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
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.