I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years. We’re both in our late thirties and very much in love. He’s an extremely kind, wonderful, generous man, but I’ve been having a little nagging doubt in the back of my mind lately. Here’s my problem: My whole life, whenever I envisioned the man I would spend the rest of my life with, I dreamed of a dramatically different fellow.
I always pictured someone very intellectual who was always striving to learn more and accomplish more. Not just in a business sense, but in a personal sense, too. I imagined we would have debates on architecture, art, and science and we would be very handy, designing and building a patio or remodeling a bathroom. It would be very important to him to learn about ancient civilizations, and we would travel to crazy, out-of-the-way locales just for the fun of it. This is how I am, and I guess I wanted someone to mirror my personality and enhance it.
My guy says he’s interested in learning how to dance, buy a fixer-upper house or jump on a plane at the last-minute and go to Argentina, but not actually doing these things. This is extremely frustrating for me. I’m the type of person who, when says she’s going to do something, actually does it. I feel like there’s not enough time on this earth to be a dreamer.
When push comes to shove, and I actually do all the planning and setting up, he’ll go along and say what a lovely time he had. But if I left it to him to set things up for us, we’d either watch TV or go to a local sporting event and that would be it.
I’m at a loss as to how to deal with this. Here are my two options: Do I grit my teeth and accept that I’m with an “old dog” who’s not interested in learning any “new tricks”? Or do you think I can eventually change my guy into a Renaissance man, at least a little bit? SPARK PLUG
Dear SPARK PLUG,
I don’t like either of your options. Your guy is not going to turn into a Renaissance man, so forget that. And I hate the idea of you marrying someone you have to “grit your teeth” over. Here’s a third option. Get real! You’ve got a “kind, wonderful, generous man” who goes along with your plans–you’ve won the jackpot! There’s not enough time on this earth to complain about what you don’t have when you have so much!
Here’s my advice. Accept that your part of this relationship is making the arrangements and his part is going along with them. Enjoy the process. Immerse yourself in travel books, home remodeling magazines, checking out dancing school, reading the real estate section, etc. etc. Then zero in on what you want to do, make the plans and tell him to pack his bags or pick up his tool bag or his dancing shoes.
If you need more intellectual stimulation than he offers, take some classes, join a book club. It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to find a clone of yourself. And if you did, would you want him? Remember the “Seinfeld” episode when Jerry meets a female version of himself? At first he loves her, but then he can’t stand her! Celebrate the differences between you and your guy and be happy that he goes along with your plans. Do you have any idea how many women would love a guy who’d move off the couch for a last minute trip to Argentina? Their guys won’t even go to the mall!
I hate to see you to ruin a good thing because of an unrealistic fantasy.