Posted by fxckfeelings on October 26, 2017Share This Post
Very rational, even tempered guys can be attractive in their own way, particularly after you’ve been put through the ringer by emotional, indecisive man-boys who make impulsive, irrational decisions (like picking fights/cheating or breaking up with you). A rational style, however, does not necessarily guarantee that they’re better at managing their emotions or acting more decently than their less moody brethren. That’s why you need to learn to evaluate a rational guy’s ability to be a good guy before you decide whether he’s truly good for you.
My kid’s dad used to say that he wanted to be Data from Star Trek as a kid because Data didn’t have feelings, so he changed his personality to one that wasn’t “ruled by emotions.” Instead of becoming wise and patient, however, he’s morphed into a complete narcissist. He might not show emotion, but he seems fueled by anger and selfish impulses; he doesn’t get angry, just calmly denies he’s done anything wrong, which is less like Star Trek and more like Gaslight. He’s become a totally unempathetic, perpetual victim. My goal is to figure out if there’s a way to un-Data him or if he’s just beyond hope.
F*ck Love: One Shrink’s Sensible Advice for Finding a Lasting Relationship
While it’s natural to link your partner’s poor communication and emotional rigidity to his childhood aspiration to grow up to be an android, his choice of idol may be less the cause of his problem than a result. In other words, you’d love to be able to change him so he was less selfish, more responsive to your needs, and easier to talk to—less Data and more Betazoid—but you have to wonder whether you’re asking him to be someone he’s not.
Remember, he first identified with this character as a kid, so his determination to be feelingless came long before your relationship and may not have reflected a choice so much as a state of being that he was already in and couldn’t help. For a fuller picture, ask friends and family members whether he was ever much different than he is now when it comes to expressing or sharing feelings, or ask him and others about any previous relationships and whether they failed because of the traits you now find difficult.
If, as is most likely, his rigidity and poor relationship skills have always been a problem and have survived other people’s efforts to get him to change, then you’ll know for sure that he’s a Data for good. At which point it’s your job to decide whether the relationship is worthwhile the way it is, not the way you want it to be.
Instead of looking for the key to making him change, evaluate how much he contributes as a partner and father in spite of his personality problems. Ask yourself whether he carries his weight, does enough to care for you and your son, and is a decent, trustworthy partner overall with whom you can enjoy occasional good times together. He may not be as loving and demonstrative as even a Vulcan, but if he shows his feelings by helping out, providing good financial support, and cleaning the gutters, then that’s worth taking into account.
If you don’t think he contributes in any of the necessary ways listed above, and you can’t think of a reason to stay with him beyond your love and false hope in his ability to change, then it’s time to look hard at what would get better if you were on your own. If he does help out in important ways, even if he does so in a detached fashion, then you should stop attacking him for being less-than-humanoid and find ways to praise his strengths and any traces of un-Data behavior. Overall, your focus should be on what you think will be best for you and your son in the long run.
If it’s worth it, learn to accept his Data traits while learning to interpret his feelings from the good things he does for you, rather than waiting for him to express them through his words or face. Whether he’s worth it or not, however, don’t be his victim. Remind yourself that, whatever you choose, you’re doing it because it’s the better choice and not because you’re trapped or because you’ve failed to make him better.
Alas, if he really were like Data, you could improve his humanity with a screwdriver and some code; as it is, you can either improve your view of him or simply move on.
“My partner’s robotic approach to expressing emotion drives me crazy, burt I will not dump him until I figure out what he has to offer when he’s not being a pain in the ass. I will not keep him because of false hopes in his ability to change or dump him because of irritation. I will evaluate our relationship based on my and my family’s needs and then, if I decide to keep him, I will not expect him to change.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname