Thursday, March 19, 2009

A couple of years ago,

I had a conversation with a friend of mine that had a really big impact on me. I honestly don't remember what it was about. But the one thing I remember about the conversation was that he didn't ever (seriously, not even for two seconds together) acknowledge or consider my opinion. And we were talking about ME, so I was kind of surprised and annoyed by that.

I remember enough of the conversation to tell you that I was explaining my feelings about something--and not politics, or business, or anything globally important, but just feelings about things in my life that were personally affecting me, and my opinion about how to react.

I can still recall exactly how frustrating this conversation was to me, because I expressed how I felt, and then he responded in a way that completely ignored everything I had said. I felt like he hadn't even listed to what I just finished telling him. So I tried again, really trying to emphasize what I thought were the important feelings I was having and the decisions I was making.

And once again, he completely ignored what I said and just restated his opinion of what he thought I should do or how I should react. But in a really "oh, aren't you a little slow on the uptake today?" kind of way, like I was apparently having a really hard time wrapping my mind around it.

I felt like I was talking to a wall of chauvinistic superiority.

I absolutely think the world of this friend of mine, but I could never date or marry someone who treats me that way, even inadvertently. (Especially then, because then he wouldn't even know he was doing it).

I feel like I should somehow come with a disclaimer that says something to this effect:
If you can't give me enough respect to acknowledge the things I say, even if my opinion or my approach is different from yours (or if you think you 'wear the pants' in the relationship and therefore have a more weighty opinion or more of a say about MY LIFE), then I can't respect you enough to give you my time at all. You don't have to agree with me. I don't always have to be right. Just don't treat me like I'm stupid because I have an opinion of my own that doesn't happen to align perfectly with yours.

Does that make me sound bitter and cynical? Sometimes I think I am bitter and cynical, but then I remember that I deserve to be with someone that I can have a mutually respectful, cooperative, loving relationship with where we are both willing to listen and compromise.

That's not too much to ask, is it?

And yes, if you read the other post I just did, they are absolutely related.

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