Dear Dr. Weeks: Living With An Eccentric

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Some eccentric males are temperamental. When they are, be forgiving, keep talking, and wait for them to beg your forgiveness.
  5. Reward as necessary when he behaves well, showering the erring eccentric with the affection he unknowingly craves.
  6. Give him a copy of the book called Emotional Intelligence, I think the author’s name is Daniel Goleman.

Yours sincerely,