What to Do When Hobbies Steal Your Spouse

By March 29, 2017 February 23rd, 2018 Communication, Conflict, Time

Last week, we talked about the importance of sharing hobbies and activities with your spouse. It’s great when the two of you can find common ground and cultivate shared activities, but what happens when your spouse is completely consumed by his or her own hobbies?

While it can make life interesting to be married to someone who is so deeply engaged with an activity they love, it can quickly become difficult. Once the honeymoon period has passed, you might find that your spouse begins to gradually move toward his or her favorite pastime–eventually favoring it over spending time together.

There comes a point in a person’s passion for their hobby when that passion goes beyond a healthy level of interest. A passionate interest can take over their personality and their life (and yours, too!). It can feel totally intimidating when you feel like you have to compete with something your spouse is obsessed with.

If your spouse’s favorite hobby or activity has stolen them from your marriage, it may be time to address the issue and set some boundaries.

Approach Your Spouse About All-Consuming Hobbies

First, be empathic and have respect for your spouse’s interests. Even though you’re feeling upset, it’s important to approach your spouse with care. Chances are, they want to have a healthy relationship too, so speak the truth lovingly as you let them know what you need.

You need to be able to tell your spouse, “I love your hobby, and I’d never ask you to let it go. But it’s almost like you’re absent because your hobby is getting all your good energy.”

Let your spouse know that is feels like the obsession is beginning to take over, and while you want them to continue being able to enjoy their interests, you’re going to need more focused time with them–just the two of you.

Rather than complaining, brainstorm some good suggestions before your approach your spouse. Ask your spouse to block off 1 or 2 nights a week to spend with you, for date night, family movie night, or something similar. This will help them feel like they’ve still got freedom to spend time on their hobby, but now they know what your desires and and what is expected of them.

The biggest payoff for you? You won’t have to worry every night whether you’re going to get any attention from your spouse. You’ll be free to feel more enthusiastic about your spouse’s hobby because you’ll feel like there’s a part of them reserved for you.

Take Time for Yourself

Now that your spouse has agreed to set some time aside to spend with you, it’s time for you to decide how to spend time when they’re occupied with their hobby. When he or she has an activity planned, schedule some time with your friends or take your kids on a fun outing.

Whatever you do, give yourself something to look forward to! Don’t let yourself get bogged down and angry over a list of things your spouse isn’t doing while they’re engaged in their hobby. Fuming about your husband or wife taking time for their hobby isn’t going to do you any good, so find ways to enjoy yourself instead.

And you never know–when you start taking some time to do your own thing while they do theirs, they might even begin to miss you.

Learn to Share Your Spouse’s Hobby

Once you’ve established your designated time together every week and decided to start making your own plans outside those days, it’s time to start investing some of your energy into their hobby. That may sound strange, but stay with us here.

Sometimes the greatest times of connection you’ll have with your spouse are when you purposefully step into his or her passion and spend a little time there instead of fighting against it. You might find that you share the best conversations or experiences together during these times.

Finding that shared experience together is the key–that’s when your spouse’s spirit will really open up. They’ll feel valued because you took the time to step into their happy place, to share that passion for an activity or interest that is obviously very important to them. And they’ll feel energized because not only are they participating in something that gives them joy; now they’re getting to share it with you.

There are so many opportunities for deep, meaningful intimacy to be forged just by showing interest in something your husband or wife loves. Ask questions to enter your spouse’s world as much as possible, see what’s good about it, then share it to the degree that you can. Why not be a part of something your spouse enjoys, in some way?

Does your spouse have an all-consuming hobby? How have you learned to spend more time together? Leave a comment and let us know!

54 Comments

  • Nolan Kamp says:

    I hope this reaches dr Les and Leslie. My fiancée and I came to fight night in Feb of 2016. We were in love and happy. I don’t know how to get a hold of you so I am trying this way. We have come to a very difficult impass and I am hoping you can reach out to her or just pray for us.

