- This debate is more about an individual’s needs than making sure both partners feel equal levels of support.
- For you to feel supported, you may need to tell your wife you want her to ask you about the projects you’re excited about while you eat dinner together, for example.
- Perhaps you don’t know how you want to receive support, in which case you should figure that out before confronting your wife. It could take some trial and error to really know what support feels best for you.
- If your wife is someone who prefers to leave work at work, ask her how you can support her in other ways, like by asking about her friends and hobbies.
- Read more Doing It Right here.
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My job is an important part of my life and I’m very proud of the work I do. When I talk about my job to my partner, however, she seems disinterested and often changes the subject. She also doesn’t ask me about my job, or any of the projects I’m working on, even though I mention them to her often. Her blatant disinterest hurts my feelings.
I try asking my wife a lot about her job, but her responses are pretty brief. She doesn’t care to discuss her work, so I feel weird asking so much of her in return.
I know I’m lucky that I have a job I like so much, but I can’t shake the feeling of disappointment I get whenever my wife changes the subject. Can I get her to care more about my work life?
I feel your pain. In fact, I’ve grappled with a similar question since my work as a journalist lives on the internet while my partner works in a very non-public field. I often find myself wondering whether I should care if he reads the stories I write, since there’s no way I can actionably show my support for his work besides asking how his day went.
But according to relationship therapist Kelly Scott, this debate is more about an individual’s needs than making sure both partners feel equal levels of support.
“It doesn’t always need to be balanced,” Scott told me. “One person can have more investment in the other’s stuff.”
It all comes down to realizing that even as a couple, each partner has different needs and each wants those needs manifested in different ways. For me, that could mean telling my partner I want him to read more of my work even though he doesn’t have work I could read in return. For you, that could mean telling your wife you want her to ask you about the projects you’re excited about while you eat dinner together.
It might feel silly spelling out exactly what you need to feel supported, but it’s necessary if you want to stop feeling upset when there’s a lack of it. There’s a major chance your wife doesn’t even realize she’s lacking in the support department, especially if she’s the type of person who doesn’t care to utter one word about her own job outside of the office (yes, she’s not the only one!).
“It’s less about caring about the work, more about meeting the partner’s needs, regardless of what they are, if they’re reasonable,” Scott said. And hey, a chat about your cool new work project over dinner sounds pretty reasonable to me.
Perhaps you don’t know how you want to receive support, in which case it’s time to have a little chat with yourself. Maybe it would mean a lot if your wife shared your public work on social media as a shout out, asked you how your day in the office went, or simply said, “I’m proud of you.” Until you know what type or types of support fulfill your needs, you’ll still feel disappointed in your partner’s reaction.
According to Scott, determining the type of support that you like could take a bit of trial and error, so it’s important you let you wife know the manifestation of support you’re asking for could change in future. And if it does, it’s up to you to let her know — she’s not a mind reader, after all.
At the same time, be sure you ask your wife what support looks like to her. If it’s not asking about her job, maybe it’s inquiring about the book she’s reading or volunteering to take care of the kids or dog while she spends time with a good friend.
If, however, you try these techniques and keep hitting a wall, it could be a sign your relationship is on the rocks. Research shows a person’s positive and engaged responses to their partner’s good news predict successful long-term relationships — even more than how they react to their partner’s bad news.
Either way, you won’t know until you open up the conversation.
As Insider’s resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it — no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.
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