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#1
Old 02-23-2013, 04:41 PM
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I love my wife dearly, but she's stupid. I'm getting tired of it.

When I say my wife is stupid, I mean she just isn't all that bright, ya know? I'm not Einstein or anything, I'm in my senior year of college for electrical engineering, so I'm of fairly high intelligence. We've been married for about five years, and in the beginning it was fine and wasn't an issue. Over time I've gotten to where I wish she could even understand the vocabulary I use. She is a sweetheart though, she sits and listens and smiles and everything but I'm tired of talking to a wall. Sometimes I wish I could have waited and tried to get a smart educated woman from college, someone who could actually discuss things with me. My wife is insecure about her intelligence to boot, she's afraid of me finding some smart pretty girl and leaving her, which makes me feel even more guilty about everything. You see five years ago I was a partier. My wife was, and still is, a partier. I still like to get down but I've also grown up too, she is the same.

Basically, to keep this from getting any longer, my wife is sorta stupid and its no longer cute to me (I used to think it was adorable). Her irresponsibility has gone from something that was exciting and fun to problematic. If there weren't kids involved I'd have already said bye, but there are two beautiful kids who don't deserve to have divorced parents cause one mentally in stimulating for the other.

What do I do here?
#2
Old 02-23-2013, 04:51 PM
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Get a mistress with a Ph.D.?
#3
Old 02-23-2013, 04:51 PM
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Show her this thread!
#4
Old 02-23-2013, 04:53 PM
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Get her to join the Dope. There are a lot of intelligent people here and people often use sophisticated vocabulary that I have to use the online dictionary sometimes. She can do the same and strengthen her vocabulary while becoming more knowledgeable in general by participating on this board.
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#5
Old 02-23-2013, 04:54 PM
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A college friend of mine was considerably smarter than his wife, and he made sure she and everyone else knew it. She was always apologetic about her "stupidity" and I never understood why. She eventually went to college to become a respiratory therapist. She worked hard to pass her classes, but she did it. She wasn't stupid, but because she wasn't as smart as her husband (who I've since come to regard as a bit of an ass) she always acted like an inferior. Frankly, I thought she deserved better, but they've been together for 38 years, so I guess they found something that worked.

As to what you can do - make sure you're not beating her down. Encourage her to take some classes in something that interests her. Maybe you can watch something on TV that you'd both find interesting - preferably not "reality" TV. My husband and I watch a lot of the "How do they do it" shows and programs on astronomy. There are also some historical shows we enjoy together. Surely a smart guy like you can find something that she's interested in and encourage her to learn more about it, whether it's the wives of Henry VIII or life on a coral reef or any number of topics.

Of course, if she doesn't want to grow up, there's not much you can do about it.
#6
Old 02-23-2013, 05:00 PM
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Is she not attending college because you are and she needs to stay home and take care of the kids? If so, it could be entirely fixable. If you are headed for a job that will pay for her to go to school and day care for the kids she could up her education in whatever field works for her. What are her plans, assuming you haven't already decided to leave as soon as you've graduated and nailed your first engineering job?
#7
Old 02-23-2013, 05:03 PM
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5 year itch, you married too young (apparently while still in high school unless you skipped a year between it and college).

And ftr - you really don't sound all that intelligent.

Show her this thread - let all her insecurities ring true - sounds like you probably help to re-inforce them - and enjoy the rest of your miserable life.

Last edited by simster; 02-23-2013 at 05:06 PM.
#8
Old 02-23-2013, 05:11 PM
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My first impulse is that you need to get over yourself.

The second is that you have to figure out if the two of you are going to be compatible long term; can you grow together in ways that keep a marriage successful?

If not then you not doing those kids a favor by giving them parents who will end up hating each other, one because he thinks he is better/smarter than his wife, and the other because she is married to a self-important jerk who thinks she is a dim bulb and does not appreciate her.
#9
Old 02-23-2013, 05:12 PM
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Try swinging with JohnClay.
#10
Old 02-23-2013, 05:17 PM
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My first marriage slowly ran out of gas because my wife was a wonderful woman, of well above average intelligence, who simply didn't care to take her brain off idle. For well over a decade I tried to get her to extend her vocabulary, get interested in things above sitcoms and drop her assumption that "she just wasn't smart enough" to think any higher.

