Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Husband Spends All His Time With His Friends Instead of Me”

Pensive woman

My husband and I have been married two years this coming November and it’s been great! We rarely fight about the things most couples fight about (money, sex) and we don’t have children to fight over (yet)…but we do fight about his friends. We live two hours from any of my friends or family, and, since I am not the most social butterfly, meeting new people slightly terrifies me. On the other hand, my husband is a major social butterfly and can make friends with anything/anyone that moves.

What seems to be our issue is how much time he wants to spend with them. If I don’t say anything … he’d have them over 4-5 times a week. He is in school full time and I work close to full-time, so we barely see each other as it is — and then he wants to have friends over almost every chance he gets. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s not a bachelor anymore and can’t just have friends dropping by whenever they feel like it.

I’ve tried to find a compromise but it just isn’t happening. Conveniently, he happens to forget that we live two hours from any of my friends or family and that none of his friends have girlfriends, so it’s like I am stuck in “poker night” hell every time they are over. It doesn’t help we live in a small city where the buses stop at 7 p.m. and we don’t have a car right now and everything I would like to go do by myself is too far to walk to.

Perhaps it’s me. Am I wrong to want to have my evenings alone with my husband? I have tried to discuss this with him several times, but, every time I make a suggestion about what would work for both of us in regards to his friends coming over, he accuses me of “power tripping” and trying to manipulate him, and then he refuses to talk about it and hours go by with us ignoring each other.

I am not trying to cut him off from his friends, but I would like him to grow up a little and realize I am his first priority, not his friends. I am at my wits end. PLEASE HELP! — In Competition for Husband’s Time

I hope that unlike yesterday’s LW, you aren’t just writing for validation for your feelings and how wrong your husband is and how there isn’t anything in your power you could possibly do to help your situation. Because that’s not true. I have some practical advice for you and I hope you listen to it with an open mind and an open heart and you loosen your clutch on the excuses you’ve listed and see how you really can actively make a difference in your marriage and in your life.

All through your letter you describe how you would like your husband to change his behavior while simultaneously explaining why you can’t change yours (you live too far from your friends, you’re “terrified” of meeting new people, you’re not a social butterfly, you work almost full-time, you live in a small city where public transportation is limited and you don’t have a car, everything you want to do is too far to walk to). Enough with the excuses! It’s understandable that you want to spend time with your husband, but part of that desire is based on your simply being lonely and bored and not having anyone else to hang out with or anything else to do. I would imagine that your neediness can feel suffocating, especially for someone who is, as you say, a social butterfly who enjoys being around more than just one person.

You — your marriage and you personally — would GREATLY benefit from having some other outlets in your life besides just your husband. You’d have some of your needs for companionship and entertainment met elsewhere while at the same time impressing your husband with expressing a little bit of independence and loosening your grip on him. In your situation, compromise is much more than your husband saying he wants to be with his friends five nights a week and you wanting him home every night of the week and the two of your settling on his seeing his friends three or four nights. In this situation, compromise is telling your husband you’d like him to show more effort and interest in spending time with you while you, in return, show more effort and interest in making some local friends and finding activities to keep yourself busy outside of just work and your marriage. I can imagine that, if you told your husband that you’d find something (besides him!) to occupy your time 1-2 nights a week if he would agree to spending an additional 1-2 nights a week with you, he’d go for it. And not only would your marriage improve, but your well-being and happiness would likely increase, too.

So… what can you do to occupy yourself 1-2 nights a week when you don’t have friends and you don’t have a car and the buses stop running at 7 and everything you might want to do is too far to walk to? Well, do you have bike? Can you get one? Depending on where you live, a bike is a fun, easy way to get around at least eight months of the year. Even at night, you can stick a light on the bike and get a reflective jacket or vest to help keep you safe on the roads. You say you work “almost full-time,” but, if you don’t have children and you don’t have friends and your husband works full-time and goes to school and has an active social life, what’s keeping you from working more? You could look into getting a part-time job that would help fill your hours, maybe introduce you to new people, AND give you some extra money that you could use to buy a (maybe used) car to get you around at night. You could look for a job some place fun where you might meet like-minded people. Depending on what your interests are, consider dog-walking or working in a pet day care, or a book store, or a clothing boutique. (Or, hey, maybe a volunteer position is more up your alley; lots of organizations could use an extra pair of hands!).

Don’t feel like working? Fine. What if you started an interest group that met at your home (or looked for one that met near yours)? Like, if you’re Christian, you could start a Bible study group on Meetup.com (or through your church if you have one). Or, you could start a book club that meets at your place once a month or at a coffee shop near your home.

