My husband has more dreams and ideas that he could humanly hope to realize in one lifetime. Literally dozens. In every day life, he has a job in IT and is a good dad for our son.
Now, whenever he actually does something to make something happen, I’m supportive. Like he dreams of a career in the games industry, and then tries to set up a podcast for the games forum he’s active in. He wants to be a writer, has half a novel hidden away somewhere, and I offer to read it.
But all too often, he will have an idea for the next IT breakthrough, like an improved AI program. And then he will want to talk about it with me. But frankly, usually I can’t muster up the enthusiasm. I will say something along the lines of: "That’s nice dear, but you and I both know you aren’t going to follow up on it. " He -half jokingly- says he hates that.
So, am I killing my husbands dreams? Or offering an useful reality check?
No, but you should quit saying that if he hates it. Just say, “I’m sorry, but I’m having a little trouble keeping up with this right now,” or, “Hey hon, I know you’re really into this but I’m kind of not, could we talk about something else for a while?” There’s no need to tell him that you don’t think he’ll follow through with it if the real problem is just that you don’t really feel like talking about it right now.
He is a dreamer and I am one too. You are killing his dreams by being a killjoy but, at the same time, he knows his dreams will never happen too. It is a personality trait but an extremely important one to some people. My ex-wife never got it and that is one reason of many we got divorced. I have been laying out plans to walk down the Appalachian Train from Maine to Georgia for several years now. I even research tents, stoves, and sleeping bags. However, the strange is that I never have any intention of ever doing it. It is just a fantasy.
I work in IT too. We live in the virtual world sometimes and need to have our mental fantasies. It is harmless and he won’t act on them. He just wants a mental exercise and the best thing you can do is indulge him with intelligent questions and encouragement. It won’t lead anywhere but it will make everyone better off.
Lots of people’s dreams are harmless and the people sharing them are just trying to express what are inspired about. IT types are notorious for this. There is no need need to be practical about it. Nothing will ever come of it anyway. In fact, it is quite offensive to have any type of passionate dream and have a loved one shoot it down right away. That dream will be replaced with another in due time anyway. You don’t have to take it literally until he starts calling the banks for loans. Just listen to the idea as it is and discuss it to indulge him. That is all he wants.
Can you just smile and nod at appropriate places or dredge up something positive to say about the newest idea? I don’t think you’re killing his dreams, but I also don’t think you’re doing anything to promote your marriage either. Hint: He’s not joking. That hurts.
My husband had a dream of moving to Europe and talked about it for years. He also talked about writing screenplays and other things and having a job he loved rather than just tolerated. I told him, do it and I’d be there for him, so he started applying for jobs in Europe. Now we live in Europe and he’s written several things and is actively marketing them (he’s still working on the job he loves, but we’re moving in a good direction). And he’s happy and so am I. And when he’s rich and famous, I’ll be right there, riding his coattails!
But what if his fantasies get in the way of reality? My husband does the same thing – he’ll get an idea, research it to death, network with people who know people who do whatever the fantasy is IRL, etc. Then he’ll drop it like a lead balloon when he realizes the cold, harsh reality.
It sometimes irritates me, but at the same time I can’t blame him because I was the same way when I was much younger. However, as the years have passed, I’ve become much more practical while he’s become more of a dreamer. I don’t know why that is.
How is the OP’s husband’s dreams, or your husband’s fantasies, getting in the way of reality? Did they quit their jobs to build coconut hats in Costa Rica? Do they neglect their spouse or children? Does their current dream cost the family money that should have gone to the mortgage payment? If you say yes to these, maybe you should be in marriage counseling. Otherwise, how is it any different from having a model train set in the basement or playing softball with the guys?
Plus, sometimes the dream comes true and you find yourself living in a fantastic city in Europe with a happy man!
The reality is “you shouldn’t be sitting there dreaming of things you’d like to do to make yourself happy (of all the silly things): you should be offering me proof of how you’re going to make me feel safe/secure/supported.”
Maastricht, was your husband ever classified as gifted? That type of behavior is a strong gifted trait and is hard for lots of people to understand. Again, don’t be practical about it as long as it doesn’t interfere with anything else. It is just his mental need. Then again, you might find yourself living in Europe sometime like legalsnugs or a multimillionaire due to some brilliant idea he has that is truly worthwhile. His tendency to not mentally stagnate is a very good thing.
He definitely sounds like a dreamer rather than a do-er.
For example, my husband wants to be a writer. He works full-time in a stressful job, but he gets up at 5.45am every morning in order to spend an hour writing, then in the evenings he spends another hour or two writing. In the weekends he does between four and six hours of writing/editing. He is actively engaging with other published and want to be published writers, building up a network. He blogs about his writing and is (slowly) building up a (small) following. He has completed a short story which he has put up on his blog, and also made it available to buy from the iTunes store. He has written two full length novels in a year and is currently editing the first, the first round of editing before he starts trying to get a publisher interested.
That is the kind of dedication it takes to break into a writing career (and even then, it’s certainly no guarantee). Not having half a novel stashed away somewhere.
What you might want to suggest to your husband is to think about a career change (not right now, of course) and find something that gives more time for writing. Teaching, for example. A typical public school teacher teaches 9 months out of the year, while a college professor usually gets 4-6 months off per year.
How often is too often? On the face of it I would say there are worse problems, I mean he could be watching footie. Or talking about how to secure the post of minister president for Geert Wilders. Or some other hobby. On the face of it, it does not seem that his habit of bouncing his ideas off of you in this way deprives the family of his attention, his energy, or money, so…what is it you would rather he be doing or talking about?
I suspect you are neither killing his dreams nor are you offering him a useful reality check. I suspect this is all, um, code for something else entirely. Is it possible that you guys have – for no doubt very good reasons at the time – got some energy invested in you = practical, he = flaky dreamer who never finishes anything and this is no longer serving you? Can you identlfy what it is about this dynamic you resent? Is it possible that you feel he is doing it so that you will admire him/like him? Or is it possible he has the feeling that when he talks you are not listening but are just waiting for a chance to say what you are going to say next? Or something else?
You don’t have to answer here of course, just some thoughts about how I might go about thinking about it.
That’s what I tell my husband as well, up to a point. However, it is just play. Play is nice, but it is play. I don’t feel I owe my husband respectful oohs and aahs for dreaming up an idea, anymore then I owe him ooh’s and aahs for getting a high score in a video game. It is play, and he is an adult.
I gave him an respectful ooh and aah today though, for managing to bathe our son who hates getting a bath. The oohs and ahs were because he managed to do so with our son laughing instead of crying.
You aren’t killing his dreams because he is still having them but I bet he is getting sick of your attitude. Nothing like an instant dose of negativity to alienate those close to you. Will work wonders with the kids too if you have any.
Oh, by USA standards, my husband has enough time to pursue any dream he would like to pursue. He works 32 hours a week, as do I, and I do the housework and cook. In fact, his dreaming wouldn’t bug me half as much if he really enjoyed it. But he is restless, wants to really accomplish something. Now that I think about it, I kind of married my dad! :eek:
Shagnasty, yes, I think we both have above average intelligence. I once asked my husband what his IQ was, and he said: “a lot higher the second time I took a test”.