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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 (56)
January 19, 2016
husband Anti-Social
My husband has no friends and really likes it that way, he likes going places but only when its him and me. He really prefers his shop and restoring cars than people. I'm the opposite I have to have other people to talk to. He prefers to have a root canal than associating with other people.
Lily
USA
January 17, 2016
Socialize is not the point.
I am not one who likes to travel to some family get together with my wife's family. Not that I do not like them but I feel it is somewhat pointless to travel 3000 miles to spend time with 10 people who I never communicate with and then have fun. I do not have fun. We hang out doing silly things that is not very comforting for me because this is not what I envision a vacation to be. I cannot relax when they pull me to do this or that or just sit and read or whatever. My wife loves it and I find it to be pointless fun. Then they sit and drink themselves into a stupor while I do not drink. It makes no sense for me and I let my wife know that. So I compromise for the benefit of everyone else. Not fun!

I like to snowmobile, ski, trail run, canoe and activities like that which are outdoors. Travel to new places.

My wife does not engage in these type of activities any longer although she use to in the past. Now after 40 years of marriage there seems to be this divergence in interests.
Anonymous
Tucson
October 16, 2015
Why Are You Insulting The Husband By Calling Him Antisocial?
Maybe his wife has intrusive obnoxious friends and he rightfully wants to avoid them.

My point is, suggesting that his wife bring their people over so her husband doesn't have to go out to socialize I think misses the point if, If he doesn't want to socialize at that moment. I would think having people over would make it worse.
Anonymous
NYC
October 10, 2015
SAme here
My husband is exactly the same. Married for 20 years.. with lots of pblms.
One thing to understand is socialize doesn't always bring good. They all just party and say bye. At the end of the day the real relationship works only with husband. Whats most important in life is peace in home. You have to deal with it. For me, leaving my husband is beyond option. It is hard but had to live with.
Anonymous
October 1, 2015
Mismatched = Miserable!
What horrible advice! She married him knowing how he was, so there was no surprise that he was a homebody. Why does she think she can change him now? Absolutely no foresight was made for their future, they would've been happier marrying someone closer to their personality type. Do NOT attempt to change a spouse. Consider both of your traits while dating and then think five years ahead. If you're still okay with each other's quirks and can live with them long term then you're both good to go. If not, move on. It's unfair to try to force changes that will damage your relationship.
Anonymous
August 12, 2015
Do your own thing
You absolutely have to do your own thing. You must go out with friends, or make new ones.
There is no reason for a woman to stay at home just because his husband is a crushing bore. This is not the 1950s.
You'll probably find he's relieved that you can go out without constantly hassling him to join you.
Accept your differences. Allow him his quiet time and get out there and enjoy your own life.
Kez
Oxford, England
August 29, 2014
my god what bad advice!
If your husband would rather be at home than socializing, do NOT under any circumstances invade his (hallowed and secure) space with a social event. This is gasoline to a fire - he will find excuses to leave his house on Fridays. Probably to just sit in his car somewhere and spend hours resenting you.
Anonymous
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