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My girlfriend is a perfect example of apathy. I try and mentally challenge her as often as possible (without being pushy, of course) and her fiends think i am a bad guy. The other day I asked her views on God and she said she did not know. I proceeded by asking her why she thought this and if the question of "is there a god?" is even worth investigation. I received little interest in answering the question and some hours later a Facebook post by a friend of hers denouncing me for making her friend (my partner) "feel like a dumbass". I attempted to argue, but rational arguments with irrational people are the grandest waste of time i have ever experienced, so i clarified; i do not challenge people on an intellectual level to feel smart. I do it because i know that intellectual inactivity is equivalent to death and if you care about the people around you then surely you would want them alive. I do it because i value intelligence and critical thinking in a person. I have also expressed this in many cases to my partner. She's somewhat lazy and is doing little with her life. I told her that i can not be with a person with no ambition. Ive also made it clear that i do not want her change for my sake, but for hers. Is encouraging others to think about things on a deeper level and to cultivate their lives with ambition 'bad'? By my standards, certainly not, but is there a more effective way at doing so and refuting arguments against it?

I discovered Objectivism halfway through my relationship (i have been with this girl for about a year and a half). Upon reading Oism's views on sex, critical thinking took hold and i began introspection based on the values my partner held. At times, she seems to value little other than me. She has little interest in intellectual expansion and making something of herself, these things have become clear. I have met several women that echo the values i hold most dear; intelligence, ambition, will, creativity and the determination to stay true to these values. These women drive me. They stimulate me and make me want to keep pushing harder for my goals. They amplify my craving for life.

Our activities are usually laying around and watching movies. I love (some) movies, but I'm always thinking critically about them. When they end i usually ask her if she liked it and why. I don't expect 3.5 paragraph essays, but she falls short of giving any reason other than "i just did". I am always the one to suggest culturally relevant events such as the symphony or a Jazz club. She does suggest events like the wool festival (petting zoos, bluegrass music, delicious apple cider ;) ) and they are fun, but i consider them a distraction.

Whats stopping me from breaking it off? Continually second guessing my reasoning (which is why I'm here). I do not like hurting people (surely no sane person does) and i know that she is highly dependent on me for happiness. I however, am more dependent on myself for happiness and when i show this it clearly hurts her feelings. I don't think she understands me. She doesn't quite grasp why i do the things i do and say the things i say. I am a conundrum wrapped in a quandary placed in a quagmire packed in a rebus neatly tucked away in a clever ruse located in the center of an epic maze, it would seem (No, that doesn't make sense, but it made me chuckle as i was writing it).

Do i give it time and see if she really wants things out of life or do i cut my losses and pursue the women whose company would benefit me greatly? Do i continue to try and show her what is really important to me and let her make her own deductions of the implication of our different values? Are my emotions relevant in this situation? Are hers? Am i a complete asshole or are my gripes founded in reason? How long do you think i can grin and bare it before i go insane?

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Honestly, it doesn't sound like you like her that much. Most of the time when you see a "should I break up with this person?" post, it's "She's great, but there's this major flaw..." I don't even see the "she's great" part anywhere -- only your reluctance to hurt her.

It's not your job to play Pygmalion -- doing so usually leads to frustration on both your part (because it's impossible to change someone else's behavior -- you can give encouragement and help if she decides FOR HERSELF that she wants to change, but trying to be the instigator of someone else's change is almost always futile) and hers (because, if she doesn't arrive at a decision to change ON HER OWN, she will resent your trying to do it). You don't want to hurt her by breaking up with her, but if you stay in an unfulfilling relationship, you will hurt her -- and yourself -- much more, because she will continue to feel "like a dumbass" and unappreciated over a longer period of time. It's far better to spend your time looking for someone who values intellectual discussion as much as you do, and she can in turn find someone who is happy just making small talk about the latest movie or sports game.

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I'm better at issuing this advice that following it, but get out. If there was some vestigial quality you value there and it seemed to be growing you might have cause for some cautious optimism, but that isn't really what you described. Just the fact that you're asking how long you can grin and bear it before madness overtakes you implies that you probably need to make a change. If your values just don't coincide with her values then that just is what it is. I know how you feel with not wanting to hurt people, but from my (hard won) experience the choice about hurt is made. You just get to decide when and how much if you're sure about the lack of prospects for the situation.

