My female partner finally shares the hurt. It seems either silly to me, small (I’ll give it to you for all time, just spare me what comes next…please) or I get it, truly, I was wrong/insensitive/oblivious/stupid…, see that/empathize/admit being wrong/apologize/promise to do better…. Still screwed, she refuses to accept that…even though that is what she says she wants. Empathy and regret is not enough. That was too easy…you did not suffer enough, repent enough…. No, we cannot win…we can only weather that storm and hope for enough endurance.
Male friends…one punches the other and knocks him down.
Greg Bardwell

Based on how you wrote this, I wonder what you mean when you say empathy. Or maybe the word compassion would fit in here. If you find someone else’s hurt silly or small, maybe that person was testing the water for expressing a larger hurt, and discovered the water is too cold. If the same pattern of conflict comes up over and over, it’s a sign that the relationship holds some dysfunction. Gottman’s research on the 4 horses of the apocalypse — criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling — doom relationships, even when less serious terms are used to describe the dynamic. It’s astonishing to me that you can engage in a physical fight with a friend and walk away with know hard feelings. I don’t know any men, who I respect for their honesty and kindness, who would make such a claim.

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