I don't have any useful advice in this regard. It comes down to what you can tolerate, how much change you think is possible, and whether or not you have the dedication to keep working at a difficult situation.
#11
Old 02-23-2013, 05:17 PM
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I don't know what to think of the OP, but this is a legit issue and something people should consider in any relationship. For me personally, I've dated women who weren't all that smart but were nice people--and that can be fun and harmless but I would never let a relationship with someone like that turn into a marriage and to be fair you should probably keep such a relationship very casual.

We all have different criteria in what is important in a mate. I know many happily married couples with large "intelligence imbalances", but it can also be a common cause of relationships falling apart. For some people it isn't so important your partner be your intellectual equal, maybe it's more important than they're caring, empathetic, have similar interests (that's harder with large intelligence discrepancies, but not impossible) and etc.

But if the OP is becoming an electrical engineer and is trying to talk to his wife about engineering topics, that's not really a sign his wife isn't smart but that he's too socially inept to realize occupational jargon isn't something you share with people outside your field and it doesn't make people stupid to not understand it.
#12
Old 02-23-2013, 05:18 PM
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Yeah, keep your mouth shut engineer. If all husbands spoke their minds in their houses, no marriage will last longer than 3 years.

Last edited by the_diego; 02-23-2013 at 05:18 PM.
#13
Old 02-23-2013, 05:18 PM
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This is my first post here, so be kind. My thoughts on this are that I'm really surprised that you married your wife, in the first place, if her intellect isn't on par with yours. I seldom date or surround myself with people who don't want to learn. and if our intellect is so different that I have trouble listening to the person without wanting to either teach them or trying to shut them out, then it's not worth it to me.
What I do appreciate is people who might not have the education but are willing to learn. I totally love that!
#14
Old 02-23-2013, 05:24 PM
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My wife is quite intelligent, but early in our marriage she had a tendency to act stupid. It was related to some insecurity about her intelligence. It made for some difficult times, but eventually she got over it. It's all a matter of how important it is to you to have your wife be an intellectual equal. Which doesn't really mean equal intelligence, just a common interest in nerdy brainy type stuff. You and she can surely find other outlets for your individual interests, marriages don't have to be about people having everything in common. For instance my wife loves the arts, and goes to museums and plays and the like, yet shows no interest in hobbies I have like building potato guns and burning stuff and blowing stuff up. People who know us say that we complement each other with our differences.

Last edited by TriPolar; 02-23-2013 at 05:24 PM.
#15
Old 02-23-2013, 05:33 PM
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As a way to amend my first post, only eccentrics pointedly use intellectual parity in partnering. Normal people marry for other reasons. Just some things I noticed in the OP:

1. At your senior year in college, you're just starting to peak intellectually. That's the usual case. But it's a strange stage to be in when you're already married for five years.
2. Your post is incomplete. You haven't told us the good things about your wife. What about her looks, her personality, home making skills?
3. Is she better than you in some things?
4. Now, let's talk about you. I take it you've tried working before. Did you ever experience being pulled down or cut to size by someone not as smart as you? Did you ever fail in the common sense or experience department?
5. Last, how's your experience with people smarter than you? Could you have married one such?

Last edited by the_diego; 02-23-2013 at 05:34 PM.
#16
Old 02-23-2013, 05:36 PM
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$5 says your wife is on a different message board right now, complaining about how boring it is listening to you drone on about engineering jargon, and she tries to smile and look interested, but she's one theoretical physicist joke away from braining you with a monkey wrench.
#17
Old 02-23-2013, 05:38 PM
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A quote for the OP, "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing." - Socrates

Just something to think about. Honestly, I was wondering if another poster could further explain this quote because I don't really get it either. But it seems relevant to the thread, so I decided to bring it up.
#18
Old 02-23-2013, 05:44 PM
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Two problems with the OP. One, calling your wife stupid on a message board is a deep sign of disrespect. Even if no one knows who she is, it still shows how you feel about her that you don't mind saying these things.

