The issue I have is that when T comes over — on a day that I work and my husband is off work — A neglects his responsibilities. T is 32 years old, does not drive, does not have a car, and does not have a job. T lives about 25 minutes away from my husband’s and my home. Each time they hang out, my husband has to drive all the way out to T’s house to pick him up and take him home. This doesn’t bother me very much, but when T comes over, it is like my husband’s entire sense of responsibility fades away. In the past few months, there have been a number of incidents that have occurred while T is over, including a small fire being started by an unattended candle that could have easily burned the house down, the grass grows a mile high because he’s “too busy” to cut the grass on the day they hang out, he lets our dog chew up anything (I have recently lost 2 pairs of shoes and 2 TV remotes to this), along with a mess being left for me after I worked all day long.
I have no issues with my husband hanging out with his friends at all, I just hate that every time T comes over, something happens or something doesn’t get done and I get very frustrated. I have tried talking to my husband about this, but he gets very defensive of T (I think he feels the need to “protect” him in a sense) and does not seem to respond positively. Can you please tell me the best way to approach this might be? My husband is truly the man of my dreams in absolutely every other way, but I am tired of one day a week him turning into a video game-playing, mess-making, not-doing-anything-but-hanging-out-with-his-friends 16-year-old. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated! — Married to a 16-Year-Old One Day a Week
Hmm, call me crazy, but I get the feeling you don’t like T and blame him for your husband’s behavior. But the thing is, your husband is a grown man and, if he chooses not to mow the grass or to ignore your dog or knock over a burning candle, that’s on him. T isn’t holding a gun to his head and forcing him to be a neglectful husband one day a week. And he isn’t forcing him to spend his entire day off with him every week either. That’s your husband’s choice, so if you want him to behave differently and stop “protecting” his friend when you air your grievances with him, leave the friend out of it. Frankly, the way I see it, you’re lucky. Your husband is hanging out with the guy you don’t like when you aren’t home. You don’t even have to deal with T directly. And his time with your husband doesn’t cut into your time with your husband.
But, I get it: T’s time with your husband is cutting into time that your husband could/should be doing things around the home, like mowing the lawn and training your dog or whatever. (OK, side note: if you have a dog who eats shoes, either be in charge of putting your shoes where he can’t get to them, and/or send him to obedience school. Honestly, neither you nor your husband should have to spend your days off from work policing the dog to make sure he doesn’t eat all your stuff…). Can you tell your husband that you don’t care what he does on his day off or whom he spends it with as long as the lawn is mowed when you get home from work? Can you tell him that you’d rather he spend a portion of his day off when you’re working taking care of a few of his chores so that when there’s a day you both have off, you’re free to enjoy your time together?
As for the candle that got knocked over, I’d leave that alone. Accidents happen. An accident could happen even when T isn’t around. And the more you focus on T being the bad influence causing all the destruction and chaos, the more you alienate your husband. Even the whole “T doesn’t drive and A has to pick him up and take him home every week” sounds bitter. I mean, who cares? If you’re at work anyway, what difference does it make if your husband is driving his friend to and from his home? I mean, we’re not talking about an hour drive each way, are we? Even if you weren’t at work, doesn’t your husband — the man of your dreams who is so loving and attentive and makes you so happy — deserve a little time with his oldest and closest friend without it turning into some big thing?
I’ve got two practical tips for you. First: on the day that your husband hangs out with T, find something you can do after work that helps you blow off some steam and create a buffer between your work life and your home life. Go to the gym, take a dance class, start a book club, have happy hour with some friends — do something that raises your endorphins and puts you in a better frame of mind to face your husband. I have a feeling that part of your resentment stems from the fact that you’ve been at work all day not having any fun while your husband has been goofing off with his childhood friend, playing video games and acting like a “16-year-old.” Maybe if you had a little fun yourself, you wouldn’t feel so resentful about A enjoying himself, and the un-mowed lawn wouldn’t feel like the end of the world either.
The other tip I have is to keep your eyes peeled for a girlfriend for ol’ T. I know you don’t like him and you probably wouldn’t want to set him up with a friend of yours. But think about it: if T had a girlfriend keeping him company, he might mature a little bit. At the very least, he might not be available to spend entire days with your husband every single week. Plus, a girlfriend could take over some chauffeuring, too. Think about it. A girlfriend for T could help solve some of your problems…
Also, doggy obedience school. Seriously. You gotta protect your shoes.
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