Ask me out, please.
June 2, 2008 12:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for ways to inspire my spouse to ask me out.

I do all of the social planning in my relationship. This is OK most of the time. I began doing this from the start. I kind of made it my job and spouse followed along.

Now, after fifteen years of being together, I am longing for him to take the initiative and plan something. Even asking me to the movies would be nice. He used to ask me to the movies a lot more often, but sometimes I would say no. The reasons I said no were everything from exhaustion to not wanting to see another action flick.

It seems like he is not interested in doing much. I think if I didn't make plans or do the suggestion, we wouldn't do much. We don't do much as it is. We do go to the occasional movie and dinner out. Maybe once a month if we are lucky, usually a lot less. The last thing he planned was seeing a pro basketball game. I would like something more romantic. I have suggested several times that we get should have a little weekend getaway but he is not that receptive. He has been to places with his friends without me. To Las Vegas and golf trips and such. We have children, but we are not at a loss for babysitters. Both sets on in-laws are in town.

I want him to ask me out. I have told him how I feel, but I can only say it so much. Is this a marriage rut? I'm beginning to feel afraid that he doesn't want to spend that much time with me, although we do get along quite well at home and we always enjoy ourselves when we do go out.

Sometimes I feel too needy and it's making me feel uncomfortable. In the course of one day I can be searching for a bed and breakfast and concert tickets. . All the while asking him if he would like to do this or that, because I am dying to go someplace, just the two of us, even if it is an evening out. His only question is how much is it going to cost when it comes to concerts or hotels. He'll say something like, yeah, we could do something like that. But it's never concrete.

What can a person do to let her partner know that I need more attention and invitations to go places. If he initiates the plans he is always more enthusiastic, but how do I get him to initiate more? Is this possible? Any ideas, advice, or insight is much appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried asking him?
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:09 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

I can say something from the other side of this. For me, I always feel guilty when my wife tells me to plan something romantic, but at the same time, I feel like I can't do anything for a while. Otherwise it is just out of obligation, and it won't make her happy.

Being spontaneous works better for us, but we don't have kids yet to have to account for. Planning things is my problem, I hate it. I get really disappointed if it doesn't go well, or falls through, so i try not to plan too much.
posted by Amby72 at 1:12 PM on June 2, 2008

So you've gone to the trouble of researching places, figuring out the cost, and agreeing in principle that the venue/cost are ok. So why not take the last step of plunking down the money and then telling him that you're going? Take the "Yeah, we could do something like that" as buy-in. I'm sure that once he gets there it will be fine. This is what I do with my husband, he always seems kind of wishy-washy on vacations but once we show up it works out.

It could very well be possible that (a) your husband doesn't know to ask you out, and assumes you are ok with the planning since you have done so all these years and (b) even if he did know to ask you out, he has no idea of the kinds of things that you like since you never go out. So I say take him on outings (plural), try to have fun, and then once you have got into the "routine" of going out you can talk to him about "Honey, I like doing things like this. It would be great if you "surprised" me for my birthday/our anniversary/etc with a trip out, it would really mean a lot to me".
posted by crazycanuck at 1:18 PM on June 2, 2008

Share this article with him in a funny way, then ask him specifically to plan something.
posted by cior at 1:35 PM on June 2, 2008

I always feel guilty when my wife tells me to plan something romantic, but at the same time, I feel like I can't do anything for a while.

The only way it looks like it's out of obligation is if you do it that one time and then never again. As a spouse, if I made a request like that, what I would like in response is an immediate (or as soon as is convenient) asking-out, followed by mentions of ideas for further ones. That way I would know you're thinking about it and not just trying to get away with doing it the one time. Agreeing to do it and then not doing it would be so disappointing.
posted by boomchicka at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

My wife and I have occasionally dealt with this by taking turns. So we set up a regular date night and then rotate who gets/has to plan what we are doing that night. Whoever is in charge gets to pick the restaurant, the activity, etc.
posted by bove at 2:02 PM on June 2, 2008

First off, whenever your husband does something proactive along the planning front--packing or filling up the car or whatever--let him know that you appreciate it. Second, be positive about anything he plans. Even the basketball game. You don't want to squash his initiative. Aside from that, it sounds like you want a few different things, and perhaps this is confusing him and you.

- If what you really want is to go out together, you need to keep your eyes on the prize and enjoy the time out and the time together regardless of who made the plans. If you now resent making plans, stop doing it.

