How many of you have had to drag your other halves along to a friend’s party or wedding using bribery, blackmail, guilt and all other forms of persuasion? How many of you have had to endure continuous grumbling in the car en route to a friend’s house only for it to stop temporarily whilst dinner is being served, after which your partner then promptly announces it’s time to leave? They call it an “eat and run” where I’m from. The Old Git is a serial offender but I’ve come to realise he’s not the only one. Apparently there are many of us with antisocial husbands/partners who would, quite simply, prefer to be at home, given the choice.
Most of the time it works quite well that the Old Git would rather sit at home watching YouTube or Match of the Day as it enables me to have an unrestricted, active social life. There are no babysitting issues to deal with or conflicting social diaries as the Old Git only has about four friends, one of whom is his brother. I used to think it was a bit unfortunate that this was the Old Git’s preferred pastime but I’ve concluded there are far worse things that he could be doing. We are essentially social opposites and he needs his downtime just as much as I need my ‘going out’ time. We know and accept this about each other.
However there are times when you would like your partner to accompany you to places. I remember early on in our marriage, I went to a few family weddings without the Old Git and word on the street was that we were getting divorced. It’s true. People assumed that the Old Git was absent because our marriage was in trouble, not because he simply had no interest in attending. Initially it did irritate me. I was annoyed at the gossipmongers for coming up with this nonsense and I was annoyed at the Old Git for putting me in this predicament. That being said, I soon realised that couples can easily put on a facade of marital bliss when things can be very different behind closed doors. Public attendance or appearance is no measure of marital happiness.
There are occasions when I will insist that the Old Git comes out with me. I normally base this decision on 1) babysitting availability, 2) the importance of the occasion, 3) the football fixtures (the Old Git won’t budge if his team are playing..big sigh) and 4) who else will be there. Recently we have attended lots of fortieth birthday parties together and it has been fun spending time with friends and seeing the Old Git drown in his attempts to make social chit chat. It’s particularly amusing to watch him when he is surrounded by other socially reserved partners and he is then forced to carry the conversation in the most awkward and excruciating way [evil laugh]. But I choose my occasions very carefully and try not to overburden the Old Git with my social demands. It’s no fun for either of us if he spends the entire night moaning about being dragged out and sometimes it’s just better to let him relax in his man cave.
To be fair, the Old Git isn’t the most antisocial of husbands I’ve ever seen. Once he’s out he will generally make an effort (although he has been known to disappear and sit in the car to listen to podcasts or football on occasion). What I have realised is that we all have our own outlets that help us to thrive. Some of us are social creatures that require regular social interaction and others prefer a quieter, more private existence. The two can happily coexist as long as we respect each other’s needs and differences and compromise when we need to. And just sometimes opposites do attract.