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Old 06-29-2008, 09:34 PM
 
650 posts, read 3,611,691 times
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Default Spousal argument about spending time together

My husband and I are in our early 30's, have been married for 4 years and don't have kids (yet). He works about 70 hours per week in a demanding job, and sometimes has work that he has to take home with him to be done at night and/or on weekends. I work much less than that.

Anyhow, we got into an argument last night because we disagree on how to spend his limited free time. Hubby feels that I "disapprove" of his several hobbies because they take time away that could be quality time for us.

Yes, this is true--I do "disapprove" of some of his hobbies/activities, because they do, in fact, take away the little time we have to spend together because of the long hours he works. When he goes off to do one of his hobbies, and I've barely seen him that day or week because of his long hours, it makes me feel resentful and lonely, and I wonder why he has the energy for the hobby but when it comes to our quality time together, is often too tired to want to do anything.

I have often brought up that we don't spend enough quality time together, because it's something that bothers me. He, on the other hand, feels that we do spend enough time together, and explains that sometimes he's so exhausted from the workweek that all he wants to do is lay on the couch and/or sleep--i.e. he doesn't have the energy to do much more than that. When I say quality time, I'm talking about things like date night, going out to eat, seeing a movie, etc. I feel that he should curtail some of his hobbies so that he has the energy for things like date night.

He, on the other hand, feels that he should have ample time for his hobbies, because he works so hard and needs the relaxation time, and wants to do them during weeknights and relegate our quality time together to the weekends only.

I don't think this is fair, and want to spend more time with him. I told him that when you choose a career/job where you work such long hours and you're married, you have to downgrade your expectations about how many hours you can spend on hobbies, because I need attention and quality time too. I am not getting the attention that I need, and unfortunately I don't have many friends here yet (moved here two years ago from out-of-state; didn't know anyone when we moved here) so I often feel lonely, and if I want to go out and do fun things I often have to do them alone.

How can we compromise, so that hubby gets in adequate time for hobbies, but yet I feel like I'm getting the attention I need as well? One suggestion he had was that I do all the cooking, cleaning and chores so that when he comes home he doesn't have to do any of that, and so he can free up more time to spend with me. I'm willing to try this. Another idea we came up with was schedule in date night each week so it's scheduled time, and not just something that can be fit in around other obligations.

Any other thoughts? Is one of us being unreasonable in our expectations? I'm wondering how much time per week others spend in quality time with their spouse. For me, I'd like at least 2 hours a day on weeknights and all weekend. Are my expectations too high?
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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I don't think your expectations are too high in the least. However, you may want to have a serious discussion before you bring kids in the mix.
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:19 PM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
12,680 posts, read 20,778,950 times
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What are your husband's hobbies? And why don't you do some of them with him? My boyfriend likes to work on his cars, race them and he likes to ride bicycle. I join him on the car stuff but skip the bicycling. Then we have a few favorite restaurants that we like to eat at. We also spend time together with our dogs.

I think that you do have some valid points in terms of a marriage means spending quality time with your spouse. But in his defense, didn't you know all along that your husband was in a time demanding career? So you need to take some responsibility for that too. With all of his training, it's unfair of you to expect him to work less or change his career just because you can't find people in your new area to be friends with.

From previous threads, it seems to me that you are a little snobbish about what you are willing to do for a part time job or volunteer activity. But if the women that are of your age and same level of education aren't willing to invite you into their lives, then seek to make friends of lesser career or education levels. If you work M-F, then find a simple job for one of your weekend days. Like work Saturdays at a gourmet bakery or coffee shop. Just get out there and interact with people.

For two months now, I've been working at a restaurant in Boston in their banquet department. I haven't done this type of work in about 15 years. And I'm doing it to make some extra money to fix a few things with my house. And the job is a hoot! There are people of all nationalities working with me. I get a great free meal with every shift I work. Then I find the guests very interesting to talk to. We get political fundraiser parties, wedding rehearsal dinners and birthday parties. Last week, I bumped into a woman that I worked with 20 years ago! And she introduced me to several of her friends that are writers.

And why don't you have some hobbies of your own to do?

