I recently received a curious email asking for help. Most of the time I get questions about work and leadership issues. This one is a bit different however it does fit into the patterns I’ve been discussing on the blog here.
Dear Dr. Sylvia,
You know that last week was Valentine’s Day. Well, you know, and I know. I am recently divorced and one of my co-workers (actually, my supervisor) asked me to go to dinner with him. He is also divorced, and I made sure there was nothing behind the screen for me to worry about. All looked good.
So, I said yes.
We were at a posh place in town and there were hearts filled with Belgian chocolate on each table as a gift from the chef. The maître d wished us a happy Valentine’s Day as he seated us. The wait staff all smiled and talked about the perfect weather for Valentine’s Day.
Got the picture.
Then Mr. Very Smart began making some comments about not knowing it was Valentine’s Day and wondering what the fuss was about. Onto other topics. He commented that the very cold weather in the Eastern U.S. proved all those jerks wrong about global warming. He later said he hadn’t seen his ex-wife nor his teen age children for over a year.
I was getting uncomfortable.
His reason was they were fine without him and children don’t really need two parents.
OK, my question, “Does he fit the description of the denier in your pattern model? If yes, is there hope for him? Can he change? He’s drop dead gorgeous and on his way to a big promotion and when he doesn’t sound like a dumb jerk he’s fun and engaging.”
No Time to Waste
Let me tackle the pattern first. Yes, to the denier in him. He’s great at blocking out what is going on in the world (i.e. Valentine’s Day when the whole country is painted in roses, chocolate hearts and red balloons) and global warming which is bigger than a winter snow storm and cold temperatures).
Mostly, I worry about how easily he dismissed his children’s need for their dad. Guess if you got deep into a relationship with him he could dismiss you and your needs pretty fast also.
Deniers often grew up where there was so much turmoil they simply pulled the curtain down and turned to noise off for the sake of survival. And never got out of the place of fear and mistrust.
This video will help a bit.
My question is, how many warning signs do you need to stop you from what could be a painful partnership? That is, unless he is willing to do some heavy emotional lifting to change. You see, Dear, No Time to Waste, unless you are willing to live in a fantasy world with Mr. very Smart, you are destined to a world of disappointment.
Perhaps this video will help.