How do you spend time?
June 9, 2009 8:21 AM   Subscribe

How do you divide between spending time with your partner on the weekend and having the opportunity to pursue your own activities? The division we have doesn't work for me.

I have been with my boyfriend for three years. We live together. We both work full time.

He has a hobby/interest that he spends much of his spare time at the weekend on, often away from home for much of both Saturday and Sunday. I like that he has something he enjoys doing, but I feel like he doesn't make time to spend with me.

When he came home after a three day weekend recently and said "That was fantastic, every weekend should be like this one", I pointed out (in a joking tone) that he hadn't spent any of it with me.

His response was that 'my family things' have taken up lots of time this year and he has gone to those. We have gone to Christmas lunch, Easter brunch, a special birthday event for an older relative, and a Mother's Day/combined birthday event.

I asked him about two months ago to set aside some of each weekend to spend with me, because well, I would like to spend time together! He said he would try, but that really, weeknights suited him better and he would do things then. He said that the bad situation at his job (which he left 18 months ago) took a lot out of him, and he really wants to focus on doing something for himself.

I have since asked him to do things on weeknights, and he has said he is too tired (honestly, a lot of the time, I am too). He made an effort for a few weeks to spend time together on the weekend, but it left a bit of a sour taste. He would front up at the time he said he would be home and say "Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things.". This really didn't make me feel like he enjoyed or valued spending time with me.

Because he is out much of the weekend, I also end up doing the grocery shopping and a lot of the house cleaning alone. By the time he gets home on the weekend, he is often too tired to do anything (whether than is doing something together, doing something erm.. in bed, or catching up on the cleaning).

I have my own interests and friends, and do enjoy spending time alone also (reading, cooking, going for a walk, seeing films, browsing bookshops, volunteer work). I have lived overseas several times without many family or friends, and have enjoyed my own company and found entertainment (we don't live overseas now). I am really not sitting about in a tower ringing my hands and waiting for my knight to return. But when I am out and about, and see other people spending time with their loved ones, I feel a twinge that I would like that.

I sometimes spend some time on his interest (going out with him while he drives around to pick up things, or talking to him while doing something), but it really isn't something in which I can muster any further interest. He also professes that he would rather stay home and pursue his interest, than go on a holiday somewhere (which I have defined as broadly as "wherever he would like to go").

Any ideas on how to try tackling this issue again? Is this 'wake up and smell the coffee' territory?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
What's his interest? can you give us a hint? it may give some insight into the issue.
posted by teg4rvn at 8:36 AM on June 9, 2009

He doesn't want to spend time with you, doesn't help with household things, gripes about a few visits with your family, doesn't want to go on vacation, "wants to focus on himself", what does this guy want? These are things you do with your partner, and he doesn't want to do them. It sounds like he doesn't really want a partner, but he's glad to come home to a full fridge.
posted by amethysts at 8:38 AM on June 9, 2009 [44 favorites]

The effort used to spend time with each other seems seriously lopsided unless you are forgetting to mention his own efforts.

He said he would try, but that really, weeknights suited him better and he would do things then.

Seriously? This is what someone says to making a dentist appointment, not to a girlfriend wanting time together.

"Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things.".

Seriously??? That sounds so jerky I'm surprised you didn't answer, "Like what, finding a new girlfriend?"

Spending time with each other should be a priority, not something he does if there is nothing else to do and even then, subject to how interesting it sounds to him at the time. His hobbies should be scheduled AROUND your time together, not the other way around. Note, I'm not at all suggesting he give up his hobbies or give up yours, but clearly there is some serious prioritization issues having an effect on your relationship. He needs to step up and prove what's more important in his life.
posted by like_neon at 8:40 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is this 'wake up and smell the coffee' territory?

It is, at the very least, 'time to go to couples therapy' territory. From your description he is not putting a lot of thought, effort or respect into the relationship.

Because he is out much of the weekend, I also end up doing the grocery shopping and a lot of the house cleaning alone.

