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Husband Hates Socializing

Husband Hates Socializing

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Dear Rachel,

I am a very social and outgoing person, yet I am married to someone who is just the opposite. This never really was an issue when we dated since when we were together, I didn't want to be with other people. But ever since we got married last year, it has been a strain. I want to go out and do things and he wants to always stay home. He is quite friendly and people really like him, so that is not the problem, he just never wants to attend social functions or socialize really at all. I am meanwhile feeling trapped and just want to go out but I feel strange attending an event without my husband. What do you suggest?

Trapped Social Butterfly

L.A., CA

Dear Trapped Social Butterfly,

We all know the saying that opposites attract, which while it may be very true, also means that there will be plenty of glitches to work out. You write about a common problem in many relationships. More often than not, one person is much more of a home-body and the other can't wait to be out every night. So how do you make it work?

For starters, it is essential that you have an honest and direct conversation with your husband. While you may assume he knows how you feel and that you want to go out, have you told him how important social outings are for you? Since you mentioned that when you dated it was not an issue, it is quite likely that he is not aware that it is an issue now. So before anything else, sit down and in a calm and warm way, let him know that while you absolutely love spending time with him, you also really feel the need to be with others as well and you want to socialize more.

Assuming he is aware of this, then comes the part about compromise. Chances are that he will never be willing to go out as often as you would like, and you will never be happy staying home as often as he would like. So you have a few different options. For one, the compromise is coming up with a schedule where he agrees to go out with you and you agree to not ask him to attend every event but rather choose the ones more important to you that he attend.

Have you considered that maybe when you do go out you are socially comfortable and start talking to people and he gets left in the dust? If he feels awkward around others, the more effort you put into including him in the conversation and speaking to him, the easier it might be for him. Also, make sure that there will be people he knows and wants to spend time with when you go out. It is always hard if one person knows everyone and the other doesn't, especially when the one who doesn't is anyway more naturally anti-social!

Another option is speaking to him about events that he would prefer you attend with a friend. There is no reason to feel guilty if you attend a dinner with a girlfriend if your husband would prefer to not go and is fine with you attending. If anything, it is a great opportunity to spend quality time with single friends. Now that you are married you may forget how awkward it is for those who are not to attend events that are filled with couples. Think about your friends who would love someone to go with them, and make plans with them. Then you are not only getting to go out but you are really helping make a friend more comfortable at the same time.

Lastly, if you know your husband likes to stay home, bring the party to your house. You write that he is friendly but just doesn't like to socialize outside of the house. Speak to him about how he feels if you were to invite people over. A great thing to consider would be inviting a few friends over on Friday night for Shabbat dinner. This way you get to stay in the comfort of your own home and yet you also are able to socialize and spend time with your friends.

Rachel

"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Discussion (49)
August 27, 2014
"When will women stop trying to change men?! It is completely unfair and dishonest to be one way when you're dating, and then flip-flop after you get married. Leave him alone and go to your events yourself. If your too self-conscious to go by yourself, that's your problem, not his. If you make him come, you're using him and being selfish. Why can't women take care of their own needs WITHOUT HELP the way men do?"

