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  • Susan: [00:00:00] I don’t know about you, but like I would go on a date or I would have a crush on someone and I just be staring at them. And then I’d already be thinking about like, is this marriage material?

    Susan: So today we are going to talk about romance and partnership. I mean, I think of this, like when I was a kid, my sister and I would play with these Barbie dolls and it was always about who, when is Ken going to come save us? Like who, when are we going to get married? Like, I felt like I was obsessed with that ever since I was a kid.

    Susan: Yes. We can look to Disney and the princesses and say like, they always need to be saved, but now this next gen doesn’t need to be saved and we’re excited, you know? But like, I was obsessed with boys since I was a little kid. And so I, I felt like my entire life was driving towards like, I’m going to go to college.

    Susan: And when I’m at Harvard, I’m going to find some trust fund, baby. Who’s super rich. And I’m going to finally married up because I’m a child of refugees. I was actually really into that. [00:01:00] And my entire dating life at Harvard is entirely comical because it’s non-existent. I’m so excited that we get to talk about romance today because I’m so curious about, if you two also kind of felt the same way in terms of thinking, like, when I have romance, when I have partnership, then I am complete, right?

    Jeanette: Like polar opposites.

    Susan: This is why we’re talking about this today. So

    Kate: incidentally though, Susan, your Barbie example, I wasn’t allowed to have Kendall. So I pretended that my, one of my Barbie dolls was male. So then I had like two Barbie dolls that were married to each other, but one was. Male. So why don’t you go unpack that?

    Kate: I

    Susan: mean, gender is fluid even for Barbie

    Kate: But I mean, I still have the same, like obsession where I needed some, one of them to be male. Right. But I couldn’t have a Kendall because my parents wouldn’t let me get one. And so I also just played out probably the same story that you and your sister did, except just, I imagine one of them [00:02:00]

    Susan: was male.

    Susan: Do you think they were afraid that the Ken doll had a penis or something? Maybe? I don’t know.

    Kate: He just didn’t want to encourage like.

    Susan: You know what parents heteronormative behavior?

    Kate: No, no, no. Like I wasn’t allowed to date until I was like 18. I couldn’t paint my nails until I was 13. I wasn’t allowed to get a bikini until I was 16, stuff like that.

    Kate: They were just like very strict. Right.

    Susan: So I love how they came up with these like arbitrary ages. But anyway, that’s a little off topic

    Kate: I can identify with your heteronormative child

    Susan: play season. Okay. Wait, so wait, Jeanette, you’re saying you’re the exact opposite? Like, did you have like teenage you need teenage mutant Ninja turtles.

    Susan: Like, were you like, I’m going to do Legos and I’m going to be an architect?

    Jeanette: I don’t think I was necessarily a tomboy, I don’t remember that being part of my imaginative play. , I did have one Barbie or like two Barbies. [00:03:00] But then they were like always doing these adventure stories.

    Jeanette: My brother and I would do these like Epic adventure stories. So they didn’t really involve like getting married and all of that stuff. Well,

    Kate: just like to point out yeah. Jeanette though, you’re the first to get married. Yeah.

    Jeanette: That’s the irony,

    Susan: right? Is you got married at like 22?

    Jeanette: Yeah, I did. And, when I came to college and I was kind of like, yeah, I’ll take casually, but I definitely have not in my life plan to get married anytime soon. And then I ended up dating somebody for like three and a half years and then getting married a month after graduation. It’s just so you know, it’s like pretty different.

    Susan: Got it. So you didn’t, you didn’t have this , essentially the princess saved me complex.

    Jeanette: There’s a lot of complicated history there with women in my family. And I think that that has instilled in me from like a really young age that I needed to be independent.

    Jeanette: And so I think even as a child, I didn’t really have like, [00:04:00] fantasies about like getting married or like being with a guy, you know, I think it was just more like, Oh yeah, that just wasn’t really part of my thing, you know? And so when Jake and I got together this was like a huge part of our, like my adjustment was just being in , like an intimate relationship was very difficult for me.

    Jeanette: I’m sure we’ll probably get back more into that later.

    Susan: Whoa. You just gave me like a cliffhanger here. You’re like, and then we got married and the intimacy was hard, like or difficult, like when you were dating, wasn’t it intimate? Oh yeah, no, no. I mean like intimate, like intimate.

    Jeanette: I mean, no, I mean, while we were dating, being emotionally intimate was very hard. It really just actually drove me bonkers. Like literally you did try to drive

    Kate: Jake away in the beginning. From what I remember,

    Jeanette: I mean, you told them, you

    Kate: were just saying you were like, you were too busy and the [00:05:00] librarians of Jake want to date.

    Kate: You had to like come to the library and study. And he was like, basically failing his classes. So you,

    Susan: he

    Jeanette: wanted you so much. He turned into from a bum into like a straight a student. He like turned from like a. D or F student to like a, a slash B student. When you tiger mom to your boyfriend,

    Jeanette: I didn’t tell your mom him.

    Jeanette: He tiger mom himself.

    Susan: That’s the nurse. What a tiger mom would say. Yeah.

    Jeanette: That’s like a master level tire mom, right? Yeah, just to give you other snippets and windows into our dating period. For our first Valentine’s day, I gave him a book called a history of bombing. I thought that would choke on my

    Susan: Clementine.

    Susan: It was a joke.

    Jeanette: It was totally serious. I was like, this is a really cool book. You should read it. Oh my God.

    Susan: You’re so you’re like, you’re [00:06:00] looking at another level of nerd.

    Jeanette: And then I remember Jake’s roommate, one of his roommates. That as a freshman, he had a girlfriend and his girlfriend like had brought him, she had like glued those little hearts with little things on it.

    Jeanette: And she had like it on a piece of paper and made like a little like love letter or something. And I was like, Oh, did I do something wrong? Because I, and history of bonding and cookies and brought him this

    Susan: letter thing, I was like, someone was like, she’s Korean.

    Jeanette: So, so yeah, that’s just another window into my relationship with Jake. And that it was kind of unconventional, from the outside. I think a lot of people thought we maybe had this like great relationship or like kind of a college fairytale romance thing. But on the inside, it was really tumultuous.

    Jeanette: There was like a period when I was breaking up with him or wanting to break up with him, every two weeks. I was really putting him through the [00:07:00] ringer, I think not really on purpose, but just you know, I think just being in that close of a relationship for the first time really brought out a lot of like my issues with men.

    Susan: I wanna say it, I gotta get Freud on everyone. Like how have your relationships been indicative and reflective of your relationship with your fathers?

    Jeanette: Oh yeah, totally. I think in many ways, my dad wasn’t very reliable and growing up. My mom was often the one who was holding things together.

    Jeanette: And so I think that’s where I kind of grew up with this notion that I had to be super independent and I couldn’t really depend on a partner. And I think it’s a lot better, obviously Jake and I have been married for 13, 14 years now, but it’s still something I struggle with at a different level, but it’s still definitely something that comes up.

    Susan: I

    Kate: have a good example of that, Susan. Sorry. Ex-boyfriends if you’re listening to this, but I definitely feel I look [00:08:00] for things that my dad had that were both, that I both admired, but also like very infuriating.

    Kate: So my dad’s like a very big picture person and is very entrepreneurial and very like thinks outside the box . And so I D I dated two guys who were like that one, an ex boyfriend, and one, my current husband. And I have to say the major downside of that, which is also downside of my dad.