Also, stop doing this. Set aside a few hours on the weekend for chores and then you might as well make use of the other time and enjoy yourself. When he asks why he doesn't have clean socks, tell him you didn't have time to do it. Chores can be done on weeknights as well.

On preview:

"Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things.".

Yeah, seconding that this in particular is a jerk thing to say.
posted by mikepop at 8:42 AM on June 9, 2009

but he's glad to come home to a full fridge
And a clean house. It sounds like he's in a very selfish mode, and what you need to determine now is if this is a phase that he's going through, or if it's been an ongoing issue that you've only now started to notice and take offense to. Once you determine that, it's time to decide if you're willing to put up with it or not. I'd recommend a serious discussion with him, addressing how you feel, how he feels, and what things the both of you might be able to compromise on to come to an understanding. If he's not willing to compromise at all, it's time to reexamine whether or not you're willing to put up with it, and decide where to go from there.
posted by scarykarrey at 8:42 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

How other couples divide up their personal and together time is really irrelevant to your situation. The most important thing you wrote is "The division we have doesn't work for me."

If anything in the relationship "doesn't work for you" then you need to talk to him and explain what isn't working and why it isn't working. He can then choose to change things or not. You then choose to stay or leave. Definitely not easy, but fairly simple.

In this case, explain what the issues are and what kind of time together you need. He can agree to that amount of time, or negotiate with you for an intermediate amount, or ignore your needs and keep doing what he's doing. You then need to decide whether his response is acceptable and whether this is a make it or break it issue for your relationship.

Frankly, it sounds like he needs a wake-up call that the relationship is being neglected and he needs to man up and place his partner ahead of his hobby.
posted by pixlboi at 8:50 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Some couples function very well living "separate lives", and coming together when their time happens to intersect. This doesn't sound like you. You want to be with someone who makes you a priority. I agree with the previous commenter that it sounds like he's going through a selfish period. I also agree you need to determine if he is going to come out of it. Either way, you're giving a lot, but you're not getting what you need. And that's just not fair. Time to figure out what is good for you.
posted by Lieber Frau at 8:51 AM on June 9, 2009

I'm torn on this one. I'm a guy in a relationship, and I have some time-consuming interests. Therefore, I sympathize with his desire to do the non-relationship things that are important to him. On the other hand, it is unreasonable if you end up doing all the shopping and cleaning, and the "what have you got arranged?" comment was definitely rude.

You don't say much about what his time-consuming hobbies are, but it would be worth, I think, asking him to compromise and spend half the weekend on his stuff, and half on mutually-pleasing stuff. Usually, I do my time-consuming hobby on Saturday (my girlfriend sometimes tags along on the car ride, then works on her personal stuff while I'm doing my thing), and my girlfriend does her time-consuming hobby on Sunday ( I go work in a coffee shop while she does her thing). We get our talking time in transit, and usually in the evenings end up reading together/watching movies/talking more, which works for us. Sometimes we skip our hobbies if there's something we want to do together that takes more of the weekend. Maybe to a certain extent it is "fitting our relationship around our hobbies," but since we're both compromising a bit, it seems to be sustainable. I think it also helps that we're at least slightly interested in eachothers' hobbies -- she isn't interested in learning my hobby, but she enjoys some elements of it; I'm working to learn some of her skills so we can do her activity together in the future.

Are there any activities you have enjoyed together in the past? Maybe if you did plan something that's previously been mutually enjoyable to do together, he'd enjoy it and want to do more similar activities. As the previous posters have said, however, the behavior you're describing is extreme enough to seem very selfish and if he doesn't respond positively to polite hints, there might need to be a serious talk, or some couples therapy.
posted by Alterscape at 8:53 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have a huge project I work on in my spare time, I'm often too tired to tackle it on weeknights AND I see my boyfriend every weekend. He knows I need my time, and I try not to let my projects interfere with our time together. We sort of have a routine, and it seems to work. Basically, we chat online or talk on the phone every evening, no matter what. And I know that Saturday night/Sunday morning is the time to put my project aside. I still have most of Saturday and most of Sunday to myself. (I'm crossing my fingers as I say this just in case I'm totally wrong, and it's not actually working out at all. But it SEEMS to be fine.)

