Partner called tonight and reminded me for the 10,000th time why I’d rather just be single now. Plenty of things I appreciate about the man, but one I do not is his anti-intellectualism. When I say “anti-intellectual” that is precisely what I mean — he’s incredibly dismissive of anything and everything he personally isn’t knowledgeable on. Worst of all, he hates to read. HATES to read — and he’d tell anyone that outright. Says schooling gives him a headache and considers nearly anything I bring up on topics that you’d have to read about in order to become familiar with to be a complete waste of time. Totally pointless — everything I like to think about, everything that keeps me searching in this life — totally non-worthwhile in his view. Can’t discuss even the simplest shit, and heaven forbid he just listen about something he’s not familiar with—Oh hell no! He’s gotta butt right on in with his opinion on everything, right from go. And then we wind up shouting over one another, and I get pissed, and the topic winds up abandoned since he didn’t care to hear about it in the first place. Doesn’t directly pertain to him = unimportant. Period.
Won’t read a book unless it’s a cookbook. Won’t read an article. Most of what he thinks he knows that didn’t come directly from hands-on training (as in mechanical operations) he picked up from television. And then, lo and behold! The son of a gun goes off talking shit about people with college educations, as if that must be the problem right there, we assholes who care to take time with information before leaping to rash assumptions and warrantless declarations. The problem is me and “my kind” apparently, not him, never him.
In that way he’s a great deal like my Papa, may he rest in peace. And that’s one of the most aggravating features of my Papa, to be honest, in how he tended to look down on those who are better educated, he only having finished an 8th-grade education. But I understood growing up that my Papa was jealous and was tired of being talked down to by men who thought themselves automatically better than him, and I sympathize with that. While he encouraged his kids and grandkids to pursue college educations, he was also quick to remind me at least that I’d better remember where I come from. And I always do. I learned long ago that there are many, many, many topics not worth broaching around Papa, because he has an opinion on plenty that he knows little about. And I learned to keep quiet on plenty around him, because it simply wasn’t worth the drama.
BUT, when it comes to a man I’m dating, no, that shit doesn’t fly. I still reflect back on the first time I attempted to read something interesting out of a book to my partner during our first year together and that leading to a fight, because he doesn’t understand it and I believe is unsettled by his ignorance. But rather than try to listen and learn, he lashes out and treats it as so much rubbish, no matter what the topic is.
Tonight the argument sprang from me telling him about this Suicide Epidemic article I’ve been taking up time with recently. Shouldn’t have been an argument but somebody can’t listen and feels he must interject to state that anyone without a terminal illness is just weak and is “copping out.” Ugh. I tried breaking down the stats to him, but he kept talking over me to where I doubt he heard any of it. This infuriates me. I was calm before, and now I’m riled, and this is pretty common between us. And naturally, one of the last things he said before I let him go was something smug about how his community college training must not qualify him to hold an opinion, which is just bullshit. Always a smartass quip, a snarky passive-aggressive rebuttal. Can’t just listen for a while — never that. Nope. Gotta forcefully jump in and make sure I’m cut down to size for having that fancy bachelor’s degree. So dumb. So, so irritating. And so completely unproductive.
Why raise my blood pressure for that? Why? What for? What does it ever prove? I tell him that learning is a choice and that a college education isn’t required, but whatever. It’s not what he wants to hear. He’d simply prefer I stick with light-hearted shit that he can easily digest and that be that, but that’s not fair to me. So we’ve been living very separate lives on some level despite staying together the last 3 years. And then what does he do? He gripes about me being online so much, because the internet is foreign to him too. But this is my home and my computer and this is my life that I finance on my own accord, so what’s it to him? I don’t like staring at a television for hours on end, but that he has no problem doing. So I say go do your thing and I’ll do mine, and we’ve gravitated apart from one another.
I don’t know how to entertain him, and what entertains me is a stone drag to that man. Well, that’s not true. We do enjoy playing darts and pool and those Megatouch games at the bar. We both enjoyed the shows “Breaking Bad” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” and I don’t mind watching cooking shows with him. But it came to feel like that’s all the together time we really both enjoyed. I love to watch films, yet he can’t stay awake through a movie to save his life (we’ve maybe watched 2 together before I gave up and chose to watch them by myself). We used to listen to music together in the beginning, but that too went away, some of what I like not being of his taste.
So we have very little in common and very little to converse about. And always the excuse comes back to him being tired after a hard day of working, and I am very sympathetic to that, but dammit. I’ve known plenty of blue-collar workers who can be engaged with on a wide variety of topics. When my partner comes home he wants beer or vodka and tv and that’s about it. And I want more out of life than just that.
It just sucks that the pleasure I derive from learning has to sour him to such an extent. Why does he find it so distasteful? Just because he doesn’t understand it? Is that all? Then why couldn’t I share it with him? Why does he see it as some sort of competition where he’s put on the defense just because these things are outside of his realm? Is it my fault that he lacks curiosity? No. So why must I censor myself to accommodate his desire to remain oblivious? Ugh.
Saw the red flags pertaining to that early on and didn’t heed them because he can be such a sweet guy. But in the end it’s stifling and I’m left feeling like my own inquiries are a complete waste of time and don’t matter. And that seriously bums me out. I don’t have many people in person to interact with on a wide range of topics, whereas he has plenty of other friends he can go shoot light-hearted shit with. But the push has been for me to keep it to myself in this relationship. But this is my home and this is my life, so no. No. That’s not fair and that’s not right.