    Kate: And yet apparently I married

    Susan: it anyway, is that they

    Kate: just don’t give a shit about, you know, the finer things in terms of how did. Emotionally, right. Like, you know, or not, sorry, emotionally. It’s not the right word. There’s a word in Chinese, which is knowing how to like spoil your wife, right.

    Kate: Or your partner, like doing all these little things, like

    Susan: little sweet things. Wait, wait, can you tell me what that word is? Because I want to like re say it back to Marvin many times. Say it. Yeah.

    Kate: So it’s TTS. So you say you have to TTA me, meaning you have to do all these cute little fine things.

    Kate: Like, you know, leaving giving. Yeah, exactly.

    Susan: That’s the English word. I got you. The history of [00:09:00] bombing book.

    Kate: No, but boyfriend that I had, who doted on me on that, in that way, unfortunately, I broke up with him and all my friends. He was like the most boring person ever. Sorry, if you’re listening to this, you were a really nice guy, but anyway, so

    Susan: I don’t know.

    Susan: I have, I definitely have that complex.

    Kate: But is it a complex or just what you value is what you grew up with. Right. Sometimes

    Susan: it’s hard to tell the difference for me. I also

    Jeanette: feel like in some ways, you know, marriage is kind of your next, like, very, like, very intimate relationship after the relationship with your parents.

    Jeanette: Right. And so I feel like in some ways it’s a chance to do it again. Right. I don’t know if you feel this way. Right. But it’s all the things that you appreciate about your parents, but then like all also the things that you really didn’t like, and then a chance to do it again.[00:10:00]

    Jeanette: I totally relate to your kid. Right. I mean, I think Jake actually has a lot of qualities that I see from my dad, but then some of the things that I didn’t like about my dad growing up he either doesn’t have it or or like we really worked on it right. In a way that I think I wasn’t able to do with my dad.

    Jeanette: And so, yeah, I feel like it definitely influences you, right? Like who your parents are. And I think that that plays into what kind of person you get together

    Susan: with. That kind of ties directly into the work that I’m doing with intergenerational trauma, you know, and it’s like, I see it. I see what, what our parents have gone through.

    Susan: And it’s like passed down like consciously and unconsciously down to us. And then, and then it impacts all our, of our choices, our everyday choices, our relationship choices, how we spend money, you know, and also how we parent. And so I think the question here is like, how do you not feed into the elements that didn’t serve you growing up?

    Susan: I just think partnership isn’t so intertwined with [00:11:00] parents, your parents.

    Susan: I guess the question here is, are you one of those, like, there is one person out there for me and we chose each other before we were born and we were going to go find each other and they’re my soulmate, or are you kinda like, I’m an opportunist, you know, I can make anything kind of work.

    Susan: And they kind of came into my life at that time and we made it work.

    Jeanette: I dunno. What do you think, Susan? I’m here interested

    Susan: to hear the one. Yeah. I, I fall head over heels over into like destructive relationships. I fell in love with a cult leader. I fell in love with someone who is like a sexual, like these people that will never, ever love me.

    Susan: Like I fall hard because I think there is like a really deep, intense, spiritual connection, even if the relationship itself is going to fall apart.

    Jeanette: Okay. Wait are you going to tell us about the colleague? [00:12:00] I had no idea that on a different

    Susan: episode. I mean, I’m definitely going to write about it in my book and sure.

    Susan: I’ll talk about it in a different episode. So yes, you will, you will learn about, but that’s not

    Jeanette: Mark. That’s not, Oh,

    Susan: it is not Marvin. Marvin is sorry, Marvin. You’re not the one, like, I don’t know, but you’re not, he’s not the leader. No, because that cult would be like mountaineering and like being cold all the time in the outdoors.

    Susan: No, that’s not part of that cult called the Pacific Northwest. So I think for me is I actually firmly believe that there were many the ones for me, but they might not have been the, I wasn’t there one and it didn’t work out. You know, like for me, what I see in Marvin is a very stable, supportive partner who cares for me and has my best interests at heart.

    Susan: And we have a great partnership and companionship, you know, like, but it isn’t this like steamy, hot, [00:13:00] like intensity where I’m just like, Oh my God, I’m so warm down there. I’m standing here and I’m just warmth right now. Like I love Marvin, but he does not make me the furnace that these. Terrible guys made me, you know, so like, I, I’m very confused in that way.

    Susan: I don’t know if it’s like the impact of like watching a whole bunch of rated R movies when you’re a kid and somehow like, whatever they do in bed is like, that’s like what we’re all trying to go do. I didn’t really understand what sex really was yet. And then relationships were always very strange between white men and white women.

    Susan: Right. That’s who we saw on the screen. And the conditions in which the relationships would happen were always kind of strange, you know, like the woman would have to fight for the man or try to fix the man or whatever it is. And so I think I grew up with very strange ideas of what were relationships were and the extent and [00:14:00] spiciness that they were supposed to be to be the relationship I wanted.

    Susan: Do y’all get what I’m saying or was that like super confusing? Hmm.

    Kate: No, I think that makes sense. I think, you know, what you read about when you grow up for me, I was actually most influenced not by spicy movies, but more by the most famous Chinese literary work called variously in English story of the stone or dream of the red chamber, a homeowner long, for those of you who actually know the reference and so in.

    Kate: And it was like this very tortured, tragic romance where people spoke to each other in poetry and illusions. And I was like, Oh, that’s my perfect idea of romantic. It’s really interesting. Right? How much of our, our ideas of romance are shape, whether it’s by movies, pop culture, or by literature.

    Kate: And I think it hampered me at least in a way for the longest time, because I had these very obviously impractical notions of what it was like to. Conductive romance. I was like, Oh, I’ll be under the cherry tree, combing my hair. And somebody will drop [00:15:00] this note in the Brook and then I’ll pick it up and read it and just,

    Jeanette: you

    Kate: know, whatever.

    Jeanette: Anyway, so that was, I don’t know that better. It works in which you’re describing. It seems a little

    Susan: more ridiculous. So, so you didn’t think that, I mean, it sounds like you really wanted people to dote on you, but you didn’t think that there was this one person, your soulmate that you’re supposed to go find?

    Susan: No, no.

    Kate: I mean, I think yes and no. I was like, okay, I guess theoretically I should. That seems reasonable because all the cultural

    Susan: references and

    Kate: so forth and books are about it, but I don’t know if I

    Susan: really

    Kate: bought into that. Yeah, no, I don’t know, because I think for the longest time, at least until I went to college, it was always very one-sided.

    Kate: So it’s very hard to imagine that anybody could ever really like me that much. I was kind of a nerd in high school. Right. And so it, sadly, I don’t know what it says about me, but all the guys that had crush on in high school, it basically [00:16:00] like white jocks. I lived in mostly white town. And so it was just like never in my mind that any of it would actually be required.

    Kate: It’s I don’t think I spent a lot of time thinking about how, Ooh, I would have the love of my life. And there would be that one person. I think I spent most of my time, well, working really hard. And then occasionally staring off at some like hot white baseball player in high school. Between the hot white baseball player and like, could Kate date someone could that hot white baseball player

    Susan: be the love of my life.

    Susan: It was like, not even a I think, and it’s really

    Kate: sad, right. Because I think at the time I thought I wasn’t happy someone like me ever, you know, attract his attention. Now you’re just

    Susan: like that baseball player had like a brain, the size of. A Walnut.