Now, it sounds like your boyfriend is being kind of selfish and a bit of a jerk... is it possible he feels a little threatened? I've been in relationships where someone felt uncomfortable with me having my own thing going on, and they'd try to make me feel guilty about it. My reaction was usually unpleasant, I'll admit. Maybe your boyfriend has been treated this way in the past, so he's instantly defensive regarding your perfectly reasonable request?

Also, what IS this interest of his? Is he working toward some particular goal or is it really that he'd rather spend time on an ongoing hobby than anything else?

All of the above aside, it really does sound like your boyfriend needs to work on his priorities, and you may want to consider if you're willing to fight for his attention long term. But as someone who can be pretty obsessed with personal projects while maintaining a job and a relationship, I still say there's hope.
posted by katillathehun at 8:56 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

What do you want to do together? If you just want him to stay home on the weekends and watch TV, go to Costco or do laundry then I can see why he's not into it, that would not be quality time for me either. Is he an outdoorsy person and you are not? Is he active and you hate hiking? Are you a stay in bed on Sunday type and he's up with the birds?

Try organizing something once or twice a week that you both like to do- catch a movie, meet for drinks after work, get a massage or play racquetball at the gym or whatever you're into. It's only quality time if one person isn't bored out of their mind.

And stop doing his chores, he's old enough to stock the fridge himself and wash his own socks.
posted by fshgrl at 8:58 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Most of the time relationship advice is to communicate with your partner. But you have (and quite reasonably - you haven't demanded he give up his hobby), and the response isn't want you want to hear. Listen to what he is saying, he doesn't want to spend time with you on the weekend, weeknights or on holiday. When someone tells you something, listen.

Is he going to change? Maybe, but don't count on it. If you are not content with the current situation then you need to change it because exept for you occasional conversation (which he may think of as nagging) he has no motivation to change a comfortable set up that is working for him. Did you have this problem before you moved in together? Perhaps living separately will force him to have to make time (and dates where he has to plan something) to see you.
posted by saucysault at 9:00 AM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]

Break it down to him straight up and simple:

"You know, there are men out there who won't mind spending some time with me on the weekends. In fact, they'd probably enjoy it. And yet, here I am, in a three year relationship with you, living together, feeling taken for granted, unloved, unwanted and alone. I've asked nicely, I've been patient, I've tried things and that's gotten me nowhere, not even sex. What the fuck are you going to do to fix your half of this problem?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:04 AM on June 9, 2009 [26 favorites]

You're not his girlfriend, you're his live-in domestic assistant.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:09 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

Regarding chores: At the very least and sit down with him on this issue cause it's totally not fair to you.

In my relationship generally I cook, he cleans the dishes. He washes clothes, I fold. That way we both have to haul our weight for us to have pleasant living conditions. What if you did the dishes together or cooked together? Those things have to be done anyway so maybe you can get some nice chat in that could lead to further activities in the evening ("My friend Sara said this movie is soo good." "Yeah? Want to rent it tonight?")
posted by like_neon at 9:11 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

You know, BB's comment above may not be the most helpful, but damn it sure would feel good to say. At least in my former situation.

In my opinion this is a coffee smelling moment. My ex often was proud of how little time we spent together and how we had such good seperate lives. When I begged for time together, I typically got the "What do you have planned?" comment. As if hanging out with me was not nearly enough to entice him to stick around.

Now I've got a new guy and he doesn't care what we do, he just wants to hang with me. Granted we don't spend every waking second together, but he enjoys wandering around Target with me, playing Madden or other video games, or just sitting on the porch yammering about random crap. The dude just likes to be around me. And it's novel and neat. And it shouldn't be. Your beloved should actually want to spend time around you, time-consuming hobby or not.
posted by teleri025 at 9:12 AM on June 9, 2009 [32 favorites]

Usually, a relationship is the first priority for people if they're interested in keeping it going long-term. Hobbies are excellent, alone-time is very valuable, but when it reaches the point of one person feeling neglected, some changes need to be done. (Going to family gatherings is NOT a replacement for a weekend alone together, as I'm sure you're aware.)

