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He Should Pay It, Not You

February 25, 2009 | 1 Comment

Dear Mr. Keillor,
My boyfriend, born and raised in France, is as inexpressive as a rock, as unromantic as concrete. Three years and not one "I love you." I'm starting to wonder if he's actually a Norwegian Lutheran bachelor from Lake Wobegon. Do Norwegian bachelors have emotions? Is there any hope that my Norwegian bachelor from France will someday be capable of emotional connections? He seems to view being in a relationship as a threat to his masculinity. Could you please share your wisdom on how to maintain a meaningful relationship with a Norwegian bachelor?

N. from Seattle


I've never been in a relationship with a Norwegian bachelor, N., and the thought of it is not pleasant. I have to urge you to move on and find someone else. Yes, Norwegian bachelors are capable of emotional connections, but the same rules apply to them as to anyone else — if you cannot express your affections in some way, then the object of your affections is going to get smaller and smaller. Meaning, she will leave. If the relationship is so one-sided that one person is doing all the emoting and the other is silently soaking it up, then this needs to change. Men may avoid emotional expression due to deep-seated cultural imprinting — Strength = Silence — and to conceal our sentimentality and to avoid the terrible pain of loss. We all, men and women, feel a powerful responsibility to keep things afloat, do the day's business, dig the potatoes, keep chugging, and that is our emotional flywheel that keeps us upright, and we defend ourselves against being dragged down by raw feeling which, we know, can be overwhelming. Especially the pain of loss, of betrayal or of false love, unrequited love, love that is unequal or unreturned, and to guard against that searing pain, the heart may choose to distance itself from the beloved. But there is a price to be paid for distance, and he should pay it, not you.

1 Comment

You go, guy (GK)! This is one of those right places that you are in! Very happy you're contributing to the world of the woeful and celbrators in this way!

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