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so what are you supposed to do when your middle-aged DH starts an obsessive interest in a hobbie?

(55 Posts)
Roundnroundnround Tue 25-Oct-16 00:10:55

DH eats, sleeps and breathes a sport. He cannot seem to talk or think about anything else. If he's ever texting, it's about the sport, ruminating over a game he has played or watched, or even scenarios his fellow sport fans send to him about their own games or games they watched. If he can't play it himself, he watches it on television. If he has to sleep, he watches it on his phone in bed with earphones in, in the early hours of the morning, the phone lighting up the room while I'm trying to sleep.

It's all he texts me about when he is out of the house. That he played the game, he won or he lost. How he feels about it. What everyone else who is there thinks. That he watched a game, somebody won and somebody lost. He's happy or he's sad depending on who he likes and whether he thinks it was fair.

When he's in the house, he talks AT me about the sport. Philosophical conversations we have as a couple get shunted on to an example involving the sport, then once we are safely back on sport territory, he continues on it.

When we're out with friends, he drags conversations - kicking and screaming - on to his sport. People indulge him for a while, but when it seems he wants to carry on, they make excuses to leave or start a new conversation (actually talk over him.)

I have tried to take a small bit of interest, hoping that will encourage him to feel his interests are appreciated and will solicit return questions about things I'm interested in. No. It makes him speak for longer and longer about the sport, in a "let's start from the beginning" kind of way. Then he gets overwhelmed with how much he wants to say and ends up giving me the complete history/backstory, right up to the answer to my question and beyond.

When he's finished (answering my polite question,) he will sit back and say that he really feels we've bonded tonight. That it reminds him what a great partnership we are. hmm

Is this selfish behaviour or obsessive behaviour or both?

Kateallison16 Tue 25-Oct-16 02:26:36

Well that's all a bit much OP.

In hindsight you should have made it obvious at the very start that while it's nice to chat about his interests, not everyone wants them rammed down their throat 24/7. But of course it's a bit late for that now, any attempt to explain to him that it's all a bit much / weird for him to keep going on to you and everyone around will only hurt his feelings.
Chances are if you mention it he will feel hurt and like you don't find him interesting. Obviously he sees him talking at you as bonding, so he thinks it's a really positive experience.

Honestly, if it were me and I didn't want to tread on anyone's toes I would do something like this-

Next time he brings it up by text message "Roundnround, we win the match, it was great, so and so did this and I... blah blah blah"
You reply "that's great, you will never guess what Sharon said earier about...." just acknowledge it, but don't invite it. Then make sure you start a convo of your own. Just stick to a one or two word answer and always change the subject. If he carried on texting you about it just text back "ok. So what do you fancy for dinner tonight?" Just don't encourage it.

When out with company, and he starts bringing everything back to his sport obsession - just say to him "honey, I think jack was talking more about paperwork than sport. Jack tell husband about the time at the office when...."
Don't let him get too ahead of himself, it's embarrassing. Just always try to be assertive about guiding conversations away and if he doesn't play ball - one word answers.

If he pulls you up on this tactic change just say "Well honey I'm just talking about my stuff. I'm not a big fan of the sport. I'm so glad you like it and I love hearing about how well you do... but sometimes we have to talk about other things. I know you understand that I have hobbies that are important to me too."

Politeness will only get you so far. You might be leaving the door open for this more than you realise. I'm not saying shoot him down, just don't feign interest.

Kateallison16 Tue 25-Oct-16 02:42:03

Just re-read your post OP. Honestly this does sound a bit weird.

Maybe I was wrong, maybe my approach would be

"Mr Roundnround, I really don't care about xxxxx I think it's great you have something you love, and it brings me joy knowing you have that in your life. But I really don't want a breakdown of it. I wouldn't mind but you play videos of it til stupid o'clock at night keeping me up and every text I get from you is about it, never asking about my day or my interests - which I've accepted. But I cannot sit here and listen to this all night as well. "

Or "oh give it a bloody rest"

LIttleTripToHeaven Tue 25-Oct-16 07:54:06

You've said he's 'started' this hobby. My questions would be:

How long has he been interested in it for?
Did he have other hobbies prior to this?
Have you actually told him how this makes you feel?

I'm wondering if, if it is a fairly new hobby and he didn't have hobbies before, he is just really enjoying the new hobby and it'll eventually settle down.

You know in the way that someone who has just gone to university might tell everyone everything they have learnt, over intellectualise and deconstruct everything (particularly if they are studying philosophy... hmm)?

And if it doesn't settle down, do what Kateallison suggested.

Or get your own out of the house hobby so you don't have to listen to it!

