As a woman married to THIS particular geek, I have a few words of my own. My OWN advice, if you will, on how to live amicably with a geek.
First off, the particular geek writing this blog is what I am terming an “ADD Geek”. His attentions are all over the place he finds, in my opinion, too many things to get excited about. This ultimately leads to the absent-mindedness. His interests include gaming (video, computer, RPG’s etc.), cars, politics, technology, tools, the English language (correcting EVERYONE’S grammar), writing and reading. I’m sure there are others, but I’ll add those at some point in the future when they come to me. Every time he opens his mouth, the words coming out have to do with one of these topics; none of which I have ANY interest in at all.
“So Amanda, what are your coping mechanisms?” you may ask. Here are a few ways that I have found to deal with (I mean live amicably with–silly me!) my own personal ADD Geek . . .
- Let them have their time- and make some time for yourself!
When your geek wants a little time to do their thing, this is NOT the time to go find something constructive to do- like housework (unless that IS your bag). I’ve tried this before and it only results in resentment. The running thought in my head the whole time was “Why am I doing all the work around here when he gets to have fun and relax!” Find something relaxing for yourself to do like watch bad TV, give yourself a mani/pedi, read a magazine, peruse Target or the Mall, etc. When you are finished, let your geek know it’s time to do something else, and both of you can get something constructive done together (housework, yard work or home projects).
- Tell your geek that it’s NOT OK to be absent-minded.
Yes, my personal geek has a lot on his mind all the time. Some of it may be important; some of it may be just geekery (like sitting around thinking about Quantum Physics when one is supposed to be helping to unload the van). I have a lot on my mind too- but household responsibilities are not excused because of a temporary brain fart. “Oh, I forgot” and “Don’t worry, I’ll get to it” and “It’s not like I forgot on purpose!” becomes extremely old and irritating very, very quickly. Briefly, allow your geek to know how irritating this is and, with as much self-control as you can muster up at the time, kindly remind them of the partnership they entered into with you and to please be more conscience of taking initiative. I’m clearly still working on this one.
- Attempt some of your geek’s interests- and show them some of yours as well.In a very sad attempt, I did try to play Halo. Once. It was tragic. I even tried playing RPG’s (pencil and paper role playing games–not the good kind). I’ve engaged in conversation about politics and occasionally I ask a question or two about cars. All of these were an attempt to broaden my horizons-which is always a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with trying something new. And the same goes for your geek. On rare occasions, we do go clothing or shoe shopping together. I’m sure he’d rather be having a root canal when we engage in this sort of activity, but is mildly open to articles of clothing that I choose for him and it always peaks his interest more when we find something that he looks good on him. We’ve learned that one of our favorite things to shop for is kitchen supplies, as we both love cooking. When both of you attempt new things, you are bound to find things you both enjoy and love doing together.
- Poke a little light-hearted fun at your geek’s habits.Sometimes a little satisfaction can go a long way. My geek is obsessed with the English language and feels the need to correct grammar. As annoying as this can get, I sometimes go out of my way to use double and if possible, triple negatives just to make him cringe. I don’t do it often, but when I get the chance, it makes me a little satisfied when I get the traditional eye roll. 🙂
I hope this all makes a little sense. I am also still trying to figure out many other aspects of living amicably with a geek and I am always open to suggestions. Opposites can definitely attract when you find some common ground with your geek, life is good!
My wife is kind of awesome–and in case you didn’t notice the author on this one, it’s her first official guest post!
Thank you so much for writing this! My partner is a geek (I’m not)..we’ve recently moved in together and he’s driving me up the wall!
Common sense and domesticity are clearly not compatible with geekdom!
Any good books/posts/advice you can give to tolerate a middle-aged man who lives like a teenage boy?!
I’ll let my wife field this one (in the interests of potential marital bliss). I will say that it’s a two-way street. Oh, and I’m sure that I’ve made her an expert by now. 🙂
Thanks for the comment Kelly!! I’m not actually an expert, and I don’t know of any books or other posts to help with coping, but I have gotten through three years of dating and six years of a relatively happy marriage 🙂 with very little collateral damage. As I’m sure you have figured out, it’s not always easy. There’s nothing that amps my frustration more than having things that need to be done around the house, and there’s Geek boy sitting on the couch in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tee shirt playing video games. During times like this, I resist the urge to shove that controller up a very uncomfortable area belonging to my beloved geek, and I merely ask him to do a specific task like unload the dishwasher. I’ve learned that yelling “Can you please stop doing that and help me?” doesn’t work because the only response I get is “What do you need help with?”. This response only results in me getting even more angry because like the majority of geeks out there, he doesn’t see things that needs done. Unfortunately, you have to tell him what needs done. He doesn’t see the pile of dishes near the sink, he doesn’t see socks all over the floor, he doesn’t know that there are clothes in the dryer that need to be folded. You, again unfortunately, need to tell him.
Fortunately, if your geek is as loving as he was in the beginning, he will try to die (IN HIS GAME!!) as soon as possible and do whatever it is that needs to be done. The irritating, yet sweet thing about most geeks is that they really do love you and want you to be happy, but they are relatively clueless at the same time. With a little bit of direct instruction and lots (and lots) of patience, you and your geek will find compatibility. Again, thanks for your comment!! I hope this helps!!
Thanks Amanda! I envy you your tolerance! Someone once told me that life with a geek/academic was not easy and very lonely but it didn’t prepare me! Not nice living with a man who’s career is the love of his life and his girl comes a poor second! I sometimes wonder if its all worth it. If I was a geek-ess it might be different! Maybe I should write a book on this rare and interesting species! Thanks again for replying! Kelly
Just a few quick notes:
First, my wife comes in well ahead of my various nerdy obsessions AND my job–and she always will. Amanda is always first. I don’t want any misconceptions out there about that. 🙂
Secondly, Amanda did leave out a few key things I DO notice and do to make our lives better. I don’t know if you read my other post about using your nerdy obsessions to drive you, but I take that to heart. Her computer never runs slowly, our Wi-Fi network always works, our TV and entertainment center are pretty sweet and I’ve set it all up to be easy to use, our cars are always in good repair, the lawn gets mowed and the mower is also kept in good repair, I built us shelves that saved us a couple hundred dollars, and . . . well, you get the idea.
Yup, I’m pretty terrible about remembering to put my dishes in the dishwasher, or at taking my empty glasses down to the kitchen, but there’s a lot that I’m better at doing. Amanda (I think) is as patient as she is because she remembers that I do a lot of other stuff. Now, if I can just nail some of the details that drive her nuts, I’ll be home free.
I guess what I’m saying is that, it seems to me, the best way to be patient with your geek is to remember what it is that geek does do for you. I’m sure it’s there, or you wouldn’t be with that geek. 🙂