“I love this article. Describing emotional labor to the men I have dated is always exhausting. They do not fundamentally understand what the phrase even means. “Emotional labor?” My last boyfriend shrugged when I told him how tired I was, doing so much emotional lifting for other people — both him and many of my friends, often male, who generally treated me like a therapist. “I don’t even understand what those words even mean when you put them together.” I told him: it is taking care of someone else’s emotional needs without having your needs even acknowledged. It is sitting down to lunch and having your friend tell you a long story about themselves, expecting you to interject with suggestions and kind words, for forty minutes before they even ask you how you are doing. It is the expectation that if you want something nice — say, someone to plan a weekend away, or to have pretty flowers around that make you feel special, or for someone to think of you when they are at the grocery store and to pick up dinner for you as well — you should do it your damn self. It’s the expectation that you will walk away from an argument feeling low, after apologizing, without getting an apology in return, and that you’ll be all smiles when they’re ready to engage again after stonewalling you. He just looked at me and laughed; then, he said, “You’re a crazy person; that doesn’t make sense,” and he walked away. Sigh.
Commenter on Where’s My Cut?: On Unpaid Emotional Labor