My husband and I are at impasse (relationship-wise)

I don’t see a way for this to be resolved except for him changing his ways. We’ve both looked, and neither of us do.

Childless by choice.

Yup. Agreed.

I don’t mean this in a snarky way, but that sounds kind of Stepford Wife to me. “The amount of time he allows”? Who died and made him boss of this partnership? Maybe that is what this whole issue is about - my feeling of loss of power and control in our relationship.

Er… but it’s not “Stepfordian” for him to give up a 19-year passion for you?

You married a baseball coach and now you’re complaining that you actually married a baseball coach. You claim that it’s impossible for you to change, that doing so is Stepfordian and therefore demeaning, but demand the same Stepfordian behaviors on his part?

I guess somebody died and made you boss of the relationship. Apparently you forgot to tell your husband.

There have been plenty ways offered in this thread. If you can’t see them then you’re closing your eyes to alternatives. You asked whether his behavior was unreasonable, and many of us have said no, it isn’t. Were you really looking for an honest, objective point of view or did you just want a chorus of, “Make him stop!”

I think what you need to look at here is what is at the heart of the issue: Why do you feel it’s too much? Once you determine why you’re feeling that way you can address the real problem. Is it loneliness? Is it that things aren’t getting done around the house? Do you feel you don’t have enough quality time with him? Or do you just want to punish him for having any interest outside of you that takes up his time?

I think you need to take a cold hard look at your own motivations in this. It can be difficult when one partner has interests that take up a great deal of their time, but it’s not like he sprung this on your or kept it a secret. You knew what he was and what he cared about when you married him. I don’t think it’s fair to say the only way to solve this is to make him choose between you and coaching. He might choose you in the short term, but over time he will come to resent you for it.

(walking on tippy toes, you rock featherlou, I enjoy the heck out of your posts)

ahem. Yeah, the wording was sketchy, but yeah, the time he allows. The time he is available to you. You sound really, really bitter about this, which to me, means that it’s been simmering for a long time. In which case, you are ready to rumble. He’s gonna lose.

My husband requires that I be here. I don’t have to be awake, nice, interested, engaging, cooking, cleaning, but I need to be here probably a higher portion of time than some others would require. Now, I don’t really have any hobbies that take me out of the house, and when I did, he was certainly ok with it. It’s just his preference, not his mandate. Now, I don’[t particularly care if he is here. If he was in the military, or travelled for his job, I would be ok with it. I don’t need as much closeness as he does.

You may as well be a military wife. That is a lot of time away. To him, his answer to you was correct, he won’t let it interfere with the relationship, because it doesn’t interfere with what he needs from the relationship. I doubt you were specific in saying “you must be home 4-6 days a week.”

You are being offered some very good advice in this thread. Take a walk around the block, listen to your favorite song, then come back. One of the suckiest things about the SDMB is that usually, to our chagrin, they can be painfully accurate.

Good luck to you.

and say that you are somewhere around year 7 or 8 of this relationship (however long you have been actually married). Something Always Seems to Happen around year 7 or 8, it seems to me, and it’s often more or less the same Something. Something, that is, to do with “is this forever, really?” or “is this it?”. Or something like that.

Or possibly it’s because we figure out that the long simmering annoyance really isn’t going to just up and disappear. In any event, if it’s at all comforting, some part of this may just be a normal cycle.

Of course, adolescence is also part of a normal cycle which does not make it any less a pain in the butt for various parties involved.

I am now going to scare the slop out of people younger than I am (or less, um, practical) but I have to say it isn’t all bad to have a regular hobby horse to jump on when you are annoyed. It beats the heck out of having to be pissed off about something new every time. Especially if your spouse is creative in this area.

Because respectfully it sounds to me very much as though his time away is serving as a hobby horse – or Aspect if you prefer, I just like hobby horse in relation to my own life – for something else. Something possiblymaybeperhaps in the area of feeling powerless or even feeling taken for granted? Maybe?

In any event, this is just musing. If I were actually trying to work it out, accepting entirely the terms in which you are now discussing the matter and the framework in which you are presenting it, I would simply trade off half years: during the six months of baseball season he would get to be King of Time Spent Together (or not) with my hearty and cheerful support; and during the six months of off season, I would get to be Queen of Time Spent Together and I would expect the reverse to be true. About two years of that and I expect both of us would temper the terms of our, ahem, rule. But this is based on me and my Dearly Beloved and how we operate as a pair. Your mileage may vary.

