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Socially Awkward Husband(23 Posts)
Not sure where to start with this...so we have been married for 3.5yrs and when we are together just hubbby and I - we have a great a great laugh and time.
However, when we are in a group of people he socially clams up - i try so hard to get him involved but he doesn't really grasp what is going on around him or how to get involved. When he does get involved it comes across really rude and condescending. He doesn't have many friends in fact non at all - he is really lazy at maintaining friendships and as a result doesn't have many life experiences and keeps himself to himself - including the relationships with his immediate family. I find this so difficult and try to encourage him but nothing is really working...I'm all for people, relationships, memories etc and this has resulted in us being kinda secluded from social networks...this is majorly affecting me and at my wits end.
I've talked to him about it and he says he doesn't know why and he will change it and gets so frustrated when i bring it up. Which in turn frustrates me because i want to understand more and see if he sees his as an issues but straight away goes into 'i will change - things will change' to try to cut the conversation....
You are looking at the situation as though he is wrong and should change.
He sounds like an introvert who doesn't need the constant buzz of social occasions or contact with others. Most likely these situations cause him to be anxious and by trying to fit in he tries too hard and comes across as you've described.
Why should he change? Either socialise without him or leave and find someone more like yourself.
I wouldn't try to change him. If he is fine with you at home but awkward in a company of other people then I would go out by myself if he doesn't mind. It's find not to have a big circle of friends. My Dh doesn't go out and I don't care about it. It doesn't bother me at all and neither him. His closest friend is me and his parents. He sees people at work and that enough for him. I go out with a few friends during the day and he is also fine with it and doesn't feel left out.
You knew how he was before ypu msrried him. You can't expect him to change. I think you either need to accept him as he is or admit you made a mistake marrying him
If he struggles socially make a social life for yourself. My h is much more outgoing than me so I let him get on with it and I join in with the things I enjoy. If he objects to you doing that you have a problem.
Just out of interest, why do you think he needs to change? Is it an issue that he wants to do something about - eg anxiety - or is it just that's how he is? If the latter, there's nothing wrong with being an introvert and not being the life and soul of the party. I've always been quite introverted and quiet and I've always found it very hurtful when people treat it as a problem that needs to be fixed. It's very counterproductive to tell someone to be more outgoing as it does nothing for their self confidence and I can fully understand your DH's desperation to finish a very upsetting conversation. Provide support for any anxiety by all means but don't try and change him if there is nothing wrong.
I thought my dh would come out of his shell.
Fifteen years later, he still isn't interested in socialising. Has no friends and won't socialise as a couple. He comes across as moody and rude, if we are with people and I find it very difficult to know what to do.
Of course he won't change it, it's his personality! He shouldn't have to!
I'm like your husband. My partner hasn't changed me in 21 years.
If you're not compatible, then split up and rejoin the dating game.
DP is very much like this: introvert, has one friend who he has known for 20 years. He can switch a charming side on in groups and come across as a delight but it takes a massive amount of energy and frequently he'll lose it in the middle of an interaction and have to take some time out. Literally, the biggest introvert I think I've ever met.
I know this was DP before we got together - assume you must have had an inkling too, OP? And before we got together I thought about it long and hard (I'm an extrovert) to make sure I was genuinely ok with it and not secretly hoping he'd change.
If it helps OP, perhaps there is something special about your DH being able to open up around you, when he can't around others? I certainly know that was part of the attraction to DP for me - I was the 'exception' to his introversion, and he values me highly because I bring him out of himself. I have my own friends, who I made before DP, so I don't need him as an accessory to my socialising - that's also something he values.
Just my incoherent thoughts...
Just be careful, OP, if he does 'change'. My XH was a socially awkward introvert (which I loved him madly for), content to play second fiddle to my extrovert, outgoing ways.
Until he decided that he was 'different now' and sociable and extrovert and therefore he couldn't be in our relationship any more because he wanted to be the centre of attention now. So he left me.
He wasn't, for the record, sociable or outgoing, he was just awkward and came over as rude. No idea what made him think he'd changed so much. He's probably baffling people somewhere even now...
I was that kind of person.
