Expert Author Susan Leigh
Sometimes we may be faced with a difficult situation with our partner. He or she may be becoming increasingly anti-social, refuse to mix and meet with our friends or family. We may try to be supportive and understanding for a time but eventually become more and more frustrated with the situation. It can be hard to know what to do, how to handle times like this, especially if we're a sociable person and love using free time to catch up with family and friends.
Let's look at some considerations when dealing with an anti-social partner:
- At first try to explore the reasons behind his or her behaviour. Could he be depressed or struggling with stress; might there be a problem that you're unaware of? Sometimes people retreat into themselves and become increasingly isolated when they feel out of their depth. The thought of being sociable, chatting and laughing animatedly with others can fill them with dread. Pay attention to his behaviour generally and look for clues. Is he sleeping okay, how is his appetite, temper, sense of humour, libido? Changes in any of these areas can signify that there is more to this than him simply feeling anti-social. He may need to consider seeing the family doctor or undergoing counselling or stress management therapy.
- Incorporate activities into your free time and holiday periods that he feels are of value. Some people feel that free time should be used for 'worthwhile' activities like tackling outstanding chores. Agree to spend half a day in the garden or tidying the garage. Then you can both feel that you've earned the lunch at a country pub or going to see a film.
- If there is a backlog of chores that are getting him down might it be worthwhile hiring someone else to help? If you can afford it, it can make sense to pay someone to do the cleaning, ironing, decorating so that you can spend time together relaxing and having fun. When a couple spend all their time working they can lose sight of the friendship side of their relationship and life can become a little humdrum. Remind each other of what is important and commit to enjoying each other's company.
- Could there be other reasons for his attitude towards your friends and family? If he feels uncomfortable with them might there be a valid reason for his feeling that way? Ask the question and then wait for him to answer. There's no point in second guessing his point of view. He may not like your behaviour when you're with them or their attitudes and idea of fun. Give him the opportunity to verbalize his feelings. Then you can discuss what options you both have for the way forward.
- Some people hold very different views as to the best way to spend their free time. For these people there can be two equally valid options to resolve this dilemma. One is to alternate what you do, each taking turns to decide and then agree to participate together. This can bring new experiences into both your lives. The other is to spend some free time apart, each doing your own thing, and then meet up later to share the news about the day's different stories and adventures. Whatever works best is the most appropriate decision for you.
For some couples there may need to be a more serious decision taken about the relationship. Sometimes in life we may have to consider a new start, especially if becomes apparent that we hold completely different views, values and opinions about the way our lives should be spent. Individual or relationship counselling can be an important step in understanding ourselves and each other better, and this may lead to exploring compromises and a way forward.
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