Two, it's not an intelligence problem unless she's mentally challenged. She doesn't understand your vocabulary? Are you Cormac McCarthy? I have a law degree and everyone understands my vocabulary.

If your kids are not getting hurt, and your wife is a decent person (a "sweetheart" you said), then what is the problem? Intelligence is a means to an end. It would help if you told us what she's not doing that you would like her to do that requires her to be smarter?
#19
Old 02-23-2013, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous User View Post
A quote for the OP, "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing." - Socrates

Just something to think about. Honestly, I was wondering if another poster could further explain this quote because I don't really get it either. But it seems relevant to the thread, so I decided to bring it up.
It will make sense when you're in grad school...a minute before you take your comprehensive exam.

But it boils down to this: every time you learn something new, your awareness of how much you don't know expands. You get one question answered ("Why is the sky blue?") only to find another question waiting for you ("How do we know all colors aren't the result of Rayleigh scattering?")

You get both smarter and more humble at the same time.
#20
Old 02-23-2013, 05:56 PM
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Grow up.

You got two little kids. She's not stupid she's damned TIRED.

Especially if she works outside of the home!


~VOW
#21
Old 02-23-2013, 05:57 PM
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Book smart doesn't mean anything. I've known engineers with advanced graduate degrees with jack all in social skills, or frankly knowledge in anything other than their field. (I am not slamming engineers--I have met people with advanced degrees in all kinds of stuff who were dumb as bricks otherwise.) So just because you are in your last year of an electrical engineering degree doesn't necessarily mean you're intelligent.

Emotional intelligence and social skills, one would imagine, would dictate that one does not malign one's spouse on a message board by calling them stupid, irresponsible, etc.
#22
Old 02-23-2013, 05:58 PM
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It's hard enough finding someone who will put up with your crap for five years and occasionally let you see them naked. Get over yourself and treat her nice.
#23
Old 02-23-2013, 06:04 PM
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OP, I don't know what to tell you. I guess this is why people caution young folk not to get married so soon.

Maybe it is because she is a dim bulb, but also consider that you have been exposed to different things. If you had not gone to school, maybe the two of you would be on the same plane. In other words, maybe she's not as stupid as she is unpolished. All she needs is the same kind of experiences that you've had, and maybe you'd be more compatible.

Or not. I don't know. I don't know what it is that makes young people race to get married. But obviously it was something. So I would try to hold onto that and hope it gets you through the years. Maybe you can find a good bud who shares your intellect or something.
#24
Old 02-23-2013, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
It will make sense when you're in grad school...a minute before you take your comprehensive exam.

But it boils down to this: every time you learn something new, your awareness of how much you don't know expands. You get one question answered ("Why is the sky blue?") only to find another question waiting for you ("How do we know all colors aren't the result of Rayleigh scattering?")

You get both smarter and more humble at the same time.
the more you know, the more you know you don't know.
#25
Old 02-23-2013, 06:11 PM
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You are fumbling the ball so hard engineer and you don't even know it.

I'm not all that smart, but overall I was more broadly read, more intellectually curious and had a larger vocabulary than my ex. She was well read in some areas like art history, but never had the communication or analytical skills to do much with that interest.

When she would be childish or irresponsible or willfully clueless (sometimes about important stuff) I would go off and let her know I thought her behavior was stupid. I never called her inherently dumb or intellectually lacking, but I would call her actions idiotic. We had lots of other issues, but the negative attitude I developed over time that I was saddled with someone who I would have to drag through life vs being a proactive partner who could help get things done did not help. It poisoned the relationship.

The interesting thing was that although she she was a huge procrastinator and not proactive about much of anything while married, during and after the divorce she was a "can-do" person taking care of business, however she reverted to her old habits within a year after the divorce. While we were getting divorced she was a lot more attractive to me than when we were married.

