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Social Outlet for Spouse/Spending TIme Apart
Old 03-24-2014, 12:08 PM   #1
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Social Outlet for Spouse/Spending TIme Apart

My husband and I participate in a lot of Meetup groups, so we socialize two to four times a week together. But it's becoming an issue that we don't have equal opportunity for independent socialization. As a female and being more outgoing than he is, I find it easier to make friends. Most of my friends, including single women, become his friends as well (in that we see them together)---but I still want some time just one on one with them. I think it's healthy not to be together 24/7. And the dynamics change when he is with it. I know all his stories. I know how he thinks. And I have to worry about including him in the conversation. So about once or twice a month, I like to do my own thing and go off to lunch with a friend.

My cat looks at me pitifully when I leave her every day...and now I think I may have a 60 year old human doing the same! It's not quite that he gives me a hard time about leaving him. But he'll worry about what he's going to eat (we are both foodies who enjoy cooking, but for one meal a couple of times a month, I honestly don't care what he eats and thinks he can fend for himself!). And today he said, supposedly jokingly, that maybe he should see about going out to lunch with Patty (one of my friends, whom we now are friendly with as a couple, along with her husband). I discouraged him from doing this as they are both quiet and she could think it was weird with him contacting her (I do think men and women can be friends, so nothing wrong with it in that regard).

I'd love for him to make some friends on his own, but we all know it's more difficult for guys to establish friendships...and my husband is different than a lot of guys (for example, not liking sports). Can't think of any way for him to find them---we don't belong to a church, don't work, and don't have a community where there are really any compatible folks. And truth be told, he's never done that well making friends, even as a kid. Any suggestions?

And am I wrong to want just a couple of days a month just for me to do my own thing? (We are together all the rest of the time, even going to the same gym classes, except on Saturdays when he takes the day off from there).
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
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Does he have no hobbies? Usually, it's easy to find communities of like-minded hobbyists wherever you live. That would be a natural source of friends for him.

If he doesn't have such hobbies, you should encourage him to develop some.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:25 PM   #3
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Braumeister, his hobbies are pretty solitary: reading, cooking, exercising at the gym, and doing Japanese puzzles.

And in keeping with your screen name, he just started brewing his own beer. He's doing that with a neighbor. But that's just a few hours each month.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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So he likes to cook but won't cook for himself when you are away for a few hours?
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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Frankly, I think you should stop being so protective and tell him to get a life.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:36 PM   #6
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So he likes to cook but won't cook for himself when you are away for a few hours?
Well, it's the thing about cooking for two people as opposed to one. Even those of us who like to cook tend to be a little lazy when it's just cooking for ourselves---like when DH used to travel for work, I would sometimes just have a bowl of cereal at night (of course I was working too, so there was the energy/time thing).
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:37 PM   #7
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Frankly, I think you should stop being so protective and tell him to get a life.
Yup, you are right to some extent---but he has a life. He just doesn't have a social life other than what I provide him with---one that always includes me. The funny thing is he is never bored being at home doing his own thing----it's almost like having a sibling who is jealous of his sister going off doing things that don't include him.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:47 PM   #8
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Maybe he can pick up a part time job at Lowes or Home Depot where he can meet new people and help the customers. I have a few friends who do just that and they are having a ball and have met some new friends within the coworkers there.

I mean you have to get out to meet new friends.....
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:56 PM   #9
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Frankly, I think you should stop being so protective and tell him to get a life.
Yes. And he will, even if he goes to the gym or just spends the time playing candy crush while you are out.

That is a lot of time together.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:00 PM   #10
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Well, it's the thing about cooking for two people as opposed to one. Even those of us who like to cook tend to be a little lazy when it's just cooking for ourselves---like when DH used to travel for work, I would sometimes just have a bowl of cereal at night (of course I was working too, so there was the energy/time thing).
I used to be that way when DW went on a business trip. Then I realized that it was the perfect time to cook things that I liked and that she didn't. For example, we never eat some of my favorite foods (mushrooms, lobster, crab, etc...), because she can't stand those things. So when she leaves, I treat myself. Also, I go out to eat. I know that some people have issues with going solo to a restaurant but it does not bother me in the least.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:16 PM   #11
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How about volunteering at a museum or with a group that fixes trails? Lots of stuff to do by oneself. If not, you need to explicit plans for dieing after he does. Sorry to be somewhat crass, but from my experience, these things don't always work the way we would think. My LW died at 48. She was my social organizer and I did not do much without her. I thought she would be there to take care of me (she was 10.5 years younger). I had hobbies and interests so I am moving along. Hope your DH can find interests of his own. Think of it sort of like life insurance.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:16 PM   #12
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This thread like several others recently actually is all about the boundaries issue. An adult man or woman cannot annex another person to give purpose or interest to his/her life. That this other person may be a marriage partner does not make it any more valid. Won't work, engenders resentment and is an all around non-starter.

OP doesn't have to solve his problem, in fact if she tries she is actually enabling his dependency.

All she needs to do is get straight on what her privacy needs and rights are, then enforce them.

Ha
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:37 PM   #13
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Why wouldn't he contact "Patty's" husband for lunch instead of her? That's what I'd suggest to him.

