It was a relief when I got together with my husband that he didn’t find me exhausting. Because my ex certainly did. He said it often. He didn’t say that I had a ton of energy or that I was always working on learning something — the way that I’d come later to view these tendencies of mine.
No, he said that I was exhausting.
I was always reading something. Boring stuff, in his opinion. And I wanted to talk about all this boring stuff. Usually, I wanted to talk about interpersonal dynamics involving people we knew (I’m deeply analytical and fascinated by why people say and do what they do). Or maybe our relationship or how we felt about each other.
He couldn’t stand this. His eyes would glaze over after a phrase or two, and he’d cut me off. “Booooring.” And occasionally that stinger, “You’re exhausting to listen to.”
That said, he did have a few topics he could converse about and would do so happily. The biggest one was video games. And that’s mostly what we talked about in the decade we were together. He was a big gamer, and I’ve played video games for relaxation from a very early age myself, something I’d been told growing up by authority figures was super nerdy and would prevent me from getting a husband because it was hopelessly uncool.
So I definitely found it funny when I finally got married that video games were the only thing that my husband wanted to talk about. Really, the one thing that connected us. Because it was a stress relief habit that I’d kept secret and at that point was a bit ashamed of.
He could talk for hours about gaming strategies. I’d walk him through my damage maximization formulas for nuking (as an Everquest wizard, DPS was my chief job) without pulling aggro. The counts I’d do between casts to make sure the tank had time to taunt.
And he’d watch me rapt. It was the one time where I could really nerd out and not be perceived as totally exhausting.
Marrying Another Consummate Nerd
That relationship didn’t survive. We had ten good years though, which is really impressive when you consider we weren’t all that compatible. (We had lots of issues.)
I was more surprised than anyone when I went on to remarry. I hadn’t thought I’d get married in the first place, having been told that I was a “small doses” person by my mother and that it was going to be an impossible task finding anyone to date me long term, let alone marry me. (Thanks, Mom.)
And the divorce was so traumatic, I wasn’t in a rush to get married again.
But the perfect person showed up. And it was surreal, but I ended up taking the leap. This time, it was so different. He was a lot like me. Our values are in sync.
And he’s a consummate nerd. Not just geeky about certain things, niche interests (although he has his passionate areas, as do I), but a total nerd. In love with learning. Learning just for the sake of learning.
Just like I am.
We routinely send each other articles about what we’re learning. Teach the other. We watch documentaries for fun. We read books before bed.
And most meaningfully, he’s never accused me of being exhausting — simply because I’m talking about something that interests me. Instead, he usually gets interested as well, offers input, asks followup questions.
It probably helps that he’s a person who is always working on something. One of his brothers confessed to me several years back that he thought my my husband would never find anyone.
“And why’s that?” I asked. Because it’s shocking. My husband is attractive, brilliant, and kind. To me he’s a huge catch.
“I didn’t think he’d ever meet someone who could keep up with him.”
And maybe that’s the key there. To the right people, you won’t be too much.