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My gosh, you two sound all wrong for each other. D: What have either of you seen in each other to want to be together in the first place? Why each other in particular? The things which interest you really she doesn't care about at all and would rather not be bothered with. The things she likes are rather few and while you can be interested in them, you like them for different reasons and with a rather different quality to your interest in them than hers. From what you've said about her, she wants to be with somebody, but it doesn't really matter much who that somebody is. Practically anybody could meet this girl's requirements because she has so few defined values. Probably it would be a good idea to come out and ask her to think about what exactly it is she finds appealing about you and then what her best case scenario relationship would be and think about how much you do or do not fit that case and how many other people probably could fit what she would want in a relationship. Hopefully she’d realize she’s barking up one of the few really wrong trees for her out there.

I agree staying together as you two are is just going to be worse in the long run. If you can't get across to her why you consider the mind important in life, that you want her to be more intellectually active and such because it actually has major consequences for her wellbeing overall ultimately even if in the short run she may find it to be a pain in the neck, it may hurt her some at first and in a sudden and sharp way to leave her, but staying together would get to be a long grating away at her wearing away deeper than that quick cut of breaking it off with her would have gone. If you want to try to let her down without being too harsh, I'd suggest trying to tell her that you know that there are plenty TONS of people she could enjoy being with more than you. Make clear to her that she can easily find somebody to be with she'd like more, somebody who wouldn't challenge her to aspire more if she really doesn't believe she would benefit from it. Hell, you could probably take her some place with lots of people and get her introduced to and socializing with some people before leaving her so she already has some new prospects lined up before you go to make the transition easier.

If you are really stubborn about it, you could perhaps give it one last shot before sending you two on your separate paths to greater satisfaction than you presently have. If you do try one more time with her, I don't know how you have been going about things in your discussions with her much before, but you’d have to be really careful about it to make it worth bothering, for it to stand a chance at all where everything else so far has failed. You’d need to get her alone with lots of spare time and few distractions and probably prepare and rehearse a speech ahead of time to work on making it as simple, clear and concise as you can and to make sure you covered the general topic of why the mind matters to living a good life rather than just getting bogged down in particular cases. And you’d also have to show her how this connected to you bringing it up with her not to make her feel bad, but in hopes that it could lead her to choose to do things that even if not so fun and easy right now would make her feel better in the long run overall and that yes, such things can and in your case do matter for relationship quality.

Aaaaaaand if all else fails and she doesn't get it still and won't believe that you two would really be better off without each other and that she can definitely find somebody else she'd enjoy much more, than you have done absolutely all you can and you shouldn't feel guilty at all no matter what anybody else may do or say to the contrary. Cut and run just as fast as you can. Just think about how Hank Rearden's life would have been if he really forever refused to leave Lillian and his brother and such people behind because he knew they wanted him for whatever stupid reasons and relied on him and would be made unhappy if he left them.

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Finally, someone willing to patronize a new Objectivist who asked for a little advice. I'm tired of seeing all this encouragement of reason and morality in the young when we should just be making them feel stupid and alienated.

After all, isn't that what got us where we are today?

You know, it's funny, because I thought about going through and capitalizing all of the 'I's', but FYI Kevin, the cursor disappeared on my browser, requiring its reboot. Then again, you could be referring to my need to put myself before all others...

Bluecherry,

I suppose you bring up another reason I am reluctant to leave so soon. I sat her down a few weeks back at a nice restaurant and laid everything out on the table. I asked her what she wanted to do with her life and after a few minutes of indecisive banter, she told me she liked animals and wanted to a vet assistant. She told be she would get her mom to enroll her in online classes and start working for her degree. I also made it clear that I was a very cerebral person and needed her to at least understand that when I ask her 20 questions. I told her I didn't expect her to pick up the complete works of Aristotle, but that I liked it when people challenged me and made me check the premises of what I was claiming. And so, the other reason I'm reluctant to leave her is that doing so now would be somewhat unfair in that i've not given her a good enough chance to demonstrate her desire to improve her life. If, after a while, she shows that she has no true desire to better herself, I will have no qualms calling it quits.

I was thinking of buying her this for Christmas instead of something intellectually numbing (i got her Twilight last Christmas);

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/081269455...acebookshelf-20

Thank you all for your input. I was afraid the answer was, once again, painfully obvious, but one of these days I'll learn to trust my reasoning and stop annoying people with such overtly solvable problems.