Also, what are you and your husband doing when you spend evenings together? Are you just sitting around looking at each other or are you doing something fun? You’re still relatively new to your area. Are the two of you exploring together? Are you actively seeking friends together as a couple or are you just relying on your husband to make friends and hoping some of them have wives or girlfriends? Making an effort to get out with your husband and actually socializing with him despite “being terrified” of meeting new people could go a long way in creating a stronger bond with your husband and impressing him with your willingness to branch out. And if you are so terrified of meeting people that it’s stopping you from leaving your house or forming friendships, you might consider seeing a therapist to address potential social anxiety.

I agree with you that spending 4-5 nights with friends instead of your spouse especially when you’re newly married sounds like a lot, but for some couples whose needs are evenly matched that wouldn’t be an issue. It’s an issue for you because you and your husband have different social needs and desires. So, it’s on both of you to compromise and to make an effort for each other — on him to spend more time with you and on you to back off a little and find other people and activities to fill some of your time. Good luck.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

62 comments… add one
  • avatar

    SasLinna September 9, 2014, 9:07 am

    First of all, I totally agree with Wendy’s suggestion to get out of the house by yourself more, for whatever activity is appealing to LW. Maybe that could be coupled with the husband sometimes meeting his buddies out of the house as well so that LW gets a chance to relax at home by herself. LW sounds like an introvert and so it’s understandable she has a hard time with having people over so often. I’m guessing her problem is only 50% her husband not spending enough time with her and 50% it’s not getting enough downtime because her house is filled with guests.
    So far for possible solutions. What stood out to me the most, however, is how they are handling this conflict. It seems like their conflict resolution is not working at all (accusations of manipulation and power tripping, followed by silent treatment). Honestly that is the biggest problem I see here – if you can’t find a way to fight fair then you’ll run into huge problems regardless of this one conflict. One way to fight fairer is to start out by acknowledging your needs and desires rather than with a demand. In other words, “I’m feeling exhausted by having friends over that often and I feel we don’t have enough time together as a couple, what do you think we could do about that?” rather than “You’re not a bachelor anymore and now I’m making the rules about when you can see your friends”. Your needs in this area are probably always going to differ as your husband is an extrovert, so part of the solution must be that each of you accepts that you have a conflict in this area and that you therefore need to pay extra attention to it. I also have a bit of divergence in intro/extroversion and in couple time need with my partner and we have installed some specific routines to address that. In particular this means that my partner pays attention to always cover my minimum couple time needs, and I try to rein myself in and give him his alone time whenever he needs it.

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    • avatar

      ktfran September 9, 2014, 9:48 am

      Sas, I think you’ve hit on an important point. The way words or feelings are phrased is crucial to have productive discussions and make compromises. It’s so much better to talk about your own feelings… I feel this (insert whatever you’re feeling) when you do this (insert whatever it is your partner or friend or family member or whoever is doing to make you upset). People will respond to that. And try to make you comfortable. The will get defensive and shut down if you attack them or put them down.
      .
      Anyway, it took me a lot of years to realize that.
      .
      Wendy and Jhoran offered really good advice about getting out of the house. Meeting new people is scary. I never know what to say and I feel weird. But if you start doing activities with like minded people, making friends becomes so much easier.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna September 9, 2014, 10:00 am

        Thanks! I actually don’t find it easy to fight constructively. It really takes practice (at least for me) and sometimes I fall back into a more adversarial mode and then need to apologize. But I really believe that if you’ve been sliding into silent treatment like LW and her husband have, you need to address that STAT. It really does a lot of damage to any relationship. I used to be more lax with stuff like this, but after having some relationships fail, I’m trying to hold myself to a higher standard now.

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      • avatar

        jhoran85 September 9, 2014, 10:06 am

        I feel the same about meeting new people! It took me a really long time to find my scene but once I did, I realized that having something in common with someone – whether its an art or cooking class, the same hobby, a local sports program, etc, its so much easier to talk to someone because you met on common ground to begin with. I’m naturally a quiet person, which to some people has come off as intimidating or rude, but get me talking about something I’m passionate about and I will talk your ear off!

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 9, 2014, 10:30 am

        Oh my gosh, I’m exactly the same way. I have trouble approaching people, but as soon as you start talking about food or books or Yellowstone, I’m all in.

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    • Lyra

      Lyra September 9, 2014, 10:38 am

      Yes to the conflict resolution not working. This is no way to solve the issue at hand.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie September 9, 2014, 10:42 am

      Yeah, spot on Sas.. I need my alone and in my PJs time at home too, you better believe I don’t make plans for Thursdays which are traditionally the nights the Cockney goes to a pub quiz! Maybe the husband would be down with taking the party elsewhere at least one night a week.

      But yeah, my first thoughts were: Get out and find something else to do if it bugs you so much, there’s no need for you to stay home with all his buddies and you can always find something else to do/make some friends. You just have to really try, it’s not easy but you can do it.

      And what you said about the fighting fair was spot on too.

