It’s about 10:30 in the morning, and I’m sitting at my computer having my morning cup of coffee. Midway through
my daily YouTube binge researching a new article, my girlfriend busts through the door crying. I instinctually stand up to embrace her, hug her tightly, and let her know I’m here.
At this point, I have no idea what’s happening. Did a family member just die? Did she see something horrible in the news? Am I in trouble for something? The mind races. But, regardless of the reason for her crying, I know what my job is: to love and support her.
After she calms down, she explains that it’s a combination of things—the stress of 2020 (do I really need to elaborate here?), tone-deaf management at her job, and a bit of burnout. I hear her out, tell her I love her, and tell her that what she’s feeling is completely understandable.
Life Mirroring Art
Once she leaves, it hits me: that was some of the best boyfriending I’ve done in a while, and it was because I was mirroring what I saw in ASMR videos. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t try to solve her problems. Instead, I just heard her out, told her it would be okay, and made sure she knew that I was here for her. I was unknowingly trying to be a live-action ASMR video.
“Once she leaves, it hits me: that was some of the best boyfriending I’ve done in a while, and it was because I was mirroring what I saw in ASMR videos.”
ASMR as a Digital Role Model . . . Sort of
This is where ASMR can be a weird role model of sorts. ASMR provides us with an opportunity to examine the human experience and what stressed-out people want. ASMR teaches us lots of things. It teaches us people aren’t always looking for solutions, but sometimes just want to vent or have a shoulder to cry on. If they were looking to solve a life issue, they might be on YouTube, but they probably won’t be watching ASMR videos. Specific to relationships, ASMR teaches us about what people want from their spouses (read: girlfriend roleplay videos). If millions of people find satisfaction in watching these videos, maybe there’s a few ideas in there you can borrow.
Now, there are a few caveats. First, I’m not saying that spouse roleplay videos are a word-for-word script of how you should act. Taking a few pointers is all fine and good, but reciting a random YouTube video is just not genuine or realistic. Second, there difference between being a good spouse, and simply pretending to be one. But hey, what’s wrong with a little fake-it-till-you-make-it here? Anyone who has been to couples counseling can tell you that the first few times you say something like “that sucks, how can I help,” it feels awkward, and to be honest, a bit fake. But that’s how new habits start. First, you force yourself to do it, then, it becomes second nature.
ASMR is great, but at the end of the day it is not real life. That being said, ASMR can provide us with a few good pointers on what we can be doing better as spouses. It has helped me, maybe it can help you.