*Update 5/16/2011: This post was kind of experimental in nature. It was meant to be raw and cathartic. Not sure how successful I was. It is also a companion piece, meant to be read along with my prior post If I Get a Lobotomy Will You Love Me?
So often, when we write--especially me, we check for spelling, grammar, and content. And we censor ourselves. It was risky putting my thoughts out there regarding relationships. I feel naked. But I also feel relieved. End of update*
When I was fifteen years old, my stepfather said to me, “You need to marry a man who is more intelligent than you.” Even though marriage wasn’t something I wanted in my future, I read his comment as a sort of compliment. Clearly he thought me to be an intelligent young woman. But what did he mean by more intelligent? Why was this part crucial to my happiness? Did he know something that I was not yet privy to?
Flash-forward ten years—it was the night of my college graduation. I had just recently called off my engagement from my partner of two years. A good friend of mine, Danny, who had recently moved back to his birth state, New York, came down to Florida for the ceremony. After a celebratory dinner, Danny, my brother Jeff, his wife Deanna, and I were in the car headed back to Jeff’s house for a little homespun Karaoke. Out of the blue my brother said to Danny, “Jehne needs to be with someone more intelligent than her.” Where the heck did that come from? He wasn’t in the room when my stepfather uttered those same words a decade earlier. What was going on? I asked Jeff to explain what he meant by his statement. He said that I wouldn’t be happy unless I was with someone who could challenge me. I wouldn’t respect nor admire him unless he was smarter than myself. Was he onto something?
I stayed single for almost five years after that. Then I met my second husband who is intelligent—clearly more educated than my ex-fiancé. But was this relationship doomed as well? Soon after I married him, I grew unhappy. Was it because he was not more intelligent than me? Did my stepfather and brother curse me? Or was Mother Nature the instigator of this cruel fate?
After my husband and I divorced, my mother point blank said to me, “You need to be with someone more intelligent than you.” I shot back, “It’s never going to happen.” She said, “I know.”
Maybe a man can love this intelligent woman. Maybe I can’t love a man who isn’t brilliant.