Do You Have an Antisocial Spouse?


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If you are a woman and you just read the title of this post, you either thought, “No, thank God, because my spouse and I both love going out,” or “How did Jackie know?” I know all about the antisocial spouse because I can’t count the number of women (and a few men) who agonize over it.

First, to the antisocial spouse: You might not think this is a big problem. You might think, “I’m a good husband and father, I don’t cheat, I don’t get drunk, I’m not mean or abusive, and I bring home a paycheck. I’m a good person! Why does my wife nag me constantly to go out with other couples and to parties?”

Sorry guys. Having an antisocial spouse is a major problem and often leads to separation and divorce. I’m not saying it is warranted for someone to dump their husband because he doesn’t want to go out on Saturday nights with other couples. I’m just stating the facts that this dynamic causes big problems and resentment in a relationship.

Let me start my advice by speculating on what is going through the antisocial person’s mind: ‘I have all these kids around me and I love them, but it is constant chaos. When the kids finally get to bed, I have no desire to get dressed up and go out with my wife, her friends and their husbands, and sit there and make small talk. I just want to veg out in front of the TV and have peace and quiet. I don’t want to go to a couple’s party and make polite conversation. I do that at work 5 days a week.’

Now let me tell you what is going through your wife’s mind: ‘I still want to date my husband. I want to see how hot he looks dressed up and I want to be at parties as a couple. I want to have fun together without the kids. I want to come home late at night, pay the babysitter and have great sex. I want it to be like when we were a childless couple, with the benefit of having the kids in the morning.’

Here is what I see happen to couples with this disconnect. After months (years sometimes), the social one is tired of begging her antisocial spouse to go out, so she starts going out to the parties by herself. She also starts going out with girlfriends. Eventually, she is at a bar and meets a man and starts having an affair. Before you know it: separation followed by divorce.

I’m probably scaring people right now, but the thing about the antisocial spouse thing is, it’s fixable. It can be worked out. Here is how.

In every marriage or relationship, there are trade-offs. Things we tell ourselves we will do to make the other person happy. Things we will put up with because we love so much other stuff about that person. Prime example: my boyfriend’s smelly hockey bag.

There are also things we will not put up with: abuse, excessive drinking or drugs, cheating, etc. So, relationships are basically ongoing negotiations, kind of like a business.

So, if your wife wants to go out with you one night every week or weekend, do it for HER. Don’t you love her enough and want your relationship to thrive? That is what people do for each other. Now, here is the second part to that advice: LEARN to enjoy it. Somehow. Don’t go out with her and then resent her and be mean. Just accept it and try to learn how to enjoy it. Maybe tell her the people you feel most comfortable with, maybe you choose the restaurant—a sports bar instead of a fancy French restaurant. Trust me, it will work in your favor. You will see your beautiful wife happy and having fun, and in turn, she will be a happier mom and will have sex with you more often.

Maybe there is something you want from her. When people stop asking for what they want, that’s when things get really bad. TELL your spouse what you want.

So, if your situation has gotten really hopeless, in other words you don’t know what to do about your antisocial spouse, say these words to him:

“Right now, I really, really care about us and the survival of our relationship. I want us to be happy. Do you care? Because you are not giving me any indication that you care. I don’t want to stop caring. I’m begging you to help me save us. Going out might seem silly to you, but I enjoy it. Please work with me. Tell me what you want from me and I will do it. I love you. DON’T let me stop caring.”

See what happens. I often wonder how these people become antisocial, and oftentimes I suspect the person is depressed, has low self-esteem and is just unhappy. I’m a big fan of therapy, so if the person is willing to go see someone, either by himself or with you, that is great.

In closing, I can personally say that as a woman, there is nothing better than being at a party or event, looking across the room and seeing your spouse all dressed up, and thinking, ‘he’s adorable.’ Those situations can be the foreplay to romance and keeping the relationship sexy and young.

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Author: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling offers advice, inspiration and hugs. If you want a Cinderella story, be your own fairy godmother. You're the only one who can pick out that perfect glass slipper!