Featherlou, honey, that’s tough.

So your husband has a full job besides coaching baseball, right? So, how many hours on a typical weekday he spends working and coaching, and how many are left at home, not sleeping?

Is your husband coaching kids, or men?

He’s not the boss of the partnership, but he’s the boss of himself. If coaching is for your husband what teaching is for me, he can’t give it up. It’s where he is making a difference in the world. It’s where what he does matters. It’s his validation. And part of the reason he’s the man you love is because of all that–it makes him into who he is. It’s like asking an artist to give up their art: even if they want to, it just won’t work, and you wouldn’t have married him in the first place if he wasn’t that passionate guy, if, when you met him, those 4-6 days a week had been spent in front of the television instead.

I just can’t believe there isn’t a compromise here. This was wise:

Figure out what you really want, and figure out a way to get it. If it’s chores not getting done, hire somebody or reapportion things so that a year’s worth gets done in the six months he’s avalible, and make it clear that he needs to keep doing some routine stuff, even if it means getting up early to do what he couldn’t do the night before because of baseball. If you miss him, in the specific, both of you rearrange your schedules/do what has to be done to see each other regularly. If you are lonely and bored, get some hobbies or some friends. Is there any way he could reduce his workload at his “real” job during the season, you move around your schedule so that you have Mondays together or something?

Another thing to consider: if he is prone to great single-minded passions, another one will replace this one.

Lastly–if I gave up teaching–the thing that makes me proud of myself–I suspect my husband would not like me after a while, because I would get much, much needier/more clingy. Teaching is an engine that drives me. I am a much, much better wife because I just enjoy my husband–and god do I enjoy him–I don’t need him.

My BIL work for the NFL. This means that he is working seven days a week, 15-18 hours a day for six months of the year. The rest of the year he works seven days a week for only 8 hours a day. He’s also a father and a husband, which means that his wife is essentially a single mother of four for half the year. And it has caused tremendous stress in the family. She’s been addicted to prescription medicine for over two years, she’s clinically depressed, and I suspect she’s cheated on him. She needs more attention from her than he can give. And that is a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand, one of my best friends has a husband who runs a satellite office in Cleveland. All year long, he leaves on Monday and returns on Friday, leaving her to run the house and raise the kids by herself. Their relationship doesn’t seem to suffer at all because she’s got her kids, her friends, her job, her tennis, her scrapbooking, etc. She doesn’t need his attention like another woman might. So it works.

What it boils down to featherlou, is how much attention do you really need in order to be happy? There’s no right or wrong answer here because everyone is different. I do know that as long as you view the baseball thing with hostility, your relationship will suffer. Either he gives up something he loves and ends up resenting you or he’ll continue coaching and you’ll resent him.

I can definitely understand your impasse here. Looks like you have some soul searching to do.

Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I am quite bitter and resentful about this issue, and it might seem like I’m not listening, but I really am trying to be objective.

Some of the suggestions raised:

  • that he become assistant coach - he already is one of many assistant coaches. He coaches 14-19 year olds at high-level baseball (kids go from his league to baseball scholarships or even the major leagues.) I am proud of his coaching; he’s very good at it.

  • that he coach less - we discussed this, and he said he doesn’t want to be one of those coaches who doesn’t show up much, and the other coaches wonder why he even bothers to call himself a coach.

  • do baseball stuff with him - I’m just not that interested in baseball.

  • hire someone to do his house stuff - we can’t afford that. We’re deeply in debt already.

  • me get involved in hobbies so I don’t miss him so much - I will think about this some more, but having both of us really busy so the cats don’t get attention and the house isn’t being looked after and we’re both too busy for the other really doesn’t sound like a recipe for a healthy relationship to me.

  • date night twice a month - interesting idea. He does take time off for family events (birthdays, etc.); it didn’t occur to me to schedule time for general hanging around with each other stuff, but maybe that’s what needs to be done.

Looking back at the thread, people have asked what this is really about. I think it about me being taken for granted (any other women ever felt that? :smiley: ) I still don’t understand how that is supposed to go - I look after Jim, and I’m glad to do it, but who looks after me? (That’s a serious question, by the way. The Dr. Phils of the world are always saying stuff like that, but I truly don’t get how me looking after my husband gets me looked after.)

Damn, when people say having a healthy relationship is hard, they ain’t kidding. Jim and I love each other about as much as any couple I know, we talk all the time, we respect each other, we communicate, and we’re still having trouble with this.

