decency to contact us to let us know. It’s been a week since the party.This left us wi...
Published: 04/24/18

Tell Me About It: Sister’s remark is a teaching opportunity

My husband’s sister, "Kate," is expecting her second child. They have a 3-year-old girl. My husband and I have two girls, 8 and 6. At our house this week, Kate talked extensively about her hopes that this next baby is a boy. Some of her reasons are c...
Published: 04/23/18

Tell Me About It: Mom fears she has discussed sex too soon

Q: This week I was in a discussion with a bunch of other third-grade parents about what our kids know about sex. The vast majority of these parents said their children were "clueless" and they wanted to maintain their kids’ innocence. I was one of th...
Published: 04/22/18
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of April 23-29

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of April 23-29

St. Anthony’s Triathlon: World class athletes and Olympians race around St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park on Sunday ($160-$180), while kids and novices race Saturday in the Meek and Mighty. A free kick-off celebration Friday has a concert by co...
Published: 04/23/18

Tell Me About It: Family reconsiders taking group trips

Q: Should there be expectations about taking vacations/trips with other family members? We have two issues:(1) We have three kids, including teenagers, and my brother and wife have two kids. The younger is 6. My wife and I find it hard to plan someth...
Published: 04/20/18