- If what you want is to be asked out, make it an easy way for him to give you gifts. What do you want for your birthday? I'd like you to plan an evening out for us. What do you want to do for mother's day? I'd like you to plan a date for the two of us. What do you want for our anniversary? Please plan a nice weekend for us. These requests take time to sink in, so don't slide into anger if he doesn't react right away. Remember, it's a request. Repeat with a smile and a conspiratorial wink and love. Cherish the things he does plan for you, whether or not they're what you would have planned. And let him know you appreciate the effort he put into it, no matter how big or small. Or formalize it: get a sitter one night a week and alternate who makes the plans. This sometimes works for us and builds the date-planning muscle.

- If you're more interested in going out period, with or without him, then start making plans for yourself. Don't be an asshole, but let him know by the way, that you're planning to do xyz next week. No resentment, no obligations, but also no invite. You're taking care of your social comfort level. Over time he may realize that if he wants a bit of your social time, he'll need to ask you for it.

- Last but not least, never underestimate the connection between feeling appreciated and feeling sexy. If/when your spouse does plan something, relish it. Revel in it. He loves you. He wants to date you. He wants to be with you. Remember that when you climb into bed.
posted by cocoagirl at 2:14 PM on June 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

Are you really, really willing to say yes if he plans an evening of dinner at Joe's Ribs-n-Cheese-n-Brews followed by a wrestling movie? Plan stuff you'll both like pretty well, make sure he's on board, book the tickets.

For your anniversary or other occasion, tell him straight out. "I need you to ask me out, to dinner, at a restaurant with candles and a wine list. It's important. It will be the best anniversary gift you could give me." Then, if you end up at Joe's Ribs-n-Cheese-n-Brews, and he plunks a candle on the table, praise and appreciate him. read this article.

If he's a good husband, and you like him, try to give up this quest. It's okay to be the one who makes the plans, and then insists that the other person be cheerful about joining in. and that way you don't have to go to action movies.
posted by theora55 at 2:16 PM on June 2, 2008

This is more than just you wanting to get out of the house. You want him to take care of you, to care about your needs, and to nurture your relationship in the same way that you feel you nurture your relationship. The fact that when he does plan things for you to do together it seems to be mostly about him and not about you (that's what I inferred from the sports games, but I could be wrong) makes you feel taken for granted.

Maybe he is not really processing the fact that you want to go out more because he doesn't see it as a serious issue -- seeing a movie here and going to dinner there might not seem that important. I think you should talk to him about both issues -- how wanting to go out with him more is a symptom of feeling like he is not paying loving attention to you in ways that he used to, and it hurts your feelings and is something you really miss. Hopefully he will see the whole picture and work to make things better. You might also ask him if there is something from your earlier relationship that he misses, too, and see if you can try to bring that back for him. Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 2:33 PM on June 2, 2008

Pick a day. On Wednesday, say "So, where are you taking me tomorrow night?" Keep doing this every week until, on a Wednesday in the distant future, he says, without prompting, "Tomorrow night we are going HERE."
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:38 PM on June 2, 2008

Pick a day. On Wednesday, say "So, where are you taking me tomorrow night?" Keep doing this every week until, on a Wednesday in the distant future, he says, without prompting, "Tomorrow night we are going HERE."

As a dude, that sounds a lot like nagging to me. I would avoid this approach (based on the article theora55 linked to above).
posted by mrnutty at 3:01 PM on June 2, 2008

You say "He used to ask me to the movies a lot more often."

What if you were to say to him, "You know, I was just thinking about how we used to go to the movies more. It made me feel so good when you asked me out like that - like even though we were married, you still wanted to ... you know ... go out with me. I love it when you think of me like that." It could be a way of raising your needs without immediately putting him on the defensive; it gives him an opportunity to say "Oh, well - yeah, me too. Um ... would you like to go to the movies this Friday?"

Alternatively ... how are you two at talking about your needs generally? Are you both good at being direct and listening to each other? It sounds like he has some concerns here (money is one you mentioned), and being able to really hear what his feelings are and give him an honest response (whether it's "a picnic in the park would be fine; I just love how it feels when you plan some special, romantic time together" or "yeah, I know money's kind of tight - but I feel like it's worth it to treat ourselves well once in a while") would keep the conversation going.
posted by kristi at 3:51 PM on June 2, 2008

Your hubby and I should go for some beers sometime; we have something in common. ;)

How about this (and maybe I should suggest something like this to my wife): Come up with a few things that you'd like to do. High level stuff, things like "a weekend away at a bed and breakfast" rather than "the concert on the 25th of the month." Put each one on a piece of paper, fold 'em up, throw them in a bag. He picks one at random, keeps the selection a secret, and goes off and figures things out.