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  • avatar

    jhoran85 September 9, 2014, 9:27 am

    I got the sense that the LW is both overwhelmed by the constant pressure to be “on” in multiple social gatherings per week and the sense that her loneliness is manifesting into what would like jealousy. Perhaps the best thing is for the LW and her husband to plan that at least one or two nights a week are dedicated to spending time alone together, whether its at home or out somewhere. Maybe they can also agree on having one night a week where they don’t have any guests over. I myself require a lot of alone time, and I have the feeling that the LW is the same and her feelings of social anxiety are also coming into play.

    I think they are also experiencing a difference between the culture of school and the culture of work. The LW sounds like your average person who’s working all week and wants to come home and spend time with her husband and have the ability to have private time in her own home. The LW’s husband, while he seems like he would be more social than her in most situations regardless, does seem to be very much entrenched in the college culture of hanging out with friends several nights a week, inviting them over with no real concern about his wife, almost as if his home is his dorm. His attitude also suggests that he’s in a different mindset. I would think, personally, it would be hard to be married at what sounds like a young age and going to college and seeing friends party and realize that you are not in fact single anymore and you do have other responsibilities.

    Is there a local library or community arts center that offers workshops or classes? It would be a fun way to meet some people and also do something productive on your own. Perhaps you could arrange with your husband to have him meet you after an activity and walk home with you. I can’t imagine with your husband is going to school in a town that doesn’t offer some sort of additional transportation by the school for its students.

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    • avatar

      csp September 9, 2014, 1:24 pm

      It think the idea of student versus full time work is SOOOOO true. When you are in a student mindset, you just have friends around all the time. Working just changes things.

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  • avatar

    Not a Princess September 9, 2014, 9:45 am

    “I have tried to discuss this with him several times, but, every time I make a suggestion about what would work for both of us in regards to his friends coming over, he accuses me of “power tripping” and trying to manipulate him, and then he refuses to talk about it and hours go by with us ignoring each other,”
    **
    Woah. Whoa. However you spell it, just, hang on a second. Someone needs to grow the hell up and I’m not quick to say that it’s the wife’s fault because the husband is purposefully doing somethiing HE KNOWS she’s not comfortable with/happy about.
    So here’s the short version:
    Husband- work with your damn wife. Go to other people’s houses- four or five nights a week is a LOT to have a bunch of men over if she wants to walk around in PJs and live a normal life. Stop being a man-child and shutting her down and out if/when she’s trying to work with you.
    Wife- 1) Learn the difference between conversation and nagging 2) Find a space and activity to get out a bit. Host your friends for weekends- two hours is just not that far. People commute that long in DC every day. 3) Mix up your house- maybe put a TV upstairs or a poker table in the basement. If you can be ‘safe’ from the guests, you probably won’t mind them as much.
    BOTH OF YOU – discuss your love languages and reaquaint yourselves with the concept of ‘respect’ and ‘love’. If you can’t give a little, if you can’t bring yourself to compromise at all for someone, you probably don’t love them enough to be married.
    Basically, GTFU.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 9, 2014, 10:26 am

      Well, yes, if the husband wrote in, this would be good advice. But it’s important we give the LW things she can do herself to help change the situation. If she comes to the table with things she’s willing to make an effort on, it will make it easier to ask her husband to make a similar effort (and your tips are good ones on that front).

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  • coconot

    coconot September 9, 2014, 9:55 am

    Could you ask your husband to give you several hours notice before having friends over? I would also be annoyed if the boys just popped over all the time without notice…

    I agree with Wendy that you need to boost your own social life, and she gives some great suggestions for branching out! I would second the volunteer option as I have gained a lot of personal satisfaction and built a lot of confidence through volunteering, which actually helped me become a less introverted person. Another good option is some kind of sports team, although that is easier to find in the summer. Even if you aren’t that sporty you could easily find something like a softball league where people don’t take themselves too seriously.

    One more idea is getting a dog (assuming you are prepared to properly care for it). It would give you exercise and time to get out of the house, and something to focus on besides yourself and your husband.

    Finally, I really think you should try to get money together for a car. Sounds like it would help your situation a lot. Save, take up a second job like Wendy said, get your husband to do a summer internship, whatever it takes.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest September 9, 2014, 12:24 pm

      I think asking before having company over in a home you share is appropriate too.

