If you have a smart guy in your life who won’t disclose much about feelings, or thinks he has that under control, thank you very much, it’s possible you’re too worried for his taste.
But it’s equally possible you’re a total mind-reader, you know him better than he knows himself, and you are doing your darndest to teach him feelings vocabulary, or manners… to no avail.
I get it! I get it… you’re exasperated.
Hoping for a Different Result
Einstein defined ___ as trying the same thing over and over hoping for a different result.
But then… what is perseverance?
Arguably, you’ve been optimistic, patient, hopeful, kind, indulgent, loving, and effective! (Except that last one.) (Which would justify the other ones.) Damnit!
May I invite you first to not label yourself as optimistic, patient, etc. but rather: focus on your actions?
For More Information, Peel Back the Label
With your labels peeled off of you, let the light shine in. Notice your actions. It’s okay if they’re all those good things… and maybe also a bit tired, frustrated, or habitual/mind-numbing to even you.
No matter how much he seems to rely on you to give him cues, I invite you to ask yourself: what labels would he bear if he didn’t have you in his life, helping?
Hapless? Clueless? Helpless? Rude? On the spectrum? Awkward? Shy? Blunt? Direct?
Peel his labels off, and you’ll be able to see past them, to what he’s transparently showing you through the glass.
Where’s He At?
So you’ve noticed your own frustration. You’ve noticed you fear for him going through life without you. You’ve found all the labels you threaten him with. Oops. They’re so sticky! What do you have left?
An actual person.
Two actual people, to be exact. You (with your ideas of how it all could be) and him.
If it’s hard to just plain see and accept exactly where he’s at, stop here, talk to a friend, take a bath, or do what you do to fill up on self-empathy and celebrate you being just you, just being kind to yourself. ♥
His ‘needing you’ to survive in this world can’t be a healthy fantasy for anyone involved. (If that’s your reality, you’re reading the wrong blog.)
Where You Want Him
I thought I wanted my spouse to say all the sensitive things at the right times. I thought I wanted a man who noticed my feelings and reflected them back to me accurately. I thought I wanted what I was training him, and every partner before him, to be.
Now I don’t want that.
Peeling back the labels I gave him in my head, and instead, being as kind to my spouse as I am to my clients, allowed him to blossom into the messy, flawed, mistaken, blundering, brilliant savant that he actually is.
And he set me free to be all I can be, too.
Once I’d been told “you’re ahead of your time” often enough, my desire for recognition made way for a desire for contemporaries. Good company. Present company.
Based on my first-hand experience giving up on future-tripping with marital, social, economical, and ecological philosophy, I can wholeheartedly advocate for deciding consciously to stop being ahead of your time.
What You See is What He Gets
To step out of the future, no matter how preferable it seems to the present, and accept what’s right in front of me as more important than what’s possible, was very hard to give up. It was like locking an emergency exit out of what I was pretty sure was unendurable without foresight, vision, intention, intuition.
But what if what he understands about himself – what he ‘gets’ – is as desirable, important, and lovable as any future version of the smart guy you love?
What if what you can point to, or repeat back, with loving curiosity, is all he actually understands about himself? Present reality is the common ground necessary for growing together.
What Are the Odds?
Chances are that what you love about the smart guy in your life, is something you love about yourself, and what you want to change, is something you were shamed into changing. Possibly, saying “ouch,” retreating, and taking care of yourself when you’d rather try to affect him, is kinder for all involved.
Treating him as the responsible adult he is, and responding to his irresponsibility by putting yourself, and not him in charge of caring for your feelings, can be refreshing, if not outright healing.
Fate favors those who are honest with themselves, and know their reasons for interacting with others at all. If he can’t apologize, what’s the natural consequence of that? If he has yet to learn to notice you’re hurt, what can you do about that? Living in the present is hard, but buffering for consequences that never befall him is harder.
This is hard, I’ll admit. I had a lot of support stepping into the Now. I hope you value the fact that I don’t talk to those complaining about their smart guys (though I do accept blog topic suggestions) because my clients must be able to trust I only talk to them, and never about them – not even before they become clients.
Since your smart guy doesn’t need help, is used to doing things himself, and doesn’t have problems, really, I hope you subscribe yourself. Forward 2-3 of my posts to him over time, but stop at 3. With the 3rd one, announce it is the last time you’re forwarding it. You don’t want to nag.
Don’t tell him to subscribe, unless you’re sure that won’t backfire. Let him conclude what he wants to do.
If my blog never tempts him to talk to me one day, you still did your best to help the man who knows best. I know you did.