Anyway... in the hindsight of years I realize I never should have married her in the first place, but I also realized I had no cause or justification for believing that I was intellectually superior to her. All the things I cited above re intellectual markers were things I valued. I did not look at things from her perspective. What if I dated someone who looked down on me because my knowledge of their speciality was limited?

People in technical occupations have a huge tendency to do this, the truth is that engineers (as an example) are some of the most clueless people in the world about a number of common sense skills people need to be successful in business or relationships, but you don't see this until it's far too late.

Disparaging someone (even silently) because they do not share the same intellectual outlook or interests you do is mind poison. In the end, and with hindsight, if I had to weight the relative value of being a good mother and keeping a clean house vs being an intellectual powerhouse I'm not sure the "intellectual powerhouse" side of the scale would win.
#26
Old 02-23-2013, 06:16 PM
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You got married way too young. Getting married in high school is like trying to tailor a groom's tuxedo decades in advance while he is still a toddler and hoping for a perfect fit. It's possible, but highly unlikely.

Just get a divorce. Given the OP, it's pretty much inevitable. Staying with someone you're not compatible with for the sake of the kids is a great way to show your kids what a bitter, loveless marriage looks like, but not much else.
#27
Old 02-23-2013, 06:19 PM
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So you've been going to school, meeting new people, tackling challenging new environments, and getting a free pass to spend time reading books and learning new things.

Meanwhile she's been pregnant and taking care of babies and toddlers.

Get the crap over yourself. You got married too young and had kids too young; you aren't the brightest bulb in the room either.
#28
Old 02-23-2013, 06:23 PM
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Heh, the sad thing is that you're all totally right. I'm lucky to have my wife and don't know why she puts up with me. I've had doctors and teachers tell me my whole life that I'm some sort of genius, but I feel like a fucking idiot most of the time. He'll, the only reason I've got the self worth that I have is because of my wife. People are surprised that she is my wife when they find out, almost like they are shocked she can put up with me.

Have any of you just felt like you're comepletely alone even though you're surrounded by people? It sorta gets to me sometimes. To be honest I don't even know why I started is thread. I'm tired and angry and I'm venting it out on my wife undeservingly.

Thanks for all you're comments and posts. Sometimes I need someone to tell me I'm being a big fat asshole.
#29
Old 02-23-2013, 06:28 PM
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You sound like my ex husband
with the emphasis on ex.

Do her a favor and divorce her, she deserves better.

FWIW, some of the smartest people I know never finished high school, and some of the dumbest I know have degrees.
#30
Old 02-23-2013, 06:31 PM
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I don't think you're an asshole. Whether your wife is stupid is kind of irrelevant. Simply speaking, you aren't feeling like you two are compatible any more. That's not a trivial thing.

I hope connectedness come back to you.
#31
Old 02-23-2013, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I don't think you're an asshole. Whether your wife is stupid is kind of irrelevant. Simply speaking, you aren't feeling like you two are compatible any more. That's not a trivial thing.

I hope connectedness come back to you.
I agree with this 100%. The real issue is not his wife, but this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefragafragis View Post
Have any of you just felt like you're comepletely alone even though you're surrounded by people? It sorta gets to me sometimes.
#32
Old 02-23-2013, 06:46 PM
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I don't know about anyone else, but if I was in a relationship, I would never start a thread literally calling my wife/girlfriend stupid. What if the OP's wife actually sees this? I don't know, but it seems like a rather risky move and I don't know how the OP had enough guts to do it.

Also, thanks monstro for further explaining the Socrates quote for me.

Last edited by R3d Anonymous; 02-23-2013 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Thanked monstro for explaining a Socrates quote.
#33
Old 02-23-2013, 06:48 PM
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Is she hot?
#34
Old 02-23-2013, 06:49 PM
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There's a huge difference between intellect and education. People confuse them all the time.

