Thursday | July 27, 2017
I met a guy online and we exchanged really long messages (should have been a clue) for two to three weeks before we met up. We have been dating for three months and have been moving in the direction of a relationship. But something has started to get on my nerves, and I don't know how to handle the situation because otherwise everything is fine.
He does this thing people call "mansplaining" or "notorious explaining" if you will. He works in science so he is a smart, knowledgable guy who has a very scientific way of thinking. The problem is that he analyzes everything and feels the need to explain every single detail to me. I mean, if he asks me if I liked the movie and I give an answer, he starts explaining the specifics of that particular scene, and ends up discussing the economic problems of the 60s for half an hour.
The problem is that sometimes I just want to hang out and talk about something without arguments and analysis. Just talk about how dumb that actor looked in the movie or how great the music was. And then stop. But he can't stop explaining, and I don't have any more patience. He also sometimes explains things only women experience, and that is kind of infuriating. While I'm on my period and want ice cream, I don't need him to analyze the situation and give me a scientific explanation. Am I too picky or sensitive? And how can I possibly address this? Or should I just look for someone who is not so serious about every single thing?
Start by knowing the difference between mansplaining and analysis. If he wants to process a movie out loud – to work it out for himself, maybe with your help – that doesn't have to be mansplaining. Sometimes it's just examination.
The mansplaining happens when he gives you an unsolicited lesson. The period moment is a great example. Why would he assume you don't understand your own body?
(Yes, I know I just meresplained mansplaining to you. I'm sorry.)
This problem should be addressed sooner than later. You are allowed – in the moment – to tell him that you don't need an explanation or lesson. You can also bring this up before the next mansplaining incident occurs by letting him know that sometimes his analysis feels like a lecture, as opposed to a discussion. The relationship won't survive unless you can be honest about the issue.
It does sound like you might be incompatible, in general. Maybe you should be with someone less serious, who doesn't have to process every detail. If you're already this annoyed after month three – and the rest of the relationship is just "fine" – you should think about why you're trying to make this work.
Readers? Is this mansplaining or analysis?
CAN’T HELP MYSELF is Meredith’s memoir about giving advice, learning from readers, working with an ex, and moms and daughters. It’s also a story about how an online community can become another kind of family.