If he's unwilling to make some effort to meet you half-way, he doesn't sound worth your time. Spending every other weekend doing something with you, for example, should neither be hard nor an unappealing activity. If he doesn't want to, if he excuses himself more often than not, the only thing left to assume is that he needs someone to bap him upside the head and ask why he's in this relationship to begin with.

"I like her"? Nice reason, but you can like a painting too and leave it adorning your apartment. People require a lot more attention and interaction, and maybe he's just not relationship-savvy enough to understand that yet. Or maybe he likes the free ride you're practically providing.

So bap him upside the head. Wake him up, explain that you miss him and it's starting to bring you down more and more. Ask for at least a couple of guaranteed weekends together, or date nights, or something along those lines that you feel comfortable asking for (you're a better judge of what could work).

People are in a relationship because they want to be together, right? If he doesn't, then... not much of a relationship.
posted by Bakuun at 9:20 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's a lot of constraints on life, and it's hard to balance your job, side ambition, and relationship. You have to realize that you can't do everything. I've recently had to cut back on a hobby. It sucks, but other things were more important, like my relationship, a side career, and my job.

Your boyfriend has to accept that he has to cut back on or drop something. Unfortunately, he may prioritize his hobby and job over you. He's already done that in an unconscious or possibly weasely way. Maybe if he's forced to explicitly evaluate his priorities, he'll take the relationship off of the backburner. If he doesn't, at least you'll know where you stand, and you can both be free to get what you want.
posted by ignignokt at 9:21 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

What you've said doesn't bode well for the future of your relationship. You've tried to work things out, and he's just not cooperating. The only advice I can think of is for you to tell the guy if he doesn't start doing his share of the housekeeping and make time for you, you feel you have no option to leave. But who wants to threaten someone in order to get him to spend time with her? In any case, make it clear that you are seriously unhappy with how things are, and see if that has any effect. If not... you'll need to start packing.
posted by orange swan at 9:22 AM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]

Is this 'wake up and smell the coffee' territory?

The length of your question points to "yes."
posted by hpliferaft at 9:49 AM on June 9, 2009

"Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things."

This is something I say to people who I feel are wasting my time. Not that you are wasting his time, of course, but if he feels like you are... something is very wrong.

Remind him that everyone is busy, especially you, and that this is precisely why you want to spend time with him, because you don't get to very often due to both of your obligations. Make sure he knows how you feel and that you bring this up with him as a Capital-I Issue. Have a talk with him about this specific thing. If my girlfriend ever does this ("There's something I need to talk to you about...") I always make a point of addressing the issue, hopefully he will do the same. If not... you know what to do.

When you talk to him don't get accusatory and don't make it about his hobby. That will probably make him defensive. Make it about quality time, or a specific need of yours that you expected him to fulfill. Don't mix in other issues and stay as on topic as possible (the ultimate goal being figuring out a way to spend more quality time together).
posted by symbollocks at 9:56 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

I can relate to your boyfriend. I game a fair amount and my gf has no interest in joining us. (Have you tried participating on the weekends btw?). I feel like weekends are a good time to game. Problems emerge when I get invited to a game, see nothing on our calendar (my gf and I share a google calendar - it helps a lot), and go for the game. After playing she'll tell me it was supposed to be an us day just putzing around at home.

Anyway, what we've informally settled on is that one day of the weekend (friday included) is us time and another is other people time. The third day can vary, but usually ends up with both of us going to a party or something. This understanding seems to work for us.
posted by valadil at 10:09 AM on June 9, 2009

Imagine you weren't sleeping with this guy, and he was just your roommate. Would you put up with the fact that you are doing the chore-running and cooking and such while he spends the weekend on his hobby?