Misogynist trolling much?
Sarah
August 22, 2014
You knew he didn't like to go out, and you still married him. Now you're upset. When will women stop trying to change men?! It is completely unfair and dishonest to be one way when you're dating, and then flip-flop after you get married. Leave him alone and go to your events yourself. If your too self-conscious to go by yourself, that's your problem, not his. If you make him come, you're using him and being selfish. Why can't women take care of their own needs WITHOUT HELP the way men do?
Anonymous
June 23, 2014
please learn about introverts!
It's too bad that so many cannot empathize with introverts. Small talk is toxic, and we only bond w/ certain people. Don't ask introverts to change, just like you wouldn't ask an extrovert to stop being social. Read the comments below for all the different types of misery that result when we force people to change their natural ways. The key is compromise, and most people gloss over the best solutions: "I feel strange going w/out him" or, "He says I can go out without him, but I feel bad." Either you feel awkward/bad, or you feel trapped. Stop feeling bad. Go out w/out him. And compromise: ask him to accompany you to events that have a serious social consequence if you went alone, like weddings. Leave him out of work events. Ask him to go to your friends' birthdays, but leave him out of casual weeknight hangouts. If he doesn't let you go out without him, break up. If you can't go out anywhere without him, break up. Healthy adults talk, compromise, and find the courage to say goodbye.
Elle
Maryland
April 9, 2014
He's an introvert - get used to it.
Your husband is an introvert; like I am. I test at 95% introversion on the Meyers-Brigg test. Go with a friend and leave him out of it. We hate socialisation in big groups like that. It takes me a week to recover from a big party as it's fairly traumatic and exhausting. Hell, I won't even travel to visit family. Enjoy activities together at home or QUIET places (coffee houses, nature/outside or small intimate groups of friends -not to exceed 4 people) that only you two are interested in for your togetherness. For those who are marrying an introvert, this is your reality. Think twice if you don't think you can live with it. :)
Seth
February 15, 2014
Excuses!
If your focus in life is SOCIALIZING (and you're over the age of about 25) then you need to evaluate your priorities in life. Your CAREER and FAMILY should come first. After that, if you still find yourself with too much free time... try EXERCISING and taking COLLEGE courses. Whatever time is left over after that- should be dedicated towards socializing. Don't forget all the little things it takes to be successful in life- credit repair, saving $ (which means less socializing), clean up/organize your personal space (office, house, car etc). This is what I CAN'T STAND about "social butterfly's": for example, I generally enjoy socializing BUT...not at the expense of all the priorities I listed above! Social-heads will label me anti-social or "boring". I hate that! They only do that to try to manipulate everyone else around them (their partner) to be more social! I guess so they won't feel bad about ignoring REAL priorities in life.
Anonymous
February 1, 2014
Same Problem here..
Omg! Anonymous nz, my husband Is the Same!!
Except my family lives nearby, so i can visit them..
It Is really Frustrating and also egoistical unfortunately.
We talked about it often, but he will Never Change and also doesnt want to.
So I am trapped at home for 4 years. I Wonder how Long i have the power to stay with him :/
Anonymous
November 14, 2013
me I me mememwme iii.
I personally used to abuse alcohol. The first time i drank I loved the ease and social lubrication it provided. However after many horrible experiences and a huge wake up call I realized alcohol is poison for me. Now I'm left feeling isolated and completley out of touch with my peers. I'm still in my twenties and starting feeling old around age 24 bc of the lack of excitment in my life. My husband is also antisocial but is always willing to try for me. Which makes me feel horrible for not wanting to hang with some of his extended family. We do a lot if immediate family outtings like holidays and kids stuff (park, zoo) with our two young children. But I'm so scared to be judged and feel so uncomfortable around others especially cousins, old friends, or basically anyone new. I prefer to do housework and busy work than anything fun. I hate it. my life used to be unpredictable and adventerous but now im boring. I think its caused by generalized anxiety. Or being in my head all the time.
Anonymous
california
September 10, 2013
Spelling and Logic problems rife here
After reading a few of these comments from all around the world, I must continue my usual rant about lazy minds. This condition is betrayed by atrocious spelling, unsupported assumptions and "tips" that any thoughtful, well-read adult should already know. Because of the STILL BAD world economy (the Great Recession has not ended, in my opinion) many marriages are held together "for the kids" or for the one breadwinner's paycheck. This is surviving, not thriving.

Regarding choosing the best self-help books to read, find out an author's actual background before investing in their theories-- a friend's recommendation is inadequate to help with serious problems. Best pf luck, everyone, we all need it!
Amber Ladeira
Chicagoland
August 13, 2013
Private time is essential
My girlfriend is a real social butterfly, the best dressed, etc. I'm not social at all, can't dance, dress lousy. We make a compromise; I go to some things with her, but not all. If it's work, we go alone. We have our own lives, and we get to have time with our friends, and time with each other.

It's essential for people in a relationship to have time alone.
Jack
KS
August 9, 2013
25 years and...
Married 25 years and he was the life of the party when we dated. But the day we committed, it started. He doesn't like to socialize at all except for chats with neighbors. It's a social phobia frankly. I am a much more social person and have just started to do things without him. It has been tolerable all these years because he works so much and it gives me freedom. Heaven help us when he retires!
Anonymous
Glendale, AZ
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