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The three things needed from a relationship (at least I feel) are Emotional, Physical and intellectual. My GF gives enough Emotionally by supporting me and encouraging me in my endeavors and also physically (obvious thing).

The issue I feel often is that in conversations she does not pick my brain for anything. I realize that that not every moment can be a high-level discussion about philosophy or theories. But whenever we reach a topic which requires deeper thought she tends to shut off and not want to continue talking about it and saying things like "change topic".

A bit of background, I'm older by a few years and also more exposed and educated than she is. I've been together with Alice for about 1.5-2 years with majority of it being an LDR (long distance relationship). This is half the reason why I only realized the conversation issue more recently as most of our talks are online which do not hold the same weight.

As for what a deep topic is to me. It isn't so much me diving into something I like and talking about it to no end as she desperately looks for an escape from this man who can't stop talking about Westworld. It's more along the lines of science, politics and the like. **Example: ** I watched an interesting video on GMO food and its effects, I asked her what she thought of it and the reply was "they are bad and not natural." As I asked more and wanted to pursue the topic she told me to change the topic and she didn't want to continue. This happens for other topics as well.

The Main Deal:

Is there any way for me to convince her to open up to more topics and try new things instead of changing the topic or avoiding "hard" topics?

  • Have been in an LDR for about 2 years now, we've met each other multiple times. Alot of my questions are about this same relationship, you can check the others out if it helps get a idea of my relationship with Alice – SomeoneElse Sep 5 '18 at 1:59
  • Please note that we expect questions and answers to be useful to the overall audience of the Internet, not just the post authors. To that end, it would be great if you added more information to this question so that it's self-contained. – gparyani Sep 5 '18 at 2:04
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    Can you give an example of such a conversation? How do you introduce such topics, what sort of topics? What is your own style of talking in "deep" conversations? (I know that's kind of a broad question, just trying to get an idea of your communication style.. like do you find yourself monologuing, or are you often inspired by Star Trek but she's never watched it - any details or examples would be helpful.) – Em C Sep 5 '18 at 2:06
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    What sort of topics is she interested in discussing? – DaveG Sep 5 '18 at 10:22
  • Based on interactions with her, her topics would be more art and travel related. I used to draw alot more (when i didn't work) and when i started to try drawing something new, both me and her were really getting into drawing techniques and art styles. I would say my focus is more on tech and science stuff – SomeoneElse Sep 6 '18 at 1:10
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I think a big part of the problem here may be your attitude and perception. In my experience, having a "deep" discussion involves opening up and delving deep into your thoughts on a matter. The one thing that would make me close up immediately would be perceived judgement.

You say you're "more exposed and educated than she is." Firstly, are you sure that this attitude isn't bleeding through into your discussions and how you interact with her when trying to have a discussion like this? And secondly, I think you need to realize that being exposed or educated may not be requirements to have the kind of intellectual conversations you want.

Maybe a lack of education or exposure would make it hard to have a deep discussion on string theory or fashion in Milan, but everyone has something they care about. I think your biggest problem is that you're pushing for a very specific kind of conversation about subjects you're choosing. Instead, I'd suggest trying to find something that she'd like to talk a lot about. Maybe she's genuinely never thought about GMO foods, or has given them so little thought that she doesn't feel comfortable having a deep conversation about them.

So how do you find a subject that she'll love to talk about and you will too? I have two suggestions for you:

  • Find something that she spends a lot of time doing that you're only a little familiar with and try to find out more of why she's interested. Since you'll be looking at the subject with mostly fresh eyes, you'll probably have a vastly different perspective than her.

  • Do something new together. Maybe you both go see a movie together and discuss afterwards over a meal. Maybe you go to a museum and discuss afterwards over a meal. Maybe you go to a poetry reading and discuss afterwards over a meal. (do you see a pattern here?) Find something thought provoking (for me and my SO this is usually something art related) and interesting for both of you and experience it for the first time together so you're both on the same page. This way, "exposure" and "education" shouldn't play as much of a role. It may also help to tell her that you're interested in discussing whatever it is you're going to see with her afterwards.

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In addition to the excellent answer from @scohe001, I'd want to add that not all people like the same type of discussions.

You gave a perfect example that could have happened the same way to me: the discussion about GMO food.

When I get home from work, I could enjoy talking about it, discussing controversial pros and cons and thinking about solutions on how to save the world. At the same time, this could give me a little distance from my own problems.

My partner, on the other hand, would start to worry and stack this on her own existing problems. She would get the feeling of additional stress and responsibility that she really can't deal with right now. So her natural reaction would be: This is bad, the world is messed up, there is nothing I can do about it right now - can we please move on?

Trying to force her to stay in this discussion would cause her to have a bad time. If you love her, don't do it unless it's a pressing personal matter. Let her decide when and where she wants to have an opinion and where not. Instead, rather try to find out what's moving her in the moment.

Also, as somebody else pointed out, having intellectual exchanges with someone is normally not mutually exclusive. You can always try to find other people who also enjoy this kind of discussion and get your thought-food there.

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