Inside His Head: My husband has no friends except me

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Dear Inside His Head,

My husband doesn’t have any friends he likes to do things with, so he wants to do everything with me. I love hanging out with him, but I don’t like it when he gets jealous when I go out with my girlfriends. I want and need both in my life. What would you suggest here? I would like for him to “go out with the guys” occasionally but he doesn’t make the effort. I think having guy friends would make him a happier person. How can I help?

GRAY: If you don’t want to do things with someone are they really a friend? It sounds like your husband is without friends entirely, which is very odd. I’m an introvert and really need to have time by myself frequently, but this goes beyond introversion.

That he is jealous – always a red flag in a marriage – seems to confirm something deeper is going on. He could be insecure , be codependent, or suffering in another manner and be in need of professional counseling.

Have a talk with him. Find out if he’s genuinely comfortable and happy in his life. If he’s not simply an introvert, then finding a way to help him deal with his problems would be the best advice I could give; however, if he is just an introvert with a little jealous streak then you might try some other approaches.

Help him find a way to get out in groups of like-minded individuals. Maybe he can join a book club, maybe he goes solo to watch is favorite sports team or something similar. Pretty much anything to get him out and doing something he’d otherwise enjoy.

Social events can get him used to not having to do everything with you and a chance to work on those ever-important social skills. If crowds really aren’t his thing then maybe hiking or music lessons could get him interested in a hobby a little less people heavy. You get the idea. Kick him out of the house for a while, just do it very nicely with a smile.

At the end of the day I’d say a “night out with the guys” probably isn’t the likeliest thing to happen, but figure out what bothers him, what hobbies he might want to pursue and take the best course of action. I agree with you that either way he’ll be a happier person in the long run.

generichead-1MICHAEL: I can completely relate. We moved here and didn’t know anyone. All my acquaintances are from work and most of them are women. So I don’t really have any guys to hang out with either.

Having said that, fella here in question shouldn’t keep you from enjoying yourself.

I don’t think that finding guy friends for him is going to solve the problem. If he wanted them, he’d go looking for them. It sounds like he enjoys your company and doesn’t need anyone else.

Sounds like he figures that if he doesn’t need anyone else, then neither should you. Maybe he feels like no one else likes him. Or he’s insecure that while your out with the girls you might find someone else that’s more interesting than he is.

Either way he sounds insecure and you’re not going to solve that by getting him a big brother from the Y. You’ve just got to be straight with him and explain why you need time with the girls. It’s not because something’s missing in your relationship, it’s simply that you need to have some outside connection with the world.

We’re all different people and we all need different things to make us happy. We just have to give each other room to make that happen.

MAVERICK: If your husband didn’t have a few good friends before you were married, I hate to tell you, but you’re doomed.

A lot of women complain about guys who are too close to their friends before and after marriage, but it’s much worse to have a guy with no friends for two big reasons. A guy with no friends likely isn’t that much fun to be around in the first place, hint, hint and, since he never really learned to play with others, he’s likely to do exactly what he’s doing here, which is focus obsessively on you.

Assuming the lack of friends is a fairly recent phenomenon, simply encourage him to reconnect with some of his old cohorts.

Guys can get a little hyper-focused, so he might have put his pals on hold initially when you got married and he’s simply gotten into a habit on going solo, and being a bit annoying that needs to be broken.

He’s in a behavior rut so don’t be subtle. Tell him he’s becoming clingy and a bit needy and he needs to go play with his guy pals. Go about your business normally. If he bugs you about you spending time with your friends, don’t knuckle under. Go out, have fun, don’t apologize and point out he has friends too and he’s much more interesting when he hangs out with them from time to time.

Also, don’t forget guys tend to enjoy solo hobbies. So, don’t insist he hang out with friends because that’s how you have fun. Just encourage him to do something —  take up another hobby rather than than his current one being your shadow.

Fishing, hunting, shooting, biking, even video games can be fun for guys without needing anyone to pal around with, but they also can lead to new friends and new experiences. So pals likely will result eventually.

Once you do all this he’ll like get off your back and start enjoying a little freedom. Here is where you can’t b*tch.

If you don’t like him obsessing over where you’re going or what you’re doing, and you want  him to have friends you have to keep your mouth shut when he actually starts doing those things.

When he gives you plenty of notice (at least as much notice as you would give him) and says he’s meeting his friends for a game of pool or some beers, you don’t have the right to act hurt, or snide because he chooses to go out with his buds on Friday instead of sitting around for a Charmed marathon.

You wanted him to have friends. You think independence is manly and attractive. So remember not to complain about it if he starts getting involved in something new.

To read previous Inside His Head questions and answers, CLICK HERE. If you have a question for our anonymous panel of husbands, email them at mamamas[at]nwamotherlode[dot]com.

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