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.