  • Maggie Largie says:

    My husband has always been a car fanatic since our dating days. I used to accompany him to car meets, races, mechanic shops, junk yards for parts, etc. It was honestly so boring to me but this was the only way I could spend time with him. I’ve always felt it was unfair and selfish of him to never think of my interests or needs, but I guess he needed to be told and guided.
    Even as a married couple before having kids he would have project cars that he would spend every evening and weekend outside with while I was inside alone and pregnant. At times he wouldn’t come home from car meets until 3am.
    This caused a lot of problems and distance between us emotionally. I never took the gentle and kind approach like Dr Les and Leslie talk about in this blog. I was way too bitter and resentful but I made sure he knew how I felt.
    The only reason it has gotten better is because he has temporarily decided that it was financially better to get rid of his expensive car projects and car payments and opt for a reliable vehicle he could pay cash for. He has been around way more, spending more time with me and our son every evening and on the weekends. It’s been great, I just hope it lasts. I don’t mind him being into cars, I just think he has an obsessive personality that if it’s not cars, it would be work, or binge watching shows (which he has spent a lot of time doing since giving up his cars).
    Please pray for our marriage and for me to be able to speak to him kindly and lovingly.

    • Christie says:

      I relate to this so much! It’s like you’re describing my life. My husband is also a car fanatic and needs to spend all his extra time and money fixing cars, racing them, dreaming about new projects, pining over the Ferraris (Like we’ll ever have so much money as to be able to afford them!), etc! It is super boring and I really couldn’t care less about cars. It’s to the point that whenever he brings up cars in a conversation, it starts a fight because cars are the LAST thing I want to talk about. I also used to try to involve myself in his hobbies but I just can’t even pretend to like it. I’m becoming resentful too because every spare moment he has he’s itching to go to his friend’s garage and work on them. There’s never a full weekend where he’s just at home with the family and I’m beyond sick of it.

      I’ll be praying for you and your family and that your husband can learn how to make you all a priority instead.

      Peace,
      Christie

      • Lisa says:

        Oh my. I literally LOL’d with a tear at both of your comments. I could have written them myself. My husband is OBSESSED with cars… It’s an actual addiction. Like, he needs ‘fixes’, like a drug. He is amazing with cars. Rebuilds engines, welds, body work… Etc. There is no doubt he has a talent for it. BUT we’ve been married for 10 years and both of us are engineers. I do not have a hobby or passion like he does. I work all day and find most hobbies exhausting at that point. I feel resentment because I feel like without me and my income he would not be able to do more than half of what he does. I feel like I’m his sponsor. I feel like he’s my spoiled grown son. On to of that, I’m pregnant with our first child… And I definitely feel like I’m doing this alone. All he can talk about is what car he needs to drive the child around in. He spends almost 100% of his time working in the shop, racing, texting racing buddies, searching the internet endlessly for car parts and cars. He actually has a Ferrari, Nissan 350z, Nissan 300, truck and car hauler, boat and side by side. He wants more all the time. At any given time in our marriage he’s never had less than 3 cars and sometimes upwards of 10 a time. He has purchased cars without telling me and hid them from me. He has purchased expensive car parts in the middle of the night without telling me and going against my wishes. I’ve taken the approach of the article but it doesn’t work. At the end of the day… It continues to be a problem. I am glad it’s not an addiction to women or drugs… But this is equivalent to gambling. Being pregnant I find myself getting emotional more and more because I’m worried for our marriage and future child. He has very little concept of how much money he spends and how much time he devotes to his obsession. I can’t even call it a hobby. I don’t even hate cars… But he makes me resentful towards them. I’m resentful towards his car buddies and the time they spend with him. I’m tempted to quit work after I deliver so he doesn’t have my income anymore and has to take a more serious look at our finances. It probably won’t work. I sometimes question if cars turn him on more than I do.

        • Mo says:

          Wow..its like reading the story of my life!! This article was funny..I tried that years ago..

