OP: We don't share the same passion for learning / intellectual stimulation

I don't even remember how long I've been with my man. We moved in together about a year ago, and things have been going great. No complaints until recently.

First let me state he is almost exactly EVERYTHING I've ever wanted in a man. He's brilliant. Has several degrees. A good job. He's funny. He's sweet. He adores me, and takes excellent care of me. He gets along with my family. He likes making art.

Well, I am a very curious individual. I try to learn something new every single day. If not frequently throughout the day. I'm always reading or doing research about this or that.

I've discovered recently he doesn't share the same interest in learning I do. Which confounds me because he's very smart and has several college degrees, including graduate degrees, in very difficult and complicated fields. (I recently found out he got the degrees he did because he thought they were easy and he's good at it. Not because he cares.)

He actually doesn't seem to have any other interests than World of Warcraft. We recently moved to California....well, okay about 8 months ago. We know people out here. We know places to go and things to do, and yet....he doesn't ever seem interested. His intellectual interests are lacking, and when I've confronted him on this, he said his interests do not lie in learning or creating, like mine do. I cannot, in fact, get an answer out of him about what his interests actually are because he won't tell me. I am sure it is simply an issue of him not knowing where his interests lie. This has been an issue with me for weeks and when I discovered it was bothering me, I told him right away because that's the kind of relationship we have. All the problems we bring out in the open and try to solve them.

But this one, we haven't been able to find a solution for.

Am I wrong for feeling as though both my emotional and intellectual stimulation should be fueled in part by my significant other? I've never been one to be obsessed in a relationship or shut out my friends. I want to be *part* of someone's life, but not their *entire* life, and I understand that having separate interests is healthy. There's no complaint or disagreement there.

I have friends that I talk to. We have great conversations about science, history, biochemistry, you name it. So I leave the coffee shop all excited and happy, my mind bursting with new experiences and spinning wildly as it wraps around these new thoughts.

I get home, and I just feel like there's a void. I feel like I'm just coming home to companionship and sex and nothing more. I can't recall the last time we had an intellectual conversation. I bring up things I found interesting, we talk about our days, and when I say what I learned today he just shrugs me off. He doesn't enjoy learning the same way I do, and I feel as though it's causing a serious problem in our relationship. I've found I've recently started sexually fantasizing about a male friend of mine who *does* stimulate me intellectually. I am interested in this friend's mind. I find intelligence to be a turn on. I know I do not want to date him. I do not harbor any romantic feelings for him. The fantasy is just a portrayal of how important intelligence is for me in regards to my sexuality and my partner. I know it's my desire for a more intellectually stimulating lover. But I do not wish that lover to be anybody other than my boyfriend.

I love my boyfriend with all my heart. I do genuinely want to build a future together. We have been fine all this time, until now. I feel as though something changed, and I don't know what it is. I keep analyzing it, and I am coming to no sound conclusions.

I am not trying to change him. I don't want to change him. I just want to get past this. We've discussed it to no avail. He says he just doesn't care about learning everything he possibly can learn. The problem is on my end and mine alone. It's not his responsibility to care about everything I care about. (Lord knows I certainly don't care about World of Warcraft!) But I feel as though it's affecting our ability to continue to connect on a deeper level, and I'm having serious trouble getting past this.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:56


Why not just accept him as he is and get some of your intellectual fulfillment from those who share that interest? Isn't your boyfriend good enough?

Or am I being totally unreasonable?

I find myself in the same position as you and almost no one has the same intellectual interests as I do. I've stopped making it an important component of an SO, because I don't think any such human exists. I'll take good enough.



Posted: 06 Oct 22:57

You've already answered this question yourself in the post as well as most of your others. I'm fairly familiar with this attitude and the WoW thing as it is very common in my field(rocket scientist here). A very large amount of people in difficult fields simply do them for the heck of it because they lack the interest or drive to do something else and passing the time doing what's popularly perceived as a difficult and respectable profession can seem like a reasonable way to use their time.

To put what you said in other words:
What changed is that you moved in together and learned more about each other - and you don't like what you learned. Now that you have moved in together, there is a lot more unscheduled downtime where you are around each other. Before you might have dates scheduled with a specific plan or with more people and you got to look forward to seeing the person. The anticipation of seeing the person for the first time in a while is waning because there isn't much time away from them. What's replaced that anticipation is a level of disappointment at his lack of interests - and more importantly, his disregard of them. It is very, very important to you, and it is not to him.

This will probably get worse and worse, and you'll most likely slowly drift apart due to it - especially if you spend more time around a man whom you are excited to see and if he's physically attractive to you it'll only speed up the problem.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:57

From your other post, I see that you're only 22. If he has multiple graduate degrees in an advanced field, he's probably a good bit older than you. You're at an age where most people still have a lust for life and learning while he's at an age where he's probably complacent, and apparently has been for most of his life. This is unlikely to change. For those whose interest is truly piqued by the world and love learning - their attitude will likely remain the same. Those who don't care much about those things probably won't. This isn't a small incompatibility.

How you perceive and approach the world, and more importantly, why you care about the things you care about is a fundamental core element to who you are.

There are many elements to a relationship that are more superficial though practical and enjoyable such as income, stability, caring, humor, responsibility and sexual skill that one can enjoy that don't require a truly deep connection.

Once you find a truly deep and special connection with someone beyond those things, however, I believe you'll find that most of those other things aren't far behind even if they aren't there at first. This is because that lust for life and learning and connection which you share will probably lead to the two of you enjoying time together and practicing and learning from each other along the way.

