Engineer Chic!

What to consider before dating an engineer

Seeing as though I have dated not one, but two engineers, and I am constantly surrounded by (male) engineers, I seem to have become the authority on this topic. My site stats agree that this content – strange as it may be – attracts substantial traffic. So here it is: why not to date an engineer part two.

As much as I hate to generalise, and agree that there are surely many engineers out there who don’t fit the mold, I have picked up certain patterns that should be considered before getting yourself involved with an engineer guy.

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You will not get more of his time – so get over it

Whether your engineer boyfriend is a student, a graduate or senior-level engineer, our workload tends to border on ridiculous.  He will spend more time with his classmates and colleagues than with you.  One of the engineers I worked with and I spent so much time together at work that I knew his wife’s weekly schedule and reminded him a couple of times that he needed to be home early that day to babysit as his wife had book club.  Another graduate engineer at work recently got married and brought his young wife out to the little mining town we lived in. She found it really difficult to adjust to a new home and was always frustrated that her new husband consistently was at the plant late into the night.

Rest assured though – when your engineer boyfriend says he’s at work, he really is at work! And he is busy making a ton of money which you will enjoy spending. Sacrifices.

He will never be the life of a party – so get over it

Engineers are sensitive creatures underneath that tough exterior. They are genuine without being simple and smart without being arrogant. What they will never be is the social butterfly that you want them to be. If they are anything like my ex, they will be reserved and even shy in social situations. They feel most comfortable around family and familiar friends, and will sometimes even close down if forced to make conversation with someone new.  If having a cool, popular and outgoing partner is what you crave, date a guy who studied commerce.

What has worked for me though, is to ply them with a substantial amount of alcohol before introducing them to people. They tend to get on quite well once mildly inebriated.

Engineers are nesters – and you may not like their particular nesting habits – but get over it

An engineer’s home is his safe place and they spend a lot of time making it just right and comfortable for their needs. I have NEVER seen straight men take so much care and pride in their homes.  I might add that not all of them are particularly neat nesters! My first engineer boyfriend was positively a mess! The random stuff he had accumulated over years was stored everywhere – including a massive set of couches which took up most of his room and served no apparent purpose. Nevertheless, what the engineers I know have in common is that they detest anyone trying to rearrange their homes. My first engineer boyfriend would not let me (a neat freak) throw anything out and the second – who I somehow convinced to allow me to redecorate his bedroom – held this against me until the day we broke up. He happened to be an even bigger neat-freak than I was and thought I was a mess. (the irony)

Your engineer boyfriend will have to trust you completely and be confident that you know them and their taste before you can attempt to rearrange their homes. Tread with care ladies – you have been warned.

Their dress-code is bizarre – so get over it

You will notice that your engineer boyfriend has a certain dress-code which he will stick to most days. This may be the standard t-shirt and jeans/ shorts as a student, which may transform into a golf-shirt and jeans/ shorts once he graduates. In short, engineers are most comfortable in their casual clothes and you may have to even put up with awful sock/sandals combinations which will make most women cringe (despite their expansive shoe-collections – don’t bother trying to figure this one out). Unfortunately, attire is not a high priority to engineers as they are practical beings who don’t see a practical reason to dress better than they do.

When engineers go out to a formal function, they realise that they need to dress up to conform to social expectations. Although this is a great start, their execution very often misses the mark entirely.  Ladies, be warned, you will have to guide them in this regard. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES let them dress themselves. Oversee and direct this process as far as you can. They will likely appreciate the guidance in this area.  Basics such as dressing for your height and body shape, or choosing appropriate and fashionable ties (from this decade) – things that you will take for granted – will need to be supervised. You don’t want to end up at the races dressed in a classy, neutral, chiffon dress alongside your engineer boyfriend who is wearing a shiny, silver suit (which, to make matters worse, he is swimming in).

Yes, yes this actually happened.

So should you date him?

Despite all of the above, the engineers I have dated/ worked with have been great boyfriends. They are sincere and caring and if you can put up with the hours and bad dress sense, I’d say go for it!  Like most men, they will not understand you, will try and solve all your problems when all you want to do is vent a bit, and like any of us will have to make their own mistakes in relationships before they get it right. However, nothing in your house will ever remain broken for more than a week, you will have personalised and trustworthy advice when it comes to cars, cameras, laptops and just about any other mechanical/ electronic purchases and they will be there for you when you are in trouble.

Good luck!

11 thoughts on “What to consider before dating an engineer”

  1. I’m a 21 year old recent graduate in electrical engineering, and I’ve never even kissed a girl. In high school, I only got into an average college since I didn’t do well in English and foreign language.

    I majored in engineering because I felt more comfortable around technology than people, as horrible as that sounds. It gave me an excuse not to socialize. However, as the class difficulty increased, now I don’t feel comfortable anywhere.