          • Jacque says:

            Wow…i feel for all u ladies! Im sadly in the same boat tho my husband uses the car thing as an excuse. 1st he blames my parents for moving here so it was a “feel the void” thing because I was getting them setup w drs appts and all. Now its become an obsession. He comes home from work and straight to the garage. He no longer does family stuff with us let alone eats with us. Half the time when I cook, he says hes gonna eat but doesnt OR IF hes hungry, he’ll make a plate and yup, u guesssed it, back to the garage. I tell myself that he going thru a midlife crisses as he is turning 43 and hangs w 20 yr olds at car meets.
            Ive tried the whole getting into his hobby (tho yes boring) but I will take any moment with him even after him telling me he has no interest in what I do! Ya…im so lost right now…I feel like I dont know him anymore….
            I wish all u ladies the best of luck and will be praying for ya’ll

        • Anne says:

          I’m so glad there’s others out there going through the same thing. My husband becomes 100% attuned into one thing, which he lives, breathes, sleeps for constantly. And spends a fortune on it too. Then after a few months, he moves on to the next thing. And so on and so forth. I have tried what this article says many times. It works for a week or two then he goes right back to his obsession. It’s really harmed our relationship and I too feel resentment towards his obsessions. I can’t stand it anymore when he talks about them. It’s exhausting. I just wish he could put a quarter of that obsessive energy into us. He has mentioned wanting to see a therapist for it and says he’s going to, but it’s been nearly a year and he hasn’t done anything.
          Has anyone found any other working solutions or compromises to this obsessive behavior? It’s gotten to the point where divorce is on my mind…

          • Ashlea says:

            So glad to hear from other women going through the same. I just had a massive argument with my husband over the fact that I can’t even plan something nice for his birthday because he is always racing. I feel like he picks racing over everything, everytime.

        • Valerie says:

          oMG, I felt some sort of relief reading these few posts ( I thought that I was losing my mind & was the only one in this situation) . Same issue with my husband who has become a total recluse with a obsessive relationship with his cars & Co. I am so alone within our relationship. I also tried to compromise & he promised to have more balance but that’s impossible. I can’t even say anything anymore about his hobby without him exploding into a tantrum. I have stop working full time and enjoy working part-time as I am sick of seeing our hard earn cash being blindly splurged into HIS hobby. Tough tough one…. I’m drifting away.

      • Jen says:

        I’ve been with my husband almost 15 years. We have 2 boys 10 and 10 months. He has ALWAYS had an issue with working. Can’t find anything, noone is hiring, never get a call, and when he does get a job there is ALWAYS something that happens that ends it!!! His passion that he spends ALL of his time EXCEPT when he HAS to watch the kids. Or if he’s actually working 😂. Music… He makes and produces music. Hes got friends and people who pay him 20 there 50 here. Basically his cigs and gas. I’ve invested my owm money into his passion for so many years. And time! I’ve supported him went to shows and help sell tickets for it more then once. I’ve done all the things it says in here to do…. After the second baby I feel he is not a worker or a provider…..but I am. I’ve started therapy. I’ve asked him about it. He doesn’t really give me an answer. I’m gaining confidence in myself to make the right decision. At the moment he is only making 100 a week. Smh and still spends all his time on 🎶. He knows how to manipulate me by using the love I have for him. God knows I love him and I want it to work. I just cant get over the resentment. Pray for me and I’ll pray for everyone.

      • Jae says:

        I should have talked to those who’s spouse were obsessed with sports of any kind. My husband is obsessed with baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, horse racing, harness and throughbred, hockey, just anything that has sports attached. He does not participate in any sport outside our home. Our entire married life has been scheduled around who or what is playing or going on. He has gotten worse as he has aged. Our sex life became non-existent within 1 year of our later in life marriage. He was 53, never married, no children, and no steady career. After 6 years of college, he drove a truck, mainly, I believe, because he could not watch sports if he worked a 9-5 job. So he changed jobs frequently. I sometime, most of the time, feel like I took on the role of his mother. I am here because I had financial stability, and do the other mundane day to day chores. My children love him, he is a good man, kind, notice I left out loving, because his love of life is sports. I have told him many times, the Cardinals, Blues, etc will not care or even have a moment of silence when he passes,. He seldom attends a live game, he simply watches on his TV, Computer, and the other TV’s in the home if I am elsewhere. Would I marry him again? Absolutely not. He is so closed to life, we never travel together, he stays home to watch sports. I was given a nice package for 10 days, when I retired to a vacation in the Smokies. He went, and spent the entire time on the couch trying to get ball games on the TV. He did not once get into the hot tub or jacuzzi. When we went siteseeing, he stopped at a bar so he could watch sports, and told me to go ahead and see the sights, he would meet me at the bar when I was done. There are many more things, I am just too old and tired to move on.

        • Shelly says:

          I need help. My husband has a very obsessive personality. When he finds something he loves, he can’t get enough of it. When we were dating it was a computer game and as silly as it sounds, it came down to me or the game because he would invite me over to watch a movie but he would sit at his computer and game out while I was supposed to watch the movie. Thankfully he chose me. But then he just dives into something else. Fast forward 13 years. We have now been married for 11 years and have two daughters ages 7 and 5. I am a teacher so now that it’s summer I am home with them all day long. My husband has always enjoyed playing disc golf but due to his work schedule he was never really able to play much. Well his schedule has changed and we recently moved close to a course. He asked if he could join a disc golf league where they play every Monday night. I agreed to that because after all, he deserves to have a hobby. However, he quickly became obsessed and wants to meet up with the “guys” to play every chance he gets. So not only is he gone all day Monday between work and league but then he wants to play on Saturday’s and sundays too. When he goes he is gone for 3-5 hours at a time. We got in a huge fight this last Sunday because I told him no he couldn’t go because I wanted to spend time as a family. After all, he works all week and the evenings are filled with making supper and bathing children, etc. I spend all week alone with the kids and I want to spend time as a family on the weekends. He turns it around and tells me to go do something to get away from the kids then. I get so mad when he tells me that because honestly, I don’t have any hobbies! He doesn’t understand that I don’t want to get away from the kids, I just want him home with me and the kids. But if we aren’t “doing” anything besides sitting around the house together he gets upset because he could’ve been out playing disc golf. This past Sunday I got mad at him when he asked to go and I said that this has become is new “computer game” that he is obsessing with and it is seeming more important to him than his family. He of course took offense to that which I don’t blame him. I told him that when i agreed he could do league I was under the impression that it would be a once a week thing and that is it. I think what upsets me most is that he is out having fun with people that are half his age. They are all 20-25 without kids and families and he is pushing 40. He turned it around and told me to come with them then. I said, I don’t want to hang out with a bunch of 29 year olds and what would we do with the kids? He’s always telling me to get out of the house and go do something but I don’t want to. I just want him home with us. Am I being selfish? How can I talk to him about this without it turning into a fight? As silly as it sounds, it is ruining our marriage and it’s breaking my heart. We got over the fight basically because he got mad at me and we both hardly talked to each other the whole afternoon and I had to come up with something for us to do as a family then because he wasn’t going to just sit around. We took the girls fishing and put on happy faces for the girls but it was very uncomfortable. Then he goes on that evening like nothing ever happened. We seem fine now, but I know it will be an issue again this weekend. Sorry for the book but it felt good to write this all out.

          • Cody says:

            I have been battling this same issue with my wife for several months now, and have been going to counseling as we also fight about this very thing (my hobby is yard work though -not disc golf). I will share a suggestion from our counselor. We are a family with 4 children (17,11,3,1), been married for 5 years.
            My wife is a stay at home mom and I work full time 8-5 so the weekday nights are consumed by dinner and the kids. Come the weekend, I want to get out and work on a project. Saturday morning comes and my wife and kids will be hanging out in the house watching tv, on their devices, etc so sometimes I take this as an opportunity to get some work done in the house or yard, so will naturally navigate towards that. This has been upsetting my wife because she wants to “spend time with me” and go out on dates and do fun things, and views me picking a house project over her and/or the kids.- She views me working in the yard as an inconvenience also and she makes me feel guilty or like I’m walking on egg shells around her during these times. It feels like I’m in trouble the entire time I am fixing our house or doing yard work! I know it sounds silly, but she gets upset about it and says things like “your precious yard is more important than me”, tells me she is bored, and just becomes bitter. I tell her she should get out of the house, even telling her she can have her time to do something she likes while I watch the kids – but she never does.
            I will even offer to take her out (with or without kids), but it never happens because nothing gets planned or we can’t find a babysitter, etc. I like to plan things in advance, bot be spontaneous. So when nothing is happening around the house, I find a project and this upsets her even when nothing is going on. She continues to make me feel like crap because I am choosing to do something with my time, and I don’t feel like it fair or right of her to not be supportive of the things I want to do. We have got into a few big fights over this the last few months, which makes me just resort back to my project cause I don’t want to be around her at that point, which fuels the fire. I just want the freedom to do the things I want, and her to do the things she wants. I despise her because of how she treats me in these scenarios and how it makes me feel and how it impacts our relationship. So we discussed this issue with our counselor. .
            NOW what our counselor said: I need to always schedule both family and date nights every week and make her feel important like I did when we were dating – this is why she is being critical of me because she is not getting her time with me! I need to make her feel more important than any project. I need to step up and continually chase and court her, forever.
            My wife is supposed to be SUPPORTIVE and respect the hobbies and things I like to do, as long as it is within reason and leaving room for family and date nights which should come first. We should always be thinking of the other person, and that means not only allowing them to enjoy the things they want to do, but being supportive and not critical if it. It is a give and take scenario, a balance, showing love and support for one another. I know this is easier said than done, but we are gonna try to implement this over the coming weeks/months. Pray for us!

        • Cody says:

          Wow. . You sound miserable in your marriage. Is he interested in your children or grandchildren? There surely has to be something you both like, maybe you could nurture that and spend more time together without the sports. Have you thought of couples counseling?

  • Josh Robinson says:

    My wife’s hobby is quite simply her phone (and the many she can use it). It is next to impossible to engage when she is on it, and I feel at times that she values it more than time we can spend together. Frankly I don’t even try to engage anymore while she’s using it. Thank you so much for these useful tips on how to approach an overwhelming hobby. Please pray that I can share my feelings in a gentle and humble way and that we can come up with some possible solutions to make the most of our time together while still giving her her needed time with her phone.

    • Steve Beach says:

      If you need to talk to her while she is on the phone – try sending her a text message and ask for a date or appointment. Ask her to try to limit her addiction (?) to so many minutes/hours a day. Then see if she can do it. I hope you can help cut the cord to the device or at least ease the use of it.

  • Dave says:

    Thank you so much for your insight into this important subject. It definitely contributed to the conflict in my previous marriage as my former wife was consumed with her gardening and crafts and showed no interest in me or working on resolving our conflicts. I could have done better getting involved in her passion for her hobbies but was physically and emotionally drained by my work and the conflict in our marriage. I had no energy left. So I warn those in similar circumstances to take heed and follow Les and Leslie’s recommendations. It takes both to recognize and problem solve.

  • It looks like there are several couples who have or are currently struggling to get a spouse to become engaged in time with them, and we certainly included in that number. My husband and I have been married 27 years and it has always been this way for us. I had a very addictive personality and found if hard to not be” all or nothing” when I took on a job or hobby. Twice it has wrecked my health to the point of resigning form a teaching job in the middle of the year, and then about 15 years ago after we opened our own business and were putting in about 16 hours a day. My body completely shut down and I was forced to “quit” for almost a year to regain strength and health. My husband is very work and performance oriented and is highly intelligent and loves to read, learn and also invent things, so it has been a very lonely marriage for us at times. We love the Lord and each other but I have prayed for many years that God would lead us to the right books, counselors, conferences,etc. I have also prayed for wisdom and renewal o four love relationship, as sometimes it just feels like we run our business as partners but only live as room-mates. Now over 50, both of us realize that there is not enough energy or time in the day to do everything & that we need to let go of some things before we lose our marriage. We are currently looking to sell our business and asking God for the right timing and buyers so that our staff and clients don’t get left hanging. We really desire to treat them right and make provision for the long-term employees, etc. Please agree with us in prayer for God’s will in all of it

  • Fred says:

    It can be really challenging to juggle all the competing priorities we are faced with daily–managing the home, kids, our jobs and marriage. The only way we can be successful is to prioritize and be intentional about carving time for our marriage. It is tough but it can be done. May God give us the wisdom to make the right decisions, as we handle the many challenges life brings. Thanks for the insights!

  • Mark Morgan says:

    Great info unless you are a man and your hobby happens to be house cleaning. My guess is you’ll never have to worry about these conversations.

    • Trinity says:

      Actually,you are wrong. My boyfriend is obsessed with doing house projects, yard projects, basement projects, and chores. I never get to have free time when he’s home, until he is done working. He doesn’t spend quality time with me or the kids anymore. He just wants to be home “working”. He even bought a head light so he could continue working through the night until 5 am in the yard or fence that he made with sticks. He can not tolerate seeing me not work on a project or chore while he’s working. It’s draining to constantly have him tell me to find something to do. He makes me feel stupid and lazy. I’m very lonely because working is all he can do and there is no time for living.

