Making time for yourself can improve time spent with wifeQ: My wife's work schedule "> Making time for yourself can improve time spent with wifeQ: My wife's work schedule ">
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Making time for yourself can improve time with wife

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Making time for yourself can improve time spent with wife

Q: My wife's work schedule is much more unpredictable and demanding than mine. I work a 9-to-5 job; she works anywhere from 55-60 hours, sometimes nights and weekends, and she doesn't have a lot of control over her schedule.

Sometimes she'll call at 4 or 5 and say, "Hey, I'm getting out early — want to see a movie/go to dinner/etc.?" I know I should be happy, but I end up feeling resentful — like I'm at her beck and call and don't have anything better to do (even when I don't). I don't want to be a person who waits by the phone, but I also know it's not her fault that her job is chaotic. How can I be supportive without being a doormat?

Beck-and-Call Boy

Carolyn: I'm not sure I understand your doormatty feelings or resentment. She's not pulling your strings; the job is pulling hers. So why does hopping to a movie when the opportunity arises feel like capitulating, instead of, say, waking up to a snow day? Seems like a happy surprise.

If it's because you sometimes aren't up for a movie but feel you can't say no, then there are alternatives to grudging attendance. You can apologize for not being in the mood and suggest a quiet night at home — or, if she pouts at that, you can say openly that you feel pressured to either celebrate her every night off or be punished by her disappointment, which doesn't seem fair to you.

Beck-and-Call Boy again: I think what bothers me is this: My wife usually has only one or two free nights a week, so I feel like if I want to see her, I have to keep alllll my nights free. Then either she's not free and I feel like a chump for sitting home, or she is free and I feel resentful that I'm conforming to her schedule. Even though I know it's her job's fault, I still feel like a pathetic hanger-on.

So maybe the solution is getting my own hobbies and plans — even when that means we might not see each other for a couple of weeks?

Carolyn: This makes much more sense to me, thanks. It might help if you just choose a night or two each week that is your standing social night. Then, if your wife happens to be off on one of those nights, she either has the house to herself or gets to see her own friends (a luxury she has given up on at this point, no?).

Yes, it might mean you miss each other one week — assuming you can't bump your plans a day — but life is long and ideally so is marriage.

Anonymous: This could be my husband. I long for a night at home by myself, but when I get home, I feel so guilty that I force myself to hang out with my husband. Call Boy — live your life. Join a club. Take a class. It will be well worth it — especially if it means that when I do see you, you're happier and not resentful.

Carolyn: We could have a whole discussion on people's varying needs for alone time, and the pressures of expectations. Thanks for speaking up.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Vacation opens dialogue about money

Vacation opens dialogue about moneyQ: My girlfriend and I just went on our first vacation together. I thought it went well, but after we were home she told me she felt I had been cheap because I wanted to split all costs 50-50.I think cheap would be ...
Published: 02/16/18
Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak to appear at Florida State Fair on Saturday

Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak to appear at Florida State Fair on Saturday

TAMPA — Chloe Lukasiak will take on a different role than she is accustomed when she stops by the Florida State Fair this weekend.After all, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania-native and resident rose to fame on Seasons 1 through 4 of Lifetime’s reality te...
Published: 02/15/18

Tell Me About It: Past eating disorder affects food choices

Q: My wife refuses to change her diet and grocery shopping to accommodate my health needs and those of our kids. Everything she gets is processed grains and sugar. My doctor recently recommended losing weight, and exercise won’t cut it. But because s...
Published: 02/15/18
Top things to do this weekend: Florida State Fair, Mutt Derby at Derby Lane

Top things to do this weekend: Florida State Fair, Mutt Derby at Derby Lane

GO, DOG, GO: Mutt DerbyOne of the most hilarious days at the races is Sunday, when ordinary house pets get a chance to run on the Derby Lane greyhound track. Mutt Derby registration begins at 11 a.m., but you can register in advance at greyhoundpets...
Published: 02/14/18
This week’s best concerts: Mary J. Blige, Kelsea Ballerini, Wyclef Jean and more

This week’s best concerts: Mary J. Blige, Kelsea Ballerini, Wyclef Jean and more

LEGEND IN THE MAKING: Kelsea BalleriniComing off a debut with three No. 1 singles — Love Me Like You Mean It, Dibs and Peter Pan — it’s no surprise Kelsea Ballerini was feeling the pressure before dropping her sophomore album Unapologetically last fa...
Published: 02/14/18
5 things to do under $5: Apple's Steve Wozniak, mini golf in the library, Clearwater street parties

5 things to do under $5: Apple's Steve Wozniak, mini golf in the library, Clearwater street parties

1 Steve Wozniak: The Apple co-founder, above, will give a free talk on Tuesday, Feb. 20 as part of USF Muma College of Business’ new Thought Leader series. The college’s dean will conduct a discussion about everything from the need for en...
Published: 02/14/18

Tell Me About It: Girlfriend’s directness often comes off rude

My brother is getting married soon. My serious, but fairly new, girlfriend thinks she’s not been invited because we’re lesbians, but actually I’ve hidden the invite because I don’t want to take her.Thing is, I adore almost everything about her! She’s...
Published: 02/14/18
Why ‘Black Panther’ is revolutionary — and an excellent movie

Why ‘Black Panther’ is revolutionary — and an excellent movie

Like its real-life radical namesakes, Black Panther is revolutionary and Afrocentric, a black cultural fantasy made real in a medium taking too long. Children of any color except white haven’t seen blockbuster movie superheroes that look like them.No...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
‘Early Man’ is a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios claymation style

‘Early Man’ is a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios claymation style

Nick Park’s stop-motion clay animation made famous with Wallace & Gromit seems prehistoric in a digital age. That makes it perfectly suited for Early Man, a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios style. Early Man is Park’s first...
Published: 02/13/18

Tell Me About It: Couple should talk rather than assume

Q: My wife has been a freelance consultant whose work has dried up. I have a good-paying job and I figured with her work having dried up, she’d take care of the house, bills, paperwork, etc., with her time. Instead, I don’t know what she does, but th...
Published: 02/13/18