Whocansay Tue 25-Oct-16 08:11:39

That sounds utterly exhausting. I'm guessing this is golf or cycling? Have you told him how you feel?

And no, it is not normal.

hesterton Tue 25-Oct-16 08:17:47

Has he always been a bit obsessive about stuff? It sounds very extreme. His social interaction skills sound dreadful. Is that new or was he always like that?

Costacoffeeplease Tue 25-Oct-16 08:19:34

I'm afraid I'd go down the sarcasm/blunt route

'Oh please tell me a bit more, I don't think you quite covered 1894'
'you're confusing me with someone who gives a shit' etc
while eye rolling to the max

I can't stand bores, especially sports/hobby bores

Boisderose Tue 25-Oct-16 08:23:32

I would think he was on the spectrum.

WipsGlitter Tue 25-Oct-16 08:25:23

What is the hobby?

DP can buy a bit obsessive about everything a few things. I have perfected the non-committal noise of interest. Don't engage. Or walk out of the room.

Boisderose Tue 25-Oct-16 08:25:56

Or rude.

Shiningexample Tue 25-Oct-16 08:30:55

Get your own hobby and bore him right back😉

Wren1975 Tue 25-Oct-16 08:31:54

Is this new behaviour?
If this is one of a series of obsessive interests and his social skills have always been poor then I would agree that he might be on the autistic spectrum.
If it's all new, sounds like over enthusiasm which I agree you need to tackle head on. Be kind but blunt about what you have observed and how you feel.

Ledkr Tue 25-Oct-16 08:36:58

He sounds ridiculous! What a bore.

TheNaze73 Tue 25-Oct-16 08:37:07

What were things like before the hobby? Did it fill a void for him?

It does sound a bit odd

rainbowstardrops Tue 25-Oct-16 08:37:17

It sounds very weird and quite an immature reaction to a new hobby! Surely he knows he's boring the tits off everybody but he just doesn't care?
I'd have to be blunt I'm afraid.

gleam Tue 25-Oct-16 08:43:50

Can you think back - has this happened before, even in a more minor way?

KitKat1985 Tue 25-Oct-16 08:44:01

I think you need to be a bit blunt with him on this and just say that whilst obviously you don't mind him talking about his hobby sometimes, it's obsessive at the moment and you are bored of hearing about it.

Not exactly the same but I had to do something similar when DH started a different job and would spend hours every evening talking about stuff that happened at work, and I eventually told him that he needed to reign it in a bit and that I didn't want to know every detail of his day in the office.

Gowgirl Tue 25-Oct-16 08:44:16

Is it cycling, if so you are allowed to laugh at himgrin

Joysmum Tue 25-Oct-16 08:47:51

Personally, I'd go down the line of doing a précis on all the things he's talked about that even, then ask him to do the same about what you've mentioned. When the disparity is clear you point out that whilst you live the fact that he's got an interest in life, it's taking over everything else and there's a time and place so it's about time he put at least as much effort in to the other aspects of his life for balance.

If he then doesn't, I'd get rude, angry and shouty!

LIttleTripToHeaven Tue 25-Oct-16 09:04:35

I would think he was on the spectrum.

Fucks sake, there's more to being "on the spectrum" than having a bit of an over the top interest in a new hobby.

IrenetheQuaint Tue 25-Oct-16 09:08:27

You could try using humour at first - 'right, DH, you have 60 seconds to tell me about the game and then I want to talk to something else.'

Or just have a screaming meltdown and tell him you'd rather stick pins in your eyes than ever hear anything about his bloody sport ever again grin

ShotsFired Tue 25-Oct-16 09:24:19

My OH has a habit of nerding out about certain things. These are usually things I have zero interest in knowing or learning more about. If I know the basics, that's fine with me. He can be the expert to his heart's content.

I now kindly tell him "that's great, but I really don't care".

It is possible, but you need to be consistent with it.

Matrixreloaded Tue 25-Oct-16 12:01:08

I don't think it's kind to indulge this. It's affecting your social life, you said people LEAVE when he does this. People are going to start avoiding you. No way would I put up with that.

He's a grown man. Tell him you don't want to hear about it any more and it's not a topic to raise when your with friends.

Sciurus83 Tue 25-Oct-16 21:17:33

Tell him he's being boring. It's the only cure. I've had to do this with DH, sure it can make me seem harsh but it's for his own good. I find looking straight in the eyes with a completely deadpan "yeah that's fascinating, thanks for sharing" does the trick. He sees the funny side of my out and out meanness luckily.

MrHannahSnell Tue 25-Oct-16 21:58:19

If the hobby is golf, there's no cure I'm afraid. I know from bitter experience.

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