Anyway, please try harder to function more independently of your husband. My fear is that the more you nag or guilt him into spending all of his extra time with you, the more you will drive him away from you. You are becoming a clingy wife.
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:23 PM
 
60 posts, read 168,576 times
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Hello DL...After reading, I realized that I was in the same position as your husband. It was reversed. My boyfriend was the one complaining that I work a lot (I'm a bit of a workaholic) and have my own hobbies as well. Bottomline, the way we compromised on this is we do "schedule" stuff like date nites and out of town trips. At night, before going to bed, we have our "pillow talk" -- That's when I'm winding down and we bond (intellectually, emotionally....) Also, I asked him if he wanted to come with me on one of my many hobbies and let him be a "part of" it (which fortunately he also enjoys). And before I take other shifts, I do ask him as courtesy if he wanted to plan anything that day. It seems like your husband is used to this routine...maybe even before you guys got married.

I guess, start by "scheduling" or "making appt" with him so he has no excuse... and work from there....
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Old 06-29-2008, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Catonsville, MD
2,367 posts, read 3,729,968 times
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My hubby also works incredibly long hours, brings work home and often works at home on weekends. Before we had kids, it used to make me mad. For awhile after we had kids, it made me insane. He saw my insanity and started coming home earlier sometimes. He usually works late (like til 11) at least one night per week and my girls and I have developed rituals that we only do when daddy's at work (like we go for ice cream or snowballs) and that helps those evenings go by. Before kids, I didn't have the diversion of the kids and I did get lonely. Like others have suggested, can you get into one of the hobbies with him? My hubby and I are avid birdwatchers and this is a hobby we do together. In order to maintain a strong relationship, somebody's going to have to change. Would he be amenable to you joining him? Or maybe you could develop a new hobby you both enjoy and start out by doing it together.

After a really long day working at a preschool and dealing with my two kids (ages 4 and 5,) after they go to bed, I just want to sit and watch TV. Hubby HATES that. If he sits down on the sofa, he always goes to sleep. He's got to be up and moving in the evenings, or else he will go to sleep. We haven't resolved that yet because I truly am dead and don't feel like moving after the kids go to bed.

And definitely, work out these matters before kids come along. It's hard dealing with kids for those really long hours by yourself. I do it often and I know. However, when he comes home, he generally takes over the child care.

Best of luck to yoU!
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Old 06-29-2008, 11:48 PM
 
480 posts, read 1,516,130 times
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I read this and the following immediately jumped out at me:

I told him that when you choose a career/job where you work such long hours and you're married, you have to downgrade your expectations about how many hours you can spend on hobbies, because I need attention and quality time too. I am not getting the attention that I need, and unfortunately I don't have many friends here yet (moved here two years ago from out-of-state; didn't know anyone when we moved here) so I often feel lonely, and if I want to go out and do fun things I often have to do them alone.

I bolded the following because that, my dear, is the heart of the matter. The husband's hobbies, believe it or not, are a red herring. This argument is really about you, about the move that you made to move for your husband and the consequences of that move.

And before you think that I'm judging you ... just know that I'm not. I'm right there with you! I have made similar choices that have put me in a similar situation. Believe me, I sympathize.

I think that, if you are asking him to give you more time at the expense of his hobbies, you have to ask yourself how long that arrangement can last. Your husband can alleviate your loneliness for a time, but eventually, you will have to venture out and find your own crew to hang out with. That will take some time, though.

You may just want to be brutally honest about your feelings. It sounds like the move was socially isolating (moves tend to be that way ... I know that intimately) for you and you need reassuring, as well as assistance with finding friends. It sounds like you bit the bullet and you need your husband to help you feel better about things. I just hope that, for your sake, you find a way to connect with others besides your husband. It is hard (harder as we get older, I think), but not impossible.

I wish you luck!
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:32 AM
Status: "Humming "Suicide is painless"" (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Whoville....
21,224 posts, read 15,030,482 times
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Are any of his hobbies anything you could play cheerleader for? (blatant male stereotype alert)

Many men are proud of their hobbies. They can take the place of things ingrained long ago but missing like qonquest. They may make him feel successful in ways he can't at work or home. He may have a need for competition and control that aren't being met elsewhere. Try meeting him halfway. Pick one of his hobbies to tag along on. You may only be able to talke with him while he works but it's better than being lonely.

Just something I've noticed around my area (Yes I live in hidksville) is that one difference between a girlfriend and a wife is the girlsfirend will bring him a beer/coffee if you wish and sit and watch him work/talk to him while he works while the wife if off doing her thing. These single guys seem to get something out of having their girlfriends validate what they are doing by hanging around and watching.

