The Perils of Accidental Mansplaining

Mansplaining Definition

My wife is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Every day, she blows me away with the amount of knowledge she seems to fit into that brain of hers. In fact, I often refer to her as the smart one in the relationship. I have an addiction to knowledge, but she has a natural ability to recall information at a seemingly unnatural level that I could only dream of.

Around the house, we constantly challenge each other with new information. I usually teach her new things about tech and she keeps me updated on things that I should know but overlook due to the way I think (I’ll spend 3 hours debugging configurations before realizing that I forgot to plug something in).

Today, our constant back-and-forth got me in a bit of trouble:

Me: “Hey, if you’re looking for Christmas gifts, I could use a Craftsman impact driver that uses my same battery.”
Her: “Okay.”
Me: “Do you know what an impact driver is?”
Her: “Yeah.”
Me: “What is it?”
Her: “It’s like your drill but it works in tight places where you can’t swing a hammer.”

If you know what an impact driver is, you’ll know she’s incorrect. I continued to explain what an impact driver is and why it’s more useful than the drill I normally carry around the house. That’s where I messed up.

She proceeded to tell me that I was explaining something that I really didn’t need to, and that it upset her. In my quest to fill her head with fun facts as we normally do to each other, I accidentally did exactly what I criticize people for. I mainsplained.

The fact of the matter is, it really doesn’t matter if she knows what exactly an impact driver does, just as it doesn’t matter if I understand the city laws on sign heights or font sizes (she makes signs for a living). By explaining it further, I’m subconciously being a dick and belittling her.

I suppose the moral of this post is to just be careful with how you treat people you love. Not everyone needs a brain dump and absolute knowledge of something they’ll never utilize. Was it a conflict detrimental to our relationship? Not in the slightest. But it does create conflict and it’s something important to remember for the future. I never want her to feel like she’s not the most amazing person in my life, and sometimes it just takes a bit of consideration to achieve that.

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