    Kate: So yeah, I think that’s actually the tragedy for me. It was more not thinking that I was good enough for as a high school or just thinking that certain people were all out of your league,

    Susan: right?

    Susan: Yeah. Yeah. I, I think actually I’m going to re refine my answer and say I was desperate to date anybody in anything. Like, I was just so desperate to be loved. Like when, when, what,

    Jeanette: [00:17:00] what time period of your

    Susan: life as this, since I was a kindergartener, I still remember Aaron center, white kid, red hair, freckles, everywhere.

    Susan: He wore a McDonald’s red sweatshirt with a yellow M and I thought he was so hot. And I remember this one girl named Michelle was totally into him. I am like five years old and I was already jealous. You know I think I’ve just been boy crazy all my life. You know, it’s just, it’s very dangerous thinking.

    Susan: What about you Jeanette? The one or the many?

    Jeanette: I dunno, maybe the few,

    Susan: I think. Yeah.

    Jeanette: I think there’s like, I don’t think there’s like the one, maybe Jake might feel sad to hear this. I mean, there’s like only the one now. Right. Because we’ve only, we’ve just been together so little so long.

    Jeanette: Right. So I think like over time you kind of build that relationship [00:18:00] together. Right. And then your lives just become intertwined, but yeah, I think prior to that, long-term commitment is like, I think at least for me, there’s like not many because I feel like I kind of have a particular personality.

    Jeanette: But I also don’t feel like there’s necessarily no one, I think there’s like a few. Right. And I just happened to stumble on one of them pretty early in life.

    Susan: Well, I’m curious about your, where did y’all get the rules on how to be in a relationship? Like who taught you how to be in a good relationship?

    Susan: Was it talking to your girlfriends, like, Hey, do you do this in your relationship? Or was it like, like for me, no one in my family ever talked about like good relationships or communication, or like talking about compromise or whatever it is like for me, I had to find like self-help books and the Gottman Institute and all these [00:19:00] things, all these tools to.

    Susan: Somehow figure out, like, should I break up with this person or should we work on it? You know? Like what about you? Like, how do you manage your relationship and figure out should you stay or should you go trial and error? And I

    Kate: can tell you, I, from someone who thought she could never date, the hot baseball player and not, it really actually didn’t start dating until I was 18.

    Kate: So I did listen to my parents like a good Chinese girl.

    Susan: I ended up

    Kate: actually dating

    Susan: probably the most of the three. Well, definitely Jeanette. I don’t know about you, Susan . You mean like, okay, are we doing counting? Are we talking about counting? Are we, are we talking about serious relationships?

    Susan: Well, okay. Or are we talking about the number of times you’ve gone on a first date? Yeah, that I’ve gone on many, many

    Jeanette: people.

    Kate: Okay. So going from like nerdy high school person to like, I was very prolific

    Susan: starting, [00:20:00] probably at Midlake college. Whoa. Like give me a range here we talk at many, like 15, many like no more hundred.

    Susan: Oh no, no, no, no, definitely. In between you say your per list.

    Kate: Okay. For me. Got it. You guys come on. I mean, I’m not like, you know, a runway model or anything, but for me I felt like it was fairly prolific looking back on it. I’d say like been on dates with at least, 40 people,

    Susan: 50 that’s man.

    Susan: Didn’t make it

    Kate: past the first or second date so anyway for me, I think it was a definitely practicing. Right. And then also with relationships that range from like short to long and serious I pretty sickly, you could say that I fucked up many, many times and I learned from

    Susan: fucking up.

    Susan: Which is

    Kate: not what I would advise people as

    Susan: a good way to. But you know, I, I think that’s great. I think that’s great because then you know what you’re not looking for and you know I think it’s [00:21:00] great to iterate and experiment because if you don’t, you’re just, I mean, not saying it’s like not wrong.

    Susan: I know Jeanette, you didn’t date that many people, but like, you get so much new information. If you can. Not be so attached to seeing, like, I don’t know about you, but like I would go on a date or I would have a crush on someone and I just be staring at them. And then I’d already be thinking about like, is this marriage material? I, I barely even know them or like, I remember this is when Facebook first came out right. In like 2004. And I remember I had this crush on this one guy and I went to his Facebook profile and I was like, Oh my God, he likes this book. Oh my God, that’s so hot. I would just make up all these fantasies by just reading their profiles.

    Susan: Like when you would date people, did you already start thinking about marriage or was it like I’m here to just like, get to know you as a person in myself?

    Kate: I honestly, I think all my crazy, like literary fantasies, [00:22:00] every first data went on, I was like, Ooh, could I marry this person? For sure. Well, actually that’s not true.

    Kate: There’s some people who I was just like, why am I on this date with this person? But the ones who made it through the date, I mean, at some point I would,

    Susan: you know, and I liked, I would wonder Jeanette, how many total people have you dated?

    Jeanette: Like two, three. They were not really boyfriends, but I went on a few dates in high school.

    Jeanette: And then I came to, I was planning to date many people in college just to be clear, but it just didn’t turn out like that. I don’t know when you decide to stay in when you decide to go. I think that’s a really, really difficult question. Hmm. I think it’s it’s I mean, there are like certain bright lines for me.

    Jeanette: Right. Like violence is a bright line to me and maybe not to everyone, but I’ve always said that like, infidelity is a bright line for me. Right. And [00:23:00] there’s like certain bright lines, but then there’s a lot of gray areas beyond that. Right. Okay. It’s just like, Oh, I just feel like this person doesn’t understand me

    Jeanette: right. Or I’m just not feeling like I’m connected to this person. I don’t feel like we have anything in common. Those types of things. Right. , and I think that those are much more the reasons why a lot of reasons why people end up breaking

    Susan: up. I have a super arbitrary, bright line for me.

    Susan: It’s all about the last bite. You know what I mean? Like if I’m like really enjoying something and like, we’re kind of like evenly eating it at the same pace. And then Marvin like eats like two bites. Like it’s not puff, puff, give he just like, kind of just like eats the rest of it. I turn into like Hulk.

    Susan: So man,

    Kate: I am so with you there, I am probably mad at her at least once every three days, because he

    Susan: does exactly that. [00:24:00] Yeah. I mean, if food is our love language, pay attention. Yeah. Yeah. But

    Jeanette: turning into a Hawk and like saying like, you’re going to end this relationship are actually two very different things.

    Jeanette: It feels like turning into the Hulk is like getting to that line. But it’s actually

    Susan: very different. Yeah. Right. Fine. Fine. You’re

    Jeanette: not gonna like split split with him because he ate the last bite of that green tea, mochi ice

    Susan: cream. Yeah, but Marvin understands what he needs to do to have a happy Susan.

    Susan: So that’s great. But I would say, I would say what was dysfunctional in all my past relationships before Marvin was me, I think I had to go through a lot of my own, like, feeling worthwhile, feeling enough that I feel like I don’t know what your experience was like being a, were you with like a beautiful Asian daughter, but I feel like I’m still [00:25:00] trying to unpack, like trying to please authority or please male figures and then figuring out like, am I enough?

    Susan: Even if I don’t please them, you know? I would say like over some relationships, like that’s where a lot of the fights would happen from is just my own inability to accept love. And also understand why I’m deserving of it. Or like then getting paranoid that they’re going to leave me or something like that.

    Susan: Hmm. Pretty mentally stable around that.