    I thought I would find people my type in college but you have to be part of some engineering club to make friends. Most people in my classes never socialized with each other. I would have joined a club, but engineering classes are already intense enough for me. Looking back, I should have picked something like civil or chemical engineering instead to make enough time for socializing.

    This sounds ridiculous, but I thought I would be able to just “connect” with the few girls in my classes by being myself. But even they thought I was boring.

  2. my little feedback on that I think two engineers together do not really work in terms of normal relationships unless both like the alone work time and they cherish the minimum time together.

  3. As a typical engineer married to another typical engineer, I can tell you that our relationship totally works! We both need a lot of alone time, so there are no communication issues in this regard. We’re also both really low key so spending time together is just as rejuvenating as alone time. I can tell you we definitely would NOT have gotten together (both too shy) unless we had been locked together in a room for a special program at work. Lucky us 🙂 Even then it took us a couple of years to get together. It’s much easier for engineers to get together if we are friends first.

    Love this article, all of it is so true! Fits me and my husband to a T. The nesting thing is so true. The only way I got my husband to start throwing extraneous stuff away was to convince him that the empty space was more valuable than the piles of old magazines. We’re still a work in progress!

  4. I am a speech-language pathologist who has been married to an engineer for almost 28 years. Your post rang so true. I fell for him because his home was always in order, he knew how to fix things, and he didn’t mind my advice on how to dress (ladies, that part of the blog is completely true). It took the first decade of our marriage for me to participate coherently in a conversation with him about his work. I recall the first conversation where I made comments that indicated I was correct in my thinking. He got this deer-in-the-headlights look as if to say, “Uh-oh. She’s figured me out.” I can attest to the statement that when he says he is at work, he really is at work. I was told, and I have found it to be true, that you won’t find a more faithful partner than an engineer. I realized soon after we married that many speech-language pathologists are married to engineers, and gender doesn’t seem to play a role in this. I think it has something to do with the idea that we are trained to decipher complex communication, and engineers find us comfortable to be with because we don’t give up on the conversation when it becomes too complex. So, we get along. One tip, ladies (I can’t speak for the men who date women engineers, but this might work in some other way), if he comes to pick you up for a date (if that’s how it still works), and you aren’t quite ready, give him a tangled necklace to untangle. It will keep him busy for those minutes that you still need, and he won’t complain a bit.

    On another note, our son just graduated with his degree in petroleum engineering, and, yes, the shorts and t-shirts as the standard wardrobe is true, too. But, with his father’s guidance during his internships, he has learned to rock business casual.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Thank you for the comment – it’s remarkable how alike engineers are in so many regards. Its quite interesting what your mention about speech-language pathologists. I don’t think I’ve ever met one though. I guess being with one can also help those engineers (and there are many) who struggle to communicate verbally due to shyness. I love the idea about giving them something to play with/ figure out. I guess I would also fall for this trick as the thought of untangling a necklace is quite entertaining. Haha – I have no tangled necklaces though – they don’t stay that way with me around. Not the devil but “the cream-cheese is in the detail!

      Good luck to your son! Sounds like he’s well set up to tear into a career in Petrochem!

  5. I love this article. It is so true. I live with an engineer. I also happen to work in an engineering firm, but I am not an engineer, myself. Me and my boyfriend are total opposites. I have to admit it took a while for us to get used to one another, but we have been together for a long time. He may never be the life of the party, but I could have not asked for a better guy!!

  6. Im not like this at all. I was a rocker at heart and dress really well. I am usually the loudest one at the party. I hate working overtime and run from it when I can. I am a slob, and rather hire someone to fix something than fix it myself cause I hate doing that, and I rather let my gf’s decorate cause I don’t really care and they seem to like it. As long as I get ONE room. I pretty much don’t care for engineering. I just chose it cause its good quick and easy money. By no means am an engineer at heart. I just like the money.

  7. Let me start off by saying that I realize not all engineers are the same. My experience, however, was not positve. I was dating an engineer in his late 20’s. It could have been a multitude of factors, but his mannerisms in the relationship were a bit different. Between feeling like I was constantly picked apart, I couldn’t do anything right, and I felt like he wanted me to be “perfect…” I found myself getting frustrated. Every other aspect was ideal. He never wanted to go out, and was more into working in his garage or building things. Ideal husband material.. except that he also struggled in the communication department. It definitley was a different experience.

  8. I’m dating a second year electrical and computer engineering student. We have been together for 3 years now. He is so time consumed, it is crazy. We go to the same university and we see each other 1 or 2 a week if we are lucky around campus. I find him emotionally unavailable, and am trying to help him communicate better. I love him a lot, we are both young (20 years old). I accept him for who he is but because of his work load I struggle internally and feel as if he does not make time for me. I really do want to marry him someday , it is my absolute dream. Any advice on how to help him open up emotionally and how to make it work through university?

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