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  • avatar

    Sara September 9, 2014, 10:09 am

    LW, walking is another way to get out of the house. Buy some pepper spray if you’re anxious and pick a destination – even in a small city, you probably have a coffee shop, gym, or library within 1.5 miles of you. A starter-compromise might be that you leave the house one evening and he gets to do whatever he wants with whomever he wants. But, another night he leaves the house and you get to use the space however you want to use it. If you offer to leave the house for him, he might be more willing to leave it for you. And I agree with WEES – your fights are rare, but they are not healthy.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 9, 2014, 10:16 am

    Don’t marry a butterfly if all you reallyvwant to do is veg out in an old coccoon… Yawn. Yet another letter from obe person who married another who was VERY clear about who they are — but now wants /expects the other person to miraculously change while repeatedly insisting that they themselves simply cannot. Funny. Why is it always the interesting that must be made boring? And yes, LW, as a woman with no friends or outside interests of your own — you do sound VERY boring…

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray September 9, 2014, 12:04 pm

      But isn’t that the most fun part of couple hood? Having a partner around to join you on your boring days? Lounging around, channel surfing, running errands, ordering in, heating up leftovers, cleaning out the hall closet, cocking (wait, calking?) the tub, making mac and cheese from scratch not because you have skills but because you’re out of everything except a big brick of Velveeta cheese and you’re trying to save money … God, I can’t wait to find a lover to be boring with. Le sigh.

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      • coconot

        coconot September 9, 2014, 12:55 pm

        Caulking. thx to habitat for humanity I’ve done it way more than any one person should 😉

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      • avatar

        Tax Geek September 9, 2014, 1:04 pm

        I think Addie is an outgoing introvert. Is that a thing?

        And cocking the tub? Ha!

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      • Portia

        Portia September 9, 2014, 4:52 pm

        You should all go watch Jon Stewart’s bit on the “cash for caulkers” program. I’ll look for a link later… Also, if you say them the same way, Addie (and anyone else), you have something called the “cot-caught” merger. Just FYI, it’s a dialectal thing…

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray September 9, 2014, 4:56 pm

        WHENEVER YOU START TALKING YOUR LINGUISTIC TALK MY EYES GO CROSS EYED AND I FALL IN A TRANCE AND I WANT TO HEAR MORE!
        *
        Caulk and cock (and for that matter calk and cauk and any other way I can misspell it) DO all sound the same.
        *
        Ok, go on, Portia. You have my undivided attention. Tell me something else.

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      • Portia

        Portia September 9, 2014, 10:31 pm

        Lol, oops, sorry for linguisticing and fleeing! I started a new part time job Monday that’s gotten in the way of my DWing… Anyway, Jon Stewart has the merger of those two sounds (and a good chunk of his audience, who does not get it right away, probably does not):
        .
        When I asked my parents about it looks a week after it aired (they are big Daily Show fans) it finally made sense to them. What can I say? I come from a family of cot-caught distinguishers.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie September 9, 2014, 6:44 pm

        I love it when you speak all linguistically to me.

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      • Portia

        Portia September 9, 2014, 10:39 pm

        Oh I could talk linguistically all day, and sometimes I do. And sometimes I talk linguistically to myself all day long, which is no fun…

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      • othy

        othy September 9, 2014, 7:31 pm

        Othello and I were trying to remember the cot-caught thing the other day. He can’t hear it but I can.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray September 9, 2014, 7:54 pm

        Oh I can hear. I just don’t say. Because that’s silly. It’s should be pronounced the same!

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      • Portia

        Portia September 9, 2014, 10:38 pm

        I think you’ve just been around non-merged people too long… Or come from an area that’s in transition, which is probably more accurate.
        .
        OK here’s some more pairs of words people pronounce either the same or different: pin-pen, horse-hoarse, card-cord, and do-dew.

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      • othy

        othy September 10, 2014, 11:08 am

        Pin-pen and card-cord are different for me, but horse-hoarse and do-dew are the same.

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  • Amanda

    Amanda September 9, 2014, 10:25 am

    These are not healthy fights. From your letter, I can see examples of Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (yay – communications degree!). LW, if you aren’t familiar – look it up. Regardless of what the issue *is* fighting like this is not good for your relationship.
    *
    As for the issue itself, try your local library. They usually have seminars/groups (great places to meet people). I know the one my mom works out always needs volunteers! A great way to start is to volunteer to help tutor (it an even be as simple as helping someone to read, there’s a lot of people who need assistance with that). I’m an introvert myself and have found that helping someone one-on-one is perfect balance between not feeling lonely and meeting people.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray September 9, 2014, 10:47 am

    Wendy’s advice lately has been spot on – and much nicer and more constructive than a lot of us would be! I had two big thoughts when I read LW’s letter: (1) her reasons for poo pooing her husband’s nights with friends sometimes is portrayed as her just wanted to spend more time with him and sometimes is portrayed as sort of a “hey not fair because my friends live far away” thing – which seems petty? Mean? (Like, oh, I can’t see my friends so you shouldn’t see yours!). So I’d think deeply about WHAT exactly about the set up is bothering you. Missing your husband? You may just have different needs. Or wanting cool plans of your own while he’s with his friends? Then do what Wendy said – try harder to cultivate your own source of friends and activities. … and (2) oh oh oh your husband’s friends are single? Do they live near Chicago?

