Make us your home page

Husband, wife disagree about his spending time with friends

Husband, wife disagree about his spending time with friends

Q: I have been with my wife for just over four years and married now for two months. I have always been a very social person, with a core group of friends. My wife has no real friends anymore, and finds it hard to make any.

When we met, I was heading out probably two times per week with friends, and twice a week with her. She seemed to enjoy going out then. As time progressed, she wanted to go out less, and she has continued to want me to lessen my time with my friends. I have attempted compromises with her only to find they're not enough for her.

I agreed to spend one complete weekend with her per month, and on the other three weekends, I take her out one night per weekend and I have one guys' night out. She now thinks that that is ridiculous and wants me to go out once a month! She also wants me only to go golfing or attend sporting events; having drinks at a bar or nightclub with the boys has suddenly turned into the ultimate evil.

I have no alcohol issue, I have not given her any reasons to distrust me, and there have been no infidelity issues. It has almost come to a point where I need to lose my sense of self and my friends to remain with her. Can you suggest any way to approach this problem?

Thoroughly confused

A: Time travel, which you employ to line up some crack premarital counseling.

When I ask my team of mad scientists to work on that for you, I'll also check on their progress with Denial B. Gone.

Sorry, it's my despair talking.

This isn't a hopeless situation, not unless you opt for total surrender — but it will be difficult for you both, and it was thoroughly preventable. I'm not saying this because I want to slap you around, but instead because the four years of opportunities you missed will help light the path out of the deep misunderstanding between you and your wife.

She appears to have long-held beliefs about couples: They socialize with others while dating, tilt the balance toward each other as their commitment solidifies, and when they marry, they're each other's company. Nothing wrong with this, necessarily.

Your long-held beliefs: Buddies are great, marriage is great, so having both is great x 2. Nothing wrong with this either, necessarily.

Where you both went wrong was in your certainty that being "right" would allow you to ignore the other's nature into submission.

Yours isn't the first marriage to contain incompatible worldviews. But to keep those views from corroding your marriage, you'll both need to agree the other's view is defensible — and therefore worth meeting halfway.

This is the way I suggest you pose it to your wife (on your own or in counseling, as needed). You love each other. Can you both accept that the person you love is the product of different social needs and holds a different image of "a perfect world"? And that supporting each other — and the marriage — demands that you both find ways to remain true to yourselves, while also accommodating the other? You can't make her agree, but you can make an agreeable case.

Husband, wife disagree about his spending time with friends 11/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours