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A bit of self reflection

(21 Posts)
Lilythepink Sun 11-Oct-20 17:02:17

My DH has been away with work for two nights. I was dreading it, particularly nervous at being on my own at overnight as it hardly ever happens. I was tearful when he left. Then I pulled myself together and planned how I’d spend both days. I ended up loving it! I watched some reality-style programmes on TV that I used to love but had somehow stopped watching years ago because he didn’t like them/didn’t approve. Don’t get me wrong, he’s never said that I should stop watching them, it’s more me deciding I shouldn’t be watching stuff on the TV he doesn’t like. He watches lots of sport which I’m not interested in but I don’t mind and do other things. When he was on his way home I started feeling anxious again and even felt a bit resentful I had to go back to our usual routine. It’s been a bit of a shock because I feel like I’ve found something out about myself when previously, I’d genuinely believed I did what I liked and was relaxed when DH was home. It’s just that I found I was so much more relaxed while he was away and I don’t want to go back to feeling het up and forsaking things I want to do. But I’m dithering over the best way to do this without getting myself tied up in knots. I wonder if I should just imagine what I’d be doing if I was on my own in the house and then go ahead and do it? Advice and suggestions most welcome.

Starblaze Sun 11-Oct-20 17:09:21

Create a space for you, somewhere you can watch TV or do something you enjoy alone. We all need our own space sometimes and if you have ended up in a dynamic where your needs are coming last, even if those needs are just switching off your brain and switching on a bit of day time TV, then that's what you should do.

Self care

Doodledog Sun 11-Oct-20 17:11:08

Do you have an iPad or another device on which you can watch tv? If so, one of you can use that with headphones whilst the other watches the TV set. Be sure to find a way that makes it clear from the start that you aren’t always going to be the one to give up the set, though.

There will still be things you like to watch together, so it needn’t be a big change; but this little step will make the point that you have a right to a say, too, and when he gets used to that you can build on it.

Smileless2012 Sun 11-Oct-20 17:12:17

Do you have just the one TV Lilythepink? If so, is there another room in the house where one could be installed so you and your DH then have the option of watching something else in another room?

That would certainly be one solution. The other is to talk to him about the things you would like to do, that may or may not include him.

It's all too easy to get oneself into a rut and without realising it 'sacrifice' what it is we want for the sake of our H's/wive's/partners.

Who knows, if you talk about this, he may surprise you with similar thoughts of his own. Communication is the key so have a chat with him.

Good luck.

Sparkling Sun 11-Oct-20 17:13:22

You need to ask yourself a couple of questions.
Do you fit in with what your husband wants because he shows disapproval if you object?
Why can’t you express to your husband that you want to do some things?

Luckygirl Sun 11-Oct-20 17:14:49

I am in the situation where I lost my OH in February, and I have taken a while to get used to living on my own. It does feel strange of course - I do not feel frightened, just find it hard having no-one to talk to or share comments about for example something on the TV. And I do of course miss all our shared memories and experiences; and "in jokes" that he and I understood.

It sounds as though you need some gentle changes in the balance of your relationship; or some practical changes that make it possible for you to feel free to live your life as you wish, e.g. a TV in another room perhaps.

But in some ways there are compensations for my terrible loss. For his last few years he was very unwell indeed; and this was beyond stressful. So the loss of that huge stress is a positive thing; and I do find myself doing, making and watching things that would not have been possible. I could not have gone on at that level of stress much longer without becoming ill.

You have learned something from this brief separation - the challenge for you is to use this new information in a positive way to free yourself up for a new direction without losing the things you value in your relationship.

I wish you lots of luck in achieving this. I am sure you can do it.

Esspee Sun 11-Oct-20 17:15:04

Why not encourage him to go away again?
I think most of us enjoy a break, giving us time to do what we want. I love when my OH is away. I get up when I want to, eat what I like, and go to bed when it suits me.
However, and this is the most important bit, I love when he comes home.
If his return makes you anxious it sounds as if he might be controlling.
You need to work out your feelings on this and get back to us.

AGAA4 Sun 11-Oct-20 17:17:17

Lilythepink you are in a partnership which should be equal.
You can't always like the same things but one partner shouldn't disapprove of things the other one enjoys.
I would carry on watching whatever you want to and he can have an equal time for his sports programmes.
If he says anything about your viewing then tell him you don't like his choices but wouldn't want to spoil something he enjoys.

MissAdventure Sun 11-Oct-20 17:26:18

I think the idea of your own space is really good, if you can.

Luckygirl Sun 11-Oct-20 18:30:52

I do think that any changes you make should be sensitive to his likely reaction. He has had decades of you behaving in one way - he is likely to find it hard to deal with a sudden change - so please keep him on the loop. You are right to look for changes, but it would be good to have him on board. Relationships achieve a certain balance and tipping that one way or the other needs sensitive handling.

Juliet27 Sun 11-Oct-20 18:36:46

Sound advice Luckygirl

Lilythepink Sun 11-Oct-20 19:31:57

Thanks so much to everyone for all of your sound advice and for being so kind. I have a lot to feel thankful for but it’s always good to have a bit of a review of oneself, isn’t it and I’m going to take on board some of the things mentioned here and lose the guilt for doing as I please a bit more often!

