Andrea Askowitz

Author & Teacher

My Valentine’s Day experiment: I didn’t talk about myself for 24 hours (in The Washington Post)

Here’s what it taught me about my relationship.

Thirteen years ago, on Feb. 14, my wife, Vicky, and I pledged our love forever. I thought that pledge meant we’d always be there to listen.

Years later, on a different Valentine’s Day, I called Vicky in the middle of the day while she was having lunch at a restaurant alone. I told her I wanted to talk about something important. I was on the verge of figuring out the theme of my memoir, which also meant the theme of my life (our life), which I’d been working on as long as we’d been together. Vicky asked questions and my ideas started flowing; like when you feel totally caffeinated and clearheaded; like when you feel like you can solve the world’s problems. I was reaching my stride, just at the edge… when she said, “I gotta go. My soup’s here. I need two hands.”

I hung up dejected. We’d built a life, had two kids, but this happened so often. I was mad and heartbroken and, frankly, scared. I wanted a partner who could listen.

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