Now imagine that he's not your boyfriend, he's just your best friend. Would you tolerate comments like, "Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things" when you wanted to hang out?

This guy isn't a good friend OR a good roommate. What, exactly, are you getting out of this relationship?

My spouse and I both have our hobbies, and it does cause tension when I want to sit and knit or he wants to work out and the other one is bored. But we check with each other first if one of us wants to schedule large chunks of time doing something on a weekend. We make time for hobbies that we both enjoy. We do errands and chores together. What's the point of being in a relationship with someone who voluntarily doesn't spend any time with you?
posted by muddgirl at 10:20 AM on June 9, 2009 [8 favorites]

Some couples function very well living "separate lives", and coming together when their time happens to intersect. This doesn't sound like you. You want to be with someone who makes you a priority.

I think Lieber Frau's got it right there. There is no ideal amount of time that people in happy relationships spend together. Each one is unique and it takes as much as it takes. My dear boy's brother and sister in law are separate lives types. They just sort of casually orbit one another and that keeps them perfectly happy. They're baffled at the amount of intimate quality time the boy and I need. It's nourishing for us to just be around each other, doing special or mundane stuff. We like to say that our relationship is sort of like a delicate tropical plant that requires a fair bit of regular watering and pruning. If a period of time passes when we don't feel like we've seen each other enough we both get anxious and odd. That's just how it works for us.

The point is, you don't sound clingy or controlling to me, you just need what you need. It takes a lot of wisdom to see yourself clearly enough to know what you require to be happy. You deserve to get it, and he's either willing to do the work along with you or he isn't. You've been clear and communicative about your needs so far, so to me, it sounds like it's time to be as honest as you've been here. Let him know that the way things are going can't continue, and be willing to deal with the consequences of asking for what you need. He may not be willing or able to give it to you, but if you don't ask, you can be certain you'll never get it.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:01 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wow! You sound quite a bit like my wife. (Hi hon(?))

There are a few mature, well contemplated responses here like Alterscape and ignignokt.

What would your bf write if he were to post here unbeknownst to you? Would he say:

My gf is sucking the life out of me! We spend all week together and then when I need a little down time on the weekend she wants THAT time as well. I try to be nice and say that I need some time to myself understanding that this is a sensitive subject but one time it got too much. I blew my top and said, "Well, what do you have planned? I could be doing something else right now." This was after we spent the last four weekends with me tagging along doing her birthday, Mother's Day, Easter, other birthday stuff. And all the talking! Christ! I can't hear myself THINK! She "let me" have a three day weekend after that episode which I badly needed. Without that weekend I might have lost my mind. I love her dearly and she's great but she's driving me insane with her clingyness and desire to invade every aspect of my life.

I'm not saying he's right or that he's even justified in what he says and does. I'm just saying there's two sides to every story. We've heard only one.

My wife loves gardening. I just can't get into it. I'm on the computer a lot. She doesn't like that. We both read but I am totally comfortable spending the entire weekend with a fat book and writing my own stories while she would get cabin fever after about one hour of that. We both like outdoorsy stuff so we have that going for us. I'm into electronics and wood working. She's into interior decoration and landscaping. It never ends. We love to travel together (she's a fantastic traveler!) and we can work out together.

Alterscape basically has the right idea. I've given up an immense amount of my hobby/free time and so has my wife. What everyone on Earth needs is for the day to be about 40 hours long so we can get everything in but that ain't going to happen.

Can you get into his hobby? Can he get into something you like? Can you find some kind of common interest? That is your best bet for "together time." After that ask yourself, can you stand to be without him for a few hours or a day at a time? Can you alternate weekends between your stuff and his stuff? Again, common interests will lessen but not eliminate his need for his own "down time." And one last thing. . .