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    • Diablo

      Diablo September 9, 2014, 12:19 pm

      Bad Addie! They’re still in school! They just kids! Sure, they’re technically “legal,” and you are a lawyer, but still…

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray September 9, 2014, 12:35 pm

        My new rule is that if a couple is old enough to be married, their single male friends are old enough to date me. (Sound rule, right?)

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      • Diablo

        Diablo September 9, 2014, 12:39 pm

        I’m gasping in the grip of your serpentine logic.

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  • kare

    kare September 9, 2014, 10:52 am

    I agree with most of this except I understand the LW’s hesitation to venture into the night without a car. Depending on where you live, this isn’t very safe. However, maybe the LW can find some day time activities on days off. Or take up a craft/hobby that can be done alone at home. She could still get on the Internet and join a forum for her hobby and working on something alone can be very relaxing.

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    • avatar

      ktfran September 9, 2014, 10:56 am

      I was thinking about the car situation. Presumably, his friends have to get to his house somehow. Some may be using a car. Her husband might consider asking a friend if his wife could borrow a car while he’s there. Or, maybe the friend and husband could drop her off and pick her up, as long as there isn’t a lot of drinking. I mean, the husband is providing a house to hang out at, I see nothing wrong with getting something in return to help out the LW.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh September 9, 2014, 10:54 am

    I think what Addie mentions above about why you’re upset about your husband being busy is important. I also think that you need to make sure like others have said you’re approaching this in a ‘I feel’ way. Come up with a compromise of days and then go from there. Since the bus isn’t an option and buying a car might also not be (potentially also the bike thing isn’t always an option), sit down with your husband and figure out how much you might need and can afford as far as cab fare goes. Even if you can afford one cab ride a week (and hey maybe doing this you’ll meet friends who you can offer gas money to eventually), that will be one night a week you can go out and do something. Rather than lament that the old friends are two hours away, try and make new ones. It is scary, but it’s a necessity unless you can learn to be happy without them while your husband does have friends.

    And to answer your question I think you’re not wrong to want some evenings with your husband but you are in the wrong to want every night alone with your husband. In order to have a successful marriage (I think at least) you have to have outside interests and friends. It might be hard at first, but eventually it will get easier. I would try meetup.com. It’s full of other people meeting for the first time and being kind of awkward. Eventually you’ll get to know more people and it won’t be awkward, but it’s a good way to make plans last minute as well!

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray September 9, 2014, 11:11 am

      You get 1 point for your good comment and an extra 1 point for mentioning Addie. (I’m developing a point system in my head. Not sure yet what the system is for but you are in the lead with 2 points.)

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  • othy

    othy September 9, 2014, 11:32 am

    I’d be exhausted having friends over 4-5 nights a week, especially if they were dropping in unannounced. I’ve run into the problem with Othello’s friends is that our house is the biggest, and by far the best for a larger group get-together (think an 8 person game night). While I’m cool with doing this 1-2 nights a week, playing host to friends more than that is very draining to my introverted self. I need those nights to drink wine in my PJs while sprawled out on the couch a couple of times a week, along with a couple of one-on-one nights with Othello a week.
    .
    So here’s what we’ve started doing, that really works. We have our regular, social get togethers a couple of times a week at our house, spaced out (think like a Tuesday and a Friday), and definitely scheduled ahead of time. Sometimes I join in with the group, other times I don’t, depending on what they’re doing for the night. Othello goes out with a smaller group of friends once a week or so (to another one of his friends’ houses that can handle a smaller group), while I veg at home, in blissful alone time. I go out to pursue my interests on my own/with my friends 1-2 times a week, and the rest of the days are the two of us together, either in or out, sometimes out with a smaller group of friends.
    .
    It took a few years into our marriage to finally find a system that works. And, it also took a lot of communication and fighting fair. LW, you really need to examine how you address issues with your husband. This problem is not 100% on him. Try to examine what you can do to change, and your husband will be much more likely to meet you halfway if you show that you’re trying to improve the issues.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray September 9, 2014, 11:50 am

      (Having friends over that often would be draining to my extroverted self too.)

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet September 9, 2014, 11:55 am

    I don’t have much time to formulate a response right now, but I wanted to at least pop in and let the LW know that there is NOTHING wrong with her for not wanting to interact with her husband’s friends several nights a week. It doesn’t maker her boring… seriously? It’s how her brain is wired. Her husband’s brain is wired differently, but that does not mean they cannot come to a compromise and understand each other.
    .
    I highly, hiiiighly recommend that you read Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts”. I found it fascinating, and no longer feel the guilt that is associated with introversion. She also has a TED talk, that I admit I haven’t seen yet, but I’ll post it anyway in case it’s helpful:
    .
    http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts?language=en
    .
    I’ll try to come back and elaborate later!