And, the ads are about blimps. Thanks, ads. I needed a little absurdity right about now.

Has he ever explicitly asked you to look after him, though? Perhaps you feel you should be recognized for this effort, but if it’s something he never asked you to do I can see how you might feel resentful. The fact is though, you’re the only one that will ever really be able to take care of you, and he should take care of himself. You’re not his mother. I think you guys both need to sit down and go into great detail about your expectations in this relationship, because it doesn’t sound like you really match up yet. Until you both understand what the other is looking for out of the relationship, you’re going to keep assigning motives to the other person’s behaviors that just may or may not be true. To you, his being away from home is a bad thing and says he doesn’t love you. To him, it’s a personally fulfilling activity that shapes who he is. If you attack the time he’s spending out coaching, you’re attacking a part of who he is personally.

You should be able to each function as fulfilled, indpendent people and instead of looking after each other, simply enjoy being with one another. None of us will ever find a single person that can fulfill all of our needs, and it’s a very heavy burden to place upon someone else. I would never expect my partner to provide my happiness, but I can say that I’m incredibly happy that I get to share my life with him. So I guess the question becomes, are you trying to shape him into the person you think will make you happy, or are you willing to learn how to be happy with the person he is?

Again, do you want the man that isn’t doing anything he’s good at?

If he is teaching club ball, surely he gets paid SOMETHING–can you afford losing that?

I think it’s worth trying. You may find that the time you have together is much more rewarding when you are in a more amused, passionate phase overall. And if you still hate it, you haven’t lost anything. And a messy house six months a year isn’t the end of the world.

Again, worth trying. And it doesn’t have to be big fancy dates. My husband and I have TV shows we watch together–one or two a season. That thirty minutes on the couch together can be crammed in anywhere, but it feels companionate and makes sure we do’t forget each other when I am so busy with school stuff.

What do you mean by ‘looks after’? Do you mean “keeps house” or “emotionally comforts” or “amuses”? I will say this–you have to give in a relationship because you enjoy the giving, not in hopes of a return, If you don’t enjoy the giving, then even if you get the return, it won’t be enough. “Look after” him only to the point that it’s a pleasure, and then stop. If that’s not enough for him, then you don’t match.

One thing that might help–is this something you are willing to leave over? If this doesn’t change at all, if it stays exactly this bad, will you go? You don’t have to tell him the answer to this, but you need to know it in your heart, as it will change how you deal with things. If you will leave if this doesn’t get fixed, don’t be afraid to take huge risks to fix it–since if it isn’t fixed, it’s doomed anyway.

This is way out of left field (heh, sorry, couldn’t help it) but if you decide that pursuing a hobby or interest of your own is a good idea, there is one sports-related thing I enjoy doing. I tutor student athletes at the university level. The university tutoring center coordinates it, hours are really flexible, and it pays. If you are smart enough to be a Doper, you could probably tutor something.

But sharing your life with him means literally sharing time together. A baseball committment that equals a full-time job in addition to his day job leaves precious little time to share with his wife, no?

Yeah, exactly.

I disagree with most of the posters here, because I think it is unreasonable for a married person to be gone almost all the time for six months at a stretch. If he were a deep-sea fisherman or something, then it would be fair to say that you knew what you were getting into when you married him. But the idea that a guy spends far more time on his hobby than he does with his family, and that that’s okay and something you just have to accept, really strikes me as strange. I have no doubt that some couples exist in which both members are very, very busy people and are happy that way, but that’s a very small number of them, and this is the kind of time commitment that the great majority of relationships couldn’t possibly survive.

If he’s really, really committed to this, you can’t stop him. But frankly, in my opinion, it’s simply unreasonable for him to completely leave you alone four to six nights a week while he engages in a hobby. That’s simply incompatible with being in a relationship, except with some very exceptional couples.

That said, I couldn’t even guess how you could go about fixing this situation.

Right. Because he’s basically leaving her single for six months out of the year. That is a problem in and of itself, and expecting a relationship to continue when the two members hardly see each other is unreasonable.

The idea that featherlou should just go find something else to do to fill the time because she’s hardly seeing her husband at all is just absolutely bizarre, in my opinion. I find it completely incomprehensible that people here are suggesting that she should just basically make peace with barely seeing her husband for six months at a stretch. Unless your relationship exists for tax purposes, it’s supposed to be built on some degree of, you know, togetherness. featherlou, there’s absolutely nothing unreasonable about expecting that in a relationship.