Energy. Can you both find something to do (preferably together) to boost your energy on weekdays? Working out is a great way to have more energy to do more stuff together on the weekdays (and you can workout together!). Opening up your weekdays will certainly help. And I think valadil's idea of a google calander is fantastic!
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 11:21 AM on June 9, 2009

Hobbies are great, spending time alone is great, developing individual interests is great; however, when someone is in a relationship participating in all of these activities, they should still enjoy spending time with their partner! What really strikes me about this (and upsets me) is that it's not just that he wants a lot of time for himself and his hobby, but that he doesn't seem to want to spend any time with you at all and when he does, he sounds resentful--like he's giving you some of his time as a favor. When one partner starts avoiding spending any time with the other and is resentful when they do, the end usually isn't far off. I don't want to be harsh, and only you know all the details, but you might consider how much you really want to be in this relationship. (My personal experience is that the absent partner will continue to take advantage of the giving partner until it ceases to be convenient or they find a better offer).
posted by Polychrome at 11:24 AM on June 9, 2009

Why is he even in a relationship if he doesn't want to spend time with his partner? It's awful to feel like you have to beg for scraps of attention from the person who's supposed to be your boyfriend - it damages your self-esteem and compromises your dignity. If he wanted to - if you were really a priority - he would make time for you, no matter how busy he was. You're worthy of that time. At some point you have to say, "Screw you buddy, I'm tired of waiting around for you. My time is just as valuable as yours, and I was offering it to you; if you don't want it, I'll go find someone who does."
posted by granted at 11:58 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to date a guy like your boyfriend. We were both really proud that we didn't have to hang out with each other 24/7, weren't joined at the hip, didn't see each other for 5 days at a time. Then after a series of events involving some really bad behavior on his part, it became abundantly clear that I merely annexed his life rather than enhancing it. I wasn't a partner or a mate, I was just a compartmentalized fraction that could easily be put aside when he was bored of me or needed to focus on work.

When I met the guy I'm currently dating and he was so eager and enthusiastic about just hanging out, I realized how naive I'd been to excuse anyone who was too lazy to incorporate me into a busy day. My current boyfriend will potter around my bedroom as I dry my hair, reading Metafilter on his blackberry, browsing my bookshelves for something to borrow. Lots of times we lie quietly on the bed reading side by side, and that's really nice too. We don't have to be Doing Things to have fun, and we've grown accustomed to nice quiet haze of just having someone next you whom you love and want to be near.

Maybe your boyfriend is just clueless, but your version of the story makes him sound familiarly selfish and dismissive. You deserve to be with someone who genuinely and unbegrudgingly jumps at the opportunity to spend time with you.
posted by zoomorphic at 12:38 PM on June 9, 2009 [8 favorites]

Can you get into his hobby?

She tried that: "I sometimes spend some time on his interest (going out with him while he drives around to pick up things, or talking to him while doing something), but it really isn't something in which I can muster any further interest."

Can he get into something you like?

She tried that: "He made an effort for a few weeks to spend time together on the weekend, but it left a bit of a sour taste. He would front up at the time he said he would be home and say "Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things."

After that ask yourself, can you stand to be without him for a few hours or a day at a time?

Yes, she's ok with that: "I have my own interests and friends, and do enjoy spending time alone also (reading, cooking, going for a walk, seeing films, browsing bookshops, volunteer work)."

OP, this situation is complete bullshit and I say that as someone who is a High Priest in the Church of "I Need Separate And Alone Time" . However one of the reasons that I'm in a relationship is that I like hanging out and spending time with this specific other person. It doesn't have be anything grand, it can be breakfast before we go our separate ways for the day, it could be lunch in the middle of our separate days. Sometime she'll want to go somewhere I'm really not thrilled about (please go, no more bluegrass festivals), but as I, you know, like her, I'll sometimes go, because I like spending time with her and that trumps whatever place we are.

It doesn't sound like you're asking for anything unreasonable, just a bit of time, help with chores and sex. Frankly, if you repeatedly gotta ask for those things and then get attitude, something is going wrong in the relationship and both of you, not just you, but both you need to either fix it or move on.