    Kate: No, no, no, no. I actually do agree with that. And the, you know, when I look back on past relationships now with the perspective of time and hopefully somewhat more

    Susan: maturity

    Kate: I think

    Susan: a large part of that at least, you know,

    Kate: Would was also me. I can’t really say the other person wasn’t at fault for things.

    Kate: But obviously, you know, now that I know myself better and then also know myself, As a younger version of me better. I would definitely say, yeah, a [00:26:00] lot of things were related to me and even relationships where let’s say my friends thought somebody was a total asshole. I look back on it and I would say, I don’t want to make excuses for this particular person, but I would say a lot of the reason why I stayed in that relationship was less to do with him and more to do with me and met my low sense of self-worth right.

    Kate: Where I thought it was worth. It was, I should stay in it because he was such a great catch. Whereas, you know, it’s not great. So I definitely do agree with you, Susan. I think for me, a large part of my past dating life was like, I would stay with someone just because sometimes I felt really lucky to be with that person.

    Kate: Right. Or you know, yeah. And I think that’s just really, that inherently puts you on a different, wrong, and not as an equal with

    Susan: the other person. Totally. Now I’m starting to get the value of like an all girls high school or an all girls college. If you’re assis woman who’s like straight, right? it removes a lot of distraction for you to really focus on yourself.

    Susan: It seems interesting, but I haven’t talked to a lot of Wellesley [00:27:00] girls about if that was the case or maybe they were like more boy crazy. So I wanted to talk about this one thing, which is as overachievers, right. It was like, okay, do great in middle school. So I’m going to get into, start with the honors classes in high school.

    Susan: Okay. Do great in high school so I can get into the best college. Okay. Do great into college so I can just like, get the best job. And then, and then I’m going to go get married. Like I felt like there was this container annual, like you just get to the next step. Without really thinking about why you’re there.

    Susan: It’s just like, Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do. And so I’m wondering with you in relationships, did you think, and then I’m going to get married and then I’m going to be happy or like, wait, did you, did you go to that thinking like, and then it’s happily ever after from there on out or did you actually think, Oh my God, relationships are a lot of work or maybe your relationships are super [00:28:00] easy.

    Susan: Like, I’m curious. Did you feel that once you got there you’d be done in some way.

    Jeanette: I have a related question, which is, did your. Parents and a much shorter question, which is, did your parents kind of were like, no dating, no dating, no dating, like, and then you get to college and they’re just like, where’s the ring? Like, why aren’t you guys engaged? Like, you know, where’s the boyfriend, like husband material.

    Jeanette: Do you guys feel like that? Cause I feel like for a lot of my Asian American girlfriends, it was kind of like really strict, like high school experience, like no dating at all. And then there’s just like this very narrow window between like 22 and 28, when you have to get a serious boyfriend and get married and start having kids.

    Susan: My dad wanted me to get a master’s degree before I started dating. Yeah, well, no Masta huh? No boyfriend. Yeah. I, I definitely disappointed my father. I think I started dating in ninth grade and he can always tell what I have a boyfriend. He can just [00:29:00] always tell I’m like, maybe the worst. I should never play poker.

    Susan: It’s too obvious, you know? And, and he’d be like, I remember the first time I just came home and I had like had tea at this guy’s house or something. And my dad was like, do you want to be homeless? And I was like, no, he’s like, then break up with him. And I was like, okay. And then, like I told him, I broke up with a guy and he was in my homeroom.

    Susan: He was in my advocacy class. So I always saw him for the next four years, every single day. And he was mad at me. It was terrible. But I didn’t want to be homeless. How about you guys?

    Kate: I have a confession. Well, you guys already know my parents didn’t let me date until I was 18. Of course. As soon as I turned 18, I went out with this guy that I liked since I was in sixth grade.

    Kate: But here’s the catch I already knew at the time I was going to Harvard. Right. My parents are like, they’re nice, but they’re like kind of elitist. Well, my dad is a super elitist, sorry, dad, a hooky never listened to this. But he basically then started heavily dropping hints over the summer that like, [00:30:00] Oh, well, you’re going to Harvard.

    Kate: There’ll be lots of really excellent boys there. It’s interesting. You’re still with this high school boyfriend, he’s only going to the university of Washington, did it, that this literally went on all summers. So by the end of the summer, I had been brainwashed into. Okay. So I guess, I mean, I can’t really blame my dad.

    Kate: I accepted his proposal slash brainwashing dumping my boyfriend from high school who was really sweet and like the nicest guy, actually, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever dated. So I went into Harvard, all single, ready to mingle and meet some nice Harvard boys. Most of them who turned out to be total assholes by the way.

    Susan: So my dad was totally wrong. I still feel a little angry about

    Kate: that and I feel bad cause I really hurt his feelings. In fact, my high school friend who dated my high school boyfriend after me said that he was very devastated for a long time. He’s high now, obviously. So

    Susan: yeah, I really regret that. Actually looking back, I think he’s one of the shittiest things I ever did.

    Susan: Was [00:31:00] listened to your father. Yeah. Cause the

    Kate: guy was so nice. There was literally nothing wrong with that relationship. And then I let my dad get in the middle of

    Susan: it. Girl. I had this high school, sweetheart. Once I got into Harvard, he helped me. He edited all my essays to get a Harvard. He was such a better writer than me.

    Susan: He dropped out of high school and got his GED. But like, I remember when I got in, he was always talking about taking me to prom. I was so excited. He dumps me like two weeks before prom and he’s sending me in high school anymore. And I was like, what? And I was like, we got the whole summer, we can hang out the whole summer at least, you know?

    Susan: And he’s like, you’re going to Harvard. And I was like, yeah, isn’t that good? And he’s like, it’s over, you know? And I’m like, ouch. Like, I don’t know. I feel like this whole Harvard affiliation is like, it, it has tainted part of my dating life because I think. It can intimidate some men, you know, and [00:32:00] somehow I have to like play it down or not be proud of it.

    Susan: It’s like, it’s like reverse successes or something.

    Kate: Or you think that you have to find your part, you know, your future life partner at Harvard, because like ,

    Susan: all

    Kate: the ingredients are there, there must be somebody. Right. And that it, Harvard must be best guess like my dad, Ted, all those like talented, you know, handsome, whatever.

    Kate: Because if he wasn’t around to see all those crazy parties and people. Well, I maybe I shouldn’t say that, but anyway, there just some shady shit going on at Harvard too. So I don’t think my dad knew

    Jeanette: I used to have fantasies about writing a book for all the Asian parents out there who are killing themselves and their kids to try to get them into Harvard, which is like, it’ll be titled something like nobody gives you a million dollars just for graduating from Harvard. Maybe, maybe you kind of already like run in circles. [00:33:00] Were your friends like went to, you know, selective colleges and stuff.

    Jeanette: Like you have a better sense of this, but I think for, especially like a lot of immigrant parents, so you just kind of like look at Harvard and you’re just like, Oh yeah. Like my kid will just be like, totally all sad. In their minds, it’s almost as if. You know, you just get handed like a shit load of money just for graduating from Harvard.

    Jeanette: Right. And I just feel like, actually, , the reality is like much different. I mean, and that’s a whole different episode, right? I don’t want to make it sound like by graduating from Harvard, you don’t come, it doesn’t come with a lot of advantages. It does. But I also think that what those advantages are and what the disadvantages are, are, are totally different than I think what a lot of parents might like, believe in their, or imagine in their minds.