PECS Sun 11-Oct-20 21:08:05

I think we all make some adjustments, to a certain degree, in a loving relationship to accommodate our partners' likes/ dislikes. But that should be equal on both sides. If you have realised, during his absence, that things are unbalanced & you are usually the one adjusting to his preferences then you have some thinking to do. You are entitled to watch TV programmes you enjoy without a sneer of disapproval from your DH.

AGAA there are, I think, some occasions when it is absolutely right to disapprove of things your partner enjoys!

M0nica Sun 11-Oct-20 21:22:39

I think that in any relationship there must be an equal level of selfishness. Not as a negative thing but to make sure that both partners can truly be themselves.

It is so easy when you are fond of someone and enjoy their company to fall in with whatever they want, until that person just assumes that their interests always get met. Regaining the lost autonomy can be difficult. Just do it slowly, one thing at a time and be ready to explain and reassure your DH if he notices.

Lolo81 Sat 17-Oct-20 04:00:29

Pre-pandemic my DH worked away Mon-Fri. I had a lovely wee routine and loved our weekends together. So I completely know what you mean about finding you enjoy some “me time”.
Now we are both home all the time and are rubbing along ok (since March), but I do miss my old routine. My “me time” is now a couple of hours after he goes to bed, it took me a while to stop feeling guilty for needing it (DH made no comment on it - the guilt was self-made), but now I enjoy it.
Make time for yourself OP - you deserve it!

CanadianGran Sat 17-Oct-20 07:36:08

You can tease him about how you enjoyed your time on your own, and he may take the lighthearted jabs as a hint that he needs to compromise once in a while.

My DH doesn't go away often, only the odd fishing weekend with his friends. I tease that of course I will miss him, but sleeping in the middle of the bed, eating toast and eggs for dinner, and having control of the remote will compensate!

Perhaps make one day a week your choice of meal/tv show.

NanKate Sat 17-Oct-20 08:09:06

Lily don’t feel bad about enjoying your time alone. It’s good to have a bit of space to just be yourself.

I agree with those who suggest another tv or IMO a better option an IPad with ear phones so you can be in the same room both watching what you want.

DH put a lock on the bedroom door for me so that I can feel secure when alone. I also have a torch nearby in case of a power cut. You could have a plug in nightlight in the bedroom if you don’t like being in the dark.

The joy of eating breakfast in bed and reading the papers. I sit and read my Kindle for an hour or so when the mood takes me. I buy in some provisions beforehand which take very little cooking. I go into town and have a toasted sandwich for lunch. I pour myself a generous glass of wine in the evening with my supper. I’m in my pjs by 5,30. What’s not to like.

I make sure I have a nice meal for us both the day he returns. I’m grateful to still have my DH who I love to bits, but an occasional break suits me.

sodapop Sat 17-Oct-20 09:13:58

I used to know people whose husbands worked away from home for long periods. They found it difficult to adjust to them being back then when they had settled into a routine husbands were off again. It's always a compromise living together especially if space is limited. I watch TV and my husband has his tablet and headphones.
That is not so bad for retired people who spend a lot of time together but for working people it could be isolating.

Toadinthehole Sat 17-Oct-20 09:39:26

My husband used to work away at times. I found myself enjoying it too....but wouldn’t have wanted it full time. I think you enjoyed it because it was short and sweet. If you had it all the time, it may not be as good. There’s no reason why you can’t do your own thing separately though. Just tell him what you told us. You love him dearly, but it’s made you realise you perhaps need time to yourself sometimes. You may be pleasantly surprised and find he says he does too, without compromising your relationship in any way. Enjoy🤗

M0nica Sat 17-Oct-20 11:13:05

I am someone who needs time alone. It worked very well during our working years because DH's work meant he was a way a lot. I always looked forward to his return. He has continued working since retirement so initially nothing changed, but as he has got older, he is now in his late 70s, more and more of the work he still does is desk based and I did find when he was first home most, now all of the time that it was hard adjusting, but he is a self starter and is always doing something, with car, projects and home repairs, so doesn't sit around demanding my company and attention like a baby.

We are fortunate to have a large house so both of us can wander around during the day doing our own thing, sometimes together some times apart, and that just continues into the evening.

Today we have been together in the study companionable sat either side of our partner's desk doing separate things on our computers. This afternoon, I have a Zoom meeting and he will wander off to do some work on some furniture he is restoring and we will be together again for the mid afternoon tea break.

Cabbie21 Sat 17-Oct-20 13:52:43

My husband used to go for a few days each moth pre-Covid to visit his family. Now he is here all the time. I have the same problem re “ giving in” to what he wants to watch on TV, though there are times when I have my choice.
I usually cook, though he prepares the veg, but then he sits in his chair until I bring the meals in. It feels a bit like I am waiting on him hand and foot, so from time to time I say I am cooking such and such for myself which he doesn’t like, so he will cook for himself.
I think making a point of doing one’s own thing is important. Actually we hardly ever go out together. We do most things individually, but at home in the evenings we like to be companionable.