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    • plum blossoms

      plum blossoms September 9, 2014, 4:44 pm

      Susan Cain and her book were the first things that popped in my mind reading this letter. There is a section in the book where she describes a married couple with a similar conflict. The husband was very extroverted and wanted to entertain every weekend while the wife was introverted and wanted weekends with more alone/couple time. Susan Cain described how they worked out a comprise. Aside from that anecdote, I second that it’s a great book! For both introverts and extroverts.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest September 9, 2014, 12:20 pm

    Good advice about trying to make friends! She needs it.
    .
    I have a pretty active social life and love having friends over, etc. But I also would be very annoyed if I wanted to relax at home and 5 nights out of the week, I couldn’t. That would not be acceptable if I can’t be comfortable in my own home the majority of the week. Why can’t he go to their house ever?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 9, 2014, 12:23 pm

      Probably because he doesn’t have a car. I think a car would solve some problems in this marriage. Maybe eventually they will be able to get one and that will give both some sense of freedom they don’t currently have much of.
      Also: bikes! Biking is such a great way to get around, especially in a small city.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 9, 2014, 12:28 pm

        His friends must have a car if they are coming over, so he can ask them to pick him up probably at least til they can get a car of their own.

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      • othy

        othy September 9, 2014, 7:33 pm

        As the friend with the car, that gets really really old fast. Or maybe my friends are just freeloading slackers who aren’t willing to take the bus.

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      • othy

        othy September 9, 2014, 7:34 pm

        Especially when we go to their house, get them, bring them back to our house to hang out, and then go drop them off again.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra September 9, 2014, 12:44 pm

    I dated an extrovert for a looooong time. And as a classic introvert, it was exhausting at times. Granted we were long distance, but there were times when I just wanted to stay home and watch a movie and he would HAVE to go out with friends. He would always include me, but when we a.) didn’t have the money for it and b.) rarely got time alone together, it was just tiring. It did cause a lot of fights between us so I totally understand that.
    .
    I do agree that the LW really needs to focus on getting out and meeting new people. It’s important to have a life outside of your significant other. It’s important to have friends outside of your significant other. Yet at the same time I think she’s exhausted with having guys over all.the.time. I sure would be! Is there a way that you can find a compromise? Maybe Tuesdays are always couple time home alone, Wednesdays are always his “guys night” at home, and Thursdays are his “guys night” out and/or at someone else’s home. That way you are compromising, but your house isn’t invaded all the time.
    .
    I also agree with @saslinna above when she says that your “conflict resolution” kinda sucks. If you don’t work on that, and soon, you will have plenty of other issues that crop up in your marriage.

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  • avatar

    Eve September 9, 2014, 1:09 pm

    Such a good advice from Wendy. I too believe that you wouldn’t have been feeling so bad about your husband’s extremely active social life if you more of a social life yourself (and this is not meant in any bad way, just to get you thinking about it). I’ll focus on the part of you being terrified to speak to people, because Wendy and the others said all there is to say.
    Okay, so you say you’re terrified of meeting people. I don’t know what sort of job you do, but being able to meet and talk to new people is an important life skill, if you want to progress in any area of life you really need to learn it – it is only hindering your own development and happiness. Being terrified from talking to new people means that your body is sending the wrong messages to your brain, it is telling your brain that this is some sort of a life-threatening situation and it needs to become “terrified” to survive it – this response is useful in actual dangerous situations, but in your case it is just hindering you from being completely happy both in your life and in your marriage. The only way to go about it is to desensitise yourself from the act of speaking to new people by forcing yourself to do it over and over again – in the beginning you will hate it and you will feel awkward, but you should just not care what people might think of you in these situations and after a while you will feel so free talking to new people and making brand new friends that it will feel awesome. I used to be horrified speaking to strangers or strangers speaking to me, I plotted the most ridiculous plans to get out of speaking to new people. But now I can strike a conversation with virtually anyone and you see how nice most people are (the mean ones you just ignore, they don’t matter).
    So yeah, whenever your husband is out with his friends (try to make this twice a week or max 3, huh?) you sign up to some events or sports or whatever and TALK to people! 🙂
    The rest of the time, why don’t you and your husband try to do something together, there absolutely must be couples/spouses living somewhere near you in your small city, go introduce yourselves, or sign up to some couple-y sort of events. And if your husband wants to meet his mates 4-5 times a week, agree to make a compromise.
    Hope this helps!

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    • avatar

      Eve September 9, 2014, 1:10 pm

      I really should read my responses before hitting Submit, apologies for all the typos. Also, brain sends signal to body. 😀

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph September 9, 2014, 3:55 pm

    I agree with other commenters that there’s a lot to unpack here. What really is your issue? Is it wanting time without your husband’s friends? Is it wanting quality time with your husband? Or are you just lonely and jealous that your husband is not? Whichever your problem actually is, you need to drop all the other justifications and focus on that.

