Another hit for the law of unintended consequences. A dear friend, expecting to give my fragile ego a little massage, sent me a link to this article on Why Introvert Men Make Better Husbands. Regular followers will know I’m clinging onto the far edge of the introvert spectrum with my fingernails, so at first sight it would seem a playful and generous gift of reading.
It landed just in time to give me some material for the prompt on false assumptions, although this time not mine!
As well as being an introvert I am someone who gets infuriated by lazy thinking and sloppy writing. The article was so poor I began to think it might be trolling. I’ll deconstruct it point by point below, but overall it dwelt on the fantasy that all introverted men are some kind of Heathcliff / Mr Darcy amalgam: brooding, thoughtful, with deep currents of passion and intensity. The author (a man) was probably squirming in his seat in his self-projection as a dark haired, lantern jawed hero striding across the desolate moors while ladies in tight corsets mainline smelling salts and get RSI from fanning themselves.
It shouldn’t be worth my time or yours to take apart, but this kind of simplification and trivialization of personality types has consequences. There are implications for those of us who do not comply with norms, and do not fall into the soap opera stereotypes of easy relationships and instant friendships. Everyone needs to find their own accommodation with the stresses of expectation, and the requirements of their own preferences and personal strength and resilience.
The article also has a lazy interpretation of introversion. An introvert can with some concentration be outgoing, meet new people, show an interest in their lives, but at a cost of personal space and energy that will then require time in recovery. This is most likely to be alone. The point is not to look for the introvert dying of consumption in a lonely garret, but in the person who periodically needs to check out from company to recharge their batteries. And even that is a gross simplification. Introversion/ Extroversion are a range and continuum.
So now I get to indulge myself with some venting. Here are the supposed reasons introverts make better husbands:
- He’ll know himself better than most men you’ve dated
Not necessarily. To be extrovert is not to lack self-awareness, and just because the introvert spends time inside themselves does not mean they find answers. Being locked in an echo chamber of thinking, without objective outside input is probably more dangerous, and leads to more self-doubt and unproductive worry, than being in an environment which provides feedback and grounding.
- Because he spends more time thinking, he’ll likely spend more time thinking about you.
Possibly. But there is no guarantee the thoughts are productive and positive, they may well be a cycle of recrimination and examination that destroy a relationship rather than strengthen it.
- He’s less likely to cheat on you
The logic presented here is laughable. Introverts meet fewer people, and therefore the chances of infidelity are lower. In fact introverts may also form deeper bonds with the few people they choose to get close to, so ask yourself this: in the wrong headed world of this article, would you rather have an extrovert husband with lots of friends, but mostly at a superficial level, or an introvert husband who forms a few very intense friendships?
- If he does cheat on you then at least you know how he feels about you.
Only on the premise that he knows how he feels about himself, which was debunked in (1). The article presumes introverts are infallible.
- They’re better in bed
By this stage I was convinced this was trolling. The logic is that introverts think more, and therefore think about sex more, and are therefore better at it. I think about Motorsport a lot but I can’t drive a F1 car.
- They’re usually more reliable and less self-absorbed.
This is in open contradiction to saying introverts think more and spend time alone. Spending time in solitude and self reflection is the most frequent reason why I am late for appointments. That and choosing a route that means I won’t meet anyone I know and be forced to have a conversation.
- When an introvert enters a relationship, it’s because he believes he needs the relationship
Sigh. No. Not infallible. We get spoofed into wrong relationships just like anyone else, we misread signs (our own and those given by others) we make false assumptions, we have irrational responses. Lordy this man is an idiot.
- They make better fathers
No. No. No. How crass a generalization is this? Every child and every parenting relationship is unique. My kids crave my attention when I get home from work, and I need time alone to reset from being working guy to dad. That first half hour home is a torture for everyone because I want to be the person they can jump on, and yet I need my space first. How does that make me a better father than the guy who can be present for his kids instantly? This point is offensively wrong.
And so we find ourselves back at the point of unintended consequences. The article was not the gentle ego massage my friend intended, it was the gift of incitement and inspiration for a writer whose blog has been sadly neglected for a while, and needed some new content. Bravo and thank you, a gift of incomparable value.