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My Husband's Obsessed With His Friends - Agony Aunt

Ask Anne

Dear Anne

My husband is so obsessed with his friends it really hurts my feelings. He works nights and I work days and somtimes weekends so time together is rare. He could switch to days but he enjoys "the guys" on his evening shift and I want him to be happy so I don't pressure him. On the minimal time we have together at weekends he will choose to spend it with "the guys" he went to school with while time spent with me must be spent drinking, watching TV or with 50 people around at a big party. I don't want to control him just like he doesn't control me, and I don't want pity company just because I nag about it. But at the same time, he doesn't miss me, he doesn't schedule time with me so we can be together more often and when I say something about it like, "We won't see each other all week, or Friday or Saturday," he'll say "Well, I'm spending Sunday with you," or "I have to spend all next weekend with you because the guys are going out of town." Have to? Nice.

I'm really glad my husband feels I'm an obligation instead of a desire (sarcasm). I chose not to move to another state to stay here, be with him and marry him and for what? A lonely, emotionally shallow relationship. I literally feel single. He is a great guy, a real "guy's guy", a charmer and very vocal about saying, I love you and such. But he's never around and it doesn't bother him one bit. I've tried to set up date nights but the scary thing is, when there's no drinking, friends or TV around, we hardly have anything to talk about. It's all small talk. I miss feeling "in tune" with someone. I miss talking analytically and dreaming with someone. I'm afraid I married a great guy but not the right guy. Kelly

Dear Kelly

I'm sorry you feel this way. Sometimes it's just as easy to be lonely within a marriage as living alone, isn't it? The sad thing is that people need different levels of closeness. Many men's men just enjoy male company even though they love their wives. After some years of marriage, lots of people start running out of things to talk about. But what can you do about this?

No partner can completely fulfil all of anybody's social needs. You may find it beneficial to invest in your own social life, perhaps spending more time with your girlfriends who are more likely to enjoy the sorts of conversations you do, and perhaps taking part in challenging activities so that you feel you have something interesting to talk about. You might also like to study. Once you feel happier in your own company you're less likely to come across as needy or clingy. I'm not saying that wanting time with your husband is either of these things but when you say you don't want to nag him, I wonder if you feel like you do?

Since you're now wondering whether this is the right husband for you, you could also say something to him along the lines of, When you spend so much of our free time with the guys, I feel lonely for you.

Are you willing to work out what we can do to save our marriage? Possibilities include doing activities together that you both choose, whether that's hang-gliding, taking in a ball-game or a romantic night of dinner and dancing. You might choose one weekend's activity while he chooses the next. You've discovered as a lot of couples do that it's easy after a week's hard work to fall into a rut and just veg out in front of the TV, but don't forget you're 50% of the relationship and you too can make choices. Nagging, sarcasm and blame don't get you what you want!

You might both decide to have couples counselling, or you could go on your own if he's unwilling. After all, if you keep doing what you're doing you'll keep getting what you've got. You might work through some of the relationships books around, such as Are You The One for Me? by Barbara de Angelis or my own Make Love Work For You. You could try some of the Emotional Literacy techniques you'll find in books like Intelligent Emotion by Frances Wilkes.

I hope you're willing to find ways of fulfilling yourself so that you build up your confidence and know that you're interesting and a good companion. Then, whether you and your husband stay together or not, you'll find it easier to have more of the intimacy you want. Good luck!Back to Ask Anne

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