    Susan: Yeah. Like you graduate and you go to Goldman Sachs, like Goldman Sachs is just handing out Louis Vuitton bags or something like that. Yeah. Sorry,

    Jeanette: what were you going to say? No, you’re going to say no to exactly that. Especially with regard

    Kate: to, like, let’s say, you know, romantic relationships that my parent ever, literally, if I mentioned some dude to my [00:34:00] dad at any point in like mildly romantic context, first question out of his mouth, Where does he go to college or where did he go to college?

    Kate: Right. And so there’s like this invisible, like tearing of the, school’s usually in line with us world and news report of where

    Susan: it was acceptable to gain,

    Kate: you know? And, and so it’s sad though. Cause I agree with you, Susan. I think now again, having had the perspective of like having lived abroad, met a lot of different people from a lot of different walks of life.

    Kate: It’s just like, sorry, not to hate on Harvard on this episode, but it’s like man, tomorrow classmates like graduated and went to the most boring ass jobs. Right. And they look

    Susan: very prestigious from the outside, but it’s like not interesting. And

    Kate: not very creative and a lot of people end up being not very happy and

    Susan: you know, it’s quite misleading.

    Susan: And so yeah. Anyway. Yeah. Like you can buy me an expensive cocktail, but you’re pretty like this you’re boring.

    Jeanette: Yeah. Yeah.

    Jeanette: I feel like a need to defend myself or justify [00:35:00] myself because somehow I’m the only person who did end up marrying a classmate among the three of us.

    Jeanette: But I will just tell you that, you know as you might already be able to guess ours was like a very unusual romance. One other snippet that I’ll tell you is one of the first memories I have of Jake, even before we started dating was I was having breakfast in Annenberg, which is the freshman dining hall at Harvard.

    Jeanette: And I’m like, who is that guy talking so loudly? And it was Jake like, like sitting two tables down from me and saying to a bunch of other people, like, that’s why I came to Harvard so that I can marry somebody who will just work. And I can just be a stay-at-home dad.

    Susan: Okay.

    Jeanette: And so

    Susan: to him, it’s

    Jeanette: like, why is he so noxious? And I, I had, somehow my, my brain just totally forgot about this until we were like six months into our relationship. I was like, Oh yeah, that was you. So [00:36:00] yeah, I wasn’t really gunning for, Oh, like Jake, wasn’t really like an obvious candidate for you know, going to Goldman or like the kids really for that matter.

    Jeanette: But you just never know how things will turn out.

    Susan: Yeah. Okay. So I’m curious for each of your relationships, like, what was the point in which you felt like, Oh, there’s chemistry? Like, what was the condition where like, who courted, who, or like, how did you know that you wanted to keep dating this person?

    Susan: Like, tell me your meeting, your partner’s story.

    Kate: Mine is a very latter day, I guess, modern day romance. We met on new year’s day. And actually my first impression was very negative because, so I, it seems like I’m extroverted, but actually I have a highly introverted in many ways. I don’t like meeting new people in large groups. Right. I just like meeting people one-on-one so I can have a quality conversation with them.

    Kate: So I thought I was going to meet just, you know, a couple of new people. We were going to go wine tasting, and then I show up at their house. It was like some dude

    Susan: [00:37:00] sitting there,

    Kate: some random dude who I didn’t expect one. Well, yeah, but it was like one more than I expected, which like I find incredibly annoying.

    Kate: Cause I already didn’t know the other two new people anyways. I was like, Oh, random, random person. And then he was also like Indian and a doctor. I was like, Oh my God, the most boring combination in the world, like an

    Susan: Indian Docker vomit. So

    Kate: yeah,

    Susan: that was my first,

    Kate: no, that was my first impression. But didn’t know it was, it was unusual, you know, I was living in China at the time. And so I was just there for like a couple of days and we only spent eight hours together on that day. And I guess we must’ve enjoyed each other’s company enough or maybe because we drank too much wine.

    Kate: I don’t know, but we actually kept in touch over

    Kate: You know, the usual like messaging app,

    Susan: like the cat

    Kate: WhatsApp, do you know? I felt like I was in high school getting very giddy and I think there was less pressure. Right. Because when you’re not face to face with someone, he was like all the way in Miami.

    Kate: I was in Beijing. So it’s not like there’s any expectation. Right. We didn’t actually [00:38:00] see each other in person. So I actually think that helped

    Susan: us communicate

    Kate: better. And also when you’re only talking to each other, if you don’t have anything to talk about, you’re done, right. You’re not like going on a day, you’re not wearing like a sexy little black dress and he’s not like sending you flowers or something.

    Susan: So you’re dropping notes by the Brook. Yes, that’s right. No, Brooke,

    Jeanette: no,

    Kate: Brooke, by my apart, I’m in Beijing. And so, you just have the conversation to sustain you and . We

    Susan: didn’t see each other for five months and then we met up for a first date. Yeah. Oh his

    Kate: Residency graduation.

    Susan: So I flew from

    Kate: Beijing to Miami to attend his

    Susan: graduation from residency as your first date. Yes. But we

    Kate: really thought we had gotten to know each other pretty well, we were literally talking two times a day, every day, basically since we met

    Susan: Kate. So when I saw you at

    Jeanette: the

    Susan: airport, Oh my God. Yes.[00:39:00]

    Kate: So random. I totally forgot about Susan Jeanette and Iranian because that’s a layover in Boston. I don’t remember whether it was on my way back from on my way to,

    Susan: I thought it was

    Jeanette: either or Newark,

    Susan: Newark. Right. Totally over

    Jeanette: for work. And like randomly I saw you. And then you had mentioned that you were going to sound like red.

    Jeanette: I think you have residency graduation. And I was just like, Oh, wow. You flew all the way from Beijing for that for first

    Susan: date. Yup. Wow. And then, and then y’all had like a long distance relationship until, until

    Kate: I moved back from China to, to Seattle. Yeah, it was involved, I think a lot of leaps of faith, but, you know, it’s interesting.

    Kate: Cause I think a propos of what Jeanette was saying earlier, which is that her college relationship seems so sweet from the outside, but internally there were a lot of ups and downs. I think it’s the same for us where, you know, people, if you just talk, tell the bare bones, it’s like, Oh, so romantic, you met like on new year’s [00:40:00] day and like went wine tasting when you had this long distance courtship and then you moved together to Seattle.

    Susan: Okay. All of those are true, but like. Within

    Kate: that a lot of, well, I get a lot of arguments, a lot of insecurity, a lot of, you know yeah, a lot of needing to take a leap of faith, but then regretting it and we broke up at one point too. And so I think it’s yeah, it there’s no one moment per se, I think you have to work really hard.

    Kate: Both will have to work really hard and really want to be able to work through things when, they are when it’s that both people have to be persisted right. In one way or the other, and be willing to, I think maybe Jeanette said this earlier, or even Susan just kind of confront yourself in the process.

    Kate: Right? I think the best kind of partner or the person that you should really be with is the person from whom you can’t really hide yourself.

    Susan: Yeah. I always say that relationships are like one of the best personal growth workshops you could ever have. Because like that person is always reflecting back to you or that [00:41:00] kind of keeping tabs and can keep you accountable to like your recurring shit.

    Susan: Yeah. And they have to live

    Jeanette: with your shit. Right. You have to

    Susan: live with their shit with happily ever after.

    Jeanette: Yeah. No, I mean, I think I just never believe in that. I don’t dunno why I was just like such a jaded kid. I think. How about you, Susan? What was your, I think I heard a little bit, you guys like met at an art show or something?