I apologize for the lack of organization in this response. I'm on my way out to work but will try to compile my thoughts and present them more coherently later this evening.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:57

Hey don't knock world of warcraft just yet, play the game and see there is plenty of stuff to learn and discover everyday ^_^ ..... OK very much a long shot.... but know that your boyfriend, while he MIGHT not be learning something new everyday... playing WoW isn't ALL fun and games, depending on what his roll is with in his guild, me MIGHT just be Expanding his knowledge more then you know ^_^ there really are a lot of things you must pick up, learn, and read to become a good player, from boss strats, to how to deal with unruly or unhappy guild mates. while the game has more of a social aspect you do pick up a thing or two. Now as for your boyfriend.... perhaps its time that instead of you simply letting it go a problem, do something for you guys to fix it together.... maybe a game or reward system is in order to motivate him into doing some of the learning YOU want.. things that lead to lack of clothing or sex always gets me away from my WoW


Posted: 06 Oct 22:57

He is 26. By far the youngest man I've ever dated. Since intellectual stimulation is important to me, I tend to date older men since I have discovered people my age generally have a very narrow world view and not much to offer a conversation.

I have played WoW actually, back when Burning Crusade was still relatively new. I started it in the beginning of our relationship for about 6 weeks to try to understand what it is about the game he actually likes. I couldn't get into it. It's beyond me. I totally do not understand the appeal. I love video games. Fable, Space Rangers 2, Lego Star Wars, Doom 3, Portal, FFXI to name a few. I understand what it's like to be into a video game, but I think the difference is that I do not spend all of my spare time playing video games and I cannot wrap my mind around the idea of spending all my spare time doing that.

I should have been more clear in my last post that our transition to California has seemed to complicate things. I wonder if he's depressed. Ever since we moved to California it's been on a downward slope. We had things to do when we lived together in New York for the months preceding our move to California. We would go to the pottery studio, go dancing, wrestle (I am a brazilian jiu jitsu fighter), go to museums, go hiking. I would have my scholar friends and he would have his goofy jock friends, and at the end of the day, we would both be fulfilled. And here in California, even though I have found all of these things for us to do that he used to enjoy doing, he won't go. Ever.

I moved out of my Dad's house back east when I was 14, and my Mom's house in the west when I was 16, and I have been living on my own supporting myself ever since. I understand what it's like to be far from the people you know and love. But this is the first time he's ever lived more than an hour away from his folks. This is the first time he hasn't been able to get into the car and go see his parents or his childhood friends, and I feel as though it's having a negative effect on his disposition.

I am not approaching this as something that will bother me so much it will destroy our relationship and I will eventually leave him. We have recently entered our domestic partnership, much to our mutual satisfaction. I want to build a future with this man, and I see this issue I've been having as something to overcome. Not something that will end it. I do not want to see him unhappy and unmotivated. I want us both to be happy and fulfilled, but I'm finding that it's harder and harder to convince him to leave the house. I am beginning to understand that all of one's needs do not have to be fulfilled by one individual. If I can get my intellectual stimulation elsewhere, that's fantastic. At least I'm getting it at all! But what I cannot determine is why I am still bothered. It's not an anger or frustration. It more closely resembles an itch that I am unable to scratch. Maybe it's the realization that he is not perfect? In someways I like that he's not perfect. I would be bored to tears if there weren't any problems.

Have you ever had a partner who was showing signs of lacking motivation and unwillingness to participate in day-to-day activities? What kind of actions would be good to help get him back in the swing of things?


Posted: 06 Oct 22:58


If a man no longer is interested in doing what he used to enjoy then it is most likely that he's either stressed or depressed. Yes, the move away from his friends and family may be having an effect and he's hiding his pain - for some reason - perhaps because he doesn't know how to express it to you.

This is what you do. You quietly ask him if the move to California has upset him in some way. Then you say, you understand that it might be difficult for him but that you're willing to listen to him whenever he wants to talk.

Then you leave him alone. Do not ask him again. Do not pester him to do things, or go places, etc. This may be tough for you but you have to be there for him - physically - so he can talk to you - when he's ready so you will have to curtail your outside activities for a time. Take home some library books and blog about it - or something.

If you're going to plite your troth with this man it is best you learn now that men are as sensitive as women and require just as much understanding. The game is his security blanket just now - let him keep it. Learn to not rush a man into speaking or doing. An adult makes his/her own choices. Right now he's choosing to hide. He'll come out from hiding when he's ready.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:58

The functional definition of an addiction is "having a compulsion for something that interferes with normal social relationships. Sound familiar?

He needs help.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:58

Sounds familiar to me :S

World of Warcraft destroyed my two and a half year relationship with the girl i love the most in this world. I was too addicted to the game to the point where i wouldn't even go out if people paid. She even offered to give me oral under my desk while i played and i still refused. That is how fucked up I was. You never know how good you had it until its gone. :(


Posted: 06 Oct 22:59

You passed on a blow job so that you could raid Onyxia?

There's a serious problem there. I'm glad you're off the game now, though.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:59

imho its the videogame. how you lure someone off the game is amazingly difficult... i know only because i was addicted to the game as well... >.> not my proudest moments in life.


Posted: 06 Oct 22:59

Lol sadly yes, i did give one up so I could do arena's. And it wasn't offered to me if I got off, she offered it to me WHILE I WAS PLAYING, and i said no get away from me. Grats on being fucked up in the head.

I still play WoW right now actually, just I have enough self control now to get off when things come my way, and so far I haven't' had a problem leaveing in the middle of things on there. I just don't care anymore. I would rather be outside or hanging with friends or with a girlfriend. I Realized my addiction, I took action, and now I'm healed. I just have to make sure It doesn't happen again, but I think i should be smart enough to see that happening and stop it before it gets bad :P


Posted: 06 Oct 22:59

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