17 Responses to “Do You Have an Antisocial Spouse?”

  1. Phil

    My wife left me earlier this year. We had been married over 10 years and had 2 kids. One of the reasons that she gave was that she wanted to be with someone more extroverted. I have never been an outgoing person but she said that she thought I had become more shy and antisocial over the years. So I can’t disagree with your assertion that having an antisocial spouse can lead to separation and divorce.

    What I do disagree with, however, is your contention that this is a character flaw that the antisocial spouse needs to fix.

    If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” for an insight into what it means to be introverted (she has an entire chapter on how to deal with the issues that arise when an introvert is in a relationship with an extrovert). Introversion is not something that we can just switch off. It is a fundamental part of who we are. It is not because we are depressed, have low self-esteem or are just unhappy, although those things may also be true. It is not something that we should go to therapy to “fix”.

    Also, define “antisocial”. I hate being among large groups of people I don’t know very well, and find making small talk very difficult. So I have never enjoyed large parties. However I do enjoy going out in smaller groups, with people I know well and like. I love having people over for dinner and entertaining in my home. At the risk of generalising, I think this is true for a lot of introverts: we hate making small talk in big groups, but love having deep, intimate conversations with individuals or small groups.

    Nevertheless, I agree that you have a responsibility as a spouse to try to meet the needs of your partner. Personally, I was always willing to accommodate my wife and go out to parties with her. But I never enjoyed it, and for an introvert like me I don’t believe that’s something I could ever learn.

    But accommodating the needs of your partner cuts both ways. If you are married to someone antisocial, instead of working on changing your spouse’s behaviour, it might be more constructive to work on the way you perceive your spouse instead or, as you say, look for social situations in which your spouse would be comfortable. For instance, I frequently suggested to my wife that we invite people over for dinner, but she would rarely agree to that.

    You say the antisocial spouse should tell their partner what they want from them. What I wanted from my wife was acceptance. I think the most hurtful thing about my separation was realising that the person I married couldn’t give me that.

    Read Susan Cain’s book. I can’t recommend it enough.

    Reply
    • Parul

      My My,, I read your comment and i felt m listening to my husband.. I feel bad.. may b he is not wrong. he also seems antisocial and this is the only reason we fight. I need to learn more about him and accept him for what he is.. he doesnt like being dressed up for occasion.. hardly talks to his family.. though he is good with his friends.. I had a dream of finding a gentleman kind of man but then dreams are dreams.. you need to accept the reality and live with it..though this thought becomes frustrating at times, I cannot imagine my life without him.. 🙁

      Reply
  2. Kimberley

    I am also an Introvert and that was the #1 reason why my ex wanted a Divorce. I agree with everything Phil wrote. Especially “Introversion is not something that we can just switch off. It is a fundamental part of who we are.” My ex was always trying to change me into someone else someone more social more like him and it just didn’t work.

    Reply
  3. Liz

    Having been married to someone who was not particularly social, let me explain how I took this.

    Both sides are right.

    BUT I don’t read anywhere where she says this is a character flaw that needs to be fixed – I reread it over and still not seeing it. What needs to be fixed is the married couple’s inability to find a happy middle ground. For example, Phil, you’re right in that your wife should’ve agreed to have people over, given your level of discomfort. But, if you’ve never enjoyed going out to parties with your wife, I wonder how good you were at hiding it? I mean that only as a question. No criticism or judgment. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your spouse is joining you unwillingly. It puts a cloud over the whole evening. I know because mine would behave like that and often was unaware. I had to withstand the looks of my friends who wondered what his behavior was about. I can’t tell you how many have asked me after our separation if he has Asperger’s or something.

    The words Jackie uses are almost verbatim with what I said to my ex, just add crying and pleading and the words “I’m afraid” and “chasm”, etc. He didn’t hear “I love you and I want us”. He heard “you suck”. And I had no way of knowing that.

    It’s not easy, but all of this boils down to a higher issue that’s common – communication and compromise. That’s why I say both “sides” make good points. Phil and Kimberley rightly feel like they didn’t get acceptance from their ex. All Jackie is doing is presenting what is going on on the other side too.

    Reply
  4. Denise

    My husband loves being anti social. I am an introvert myself and understand the pain of big crowds and the dislike for shallow small talk. However, he reluctantly admitted that he was simply selfish. He explained that he does not care about what other people do or say. Why? What difference does it make to him? Most people are not interested in the same things he is interested in. He is also very smart and finds most conversations boring.

