Dear Inside His Head,
My husband of 7 years looks to me when he’s home from work and weekends for all his companionship and company. He literally has no friends. His one and only boyhood friend lives 300 miles away and was his pot smoking buddy back in the day before he stopped.
He has no solo hobbies or buddy hobbies, likes no one at work and simply just has no life besides me and his video game addiction. His doting is annoying, and I’ve realized there’s nothing exciting about him. I feel like we never do anything unless I come up with an idea. Its like COME UP WITH YOUR OWN LIFE for crying out loud.
He wont initiate any ‘man’ chores around the house on his own unless I create a list. The kicker is our sex life is so erratic and I think he may have fallen back on porn again. Better stop before my iPad runs out of ink.
- so over it
If he hasn’t then he may be very comfortable leaning on you, which is obviously demanding. And if you criticize him for having no friends and no life he’s going to run back to another video game, because that’s a comfortable place.
People say they’re content with surfing the internet or reading fiction or watching movies or playing video games, but it’s entertainment and not substance. They fill time and give us the illusion of accomplishment, but they’re hollow pursuits. They leave us empty and waste our lives. None of these are bad in moderation, but when they become habit they can kill years of our lives.
He may be depressed because he has no passion in his life and fills his idle hours with porn or video games to take his mind off of feeling bad. Entertainment will never replace substance because substantial activities fuel our sense of self – become how we define who we are.
I know it’s the obvious pick, but I’ve seen people break out of this pattern most often when they join groups. It could be church activities, it could be volunteering at the city animal shelter, just something to get him out in the real world and where he has responsibility and interaction with others. There’s no shortage of agencies that would love volunteers. You’ll know when you find the right venue.
You said he doesn’t like a single person at his work, which seems odd unless he works with a tiny group of people. Could it be he actually hates what he does for a living? People get new degrees and reenter the workplace much happier all the time. Instead of video games, he could get online credit in the evenings and eventually land a career that could change his outlook.
Be encouraging and positive especially if he has anxiety about trying new things. Be persistent if he fails or isn’t a good match for a group. Fear of failing keeps lots of people from ever trying, but – like the saying goes – you fail at 100 percent of the chances you don’t take. Force him out of the house to do something worth doing and hopefully it’ll start turning his complacency around.
MAVERICK: Well, sounds like you have a whole mountain of problems that seem to circle back your near total lack of respect for your husband. So, barring writing a book here, I’m going to focus on the first part of the problems — his lack of friends.
The lack of friends thing seems to be becoming a pretty common complaint with women these days. I often wonder why in the world a woman would choose a man as a husband who didn’t have some sort of friend network. Friendships help us learn about relationships. It’s where we learn about give-and-take, loyalty, and commitment.
In the end, if a man, or woman has no friends, well, run for it.
So, let’s assume your husband, the human load as you describe him, never had any friends and it strangely has never bothered you over the last seven years till now. Somehow, he’s apparently become super-needy and a general, unattractive, friendless, clingy, pain in your butt.
You probably won’t like this advice but you’re going to have to get involved. He won’t make friends on his own. Left alone he’ll get more clingy and just play more video games. He doesn’t know how or has no interest in making friends so you’re going to have to help.
First, take up some sort of activity together and make it one that men like. Shopping and going to garage sales is generally out. Try fishing, or biking or hiking or poker or sports.
Use this activity to drag him out of the house, make him more active and hopefully less of a total drag to be around. Take your time on this step. Let him ease back into real-life.
Then try to introduce other people to the activity. Invite some folks you know over to watch the game, or to meet you for a hike or to play some poker.
This serves two purposes: introducing him to new people and getting you out of all the one-on-one time with your husband that you seem to dislike so much.
Once you air him out and get him out of this deep, deep, deep rut he seems to be in, he might just become good company and your problem is solved. If that doesn’t work, with luck he’ll eventually find some males in the group he might like. If so, suggest that your husband hang out with them solo – grab a beer, watch some TV, that sort of thing.
This is going to take time. Don’t expect him to change overnight. Male friendships tend to grow slowly and center around some common interests and often shared hardships, even minor ones.
If he’s around other guys enough, eventually they’ll take on some shared task, maybe moving a gigantic wall unit, or fixing a mower, or painting a garage. Hopefully the guys will bond over said activity and have great war stories about hernias or nearly chopped off fingers or the time they almost died from paint fumes.
You simply have to keep introducing new possible friends in a somewhat natural setting and see what happens. In any case doing this should help you feel less stifled.
Another option is to double-date with another couple you like. This can feel sorta forced but it could produce quicker results than the other method. It will also force your husband to shower and perhaps change out of sweats.
If your husband hits it off with any of the guys, keep hanging out with that particular couple and see what happens. It’s like the equivalent of a play-date for men.
In the end though, if you dislike your husband so much, it’s likely that others — who aren’t obligated to him though a little thing like marriage — won’t find him such great shakes either.
And that is the problem at the core: Somehow, your husband has become someone you don’t like. Someone you wish would go and play with someone else and give you some peace.
Instead of pushing him off on someone else, maybe you should think about who he was when you married him. What was appealing about him? What did you love? Why did you want to spend the rest of your life with him?
You remember that guy? Well, he’s now trapped on the couch with a video game controller stuck in his hand and Cheetos on his breath and he’s so deep in a rut he doesn’t know he’s even in one or how to get out.
Help him. It’s what any friend would do and you’re his wife for crying out loud. He does need a friend and you’re it. Go save him.