As for vocabulary, plenty of smart people would have trouble understanding things that are familiar to a fourth-year engineering student. Your wife probably is smarter than either of you think.
#35
Old 02-23-2013, 06:49 PM
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I can't say anything about you in particular but being a genius and a fucking idiot are not mutually incompatible. Intelligences can be pretty narrow sometimes. I am smarter than my wife in some ways, and she is smarter than me in many other ways -- I may not meet the genius in anything part of the equation, but the fucking idiot in some ways I got down. 28 years now, far from the perfect relationship I am sure, but very aware that she is my better in many many ways.

Certain of your interests will not be shared with your wife. Certain of her interests will not be shared by you. That much is fine. You are different people, different strengths, different weaknesses, hopefully greater for how you complement each other. But you need to either find ways to have some interests (other than your kids) that you do share, ways to enjoy each others' company, and the habit of letting each other know how much you appreciate the other and why, or you are in for a long hard unhappy marriage. (Said as someone still working on doing that better.)
#36
Old 02-23-2013, 06:59 PM
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I think my favorite posts are the ones where people have there own little stories about me and my wife's life. They can berate me and feel ok with it due to these little stories. You're the reason so many smart people have confidence issues. We know we're smarter than others, but god forbid we even make that knowledge public. Guess what, some people are smart, some people are dumb. Mistaking a good memory with intelligence is why you have idiots with PhDs.

I suddenly realize this is pointless.
#37
Old 02-23-2013, 07:06 PM
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Well good luck with your life and marriage then. And it is "their" btw smart one.
#38
Old 02-23-2013, 07:07 PM
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When I was younger, I considered all sorts of things as important for a future mate. They had to have a good sense of humor, compassionate, attractive to me, ambitious in some sense and highly intelligent. And don't get me wrong, if I were back on the market, I'm sure those things would still be important. But twenty years into my marriage, I've learned there's some things I didn't look for that now I'd deem necessary......

How loyal is he? If life knocks him down, how does he deal with that and how soon can he recover? Is he adventurous? Can he laugh at himself? Admit wrong doing? Will he continue to learn as he ages? How will our libidos meet up over time? How loyal and understanding is he? Etc., etc, etc.

My husband already does line up on some of these issues, but my point is that when I was younger and getting hitched, I had no idea what circumstances (in our case, mental illness and chronic health problems) could thrust us into and what sort of mettle would be needed. You may want to throw her over now because she's not stimulating you enough intellectually, but in reality, what you'll eventually value may place her as the best choice ever. She may totally step up to the plate raising your children. Seeing you through college. Putting up with your shit when absolutely no one else would.

So, my advice to you would be to get some perspective. Sometimes what's immediate can be the least interesting part of someone. Just my .02¢. Good luck.
#39
Old 02-23-2013, 07:09 PM
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I'm a software developer and network admin. My g/f may not know everything about what I'm talking about, but she's a graphic designer and amazes me with what she can do with that.

Try to talk about things that interest her, and maybe you'll find something that amazes you about HER!
#40
Old 02-23-2013, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sahirrnee View Post
Do her a favor and divorce her, she deserves better.
How does the quote go, something like, "If men were to marry the women they deserved, three of four women would go through life single."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous User View Post
What if the OP's wife actually sees this?
The danger of starting a thread like this, that it will attract a lot of indignant responses and keep a high profile in the list for much too long.
#41
Old 02-23-2013, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Beefragafragis View Post
Mistaking a good memory with intelligence is why you have idiots with PhDs.
Oh yeah? At least I wasn't dumb enough to get married before learning what I want from a life partner!

Oops, my bad. I thought you were talking to me.
#42
Old 02-23-2013, 07:35 PM
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You guys are going to get divorced eventually. May as well do it sooner rather than later.
#43
Old 02-23-2013, 07:35 PM
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I think you two are finished. Get a divorce.

It's a bad enough sign in any relationship when you start feeling like every little idiosyncrasy about your partner is extremely irritating, but I read somewhere that you've pretty much reached past the point of no return when you begin treating your partner with contempt.

