It’s a Q&A, but this kind of relationship disturbs me just by reading about it. From an old interview Chicago magazine did with Ira Glass that I think I stumbled upon indirectly via reading about Tavi Gevinson (I have total internet ADD). I try every day to curb my tendency toward judgmentalism BUT I have to say that people who try to tell other people what to do and, especially, people in relationships who put down their partners, really irritate me.
MFC: After graduation, you started doing NPR work. And you lived with someone who thought all your ideas were silly?
IG: Right. I lived with this woman for seven years. She was serious, she worked for Ralph Nader, and she was a lawyer. And I felt terrible because, uh, I was interested in different things, and what I liked she thought was stupid. Then I’d think, She’s right; it’s stupid. She didn’t think I was smart enough or interesting enough for her. And I started to think that, too.
MFC: Well, it’s easy to believe that when someone tells you that with such conviction.
IG: I was very much the junior partner of the two of us. And-well, I could go on and on, explaining this or that part of the relationship. But the truth is she just didn’t love me. In the most simple, straight-up way, she simply didn’t love me. One summer she was in Texas, doing some kind of serious work like a law internship or something, and suddenly I was able to make the transition from not being able to write a story to being able to write a decent story. And that was because, for once, her voice wasn’t in my head so completely.
MFC: Things changed for you when you left that relationship?
IG: Totally. The whole world opened up for me. I felt such relief. The world had never felt so big. I could do a few things, and then I could feel a little better-and you know how it goes. I had permission to be creative and to follow my “little” ideas and stories because she wasn’t around saying, Oh, who cares about that? Or, What is the point of that? And I felt for the first time that everything was going to be OK.