“He’s Just More Logical Than Me”
How we let men get away with not caring
Dec. 15, 2018, 4:42 p.m.
I have heard this phrase more times than I can count, mostly uttered by women in long term relationships with men. I have said it myself about multiple different boyfriends of my own. And I am tired of it.
I’m a very emotional person. According to my therapist, I’m a “highly sensitive person”, something I have in common with over 15% of the adult population. I care deeply about what happens to those around me, I have strong reactions to events that trigger traumatic memories, and I can be over-sensitive to light and sound. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and do little to try to conceal them. I learned a long time ago bottling-up was unhealthy for me, and usually resulted in becoming dependent on dangerous coping mechanisms. There is no denying that I am an emotional person.
But I am also highly logical. I have always excelled in logical academic areas like math and science. I’m good at mind games, solving puzzles, and thinking through a process from start to finish, anticipating the result of every move at every turn. I’m not often wrong about the long-term result of an action, and I’m great at creating strategy around achieving a particular goal. At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I also have the IQ scores to back it up. I am, despite being highly emotional, also highly logical.
The dichotomy between emotion and logic has a long history to it. Pathos and logos regularly find themselves at odds with each other, an experience which is not shocking given how maladaptive many human evolutionary emotional responses are in our current society. Yet the ancient Greeks were able to recognize that pathos and logos exist simultaneously within all of us. It is modern gender roles which have enabled the current perception of men as purely logical and women as purely emotional to thrive.
“He is nice. He’s just much more logic based than emotion based.”
A friend was recently venting to me about how her boyfriend of over a year failed to recognize the impact of his behavior on her fear of abandonment. Her fear is well documented, rooted in childhood trauma, and has been proven time and time again throughout adulthood to perhaps not be entirely wrong. People often leave. She has been open and honest with him about her fears, the stories behind them, and what she needs in order to feel safe and secure in a relationship. He has repeatedly ignored her needs, and continues to act as if he did not have this information about her. When pressed on why he thought that was okay she told me, “He is nice. He’s just much more logic based than emotion based.”
But this is an excuse. Any person who was truly so logical, assuming they actually cared about you (or even wanted to pretend they cared about you) could put these pieces together. Here’s the logic:
- Person I love has a reasonable fear based on her past →
- When something reminds her of her past, she gets upset →
- I don’t want someone I love to become upset →
- I will do what I can to not remind her of her past.
But what’s actually happening in his brain is this:
- I want to act a certain way →
- I will act a certain way regardless of how people I claim to love feel.
This is not him being more “logical” than her. This is him not caring. And this is what we let men get away with when we excuse their shitty behavior by claiming they are more logical than we are.
Men have long claimed logical superiority over women. When women have dared to challenge this, they were burned at the stake, called “hysterical” and sent to asylums, or completely ignored altogether. Men have historically been welcomed into “logical” professions, like lawyers, engineers, and mathematicians. Women have long been relegated to the “caring” professions of nursing, childcare, or social workers and teachers. Girls are taught how to pay attention to other’s feelings, especially men’s, and change their behavior to make them more comfortable. Men are taught to suppress any expression of emotion, or any attempt of caring about others.
Jut because your boyfriend doesn’t know how to handle his own emotions (or yours) doesn’t mean he’s smarter, more logical, or right. It’s time to stop letting men get away with not caring under the guise of logic, especially when caring is the logical thing to do. When two people are in a partnership, supposedly based on respect and caring, logic is no excuse to not care.
This toxic narrative also ignores the fact that just because women are more expressive with their emotions, does not mean that men’s day to day decisions are any less based in emotion. Men have become so used to being the “logical” ones, that they can not perceive how their own emotions may be impacting a decision. Their decisions are assumed logical by default, because emotions are meant to be suppressed.
When a man refuses to act with basic empathy towards a woman because of “logic”, he is acting selfishly and emotionally himself. He is prioritizing his own comfort or convenience over the needs of his partner, often in a manner full of contempt because he was raised to expect that women should be catering to him. This is misogyny, and it is dangerous.
Next time you are trying to justify your male’s crappy behavior, try saying “He just doesn’t care about how other people feel” instead. We know this is what you really mean.