I am sometimes mystified how I managed to get hooked up with my DW of 40 years but I did. Despite my shortcomings (and she had 1 or 2) we stayed together and that is the great thing about both of us being basically passive people.
Her great disappointment was my poor interaction with others. As I gradually realized that I was not about to discover a cure for cancer or something, I developed a need to be liked for my own sake. She was a teacher and started working with autistic children. She started to work on me the same way. So she might say "I know you are a kind person, but if you behave as you did at last nite's party, people will think you are ungenerous". "It is OK for you to think someone's taste in music is boring but you don't need to say so". "It is your sister's birthday soon, I want you to sign this card." Me: Why? DW:" because you need to show that you appreciate her".
After some coaching of this sort, I started to function better for myself. I still got tired of talking at socil events. I learned to find a corner where I could be alone for a time, instead of picking up a book or paper and reading it.
I also learned the value of learning and rehearsing, a number of platitudes suitable to certain events, and using them. They have become platitudes because they are effective, and are what people want at those times.
As I got better and could function alone, I went to more events independantly, and she would say "Remember to practise your social skills".
This went on over years, and may sound patronising, but it was what I needed, it worked, and now that she is gone, I am left in a much better place. I have friends.
Oh, and I wanted to change.
I am the female equivalent of the OP's DH! I am a natural extrovert, hate social gatherings, keep social interaction to a minimum, have no close friends, just a bunch of people I am "friendly" with, and get really tense and uncomfortable with large gatherings. My ears start to buzz, my head starts to spin, I can feel my eyes glazing over and I just want to go home again!
I used to worry about it, think there was something "wrong" with me. Until I realised this is who I am, and there is no reason to change and people can either accept me this way. Or not. Their choice.
I'm much happier now. I feel no guilt in turning down invitations to Christmas dos. Birthday dos. Leaving dos.
Leave the poor bloke be. He won't change. Why should he? Is he trying to turn you into a less social person? No. So don't bother trying to change him into a more sociable person. It's just not him.
Socialise without him?
Natural "introvert" I meant to say. Obviously! DOH!!
I've talked to him about it and he says he doesn't know why and he will change it and gets so frustrated when I bring it up
I am not surprised he gets frustrated. Why should he change for you, to suit you? You married him as he is and now you want to change him, don't try to change him, you may well end up without him when he gets sick of your nagging him to change.
I’m always really surprised when people have a desire to change a fundamental part of their partner/spouse’s personality. Why? He’s shy, introverted and not happy around groups of people. You know this, and the language you use is negative about him.
He doesn’t have to change, and why should he? DP is very much an introvert, unless he knows someone very well, and hates large groups and organised fun. If I want to meet friends in a big group, I don’t make him come, because he’d hate it.
You are completely wrong to want to change him op. If you can’t accept him as he is, let him go and find someone who will.
SensitiveOldAgeGuy - you remind me very, very much of DP! I warn people that he might get his book out halfway through a conversation - he's much better about it now but if I notice him turning inwards I might suggest he gets some fresh air to decompress - he will then go read his book. It's not his fault he feels this way, and he does try to mitigate it - because he wants to, not because someone's forcing him.
As many have said on here, OP, you can either accept your DH as the person he is, or leave him. He isn't broken or weird, he just sounds like an introvert.
He can't be that bad if he managed to get along well enough with you that you ended up together?
He sounds like an introvert, and surely how he is with you at home is the most important thing.
What if it were you're husband who said YOU should change in order to be more like him? You would say that's ridiculous and unreasonable - who you are is who you are! Why doesn't that apply to HIM? You KNEW who he was when you married him. Don't complain and make totally outrageous demands now. You either accept him for who he is or you don't.
Perhaps he thinks you are too socially driven and too judgmental?
or does unhelpful criticism run in one direction?
I'm an introvert and happy being one. I struggle in groups and any more than four people is my idea of hell. My DH is an extrovert and I really don't get his need to be around people. But I don't think he should change. We just acknowledge our differences and get in with life.
I think some comments are quite harsh towards the op. She obviously is finding her relationship difficult at the moment.
DH is similar; it’s a symptom of his anxiety. He usually finds social situations very draining. You can’t really change them, apart from insist on occasional outing so that you don’t turn into complete hermits..!
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