antisocial spouse

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By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief

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?”

 

Vestor

 

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.

 

Worthy

 

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.

Like this post? Check out, “Loneliness: It Might Be The Worst Pain Someone Can Feel”

 

 

Katz and Stefani Family Law Attorneys

 

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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!

31 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
    • Nadine

      I am an introvert and still have social skills. What I cannot cope with are the rude, stupid, obnoxious pieces of shit that bother me and then call me a snob when they are horrible to contend with. Other than that, I am fine on my own or with others. I have no problem going out. Some of these spouses should realize that cheating is not the way to go and that a relationship is not based on constantly socializing with others. You have to spend alone time with your spouse not always go out. It is not wrong to want to go out two nights a week. If you want to party all the time and go out, marry that type of person. If you are a homebody, marry that type of person. The truth is, you chose that person. You can get a divorce but remember who is really to blame here. YOU. Not the spouse who was not what you wanted, that you chose, anyways. You cannot change people. Nobody is magic.

      Reply
    • Jason

      I think your wife was wrong for that. She should have asked you what works for you. There is a saying that says what may work for you may not work for me. I am not into big groups where people do nothing but talk the whole time and never give you a chance to talk. When they say things like, “You are being very quiet. Is something wrong?” it makes me just clam up even more. I have always hated intrusiveness and will not socialize with such snobby people. If they consider that rude and unfriendly that’s fine with me. That is just their perception. I can always find those people that I know I can be myself around. You don’t have to please everyone. Just be yourself and the right people will like you for who you are. Hope this helps.

      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
    • AmericanAlpha

      I 1000% agree with your husband.

      I don’t have enough minutes left on this earth to waste even ONE on small talk I don’t care about. I care about my wife and children and that is it. Literally. I don’t care about anything a 3rd party has to say. I don’t care about their kids or their health or their inane small talk that is so intellectually retarded it makes me cringe.

      And why in the world would I ever want to be with a group of people or double date? That means I might spend an entire evening eating somewhere I don’t want to eat or going somewhere I don’t want to go or hearing a bunch of profanity or political talk I don’t agree with. You see, that is the crux. I am very clear on my views and I will tell you I think you are wrong. The fakies who love to hang in groups don’t like that one bit. Makes me laugh myself to sleep.

      The beauty of life is I don’t have to deal with it. I won’t deal with it. If my wife of 25 years has a problem with that she can take a hike.

      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
      • Mike Whatley

        That’s pretty butch there Randy, how ’bout turning it down a notch or two? Besides, you’re bringing the hammer down pretty hard on someone you don’t know.

        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.”

    Reply
  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
  12. Paulo

    I think it’s unfair to call someone ‘anti-social’ just because they don’t enjoy *your* idea of social occasions. What you’re talking about is somebody who is an introvert. It’s completely different.

    Anti-social can imply someone who is rude or whose behaviour is offensive. An introvert in contrast is simply shy.

    My wife once called me anti-social.

    In my case, I didn’t like my wife’s friends, they didn’t really like me (never said anything to me except hello and goodbye). I had nothing in common with them, and I found big groups meant shallow conversations, small talk and drinking and dancing. It was boring, and I didn’t see the point of socializing with my wife if she’d only spend less than a minute with me all night anyway. I might just as well not be there.

    So I stopped socializing with her, I went out and met new people and suddenly realized there were people out there that I found interesting, who found me interesting and who I actually liked and enjoyed being with. Meanwhile, without me there, she’d party longer and harder with her friends, and have much more fun.

    Eventually it reached a crisis. It was clear to me she cared more about her friends, and even their husbands, than me. In my mind had kind of checked out of the relationship at that point and accepted I’d be looking for someone else soon. But to my surprise, she agreed to give it up. We started to socialize with people more like us (middle aged with small kids), in smaller groups where we could talk more, no drunken dance parties. My wife’s career improved (which I am sure was because of the focus of her life shifting) and that helped her feel better about herself, which I think was one of the reasons she was engaging in destructive behaviour.

    After you’ve mentally checked out of a relationship, it’s hard to get the feelings back again, but I do feel we’re getting there. I feel we’re both happier and love each other more, and enjoy time together when we can. It’s tough, I know if I am honest she’d rather be out chugging beers with her friends or hanging out with them and their husbands than me. But I think she also knows that would be self-destructive in a marriage. Similarly I’d probably have more fun out my myself, but I also know they’re not compatible with a happy marriage.

    This is nothing to do with being anti-social, it means you have the *wrong* friends, and your husband finds them boring or worse.

    Reply
  13. Sue

    This blog is hitting home with me. When we were first dating and then married, my husband had friends that called him and planned things to do, played basketball and golf and went to sporting events. That is my issue. I don’t want him to be something he never was. I want him to be the way he used to be. He now does what he pleases with no regard to pleasing others. He is on the computer, phone or in front of the TV 14 hours a day. Even with family, at the beach or even Sea World. I just wish I had my husband the way he was.

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I”m looking at this from the outside in, but it sounds like your husband is depressed. Would he consider therapy and maybe medication? If he had always been like that, I would have a different response, but the change means he is hurting emotionally. Talk to him. Tell him you want him to be the way he was. Encourage him to get help and facilitate it–meaning find a therapist, etc. I hope that helps.

      Reply
  14. AmericanAlpha

    I see a theme on all sites answering this question. The man needs to compromise. WRONG.

    Some people are introverted. It’s that simple. This type of person literally HATES to go out with anyone but their spouse. Why should they be forced to do something they hate? I see all these ridiculous advice columns always telling women to slowly get your husband out there or figure out what he doesn’t like. Nonsense. Leave him alone.

    HE DOESN’T WANT TO DO IT. THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH. Got it? Life is short. We are here a very short time. Men, if you don’t want to do something DON’T DO IT. Be true to who you are and understand that it’s okay to not want to leave your house or compound. It’s okay to be an introvert or not attending social functions.

    I have been married 25 years and I don’t do a thing I don’t WANT to do. If my wife asks me to socialize or attend a function I don’t want to go to, I simply say no. She can cry, yell, give me the silent treatment or anything else she wants to but I do what I want. I don’t demand she does anything. Ever. I married HER. I didn’t marry her friends, her family or any other person or thing. I only want to spend time with her or our children and that is how it’s going to be.

    Again, STAND YOUR GROUND men. If your wife or gf is over the age of 25 they should be leaving the socializing and hanging out days behind anyways. If not, you have another set of decisions to make. If she wants to spend time with anyone but you get rid of them. It’s MUCH better to be alone and happy than deal with stupid women.

    Reply
  15. Seriously??

    There is a HUGE difference between being antisocial and an introvert. What you are describing as “antisocial” is actually being introverted. Antisocial personality disorder is a mental condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. Relationships with people who are truly antisocial are extremely abusive, and those who are truly antisocial do not possess the ability to truly love another person.

    Reply
  16. Lynn

    Sitting here alone in Nashville because I did not know the plans my husband made with his friends. I am on vacation too and do not feel the need to follow along like a puppy dog. I like different things and my husband does not want to go and explore with me. He calls me anti social when I am not. I am an introvert and talk to people I feel comfortable with. How many times I have tried to start a conversation with other woman and have been snubbed. I have few friends and like it that way. I don’t need to be around people all the time to be happy. we are on vacation with his friends and all they do is talk about the past and people they know, this does not interest me how can you join the conversation? Feeling I married the wrong man for me.

    Reply

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