    He is only interested in his own world and his own thing. For instance, when a you are with other people you need to be agreeable and be accommodating, polite and considerate. You can not always have your own way when it comes to choosing restaurants or things to do. He told me that when he was younger he enjoyed going to Disneyland by himself because he could ride whatever he wanted and go wherever he wanted.

    Reply
  5. Rj

    i understand people can be introverts but when you were dating you did things you socialised then you married and eventually stopped. BUT your spouse didn’t they know what it is to feel alone in a room you are in as you read your book or watch your tv show or sit on your computer. We have watched you go to family functions and wander outside or check your phone as we feel embarassed that our guests feel they are being ignored. Or we go to see friends and you are ready to leave upon arrival. What makes it worse is we see you happy to chat with your oldest friends. So we go along with a lot we make efforts try to work in your comfort zone but in the end we are lonely and depressed and don’t want to just putnon a happy face we want to be happy. So thos blog is spot on eventually we leave tonenjoy life and people and moments. We don’t hate you we still love you and wanted to have this with you. You just checked out and expected us to as well and that isn’t fair.

    Reply
    • Lori

      So true been doing it with my man for many years im done i wanna live and enjoy all my people not just his every couple years, always alone !

      Reply
    • Randy

      You got it! Maybe they’ll get it, maybe they won’t, who gives a shit, they don’t give a shit about us. Time to move on and live life, not staying home and smelling their farts all evening.

      Reply
  6. Sers

    Same with me. My husband refuses to go to social events. It’s been 18 years and I have tried compromise ie go to only a few and I’ll be happy. Then those stopped and 98% of the time he doesn’t go. He might come to an event for an hour to pick me up if I didn’t drive. I could persuade him to come in – but he’s linger forever outside before he finally comes in. WE’ve been married 18 yrs and this issue has only gotten harder. He simply says he’s uncomfortable at social events particularly those that are crowded. We had the worse argument a few nights ago after he came in for one hour. It didn’t start out about the event but another topic came up which led to an argument about how little he does with me socially. He was screaming at the top of his lungs. I know he is hurt and has a hard time socializing but I feel equally hurt as I have had no indication from him that he understands how I feel. He has actually said that I have a problem for wanting him to go and I should see a counsellor. I think more than half the problem is that I feel he doesn’t have the sympathy I have for him.

    Reply
  7. Andy

    I completely agree Phil. The nuances that comes with being an Introvert don’t need to be fixed or changed. There isn’t anything wrong with not enjoying small talk, or shallow parties. An Introvert doesn’t change into an Extrovert (unless it’s a temporary, necessary situation, like acting), and people should stop trying to change them. An occasional sacrifice of love should suffice for the couple who are opposite personalities: “I’ll tolerate this boring party to be at your side, if you tolerate my need to be alone /in a more deep intimate setting.”

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  8. Jack

    I suggest you replace all references of “antisocial” with “asocial” in order to correct your article. You apparently don’t know the difference between the two.

    Reply
  9. happy room

    This information you provided in the blog that was really unique I love it!!, Thanks for sharing such a great blog..Keep posting.

    Reply
  10. Randy

    I have a spouse who loves to watch TV. She says it “relaxes” her. Six hours a day. Boy, I’ll say. I like to go to parties and events where we could meet up with friends and listen to music and dance and have dinner and maybe meet new people as a couple together. That is not her idea of a fun evening. Only TV is. I’m checking out of this shit. I hate this and I resent her immensely. We’ve argued about this over and over. I’ve stated what I need, time and time again. Over the years I have tried going out without her, but then I would feel resentment when everyone else is with their significant other but me. She would be at home “relaxing” in front of the tv. When people would ask me where she was, I would say she is at home watching tv. When I would tell her what my response was to people who asked, she would get mad that I said that, because she was embarrassed about it. I have an aunt that divorced her husband of 15 years because he refused to be social and would not take her dancing on weekends. She married a man who loved to socialize and dance every weekend and they had a wonderful marriage together until his death a few years ago. Life is to damned short….I’m moving on.

    Reply
  11. Randy

    And might I add that watching tv with her is no picnic as she sits there and passes gas for hours and hours.

    Reply

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