    Susan: No, it was it was, we had both gotten in business school at Yale. And so they have like a welcome weekend so that you can be like, Oh my God, my classmates are so much fun. I’m going to sign a deposit away and like definitely come to the school or whatever. So it’s like spring. I don’t know what year.

    Susan: This is 2012. And I’m at the welcome weekend and people are just hanging out. We’re just hanging out and we’re about to go into the some dinner reception [00:42:00] and we’re in a museum and it’s like it’s like a historical museum of some sort. There’s like dinosaurs everywhere. And it’s also like an exhibit of how, like the evolution of how humans have eaten food over the centuries and how it’s changed from the Andrew Thall to now.

    Susan: And basically we’re the too long didn’t read is we’re very fat cause we eat processed food. And so I’m sitting here in this exhibit and I’m talking to all these people and then like 30 feet away, I see a guy standing by himself and I was like, who is this very bold loner who can be at a business school mixer and be by himself.

    Susan: That’s very bold. Yeah, because if you’re like super introverted or socially anxious, actually it’s safer to be within a large circle, but to be all totally by yourself, it’s very strange. And so I walked up to him and I was like, hello. And he’s standing in front of this five [00:43:00] pound piece of silicone fat.

    Susan: And it says, there’s a sign that says, how would your body feel if you had five pounds, less fat in you and, and you can stick your hands in the plexi glass and touch it. And I went up to him and I was like, Hey, you want to shake this fat with me? And he’s like, yeah. So like, we both put our hands, like erotically into this plexiglass container and both have all this fat and we shake it up and down and I’m like, I’m Susan.

    Susan: He goes, I’m Marvin. And I’m like, cool. Like this guy is cool because really, I mean, usually I’m just testing people all the time. Like, are you down to like B. Just a little non-traditional or not, you know? And he was so comfortable with it. Like, I could see that he wasn’t anxious in any way. I was like, huh, he’s interesting.

    Susan: You know, we hang out, you know, I’m, I’m in another relationship, you know, like I’m not like ready to jump his bones or anything, but it’s more, like, I thought he was very interesting and then we both ended up going to Yale. [00:44:00] And then he comes over to my house because his roommate drove my bike across the country.

    Susan: Okay. From Oakland to new Haven. And I, and I had picked up my bike and I was like, Hey, why don’t you come over here? I’m going to make brunch for everybody when he’d come over. I want to thank you. And he’s like, can I invite my roommate? Which was lo and behold Marvin. So Marvin comes and I, this is like the first day of business school orientation.

    Susan: I sit everyone down. I feed everyone and I’m like, let’s play mafia where we kill each other and ask who’s lying. And they’re like, Oh my God, this is so weird. And he’s having a great time with me. And he decides at the end of that brunch, that he’d like to come back and fix my bike with his bare hands and like switch the bike tires out because it went flat without his bare hands.

    Susan: And I was like, do you need some tools, bro? And he was like, no, do you have a spoon? Or let me just use my bare hands. And I was like, who is this guy? And he

    Jeanette: was interested at that point. [00:45:00]

    Susan: No, because I asked him, I said, I was like, Hey, what’s your deal. And, and then I find out that he had gone out of the six-year relationship with someone and it was like, do you still love her?

    Susan: He’s like, yeah, boom. He is in friend zone. He is in friend zone. And, and then I just treat him like a friend, like, and then we go to New York together. No,

    Jeanette: no, no, no, no, no.

    Jeanette: Okay. All I’m saying, Susan, is that a guy coming over and saying like, I’m going to fix your bike. And I’ve only met you two times. But that’s not what it, what

    Susan: is that? That’s like a guy who wants to fix your bike. No, no,

    Jeanette: I don’t think so.

    Susan: I mean, no, no. I was in a relationship. He told me he still liked his ex I’d put him in friend zone. Yeah. Wait,

    Jeanette: you don’t get to choose

    Susan: really? Oh, wait, wait. I got to tell you this last thing about him. Okay. So whatever, we’re walking [00:46:00] home from a party one day and I got mad at him. I got mad at him. Like I’m a girlfriend mad at him.

    Susan: Like he said something and I got mad and I was like, that’s weird. Cause he’s my friend. He’s my guy friend in the friend zone. But I was mad at him. I didn’t talk to him at that bar that night. He, like I said, you don’t get to choose. He walks me home. And he was like, Hey, I think we should talk about how you like me.

    Susan: And I was like, what, what are you talking about? I don’t know what, like. He did some jujitsu stuff on me and then it turns out I did like him confusing. Right?

    Jeanette: Yeah. Well, I think the reason, well, yes, so I already told you what I w I think you guys already crossed the, here, he crossed the line when he was like, I’m going to come fix your bike

    Susan: girl.

    Susan: I just met cross. So lied. No, no. Our business school class, unlike Harvard business school class, [00:47:00] Jeanette is small. It’s like 240 people. Everyone was very friendly. Nice. But I guess maybe a lot of people were boning each other during orientation. Who knows? No, no, no. I mean,

    Jeanette: I think coming to fit your bike is actually even more affectionate than, than burning somebody

    Susan: with his bare hands

    Jeanette: with his bare hands.

    Susan: Okay. What about you Jeanette? I mean like, what was the moment where you’re like, Was it just like Jake was just like, just like y’all met it a Christian club.

    Jeanette: Yeah. They call it a Christian fellowship. So it’s like a, it’s like a club for Christians at Harvard.

    Jeanette: And we first met each other there. Ours is a long and winding road. So I’ll just give you the highlights. Yeah, we met there, we knew of each other for a couple of weeks. [00:48:00] And then

    Jeanette: I was screening this documentary and I had emailed out to like a bunch of different email lists that I was feeding this documentary on North Korea, which was a topic I was interested in that and still am now my family, I have some family ties there.

    Jeanette: And he said, he emailed me back and he said, Hey, I can’t make the documentary, but I’d love to learn more about, about, you know, your, your interest in this area. So we went and got dinner. I Quincy like October, 2003.

    Susan: Wait, so this is freshman year.

    Jeanette: Yeah. As freshman year. And then that conversation ended up being like five hours and he was like super flirty with me.

    Jeanette: He was like, nudging his foot against mine. It was like, very, like, it was like super, super forward while you’re talking

    Susan: about North Korea. Yeah, I

    Jeanette: know, right. This is, this is our relationship. It still is our relationship. And then after that, we hung out together every day [00:49:00] for probably like at least two hours, if not like four hours.

    Jeanette: Right. And we. I think we said in the beginning, Oh, like I just wanted to be friends. I’m not really looking for a serious relationship, but after you’re hanging out with somebody for like two to four hours, like every single day, you’re kind of like, and they’re the opposite gender and your post rate.

    Jeanette: You’re kind of like, what is this? Right. And so then we decided that we’re dating and then I decide I’m not ready for a serious relationship. And then we just like go back and forth and we just ping pong back and forth for like a long time. And then I got really burnt out in school and I woke up one day my sophomore year and I was like, you know what, I really need to just get out of here.

    Jeanette: So I’m going to go to South Africa for the first semester of my junior year. I’m going to go study abroad. And Jake’s like, okay, I’ll come with you. And so we went to South Africa together. We did a semester abroad together. And I think after that, that’s kind of when I was like, [00:50:00] okay, you know what, actually, I know that we’re going to end up together.