End of blatant male stereotype...you are now free to tell me that EVERY Man is not like this It's just, in my world, men seem to get some kind of charge out of having their women watch them work. It works with my husband. All I have to do to get his attention is head outsdie and pull up a lawn chair while he's grilling.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Mile High City
10,132 posts, read 10,332,538 times
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I'm in the same boat. The bf works about 10-11 hrs a day depending and then comes home and lays like a dead log. He has RC car hobbies and he used to do it every week on his day off and I'd be sitting at home by myself. I put my foot down right away on that. We compromised to every other week so we can spend one day together at least. I hear you on the date night problems. He's too tired but when his friends want to go out, he's not. I put my foot down on that crap as well. You have to talk and set boundaries. I definitely would not bring kids into the mix.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:37 AM
 
650 posts, read 3,611,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miu View Post
What are your husband's hobbies? And why don't you do some of them with him? My boyfriend likes to work on his cars, race them and he likes to ride bicycle. I join him on the car stuff but skip the bicycling. Then we have a few favorite restaurants that we like to eat at. We also spend time together with our dogs.

And why don't you have some hobbies of your own to do?

Anyway, please try harder to function more independently of your husband. My fear is that the more you nag or guilt him into spending all of his extra time with you, the more you will drive him away from you. You are becoming a clingy wife.
I do feel like a clingy wife, but I can't help it. I've tried very hard to make friends here and with the exception of a few acquaintances who don't have time to get together more than a few times a year, it's not happening. So I turn to him for all of my companionship and friendship needs. We don't have any family around this area, either. So yes, I know I'm clingy but I just want to spend all my time with him because otherwise I really have no one to talk to or spend time with. My job is somewhat of a social outlet but it's not fulfilling for me at all. I am considering finding another part-time job but to tell you the truth there I have never liked any of the jobs I've held since graduate school (including my current one) and am hesitant to take on another part-time job that I'll probably end up hating too, since we don't need the money.

I know that he has a demanding career and I never asked him to change his job or find a new career. The hours are what they are, and they're never going to change. But what I want is for him to want to make the time to spend more of his free time with me. I told him that I want more quality time together, and I defined for him what that means to me. I told him that I wish that he would put as much effort into being enthusiastic about spending quality time together as he does making time for his hobbies. For instance, I plan all of our outings and dates. I research the restaurant, the event, etc. and plan it. It would be nice if he would be willing to do this once in awhile. It would make a big difference to me. I have explained all this to him many times and no changes ever get made. But we had a huge argument about this Saturday night so we'll see if anything changes this time.

Re: his hobbies, I find them boring, quite frankly. Most of them are sports which he does in all-male teams. I have no interest in that. I could go and watch but it's just so incredibly boring. The others are things I don't have any interest in, either, just as he has no interest in my hobbies. My hobbies are more things that can be done at any time, such as reading, crafts, whereas his have more of a scheduled aspect (game time is at 6:00 for example). We've had a number of really bad things happen this year that have really thrown me off the kind of schedule I'd like to have re: hobbies, etc. I've gotten so distracted by these bad things (illness in the family, etc.) that I've let all my hobbies slide and I'm having enormous trouble getting back into them.

Re: finding friends, I have tried very, very hard and it's just not happening. I recently made a friend at work and I was so excited about that but then she quit, and I was very disappointed. I'm still trying to go out and meet people, but hubby often is too tired to want to go to meetup.com events, etc. so I go alone.

We have tried a schedule approach before but both of us are so type B that it rarely works. We both have problems sticking to a schedule, because we are both "go with the flow" types who tend to like to just see what comes up. However, that approach doesn't work for this quality time issue, because things come up (something he has to do after work or a spur of the moment game), and our quality time gets shifted to the back burner. But I still think scheduling would probably work the best for us.

I was thinking that maybe M, W, and F could be for hobbies and T, Th and the entire weekend could be quality time just for us. Does that sound equitable? Does that give him enough time for his hobbies? I'd prefer more quality time, quite honestly, but don't want him to feel deprived. As a side note, I am really missing the romance in our relationship as well and feel like if I could get the quality time and attention I want, maybe I would feel that some of the romance was coming back, too.

Last edited by doglover29; 06-30-2008 at 09:40 AM..
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:22 AM
 
Location: WV
617 posts, read 1,394,464 times
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Get involved in the community. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or something. Don't depend on him to fill your hours. "Quality time" is time spent happily together, not time he's obligated to spend with you.

Even if you don't want to play sports, take your knitting or crocheting or your current book and go to the game as a spectator. Be there. Or offer to meet him afterwards for a quick burger.

Most of all, though, forcing him to spend more "quality time" with you will just cause resentment on his part. And that, eventually, will hurt the relationship.
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