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If you decide to give her some more time to see if some possible new efforts on her part will pan out or not, you should really try to think of what you would need to see from her to count as substantial signs of promise for real change from her and you should also get something in mind to set some sort of a time line so you don't just always keep saying to yourself "Well, maybe she just needs a little more time . . . Maybe next week or next month, maybe then she'll finally get it and be personally motivated." Also, based on just what you said of that conversation with the girl, it sounds to me like you've been focusing too little on conveying to her how it could actually help her, make her life better for her, make her happier maybe even than she ever thought possible. If it just sounds like it is all about her doing stuff she doesn't have much to personally gain from for your sake it is about as good of a lasting motivation as the parent who tells their child they want them to stay inside and study and get straight As rather than go play with their friends because it would make them, the parent, happy with their child.

Edited by bluecherry
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Put bluntly, you are trying to push water uphill.

Do i give it time and see if she really wants things out of life or do i cut my losses and pursue the women whose company would benefit me greatly?

Cut your losses. You can not change other people. You can not make people want to change themselves. You can only change you. If you become an example to someone else, and they say you made them want to change, it is not "made" as in "you caused" but "you inspired". Ultimately how we react to other people is up to us - someone who is inspired to improve was already motivated somewhere inside to be better and was seeking a role model.

The longer you prolong this, the more you will inspire resentment and feelings of inadequacy in her. She doesn't value what you value, and her values are her own, it's not up to you to try to change them.

Do i continue to try and show her what is really important to me and let her make her own deductions of the implication of our different values?

If she hasn't got it by now?

Are my emotions relevant in this situation?

Always, but only as indicators, not as driving forces.

Are hers?

Always - but in this case, you will be more considerate of her emotions if you end it now. I spent 7 years in a marriage that should never have happened. I spent 7 years pushing water up hill. I caused 7 years of pain for myself and my ex-wife as a result.

You will not do her any favors by staying with her because you feel you "should". You should only stay with someone when NOT staying with them would be worse than staying with them.

Am i a complete asshole or are my gripes founded in reason? How long do you think i can grin and bare it before i go insane?

Your gripes are founded in reason.

I think you can grin and bare it far longer than you imagine. I think if you try, you can grin and bear it all the way to your grave.

And be miserable, the entire time. And she'll be miserable too.

Is that what you want? To make both of you miserable?

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If you decide to give her some more time to see if some possible new efforts on her part will pan out or not, you should really try to think of what you would need to see from her to count as substantial signs of promise for real change from her and you should also get something in mind to set some sort of a time line so you don't just always keep saying to yourself "Well, maybe she just needs a little more time . . . Maybe next week or next month, maybe then she'll finally get it and be personally motivated." Also, based on just what you said of that conversation with the girl, it sounds to me like you've been focusing too little on conveying to her how it could actually help her, make her life better for her, make her happier maybe even than she ever thought possible. If it just sounds like it is all about her doing stuff she doesn't have much to personally gain from for your sake it is about as good of a lasting motivation as the parent who tells their child they want them to stay inside and study and get straight As rather than go play with their friends because it would make them, the parent, happy with their child.

I have already thought about arbitrarily defined "deadlines" and can not come up with an answer. I do not have a real way to monitor her progress, but I know that she has until the middle of December to show improvement. This begs the question of what specifically defined criteria I should use to determine the fulfillment of her promises. Any suggestions? Other than outright asking her, I can't think of an objective way to monitor for changes.

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I have already thought about arbitrarily defined "deadlines" and can not come up with an answer. I do not have a real way to monitor her progress, but I know that she has until the middle of December to show improvement. This begs the question of what specifically defined criteria I should use to determine the fulfillment of her promises. Any suggestions? Other than outright asking her, I can't think of an objective way to monitor for changes.

Well, I really don't know enough about the people or situations involved to give much for specifics, but in general progress should be measured against the goals here. The trouble is that she is generally apathetic, she doesn't care about much, she doesn't think about much or have much for aspirations she wants to attain. So things that would count as good signs would be when she can start taking an actual interest and enthusiasm for things beyond just a fear of losing things and an aversion to irritants. Like right now she seems to somewhat reluctantly be going after that education to get into work with animals, a good sign would be when she may actually seem to want to do it rather than just acting like it's an obligation. If she is looking forward to classes or something, that's a small step in the right direction at least, though of course if it goes little farther than that the problem isn't solved for you. If she can stop hiding behind supposed stupidity (which I highly doubt could explain the extent of her problem) and make an actual effort to engage some intellectual issues and not just quickly give up on them as "too hard" that would be a good sign too. You know her and her life situation better though so you may be able to devise some sort of bench marks and gage how much time would be appropriate to allow to hit any of them. Still though, I don't think you'll get much of anywhere just by trying to get her to progress in increments if she doesn't understand why she should care about any of it aside from just that it would please you. So, if you can't start to get through to her about that, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to wherever she is not.

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