Sit him ass down and explain how you're feeling and why the relationship is at or getting to a crisis point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:41 PM on June 9, 2009 [7 favorites]

He would front up at the time he said he would be home and say "Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things.". This really didn't make me feel like he enjoyed or valued spending time with me.

I would break up with someone who said this to me, no questions asked. I know that I'm a vocal member of the DTMFA Patrol, and that you may find this over-the-top. But it is a literally in-credibly rude, dismissive, and disrespectful thing to say. I have said shitty things to people I loved, and people I loved have said shitty things to me, up to and including "fuck you." But never this or anything like it. I'd rather hear "fuck you" in an argument than "Well, what have you got arranged? I could be doing other things."

And I suspect you included that particular example in your distillation of this three-year relationship because it hurt you deeply and fucked with your self-esteem. I know it would have mine.

Seriously reconsider what benefit you gain from remaining with this man, what makes you happy, and what hurts you. He's not much of a partner, and I think you should say to him "We Need To Talk." If he's still resistant to meeting you halfway,or if he's being shitty about things when he does spend time with you, well - I think you know what to do.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:36 PM on June 9, 2009 [7 favorites]

I would break up with someone who said this to me, no questions asked.

Why? Summer is only so long and if it's a gorgeous weekend and someone wants you to stay home to fulfill some arbitrary 'quality time" quota they have for you why would you do that? I'd break up with someone who expected me to be do nothing all day just because they wanted me in sight for X number of hours. If you want him to stick around when he has other offers, make it fun. That's not unreasonable.

I'm surprised at the number of responses that sound like they were written by teenagers. Married couples or long term couples over the age of 21 with busy lives don't spend days just mooning around together, at least the ones I know don't nor do I. They get plenty of together time just living together, and maybe a few times a year they plan to spend a romantic weekend alone. If my SO followed me around all weekend with no other plan thatn to be close to me, it would drive me nuts.
posted by fshgrl at 1:48 PM on June 9, 2009

Sit him down and tell him that you don't feel like his girlfriend, you feel like his roommate. Then act like it. Take care of your laundry, your groceries, etc., but don't touch his. You're functionally single in this situation and while I'm not advocating cheating, you may as well otherwise act single, since that's what he's doing. Do whatever it is that you want to do...

... oh wait, what you want to do is spend time with a partner?

Then get one who wants to spend time with you. This one doesn't. Stop being passive-aggressive and lay it on the line.
posted by desjardins at 1:53 PM on June 9, 2009

If my SO followed me around all weekend with no other plan thatn to be close to me, it would drive me nuts.

I think you're misinterpreting the tone of most of these posts. Her boyfriend is not a bad person - he's just consistently not giving the OP what she needs. Why should she stay in a relationship that's clearly not satisfactory for her? Just as you'd leave a relationship that was unsatisfactory for you.

And there's no need to insult us folks who like lots of couples time just because you like lots of individual time. It's a matter of preference, no?
posted by muddgirl at 2:08 PM on June 9, 2009

Exactly what Muddgirl says. Both my SO and I are only children and completely get and encourage the alone time thing. That said, he actually wants to hang out with me and I want to hang out with him. Doing stupid boring things are more fun if he's around, it's just that simple. Most of the married couples I know over 21 or those in long term relationships do actually enjoy spending time with their beloveds. Heck, my best friend and her husband like to go on drives together. Just to ride around and hang out.

There's a vast difference between "mooning about" with someone and respectful companionship with someone you love. If you ask for your needs to be met (either by leaving you the frak alone or spending some time with you) and the response is as negative as anon's boyfriend has been....then it's time to walk.
posted by teleri025 at 2:19 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

You are not a priority to this man.

Notice that I did not say "THE priority". The poster recognizes and acknowledges that her partner should have other interests and that she does as well.

But when you are in a relationship, you need to feel that you are a priority. That if you needed that person, they would be there for you.

I hear you definitely saying, "I need x from you." And he is not giving x to you. It doesn't matter whatr x is--if he is not willing to even try to give you what you need, this relationship is in trouble.

