Yes, his collection of Game of Thrones figurines is super-weird, but if you love him, make room for it.
It’s common for men to have some kind of collection—comic books, Star Wars action figures, superhero paraphernalia—that they bring with them into a relationship. These things can seem childish, and their partners may not understand the desire to have such items displayed prominently around the house, especially when they clash with the décor (which, let’s be honest, they almost always do).
If you find yourself wringing your hands over all this “junk,” here are five hints for dealing with your man’s collection, and using it to make your relationship stronger.
- Learn more about the subject of the collection. You might not be able to tell Spider-Man from Ant-Man, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. Ask your partner to explain some of the specifics of his particular obsession. He’ll appreciate that you’re showing an interest in something that’s important to him, and who knows—you might just end up liking it.
- Recognize the emotional attachment. As Psychology Today points out, collecting is a way of expressing creativity. But there’s often a deeper emotional reason for accumulating this stuff, as well. Maybe those Star Wars figures remind him of happy times in childhood. Maybe his first comic book was purchased for him by his father. Don’t just look at the collection as junk. Instead, respond to his emotional connection to it.
- Don’t ridicule. Is it weird for grown men to be attached to action figures, which are essentially dolls? Well, yes, it is a little weird. But ridiculing his Batman and Darth Vader figures will only cause hurt feelings. Learn to accept that those things are important to him. If he’s important to you, then view the collection as an extension of who he is.
- Give him a designated space for his stuff. Obviously, you don’t want your home decorated with Millennium Falcon replicas and framed pictures of the Fantastic Four. Nor should you; you’re both adults, after all. That said, agreeing on a designated space for a tasteful display of key collection items can add a touch of originality to the home, in addition to making him feel like he can “show off” his stuff. Give him a shelf, or even a less commonly frequented section of the house—like a spare room, a finished attic, or a basement—to do with as he pleases. (The basement “man cave” is a phenomenon for a reason.) This way, he can have his collection out in the open, without making your home look like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
- Add to the collection. Yes, you read that right. This is not to say you should completely indulge his obsession, but the next time you need a special Christmas or birthday present, consider something pertaining to the collection. It’s a great way of saying “I get you,” a sentiment either party in a relationship loves to hear.