Supporting your spouse but not their hobbies.
Q: My husband and I have been together for eight years, and not once in all that time has he ever expressed an interest in performing. Then last year took a few Improv classes, and now he’s been invited to do shows with them. Athena, many of these theaters are hours away – which basically kills our weekend. I’m trying to be supportive but improv comedy sucks and I want my husband back. Would it be wrong to issue an ultimatum?
Athena will not tell you whether you should end a relationship or not. That is your call. But, I do have an opinion about how you are reacting to the changes that your husband is going through.
It doesn’t sound like there’s been a fundamental change in who he is as a person, or how he views your marriage vows. Looks like the guy’s just found his bliss. And it sounds like he’s really good at this, too, and is making people laugh and spreading joy. I’m wondering if there’s a way for you to celebrate that.
Now, I’m not asking you to love Improv comedy. But surely the love you have for your husband includes feeling happy for him, when he’s successful. Find a way to support him.
What if you make his Improv weekends a romantic getaway or other adventure? You can plan something wonderful to do while he performs – shop, take a class, visit a spa or salon — and be there to congratulate him at curtain call. Maybe have beers with his castmates, get to know these people he’s spending so much time with, you might be surprised to enjoy their company off stage.
Or you can also use this time to stay home, travel, or hang with friends. Or even discover your own new hobby. The trick is to focus on the positive while watching out for those little stabs of resentment that might still be building, underneath. Because it is wonderful that you love your husband and want him back. You need to be careful not to fill his absence with things to distract you from feeling abandoned.
Sit down with your husband and talk this all out with him lovingly and supportively. Discuss ways to better spend time together during his weekend performances, if possible. Make a “trial plan” for the near future, that you can adjust as needed to ensure both your needs are met as fairly as possible.
Don’t do what you don’t want to do. Don’t force yourself to watch Improv. Find your joy and grow together with your husband.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you just can’t seem to get your head around this issue, please go ahead and seek a professional’s objective input. Therapy today can be a practical tool for any relationship.
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