I'm like you, the social director, and my husband gets annoyed when I spend too much time with friends, though admittedly it is occasionally because there's this awkward thing where my best friend is a single guy, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, I just sort of think you should tell him to start calling the husbands of your girlfriends, maybe suggest that he bring up some kind of outing when you have them over to your house for a party or go out as a foursome. That way it would seem less weird to him.

But I totally agree--you need some autonomy and the chance to socialize on your own, for pete's sake! It is just hard to get out of your comfort zone. My DH started volunteering at a brewery and it has been a great social outlet for him!
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:47 PM   #14
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Does your husband maybe have some mild signs of Asperger syndrome? I don't know if this fits but Aspergers is more common in men, and they may often pick partners who act as their social conduits. Opposites do attract.

Aspergers also tend to have more friendships with the opposite sex than their own sex.

From Asperger Syndrome -

"8. Why do Aspies and Neuro-typicals get married?
Aspies and NTs choose partners much the same way as do all human beings. We are attracted physically and intellectually and emotionally. We may enjoy the similarities for the comfort and the differences for the spice! We also unconsciously seek mates who have qualities we lack. An AS person may be attracted to a strong, intelligent, compassionate NT who can handle the social world for them."

I can see just telling him to toughen up on the food front, but in terms of making friends he may simply not posses the social skills to be able to do that. Social outings on his own may not be that rewarding for him so he avoids them.

Social skills may come naturally to some people but others, especially those with some signs of Asperger / Geek syndrome, might require some training or coaching. Just having him join clubs or develop social hobbies isn't going to do much for him unless he masters social skills as well.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:48 PM   #15
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Why wouldn't he contact "Patty's" husband for lunch instead of her? That's what I'd suggest to him.

I'm like you, the social director, and my husband gets annoyed when I spend too much time with friends, though admittedly it is occasionally because there's this awkward thing where my best friend is a single guy, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, I just sort of think you should tell him to start calling the husbands of your girlfriends, maybe suggest that he bring up some kind of outing when you have them over to your house for a party or go out as a foursome. That way it would seem less weird to him.

But I totally agree--you need some autonomy and the chance to socialize on your own, for pete's sake! It is just hard to get out of your comfort zone. My DH started volunteering at a brewery and it has been a great social outlet for him!
Sarah, the reason why he wouldn't call Patty's husband is because Mark works (Patty doesn't and is available weekdays). On the weekends, Patty and Mark spend time together (sometimes with us). On about one weekend a month, Andy has started brewing beer with Mark (who is also as quiet as Andy and has no friends of his own).

And the problem with recruiting other friend's husbands is that most of them don't have husbands! Have a lot of single friends. One lives locally here part-time, but her husband is in a different state working most of the time. And then there is the issue of Andy not relating to many guys (doesn't like sports, etc.).
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:51 PM   #16
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Daylate---that's interesting. He's not been diagnosed with Asperger's. I think he's just an introvert who is also very quiet and a little socially awkward.

I worked with people with Asperger's for years. I found them interesting....but got burnt out (hence the early retirement)---don't want to burn out with/on my husband, but Ha, you are absolutely right about the need for boundaries and not annexing totally to a person (that becomes a parasite, not a life partner/spouse).
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:24 PM   #17
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Just my thoughts....

If you're quite certain he does not have an illness, in your mind switch personalities with him for a moment. IOW, what would you want your DH to say to you to make you feel more comfortable about the situation.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:44 PM   #18
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That whole sports thing is over-blown, to be honest. My DH doesn't care about sports, and most of our friends don't either. I think the answer is a hobby thing. Since he does like brewing, tell him to find the local homebrew club, as there are sure to be some fun folks to be found in that kind of crowd (just ask sengsational, lol).
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:48 PM   #19
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Just my thoughts....

If you're quite certain he does not have an illness, in your mind switch personalities with him for a moment. IOW, what would you want your DH to say to you to make you feel more comfortable about the situation.
Bbam, it's always good to put yourself in someone else's shoes and have empathy. But---are you suggesting that DH should say something to make me comfortable with his lack of friends? I'm comfortable with that---just not comfortable with jealousy/resentment about my attaining something that he can't/doesn't have.

Or are you suggesting that I should consider what I would want him to say to me if I was the needy one without friends? If so, I guess I would want him to try to problem solve with me as to what I could do to change/improve the situation...and to remind me that it's not healthy for people to just have each other and no one else in their lives, that it's better for a marriage when people have some separate interests/friends, and that as much as he loves me, he also needs to be true to his needs and look after his mental health.
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:07 PM   #20
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Bbam, it's always good to put yourself in someone else's shoes and have empathy. But---are you suggesting that DH should say something to make me comfortable with his lack of friends? I'm comfortable with that---just not comfortable with jealousy/resentment about my attaining something that he can't/doesn't have.

Or are you suggesting that I should consider what I would want him to say to me if I was the needy one without friends? If so, I guess I would want him to try to problem solve with me as to what I could do to change/improve the situation...and to remind me that it's not healthy for people to just have each other and no one else in their lives, that it's better for a marriage when people have some separate interests/friends, and that as much as he loves me, he also needs to be true to his needs and look after his mental health.
Yes, this is what I was suggesting.

Besides being a little jealous that you are able to make friends better than he can, is it possible he feels someone will take you away from him? Perhaps he is content the way he is, but worries when you are gone.

btw, I agree with you it is healthy for spouses to have some separate interests/friends.
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