I had a SO do this. Any time he needed help related to his business, one I supported but didn’t have a huge interest in, I helped. Often, there was travel involved. It was business: hauling heavy equipment, setting up in convention centers, the chaos of travel, sales, etc.
Some of the time, he needed someone to go for help. Which I dutifully did. These trips involved little to no sleep, hours of driving, getting up super early, weird eating schedules, loud inebriated people coupled with meeting loads of strangers I was expected to have an immediate connection with. By the way, I’m an introvert who doesn’t like most people, and I especially hate loud grabby drunk people. So it was a huge ask. But I kept up my role, sucked it up, and carried my weight. I’m honestly amazed our relationship survived these trips. I hate having my sleep interrupted prematurely, I have an eating schedule I like to keep, and I don’t like strangers. But I sucked it up when it was needed. It doesn’t mean I was a dream to be around during the downtime, as I coped with the loss of my sleep and privacy, and it was frustrating not having time to do what I wanted to when I wanted to do it. Nor did he make a lot of ‘let’s see the sites’ plans.
I was running on no sleep doing things on someone else’s schedule, visiting convention centers, and carrying heavy stuff. It was not fun. Regardless, I wanted to be supportive and helpful.
Flash forward. One morning, as we laid in bed, scrolling through social media, I noticed an advert for a local (no travel) event I wanted to attend. I like to knit and it was related to it. It was for an outdoor market on a lovely upcoming Saturday, 10 minutes from our house. I mentioned being interested in going. His immediate didn’t think it through response, “I don’t want to go.” I turned away and went about scrolling through my media, stewing a little about the fact I had gone to countless things for him. I think it dawned on him in those few frosty seconds how many times I’d sacrificed my time to help him do his thing. In comparison, my thing required way less of personal sacrifice. We’re talking taking a stroll in an outdoor market for a couple of hours on a pretty day. No hotels. No travel. No heavy lifting. I don’t often make demands to do things I want to do. I just go do them. This time, however, I wanted company. I did not take his ‘no’ well. In that, the room dropped by 40 degrees and I was silent after that for a while. Sure, he doesn’t have to take me. But it would have been nice to ‘suck it up’ and do something I wanted for a change.
He’s not dim. He knew he’d blundered the second he declined and did his best to scramble and recover. “I mean, I’ll take you, if you want…” But the damage had been done. He’d not thought through his answer. The no honestly hurt my feelings. And he knew it and knew why. It didn’t make going any more fun because I knew he didn’t want to be there or to be there with me. We went for all of an hour and left. After that, I stopped asking him to take me to most things because of this experience. It hurt the relationship for sure, given the glaring evidence to just how unappreciated I was when it came to helping him out on his business trips. Yeah, it was a little thing. But in the larger scope, he should have sacrificed some of his personal time for my needs for a change.