Last Updated on: 24th September 2023, 10:32 pm
I don’t spend a lot of time reading advice columns anymore, but now and then I’ll see a headline that catches my eye and I’ll check it out. Such was the case with “My husband has no ‘bros.’ Should I be worried?”, and I’m not sure whether or not I’m glad I did. In a sense I suppose I am since it’s given me something to write here today, but if this is the sort of advice they’re doling out on the regular now, woof.
Here’s the question:
QI’ve been married to the love of my life for 14-plus years, and we have two beautiful pre-teen children. He’s a loving, devoted father involved in all aspects of their lives. They idolize him.
I’m writing about my love’s lack of personal relationships outside of work. He has some childhood friends (males), but I’ve only met them a handful of times at our house over 10 years ago (a surprise party for him). We’re now both 40.
He gets along well with his colleagues. One even invited to him to visit their cottage on a weekend.
I’ve spoken to my husband about the importance of nurturing relationships beyond me/the kids/his family. But he’s content to be introverted and at home 90 per cent of a weekend, except for when he visits relatives.
I’ve encouraged him to join social groups or a league but he shuts me down and once asked me if I have a problem with him always being around.
He says that he’s already experienced friends, hanging out and partying in his bachelor days.
I yearn for him to have at least one male friend he can meet up with periodically, invite over, etc. but he’s not interested. It also feels weird when my friends visit for functions and ask how come they’ve never met my hubby’s friends.
My husband’s a confident man, happy by himself, yet I feel it’s not “normal” for him to not have “bros” to call to vent. Any suggestions?
Or, is this more my issue than his?
And this is the answer:
AYes, it’s your issue, and that’s a good thing because writing about it marks the first step in finding out why.
Facts: You describe a near-perfect partner and home life. You have your own women friends so you’re not lacking for female company.
Something else is bothering you. Also, there’s no mention of your actual relationship together — he’s your “love” but you don’t say whether he’s romantic, sexy, fun, etc. with you.
If it had stopped here, that would be great. But it did not do that.
More discovery’s needed as to why he’s “unsocial.” From his visits to relatives, maybe there’s a clue regarding his upbringing.
Start asking direct questions. Did something in his partying bachelor days cause his social retreat? Was alcohol a factor? Or some other significant factor?
Now, tell him directly why you’re upset, and how it does affect your life (and possibly your children’s).
If he won’t see a psychologist or psychotherapist to explore this with you, go on your own to discuss why he puts up a barrier against socializing.
What! In! The! Actual! Fuck!?
This woman is describing something that most of us, no matter our sex, would kill for. The love of her life. A happy, confident partner who gets along well with others, enjoys the company of his family more than running around who knows where doing who knows what, and who loves and is loved by his children. And the solution to this problem, (it’s not even a problem), is that *he* needs badgering and therapy? Are you out of your mind?
Allow me to offer you some actual good advice, because unless some rather important details have been left out, I can kind of relate to your husband here.
First of all, yes. This is 100% your problem. Something is bothering you, and you need to look inward to figure out what it is. Perhaps some counselling for you alone might be helpful to that end. Are you coming to realize that you’re not happy in the marriage? Are you looking for any little thing you can find to validate those feelings or perhaps even to sabotage the relationship? These are questions that only you can answer.
But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the answer to those questions is no. In that case, it’s important for you to keep a couple of things in mind.
- Introverts exist, and that’s ok. Not desiring a complicated, busy social life is not a condition in need of fixing. It’s perfectly normal unless it marks a somewhat recent, extreme personality change. Your husband, as described, sounds a bit like me. I have a nice handful of friends, many of whom I’ve known since childhood. I get along well in social situations. Can have a decent conversation and a nice time with almost anyone. I don’t have my own kids, but I’ve had and continue to have plenty of children in my life who love the hell out of me. But My favourite place to be is at home, either alone or with Carin. Having too many people around for too long is exhausting and I really don’t like it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the reason I’m able to do so well around people is because I’m not constantly around people. If I were, there’s a more than 0 chance that I would be writing this from jail.
- Couples need to be compatible, but not identical. If you want to have a giant circle of friends and a packed social calendar, that’s great. But you also need to accept and even embrace the fact that your partner does not value those things the way you do and then try to meet him half way. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of other aspects of your relationship, different interests are good, even if one of his interests is having people leave him alone. Carin doesn’t force me to go to book club, and I don’t force her to watch all of the sports. But we have plenty of things that we can enjoy together, and that’s what’s important.
If none of this makes sense to you and you do insist on changing your happy, confident husband, then my advice to you is simple. Keep pushing. Keep right on with the insistence on groups and leagues and psychoanalysis and whatever else. With enough effort, you might just wake up one day to find that your happy, confident husband has become your happy, confident ex-husband. Problem solved.
But if that isn’t what you want, then you need to get out of your own way and let this man be who he is. That’s been good enough to get you through 14 years of marriage. Why mess with a good thing? Do what you must to come to terms with it, because in the end, that’s what you’re going to need to do.