    Wanting time in your house without the friends:
    I totally would find having my husband’s friends in my house 4 nights a week exhausting, but this is less because I want quiet time with my husband as because I am introverted and don’t actually like to be around people that much. If this is your problem, ask him if he can limit the times he has guests over to 2/week and to spend time elsewhere with them on other nights. If these are school friends, can they hang out at the student union instead of your house? Can they go to someone else’s house? In return, on those 2 nights, you will not give him crap. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you must vacate the house, if you want to stay home, but you must not be mopey or giving him the cold shoulder. Participate, or leave.

    Wanting quality time with your husband:
    If this isn’t about the other people as much as the quality of your own relationship, how about asking for a couple nights a week alone with him. For your part, don’t make these nights you just sit on the couch reading Twitter while he does his homework. Go out for dinner. Order in for dinner. Make dinner together and eat it at a real table rather than on your lap. Play a board game. Have actual quality time.

    Jealousy:
    If this is the real issue then the problem, as Wendy says, is your excuses. Go make a friend. I don’t care if you don’t like it, just do it. They don’t have to be your best friend first child’s godmother inseparable finish each other’s sentences buddy, they just need to be someone you can spend an hour talking to over coffee. I’m sure you miss your friends. I live 1000 miles from my best friends and relatives, and I miss them like crazy. But that doesn’t mean I will never make a new friend. Life is full of leaving old friends (or having them leave where you are) and making new ones. Go make friends and stop begrudging your husband his friends. And finally.. the idea that your friend group should be restricted to the wives/gfs of your husband’s friends is silly for 2 reasons… First of all, expand your field. And second, you can actually make friends with boys too, perhaps even your husband’s friends.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph September 9, 2014, 5:44 pm

      Also… it seems like a car would solve many of these problems, so maybe this is a little bit more a fight about money than you’d like to admit?
      If you can make some other cutbacks to afford a cheap used car to drive a couple times a week so your husband can go to his friend’s homes or you can go do something while he has poker night, please consider doing so.
      I know some people might think it silly or materialistic to need a car but I can say 100% that based on the city I live in and my lifestyle, having a car is a necessity for me. I would cut cable and get a second job before giving up my car.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray September 9, 2014, 5:03 pm

    I think Wendy’s and everyone’s advice is great, but and maybe I’m projecting, it seems like the LW lives in a similar area than I do. And I don’t really see those excuses about not being able to go out as unreasonable. Something does need to change though. I don’t recommend getting car loans, but maybe getting a car loan for a cheap car would help you feel like you have more freedom. Plus it sounds like you really need one where you live.
    .
    Other than that, both of you do need to compromise. We have house rules and it’s not very romantic, but it does help us. I’m an extrovert and love spending time with others and my husband is an introvert and would rather have just me at home every night. What if you set up an agreement where he can have friends over X times a week, but not after X time. It doesn’t have to be super strict but some general guidelines for both of you to follow.
    .
    It took me awhile to have my own friends separate from my husband’s (I truly love his friends as my own) and my best friends live all over. So I know it can get lonely. But you have to try and make friends too. And having a car would help with that too. I can’t walk or bike anywhere near where I live and unfortunately I’m very car dependent. So you do need to make some changes because it’s not going to magically fix itself. Even of you both compromise. You need friends too that are nearby. Even if you feel like you don’t need them.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope September 9, 2014, 5:19 pm

    I am not an introvert, have lots of friends and would find socializing 5 times a week exhausting. If your husband is that much of a party animal, how did you not know that? Maybe it’s more exhausting to work all day than to be at school all day because yeah, I went out way more when I was in school. But if this is who he is, then this is the lifestyle you’ve signed on for. And if you guys (he) think it’s acceptable to accuse and ignore each other instead of communicating, your marriage is going to be a source of stress instead a source of joy.

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  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite September 9, 2014, 5:32 pm

    First off, it’s not a fight “about his friends.” I as well am introverted vs. my husband who’s an extrovert, although he craves downtime more often than your husband. You clarify better later in the letter that this is the amount of time that he wants to spend with them.

    Do you say anything? It says that on his own he would have them over 4-5x. How have you approached this? You say you’ve tried to find a compromise, but didn’t say at all what you’ve asked for, etc. The way you write here it almost sounds as more jealousy that he has his friends so close and you don’t.

    Why do you have to be “stuck in poker night?” You still have choices. You can get to know the guys. You can plan ahead and get some things to do on your own since you know people regularly come over to your house. Keep things from library on hand, find online groups to be a part of, set up a reading nook in another part of your home.