Benefits: he gets to be all goal-oriented, and has some initial direction to get things moving. You get to have a nice surprise that is, hopefully, directed in a way that you're interested.

Pitfalls: He may not follow through. His selections may not be exactly what you wanted.
posted by lowlife at 3:56 PM on June 2, 2008

Here's my take: You're not asking for advice about getting your husband to ask you out. You're asking a question about getting your marriage out of a rut. You know it's in a rut, and you're hoping that solving this issue will be an important step in fixing it, but I think you know that his pathetic planning is a symptom, not something standing alone that needs to be fixed. You also sound like you've got potential -- 15 years together, kids together, the ability to have a good time when you do go out. So the fact that you've identified the rut doesn't mean you need to seek out a divorce lawyer or a pool boy to get some on the side.

I'm no good at advising you on what to do with a marriage in a rut. But I'd guess that the typical advice is relevant, like get counseling, buy those books about getting out of ruts, wear lingerie -- hell, I don't know. But I think that if you work on the actual problem, not the symptom, you'll get better results.
posted by Capri at 4:15 PM on June 2, 2008

Pick a day. On Wednesday, say "So, where are you taking me tomorrow night?" Keep doing this every week until, on a Wednesday in the distant future, he says, without prompting, "Tomorrow night we are going HERE."

Two problems with this. One, if he's more intelligent than, say, a dog, he's going to feel like you think he is a dog to be trained.

Two, if it does begin to work, you will have the pleasure of knowing that you trained him like a dog and now he's acting based on that, rather than any desire of his own to do something together.

You'd know how to handle this better than me, since you know him, but can you draw him into a discussion (calm, non-nagging) about the different things you'd like to do and how you'd love to be asked by him? Then, the first time he does it, compliment him like crazy. You'd be surprised how well guys respond to that. Being trained like a dog is not so bad if you do it that way....
posted by greenmagnet at 7:06 PM on June 2, 2008

Men are really easy if you know what to do.

You cannot inspire your spouse. He does not understand exactly what you are asking for. I suggest that you directly tell him exactly what you want, such as the following:

Honey, it is important to me that you understand that I really enjoy it when you ask me out. I really like it when you do that.

Here's what I would like--I'd like you to remember very much that I like this--and what I want is for you to wait until one day a nice thought of me comes through your head. When that happens, book the tickets and the room, buy flowers and suprise me in person with the print out of the tickets and a link to the nice hotel we will be staying in. Don't do it tomorrow or in the next two weeks, but really wait until you have that nice feeling and then do it.

I know you care for me and I wanted you to know the things that make me feel really good.

When he does do this, conspicuously reward him for his behavior. Even if he doesn't get it right, don't criticize, but value what he has done for you. He will like this and respond by trying to do it even better to get even more praise.

Give up the hope for him to read your mind and you will get everything. Eventually he will start suprising you in ways you didn't even think about.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:46 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Along the lines of what cocoagirl said, I think you need to stoke up his confidence and motivation. This means developing a habit of showing appreciation for things that he does, and especially those things that involve some initiative. Be very sparing with negative feedback and complaints - remember that you want him to want to take you out, and this not going to happen if you're constantly finding fault with his efforts.
posted by tomcooke at 1:48 AM on June 3, 2008

I think Ironmouth has the best answer in this thread. You say you have spoken to him about this, but have you directly told him exactly what you want/need? I mean direct as in sit him down and say "I would like it if you would plan a night out for us i.e. make a reservation at a nice restaurant, plan a fun activity that we BOTH can enjoy and ask me out on a date. It would really mean so much to me if you did this once in a while." Women pick up on non-verbal cues much better than men do which is why you need to be direct and honest with him. Your spouse may or may not fully understand why it's such a big deal to you but the fact that you have said that this is very important to you hopefully should be enough of a reason to do it. And as other people have said, appreciate when he is making an effort. Say he gets you flowers, but instead of the big expensive bouquet of tulips from the designer flower shop he gets you the grocery-store carnations. He is trying - give him credit for this.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2008

« Older Doesn't this defeat the purpose of a primary?   |   Should I rent an apartment with electric baseboard... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.