Dear Dr. Weeks,
I tried to have a relationship with a true eccentric when we moved in together but it drove me bonkers.
I know it’s hard to live with eccentrics but do you have any coping mechanisms that I might try because I truly do like my eccentric when he isn’t driving me around the bend?
Bonkers in England
Dear Bonkers in England,
I have spoken to many of the female spouses and life partners of eccentric males, and have gleaned many of their coping mechanisms for living with one.
Here they are:
- Don’t take what one might say in jest too seriously, because they like to wind people up, mainly to get a reaction, or to break up their boredom.
- Always count to ten before saying anything you might regret, to a hundred if what he says or does is particularly thoughtless or not taking account of your feelings. Try to keep your equilibrium as best you can.
- Most spouses treat their eccentric male as an errant schoolboy, with the female spouse playing the part of the tender-hearted but disciplinarian headmistress. This has good results for both.
- Some eccentric males are temperamental. When they are, be forgiving, keep talking, and wait for them to beg your forgiveness.
- Reward as necessary when he behaves well, showering the erring eccentric with the affection he unknowingly craves.
- Give him a copy of the book called Emotional Intelligence, I think the author’s name is Daniel Goleman.