    I know I value alone time at home in the evenings. I actually don’t mind if it’s with or without my husband. The absolute WORST was living with 2 extroverts who had friends over who stayed up later than me. It sounds like you need to change the communication patterns around this discussion since there’s very little about this that should be construed as power tripping if you’re presenting your argument rationally. It says a lot about his fighting style too that he uses the silent treatment. You aren’t going to convince him that you’re his priority; he needs to realize that himself. Practice communicating.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle September 9, 2014, 6:10 pm

      Well, she says she’s brought it up & he shuts her down (bad sign). I agree she needs hobbies, friends of her own, etc., but 4-5 nights a week is A LOT to have guests (not even guests that ~she~ wants, even though it’s their shared home). He needs to compromise, period. (sorry, not all of my comment is a response to you Sunshine, but I’m late & seeing a string of “oh you’re a boring homebody”s & like WHAT. I mean, I classify myself as an introvert but I am not a homebody…I like being social, going out, seeing people, etc. but I’m the kind of person who wants my home to be a sanctuary & maybe this LW is the same.)

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  • Bucky

    waterbug September 9, 2014, 8:16 pm

    I see a couple things that could help.
    1) your husband needs to work. Almost everyone can work part time in college, especially if they enough time to socialize with friends so much. I’m guessing he isn’t in med school or something that he CAN’T work. He needs a job. This will keep him busier, out of the house more and give you more money for a car.
    2) a car. you live in a place with limited public transportation and can’t walk everywhere so you need a car. ASAP. save, save save and get a car.
    3) figure out how to make some new friends, other people gave some great suggestions.

    This sounds like a frustrating situation and I hope you are able find a way to make it better soon.

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  • Portia

    Portia September 9, 2014, 10:23 pm

    I think we had the opposite problem: Bassanio is the social butterfly who didn’t like it when I (the introvert) would spring guests on him. I think people have given good advice, both of you need to figure out how to make more of an effort. For us it was easier because I understood how he wanted some after-work time (and not have people around when he’s taking a shower).
    .
    I am a fan of introvert-extrovert pairings, but both need to understand and accept that the other isn’t like them and accommodate the other.

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  • avatar

    Nicole January 13, 2017, 9:13 pm

    I’m pretty surprised at some of the responses. I’d love to see how Wendy would deal with her husband spending that much time with his friends. Seriously. Or any woman for that matter. And almost putting her down by saying, she has no friends. She clearly stated that she does have friends, they just live far away. I feel bad for this person. It’s very important for couples to compramise tho, I do agree that being in college is probably the reason why her husband is spending so much time with friends. Typically from what I’ve noticed, most adults who live in their own home, who are working and not in school, do not spend that much time with friends. The fact that shes an introvert married to an extrovert must be hard, but I think they both need to make some changes in order to be happy. I totally agree that she needs to try to do her own thing more often, but he should make a point to make her feel like more of a priority considering you know, their married and all. A car would make a world of difference for sure but there might be more of an underlying issue if their personalities are so drastically different

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 14, 2017, 10:22 am

    I just read through this and as an introvert can say that going out more wouldn’t help. This LW has no down time. At least not nearly enough. There are guys in her home way too many times per week and going out to do other activities isn’t going to change the fact that she needs down time. Going out would just be more of the same. She would be surrounded by people when she needs some time away from people. She needs her husband to go out and leave her alone most of those nights per week if she needs down time and she really needs some time alone with him. He is spending about 5 out of every seven nights of the week with other people. That means the marriage is getting very little time or attention from him. His priorities certainly aren’t with the wife or the marriage. It feels like he doesn’t want to be married to her and so doesn’t care about her or her needs. Since he was in college at the time they should have looked into counseling at the school he attended. I think the LW probably needed to decide whether she could spend her life living with someone who was so insensitive to her needs, so uncaring, so refusing to try to meet her half-way. She needed to cut her losses and move on even if they were married. They probably married too young and were too different for this marriage to work long term.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 14, 2017, 10:22 am

    I just read through this and as an introvert can say that going out more wouldn’t help. This LW has no down time. At least not nearly enough. There are guys in her home way too many times per week and going out to do other activities isn’t going to change the fact that she needs down time. Going out would just be more of the same. She would be surrounded by people when she needs some time away from people. She needs her husband to go out and leave her alone most of those nights per week if she needs down time and she really needs some time alone with him. He is spending about 5 out of every seven nights of the week with other people. That means the marriage is getting very little time or attention from him. His priorities certainly aren’t with the wife or the marriage. It feels like he doesn’t want to be married to her and so doesn’t care about her or her needs. Since he was in college at the time they should have looked into counseling at the school he attended. I think the LW probably needed to decide whether she could spend her life living with someone who was so insensitive to her needs, so uncaring, so refusing to try to meet her half-way. She needed to cut her losses and move on even if they were married. They probably married too young and were too different for this marriage to work long term.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 14, 2017, 10:53 am

    Don’t know what happened here. I posted once and went out to feed the birds. I certainly didn’t copy it and didn’t post twice.

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  • avatar

    law February 20, 2017, 1:39 pm

    Honey, YOU are the one who needs to “grow up”, not your husband. Marriage does not = no more friends. Seriously?! Get a life.

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