I'm a writer married to a jazz musician. I always hoped I'd end up in this sort of arty, creative marriage. But there's a problem that is becoming overwhelming. In spite of fully expecting me to experience and support his art, my husband never, ever, reads anything I write. Not a two-page story or a blog post much less anything longer. He says he feels awful about never getting around to it (and I've made it clear it's fine if he hates it—I just want him to be willing to check it out) and he seems to be sincere... But he still doesn't read it. It really hurts me.
posted by anonymous to human relations (91 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
My husband makes his living writing music for TV shows, but his passion is his jazz band. I spend a lot of my time at shows and festivals; the vast majority of my social life is connected to that scene. It wasn't music I particularly liked when I met him, but I have come to appreciate and enjoy it a great deal.
I am a writer. Not a successful one, but I feel confident adding "yet." I have had a fair number of stories published, and my novel and screenplays have gotten a good bit of favorable attention. My husband (an avid reader) has never read anything I've written. I've asked him to, both generally ("hey, some of my stuff is up at this website") and specifically ("please read this thing I am handing/emailing to you. Your feedback mean would mean a lot to me").
He just doesn't read it. If I tell him this bums me out, he becomes very apologetic and says he is going to read it, honest. He seems genuinely sad to have hurt me. And then he still doesn't read it. When I ask him why, he says he doesn't know, he just forgot, looks miserable. I assure him that its fine if he absolutely hates it, I just want him to read it (really, I want him to WANT to read it). He promises up one side and down the other that he will, and I eventually let it go, and then he still doesn't.
For a while I was performing, reading personal essays at the sort of show where people do that, and getting a lot of praise for it. It was so outside my comfort zone, but I loved it. I did more than a dozen of them. He never came to one of the shows. Most of the time it was because he had a gig or rehearsal--perfectly legitimate reasons--but not always. Finally, after yet another night of people asking where he was, I told him that it was very, very important to me that he come to the next one that happened on a night he was free, and he said he completely understood and promised he would. A week later, I had a show on a night he usually has rehearsals. When I got home, he asked me how the show went. I told him and asked how the rehearsal were. He responded casually that he hadn't had rehearsal, and had hung out with some friends instead.
We had a pretty big fight, and I told him that when people ask me why he'd never been to one of my shows, I always just say they only fell on nights he was working, because I felt like the true answer must be "he doesn't love me enough." I told him that I needed, for our marriage, for him to come to the next show I did. He absolutely, 100% promised that he would... And I haven't done one since. I know that's ridiculous and awful, but every time I consider it I get scared. Because if he still doesn't come (and based on the evidence there's a very good chance he won't, because he has made similar 100% promises about reading things and then blown it off) what will I do?
I mostly don't ask him to read my stuff anymore, even though it hurts me that, for instance, he's never read my blog when I know he reads our friend's blogs. But recently I wrote a screenplay that includes a character who is a jazz musician, with some technical stuff about the craft that he knows all about. So I asked him to read it and he enthusiastically said he would. I asked him about it a couple times. When I was still getting the same answer weeks later, I told him not to worry about it. I told him again (I promise I don't nag him constantly about this; I'd say we've had the conversation four or five times in seven years) that it made me feel bad that he'd never read anything I'd written (and bit my tongue to keep from pointing out that roughly 80% of my life is spent listening to jazz and that he fully expects me to go to his shows) but that I knew he was busy. He clearly felt awful, made a big deal about putting "read wife's screenplay" on his calendar. That was many weeks ago--I didn't bring it up again--but today he was asking me about notes a friend gave me on the screenplay and I asked if he'd read it (it sounded like he had). He has not--that he'd scheduled a time to do it bu that during the time that time a big emergency had come up (he couldn't remember what the emergency was, just that it was a "house on fire" level emergency).
I let it drop. I think at this point the only answer is for me to stop asking, stop wanting or expecting him to read my stuff. But, that makes me feel incredibly sad. I want a husband who is as interested in my art as I am in his. I know he'd be miserable if I stopped seeing his band—and I'd be miserable too! But it's getting to the point where I resent going to his shows or having him sit me down to hear music he's working on.
Our marriage is generally a very happy one. We get along, laugh at the same things, and I can tell he adores me. He is affectionate and kind. He encourages me hugely in my writing, tells me he's proud of me, brags about me to others. He just isn't interested in reading my writing (or seeing me perform it). Is it wrong for that to bother me so much? It bothers me so much.