    Jeanette: So then after we came back, that was my junior year. Yeah. That was my junior year. After we came back, I think after that, like, I was more kind of settled in the relationship, like more comfortable with the idea that and we got engaged October of our senior year and then got married July of 2007.

    Susan: So let’s talk about partnership because we always talk about like lovers finding the love of your life. But like once you’re married, how much work is it for you?

    Susan: Like Marvin and I have finally, I have been. Begging him to go to couples counseling for years. And it wasn’t until six months postpartum. I was like, yo, I watched the marriage story on Netflix with [00:51:00] Scott Hanson and Adam driver. It was good. It totally messed up my brain. And I was like, Marvin, I’m not asking you any more for couples counseling.

    Susan: I’m demanding it because there’s some chronic stuff and we need to resolve because why are we in this relationship? If it’s not like the best it could be that we’re like totally invested in, like, we’re always choosing each other every day. Like I want to be there. And I don’t know if that’s like too much of a fantasy of something maybe I’ve watched on TV or see what white people have and like, what can Asian couples have?

    Susan: But like, I want that, you know, and like finally he was like, okay. And then, and then we did, we, we went for a few months and it was great. And like sometimes we went to the Gottman Institute, bringing baby home. And we like went to that course before we had the baby of just like really communicating, asking for what you need, because your life is going to fundamentally change with kids.

    Susan: But I feel like I’m always the one trying to be like, let’s read this seven ways to make a marriage work, you know? And then he’s like, doesn’t want to read these books. [00:52:00] But I think I would be disappointed if we didn’t do that because there’s like some recurring stuff that we have that always comes up and I’m just like, I don’t want it to be the rest of our lives like that, you know?

    Susan: And I’m wondering if like, do y’all have to really work at your relationship or is it actually like pretty easy breezy?

    Susan: I don’t

    Kate: believe in people have easy breezy relationships. There must be something wrong. And it’s like one of those things that it implodes when like people hit middle age, you know, the things that are maybe there are, I think there are probably are

    Susan: people who may be like that. But I think those are relatively

    Kate: rare.

    Kate: I think a lot of it’s like, you know, what is the saying with doc seems like it’s just floating on the water, but underneath the feet are

    Susan: furiously paddling. Right.

    Kate: I feel like that’s quite apt for marriage, especially if you go through a lot of you know both internal and external events like having kids or relationships with family members that are [00:53:00] fraud, things like that.

    Kate: So yeah, I would say my relationship has almost never been our relationship has almost never been smooth.

    Susan: Per se.

    Jeanette: Yeah. I agree, man. I think it’s better now because we have, you know, we have just a lot of years between us. So I think we kind of know each other’s issues and have worked through some of it and others, like, we’re just better able to manage it, but I think it’s like, never like just easy.

    Jeanette: Right?

    Jeanette: Yeah, if it’s like, if it’s not like between you guys that where there’s like some issue, it’s like, yeah. Like other family members, like other stressors, right. There’s plenty of stressors just like in life that that caused friction. Right. And you’re always, you always have to kind of work

    Susan: through it.

    Susan: What are, what are your top two issues that you usually keep cycling back to?

    Jeanette: Hmm, top two only two. We [00:54:00] can only talk about, I mean, you

    Susan: can tell me three. It’s fine. I just want well, I think Jake is much more of like an instigator

    Susan: and

    Jeanette: I, I think we have this tension where I instigator as in like, he’s opening up new projects, but he’s not very good at the, the, the cleanup after that.

    Jeanette: Right. So he just has, I know Susan, she’s more like you and Oh, you guys are more alike in that way. Right. He just likes to like open up new projects, but then like, doesn’t take care of the aftermath. And so for me, it’s really frustrating because I feel like I also have that kind of instigator. Like

    Susan: desire, but

    Jeanette: either because of personality or because of socialization, I feel like I went, when I see like, those things left on done, I need to go do them first.

    Jeanette: Like I, I feel stressed out by opening up new [00:55:00] things when the previous things are left on done. So in our relationship, I feel like there’s this constant tension of like me feeling frustrated because I feel like I need to tie up all the loose ends in our family. And so I don’t have as much energy or time to, to do these new projects that I want to do.

    Jeanette: And, and that kind of turns up in like a number of different I mean, I think we have like other issues too, right? I mean, the other things are there’s just so many I think this whole, I had alluded to this earlier, right. That this whole idea of like intimacy and co like independence on each other.

    Jeanette: Right. I think just because I have been, so gung-ho about being independent, it’s hard for me. But Parenthood kind of forces it on you more right. Where you kind of have to, to to like the load kind of sways back and forth between you much more. Right. And sometimes it’s going to be like a lot more on you and sometimes it’s going to be more on the other person.

    Jeanette: But it’s [00:56:00] never, there’s this thing that Bernie Brown said, right? It’s like marriage partnership is not about being 50 50 all the time. It’s about, you know, when you need that person to take on 80, that they’re there for you. And like, when you need to take on 80 for them, like you’re there for them.

    Jeanette: Right. But that kind of like swinging back and forth and the lack of strict account accounting for it. Is sometimes makes me stressed out, stressed out and that shows up in a number of different ways.

    Susan: Yeah. Yeah. My girlfriend just told me that also Harvard she told me that her and her husband had these, a deck of cards called Fairplay.

    Susan: Have you heard of those? Yeah. It’s like a hundred household chores, but you kind of talk about them and like, who’s really gonna take it on and like really own it. And then does it feel fair? You know, and it might not be, you get 50 cards and I get 50 cards, but it’s just like, it changes the conversation so that these chronic issues [00:57:00] kind of like, have you just approach the minute at different ways.

    Susan: So it’s fair. Cause it’s not equal. Yeah.

    Jeanette: How about you? Kay. What are your top stressors

    Kate: in

    Susan: marriage? Yeah, the chronic arguments. Like you always come back to these same things. Yeah, I

    Kate: think like they’re, I mean, they seem like seemingly minor things, like for, for me, it’s, you know, I get really stressed or upset and reactive. So then that like set, you know, that’s off the whole cascade of things. And then for him, I feel like, you know, he, it do certain things and even then told them a million times, you know, they’re, they’re seemingly small things.

    Kate: Right. And so, you know, those, those crop up a lot in of course family, you know, tensions with various family members, perennial

    Susan: source of, [00:58:00] although I think we’ve

    Kate: learned how to manage that a lot better together. I would say the biggest improvement probably in the last year or so

    Susan: has been to. Take things less personally.

    Susan: Right?

    Kate: So it would just kind of a weird thing, cause you’re like obviously married to someone. So how can you not take things personally, but actually I think as you get to know your spouse or partner better you know, they, they react in certain ways because it’s related to, you know, history background, their own wounds and so forth.

    Kate: And so it’s personal in the sense that it’s directed at you, but it’s not personal in the sense that it’s intended to harm you, you specifically on purpose. Right. So I think we’ve gotten a lot better at that in the last year. And just having an understanding that if we’re, you know, we do something that’s really upsetting.

    Kate: It’s not necessarily always because we’re trying to do it to the other person. It’s just something that each of us are still working on. Anyway, I think I got a little off

    Susan: topic there. Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like, you know, y’all have been evolving like in terms of [00:59:00] how you communicate then. Yeah, I

    Kate: think it’s, it’s always evolving.