Now, I don't mean that pejoratively; I doubt you have any malicious intent, and I do think a lot of posters here are being unfair to you. A lot of people marry the wrong person for whatever reason. But you really don't seem to respect her, and that's not going to get any better.
#44
Old 02-23-2013, 07:37 PM
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I find myself wondering whether the children are boys or girls and what their parents, wittingly or not, are teaching them to think about themselves and their own abilities.
#45
Old 02-23-2013, 07:41 PM
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I don't really see this as being about her intelligence at all.
You know how when you really dislike someone, everything they do annoys you? I think this is what the problem is. They are decidedly growing apart and he's looking for reasons to feel better about leaving?

A lot seem to be siding with her but I'm not so sure. A mother of two that still likes to party?

My parents were like this. My dad is book smart but mom is very life smart. They are completely different. It took 40 years to divorce. Looking back as an adult, I think everyone would have been much happier had they divorced. Mom agrees with me.

The last bit of advice I can offer is this. If you really are unhappy, deal with this problem NOW. It's still fixable. If you don't, the gulf between you widens and that is the prime set up for an affair. It might be the case that you decide to stay for the kids but she is the one to leave you.
#46
Old 02-23-2013, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ReticulatingSplines View Post
I think you two are finished. Get a divorce.

It's a bad enough sign in any relationship when you start feeling like every little idiosyncrasy about your partner is extremely irritating, but I read somewhere that you've pretty much reached past the point of no return when you begin treating your partner with contempt.

Now, I don't mean that pejoratively; I doubt you have any malicious intent, and I do think a lot of posters here are being unfair to you. A lot of people marry the wrong person for whatever reason. But you really don't seem to respect her, and that's not going to get any better.
A friend of mine who went through couples counseling told me that the therapist told them that any relationship where there is still respect can be repaired, but without respect it's a lost cause. I don't know if the OP's marriage is doomed or isn't. I hope for his kids that they get the best care their parents can give them whether it's together or separately.

Very early in my SDMB experience I posted a very whiny, self-serving, negative post about the relationship I was in at the time. I took similar heat to what the OP is getting and it got me thinking and turned into positive things for that relationship. I wish the OP and his wife (especially his wife) well.
#47
Old 02-23-2013, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Beefragafragis View Post
Guess what, some people are smart, some people are dumb.
Guess what, you are mistaken. There are some genuine idiots in this world, but they are few and far between, you should not look at people in terms of how society rates what they know or how marketable their abilities are. For one thing, your wife may be better with people than you are, that is a valuable thing. Try to look for the things she is good at, learn to appreciate whatever she does better than you rather than despair at how she is not like you.
#48
Old 02-23-2013, 08:09 PM
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It sounds like she may be the smarter one between the two of you...my other thought is you need to get over yourself like another poster mentioned.
#49
Old 02-23-2013, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous User View Post
I don't know about anyone else, but if I was in a relationship, I would never start a thread literally calling my wife/girlfriend stupid. What if the OP's wife actually sees this? I don't know, but it seems like a rather risky move and I don't know how the OP had enough guts to do it.

Also, thanks monstro for further explaining the Socrates quote for me.
I agree with AU here*



*OMG, I can't believe I said that
#50
Old 02-23-2013, 08:18 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 16,520
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReticulatingSplines View Post
I think you two are finished. Get a divorce.

It's a bad enough sign in any relationship when you start feeling like every little idiosyncrasy about your partner is extremely irritating, but I read somewhere that you've pretty much reached past the point of no return when you begin treating your partner with contempt.

Now, I don't mean that pejoratively; I doubt you have any malicious intent, and I do think a lot of posters here are being unfair to you. A lot of people marry the wrong person for whatever reason. But you really don't seem to respect her, and that's not going to get any better.
I tend to agree.

I got very lucky to get a husband who is within a couple degrees intelligence of myself, was military [compared to my being an army brat and having an absentee father much of the time so I learned to deal with an odd household structure] and his MOS of machinists mate/auxiliaryman being similar to my original professions [inside/outside mechanic and nuke valve mechanic] with a similar interest in SF/fantasy, gaming and history.

The OP needs to either get his wife into school and an enrichment program, or divorce her and find someone else. I do not see this being a happy situation at all for her or the kids.
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