So instead of suggesting, "We could take a holiday sometime anywhere you want," and risk having him waffle some more, try being definitive.

Say, "I want you to arrange our next vacation, over a long weekend next month. You pick the weekend, and you can decide where we go. But we need this weekend together."

And if he still says no, he's not really invested in the relationship but, as others have said, the convenience of having someone take care of him. And you deserve better than that.
posted by misha at 2:20 PM on June 9, 2009 [5 favorites]

Just to add yet another voice to the chorus: this sounds exactly like what I went through with my husband. My now-ex-husband.

I told him that I could not be the cruise director all the time. He told me that he was just an incredible introvert, and he didn't have anything in common with my friends. I told him that my friends were actively trying to make conversation with him about things he liked. He said he used his video games to unwind because he'd had a long day at his job, which he hated because it forced him to interact with people all day. I wondered over and over again why such a self-proclaimed introvert would willingly choose, and keep, a job like that.

His response, when I asked him to do more things with me, was, "Here's a video game you might like."

It got so bad that I wasn't even "allowed" into the bedroom, OUR BEDROOM, during most hours of the evening. We'd come home and he'd immediately get into his boxers or lounge pants, never to emerge again. Sometimes we'd eat together, but not typically; we had no table to eat on, nor even a couch, but it didn't matter that much because he rarely came out of the bedroom anyway and didn't care about any other part of our home. He didn't go into the living room for a month before our first wedding anniversary, due to a craft project I was working on (our wedding album). He never said a thing.

As a last-ditch effort, we moved into a new apartment. I told him I liked it when he passed by the living room -- my domain -- on his way to get a snack, as he wasn't able to wave hello to me when doing so in our previous place.

"Actually," he said, "I'd prefer less contact."

Meanwhile, everyone around us thought we were the closest couple ever because we ate lunch together every day. So it was a complete shock to the many, many people who knew us when we broke up. Not to us.

"Why should we stay together?" I asked.

"Because I love you," he said. Sure didn't feel like it.

He moved out three days later; we were commended on our amicability by the divorce judge, and we're now happily in long-term relationships with other people. And we're friends, more or less. But he's INSANE.

(And don't bother asking about the sex. It literally didn't exist.)
posted by Madamina at 9:00 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hey, we were living together four months in and married after a year and a half. I was young (23), but I still say that was enough time to think I knew what was going on. I didn't. He blamed much of his stress on my trouble finding a job a year in.

My point is that these situations can and do come up. It's how you deal with them that makes the difference -- particularly dealing with concerns as they come up and standing up for what you need, even though it's obviously hard to say, "Okay, am I really getting put down or am I just not compromising enough?" I'm much happier now, but you can bet I'm gun-shy.

Sounds like the OP could use a refresher on picking up the warning signs... and that she's getting it.
posted by Madamina at 8:52 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

(assuming the OP is a she)
posted by Madamina at 8:53 PM on June 10, 2009

He's being selfish and self indulgent. 18 months is a long enough period of time for this. It sounds like he's depressed and avoiding dealing with it. There's clearly some self destruction going on. What happened is that his 'bad job situation' gave him excuses at home to be selfish; and he's continuing such behavior.

A - There are things you like to do. (your hobbies)
B - There are things he likes to do. (his hobbies)
C - There are 'couple hobbies' (seeing films together, concerts, whatever joint interests you ahve.
D - Last, There are chores (shit that needs to get done.)

In a responsible relationship, a certain amount of D has to get done (together or separately.) There are some issues there...but, no matter what - it's part of having adult responsibilities.

It seems you have a perceptual problem: he sees 'C' as the time you sleep, eat, and 'whatever' together. So yes, some therapy, some communications is necessary. You clearly don't want to live like this (else you wouldn't be posting to metafilter.)

Ultimatiums are silly: they're about forcing someone to constrain or "ELSE YOU GET PUNISHED."
posted by filmgeek at 10:24 AM on June 11, 2009

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