I am feeling really bored in my relationship with my husband of 27 years. I keep wondering what it would be like not to be married. Although he is basically a good guy, he hates socializing, dislikes people in general, and wants to just stay home with me all the time. He encourages me to go out with friends, and I do at times, but he really doesn’t like to have anyone over. He is also very limited in what he likes to eat. He is a very plain vegetarian and hates most exotic food, which I like. Other than these things, he gets upset when I talk about real issues in our relationship, like sexual problems, or the fact that I need more romance from him. He becomes defensive. He claims I am just complaining, and not satisfied with him, and that I seem to want someone else besides him. He would be happy living alone in the woods, or just with me. I need more of a network and connection with people. I know I can’t change him, but I am anxious much of the time and feel trapped a lot. I feel he should be willing to socialize some of the time in order to make me happy. I would like the idea of having a husband who cares about other people, cares about getting together with others sometimes, but other than a few dinners a year with close friends, it isn’t going to happen. Also he is somewhat obsessive compulsive, needs a lot of order in his life, and although I am not a slob, he claims I am one, even if I leave a few stray hairs in the bathtub, he comments on this. He tends to think he is not unusual. I am offended by his comments about making sure everything is in its “right” place, when I leave something out on the counter for a little while. I feel he doesn’t care about my feelings. Any suggestions ??
A: You’ve put up with this for 27 years. I wonder what has changed. Perhaps kids have grown and gone so your differences have become more obvious or more troublesome. Perhaps you are just plain tired of asking for more from your husband and being put off. You’re right, of course. You’re not going to change your husband. He doesn’t see the need for change because he is essentially happy with things as they are. You are now in your 50’s. The difficult question you need to confront is whether your life will really be better if you get a divorce. You may find another partner who is more compatible but you may not. Are you happy enough in your own company that the possibility of being alone is better than staying in your marriage? If so, it might be worth it to separate and reinvent yourself. Another option is to stop focussing on what your husband won’t do and start putting your energy into doing more to develop your own interests within the relationship. Your husband doesn’t seem to mind if you spend time with friends and go out without him. Take him up on it. Join a gourmet club. Travel with friends. Enjoy the few times a year he is willing to entertain but also seek out new experiences and enjoy new things. It’s possible that once you take the pressure off him, your husband may even begin to be interested. If he isn’t, you will at least be satisfying some of your need for variety and socializing. You can just ignore his comments about order. There’s no need to be offended. After 27 years, he knows he can’t change you any more than you can change him. He’s just letting you know that from his point of view, you aren’t perfect either.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Feb 2007
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). I am bored with my husband.. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 1, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/02/18/boredom-in-marriage/