Nope. Not when it involves leaving his wife alone for half the year. When it comes down to it, these two things - his baseball coaching and his marriage - are simply not compatible. If he can’t reduce his commitment to coaching, then he needs to decide which is the higher priority to him, and his marriage ought to be what he picks.

It is perfectly reasonable for a wife to want to see her husband more than at breakfast. That’s not a sign of being clingy or possessive or anything else - it’s a sign of being in a relationship with someone.

Unfortunately, none of them are reasonable. Especially not “find something else to do so you don’t stop and think about the fact that you barely remember what your husband looks like.”

Possibly because he’s gone four to six days a week for six months at a stretch. My guess is that’s why.

Outside of our modern-day mantra of “I’m okay, you’re okay, everything’s okay so long as no one makes waves”, it would be pretty obvious that a husband and wife hardly seeing each other constitutes a serious problem. His desire to pursue a hobby that necessitates being gone the great majority of the time for six months a year is a problem in itself. The problem is not something to do with featherlou. There’s nothing unreasonable in the slightest about expecting to see your husband.

Yeah, featherlou! Stop making waves! If you complain about your husband, it means there’s something wrong with you! Because it’s unreasonable to expect to have him around at dinner four or five nights a week!

featherlou, it’s certainly true that some couples could manage this and work perfectly. But those couples are unusual. It’s perfectly normal and eminently reasonable to want to see your husband more than you can with him so committed to his hobby.

It’s also fair to say that he should do what he feels passionate about. But if there’s no way for him to be involved in baseball without this level of commitment, then he has to choose between it and you. Encouraging featherlou to simply be unhappy in her marriage is every bit as unreasonable as encouraging her husband to give up something he loves. Whether or not other people could manage in this kind of relationship, featherlou can’t, and that’s not the result of something wrong with her as XJETGIRLX snarkily implied above. And you don’t owe it to your husband to be unhappy so he can pursue his hobby.

It’s a tough question. If there’s other things you could do - like screw around with your schedules so you can see each other at least a little more while he’s coaching, or if he could somehow compromise by finding a way to be involved without giving up quite so much of his life - you guys ought to pursue that. But if you’re not happy being apart from your husband that much, that’s perfectly normal and reasonable, and finding hobbies to fill your time is unlikely to fix that. This is a real problem, and I don’t envy you trying to find a solution.

Nineteen years is not a hobby, it’s a calling. This isn’t marrying a deep-sea fisherman, it’s marrying a minister. If that isn’t what she wants, fine, but he’s not a bad person or an asshole for having a calling.

Why not at least try it before throwing a relationship away? My relationship doesn’t just “survive” the fact that I am gone a lot, it’s much, much stronger because I am gone a lot–I am a more interesting, passionate person becuase of my time commitments. I bring more to the relationship. It’s worth a shot.

Why ought it be? I am dead serious here. If he has to chose (which I think can be avoided), he ought to chose the one he values more. If that’s his wife, great. But staying in a marriage ought to always be a free choice, not an obligation.

Break up. He’ll be miserable if he quits and she’ll be miserable if he doesn’t. What else is there?

As much as I hate to agree to this, my life-experience would say the same.

A rare person could work it out. I don’t think you’re that person.

Excalibre, I’ve not said a single thing in this thread that was intended to be snarky, and I would disagree and say that many of the alternatives offered here in this thread are incredibly reasonable solutions.

There are no hard and fast rules for how much time couples have to spend together in order to uphold their marriage vows. That’s the crazy thing about marriage, it’s all about what works for the people involved. Obviously this isn’t working for featherlou, but it’s not necessarily because her husband is being unreasonable. What may be unreasonable is her expectation of together time. On the other hand, it may not be but the point is there is absolutely no way for anyone involved in the situation to gauge that until she and her husband sit down and figure out what they expect out of the relationship. They are the only ones who can define what is reasonable in this case.

It’s not like he sprung this on her, and it’s not like she didn’t know what she was walking into. It is, however, a little unreasonable for her to ask him to stop altogether after all these years, though.

We can’t change others, but we can change the way we react to them. If featherlou is unhappy, she can try and try and try to change her husband and his behavior, but I’d be willing to bet she will still be unhappy. What she can change, however, is the way she chooses to deal with the situation. Whether it’s finding something she enjoys to take up the time, or simply changing the way she looks at the situation. The results are much more likely to be a success than trying to live with a husband who resents you.