    Kate: We also went through, you know premarital counseling and then expectant parent counseling. And I do think it, it helps. But I think it’s less, so much the counseling that it’s as much the desire to want to keep

    Jeanette: moving

    Kate: forward and trying to get better as opposed to just the act of getting, the counseling

    Susan: itself.

    Susan: Yeah. Yeah. I think for us, like, it’s just, I think, I, I don’t know if like I’m just so self-absorbed and egotistical or what, but like our two chronic issues is I don’t feel beautiful in his eyes. Like I don’t think he ever will affirm me like, and, and see me as beautiful. Like I’ve got it on this car. I got it.

    Susan: I gotta show you what it is. It’s so funny. I said, Marvin, [01:00:00] my love language is affirmation. So for Valentine’s day, why don’t you write me some affirmations? He goes great. Top five, you have a beautiful bod. Your boobs are perfect. You are a powerful person. Your calves are strong. Your cheeks are so hateable.

    Susan: Yeah. What am I supposed to do with that anyways? So I don’t ever feel like he just like really like, you know, honors me is like a goddess, you know, and like worships my body because I have a lot of body insecurity stuff. I mean, with my mom and you know, how she died and just me in general, like, I’m not.

    Susan: I’m not, I’m petite in most places except my stomach. So like I just fit clothes in a really funny way. And so that’s always been a chronic one and we’ve gotten arguments ever since we were dating about it. But a lot of it is me. Right. But also I’m just kinda like, yo, the [01:01:00] ask is clear, just fulfill the ask in a genuine way and I won’t be mad at you.

    Susan: And then the second one is just like, feeling like he can acknowledge what I said and validate what I said, right? Like I’m going to be stressed out about whatever and I just want him to validate it and acknowledge it. But really he goes into problem solving mode or will dismiss what I just said as it’s not a big problem.

    Susan: And I go crazy. Like I get so mad.

    Kate: I have that too, Susan. I think sometimes it may be also like a gender thing. I’ve heard this from other friends.

    Susan: This is a common problem between

    Kate: us. Yes.

    Susan: Yes he is.

    Kate: So husband is also a problem solver when I just need to be hugged sometimes.

    Susan: Right. Yeah. But deep, but then how do you just like separate that from your own like self style?

    Susan: Like, right. Like I’m like, Oh, I just need to work on it, but I also want my partner to support me in a very specific way. Now I’m very specific about it. [01:02:00] Anyways. That’s marriage for you. That’s so happy.

    Jeanette: If we have a few more minutes maybe would be helpful to talk about anything like any advice you would give your younger self when starting out on this whole, like journey of like relationships, like maybe eventually turning into marriage Parenthood.

    Kate: I think a big one for me, based on my own experiences. Never think that someone is too good for you or that you’re too good for someone else. It’s not about being too good. Anybody being too good for anyone else, it’s about someone being right for you and you being right for someone. I really hate that.

    Kate: You know I think it’s movies talk about, Oh, this is like that guy’s not good enough for you or you’re not good enough. Or, you know, or this person feels like they’re not good enough for this really awesome person. And I think that’s just really it, it implicitly places, one person below another person in terms of their value as a human being.

    Kate: And I really, really hate that. And I wish I could [01:03:00] tell my younger self, like, you know, cause usually I was at the I’m not good enough for this person attitude and

    Susan: it’s, it’s not good to have that way of thinking. Hmm. I wish I could have seen. My entire dating life from that, that kid in kindergarten that I had had such a big crush on with the McDonald’s sweatshirt, like from then all the way until age 30.

    Susan: I wish I could have said the world is a buffet and just go try lots of things. Don’t you don’t have to commit. You don’t have to say I’m only going to have hungry man dinners for the rest of my life. Just go try stuff in a disattached way free of this expectation of who’s going to be the one to whisk me away and complete my life.

    Susan: And, and now everything is going to be perfect. And I am now whole and complete. Like I wish I just could have been, just been like, hi, tell me all about you. And I’m going to be so curious about you instead of like, as you said, Kate, [01:04:00] like, Oh, can I be enough for them? Like, am I good enough? And I’m just like, I just wish I had just would have been like, Hey, tell me all about you.

    Susan: Great. Okay, great. You don’t interest me. That’s okay.

    Susan: I just wish I w put in place so much meaning on it, you know, like I just wish I just would’ve gone for it. I mean, I did go for everyone, especially the wrong ones and it didn’t work out. So yeah. What about you, Jeanette?

    Jeanette: But you ended up with a good one, so that’s good. You didn’t end up with one of the crazy ones.

    Susan: My family does think Marvin is kind of crazy. He takes me mountaineering and goes back country skiing and does very extreme sports. And now has a new goal of wanting to sail around the world. In a boat that we are going to buy one day and I’m just like, yo, how many times do you have to tell you?

    Susan: We’re boat people. We can’t swim and we’re traumatized by water. And now you want me to be on some, two year around the world trip, like Truman show, or then [01:05:00] the boats going to capsize. We’re all gonna die. So, yeah, he’s good. But he likes dangerous sports.

    Jeanette: Crazy in that way. I think for me I asked the question, but I don’t have a good answer.

    Jeanette: I’ve was trying to be present and listen to you guys. What I would have told my younger self, which is not strictly, just limited to dating, but a little bit like what you were saying, Susan, just being more curious about people. I was just like, so I’m hung up on like a bunch of other things that I just really didn’t take as much interest in the people around me as I wish I would have.

    Jeanette: So that’s like much broader than just like romantic relationships. But that’s one regret that I have. And I think in some ways like Jake and I kind of see our relationship as like very providential, because I think it really kind of took his type of personality, which is like super duper friendly and also super duper persistent.

    Jeanette: I called the Kuala strategy [01:06:00] to, to make it work with somebody like me. Right. I don’t think most people could have really hung on for that long. That’s what I would say to my younger self.

    Susan: Yeah. Koalas strategy.

    Susan: I’ll keep that in mind. Anytime you near an a conflict. I was like, how do I challenge my inner koala?  I want to add one more thing, which is go for fun. And I don’t mean fun in a reckless way. Like, let’s get STDs fund. I mean, like go have fun. And if you’re not having fun, maybe they’re not fun. And that’s okay.

    Susan: You know what I mean? Instead of like, I’m going to fix this person, I’m going to be the one that, you know, helps them with their issues to get over this, or they have commitment issues and I’m going to be the one to do this. Like I think oftentimes women want to be the one to help in such a profound way.

    Susan: And I’m like, yo, you’re in your teens. You’re in your twenties. [01:07:00] Maybe you’re in your thirties. Just if you’re not having fun. This is like, even before getting married and all the couples counseling and all of that. Like if you’re not having fun initially, like why, why stick around? You know what I mean?

    Susan: Like, it should actually just get harder from here. So it should be pretty easy and awesome in the beginning, I think I think I went on a number of dates where I wasn’t having fun and somehow I was just trying to convince myself that they were the one and, and I’m just going to have to make it work.

    Susan: And that was like on date one and a half.

    Jeanette: Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. Yeah. I think it needs to be fun or else you’re not going to survive the rest of it.

    Susan: Yeah. Or like, what’s the point? Like, what’s the freaking point. Like we don’t know when we’re going to die. Why drag it on for so long?

    Susan: If it’s not like giving you life, you know, Yeah,

    Kate: and looking good on paper is never the reason why you should date someone. Well,

    Susan: that’ll be my dad,

    Jeanette: right?[01:08:00] That’s a wrap.

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