      • Teresa Wells says:

        This is my husband. He’s a self described workaholic. He’s hot a very demanding job, has 30 acres, hot rods, skid steer, excavator, fifth wheel, side by side, large detached garage, 2 sheds…and always looking for more to purchase and more projects. I explained my concerns when we were pregnant with our daughter, and he said he understood. However, he never did anything about it. Just recently, he’s taken on snow removal contracts and land clearing contacts. Don’t get me wrong, the money is amazing and so is his work ethic, but it makes for a lousy husband and very part time father. I told him that I didn’t think these latest side jobs were a good idea, and they were like handing a crack heard, crack. Of course he just laughs and says I’m ridiculous, and that I knew who he was when we got married. I most certainly didn’t know this. I would have said no thanks!

      • Jackie says:

        That is my husband too. We are both retired so he only does it during daylight hours fortunately. But he is constantly working on a project in the yard or the house, or garage or shed. I am so grateful for reading all these other stories. I thought I was the only one and, of course, I thought I was the one with the problem because I want to spend time with him doing things as a couple. It must be an addictive personality and I think connected to depression as well. We fight about it occasionally but as I said I am made to feel like it’s my problem not his. Luckily at our age there are no children to worry about. A lot of you have it way worse than me but now at least I understand it a bit better. I guess I either put up with it or leave.

  • Kim says:

    Learning to enjoy their hobbies has many blessings beyond belief!

  • Tricia Dunsmoor says:

    Me and my husband have been married for almost 2 yrs now. His hobby is RC cars and messing around in the garage. I go to the races with help him get stuff packed in his number one fan. The problem is I give support and even act interested in the cars but he never give support back to me. He will stay out in the garage till 3am sometimes. I used to go out there with him cause that’s the only way to spend time with him but he will never come in and be with me. He thinks I should always come out there. So now I don’t even go out there anymore. It hurts me cause I miss him but I’m tired of always doing and not getting anything back. Another problem is I will text him and he never replies but his friends text and he replies real quick top them. How do I fix these problems? Give me some ideas.

    • Sad wife says:

      How’s the hobby situation going? I’m in a similar situation but with drones/quads taking over my husband’s life. Every day after work he’s at the quad workbench until well after everyone else is asleep and then sleeps in the guest bedroom because it’s close to the work station. We have two boys that he likes to sit in front of a smart phone or computer when I’m not around to monitor. The boys (5.6) love that dad gives them so much screen time. I feel like the only person with sense in my home. Just a couple days short of 12 years into this marriage and I feel like I’m hanging by a thread. I’m up and can’t sleep some
      nghts but he’s fine if he can be on the forums texting his buddies or tinkering on his hobby.

    • Carole Davies says:

      My husband is the same with RC boats. He even gave his job up to spend more time sailing them. I have to foot all the bills to run our house. He even orders for his friends RC boats and expects me to pay for them out of my money until they pay him back. If I protest he is being unfair he flies into a rage. He even wanted to go out with his single mates sailing them on Christmas Day leaving me on my own. I wish I had known about all this before I married him. I am trapped in a very lonely life.

  • Kristi Brown says:

    My husband of 7 years is obssessed with playing softball. Playing or practicing at leadt 3 nights a week and playing tournaments every weekend that take up almost all of the weekend. When he is not playing ball he is at work or sitting his chair playing on his phone or watching tv. There is little to no interaction with me. Sometimes very little interaction with his 6yr old daughter. I have expressed my issues, concerns and despair many ways, many times and only get defensiveness and anger or major attitude back. So I know I ha e gone about it all wrong. My question is, how do I approach him now without him immediately becoming defensive? I tried to do it lovingly with positive words trying to reassure him that I dont want him to give it up completely, just scale it down a bit, but he rolled his eyes and said “So you’re gonna start that again?” So what do I do? I am feeling like there is no hope and that I should just give up 😭

    • SM says:

      I have the same exact problem with my husband playing softball, so we are going to do couples therapy. It just can’t be second fiddle anymore and feel like he enjoys playing softball more than he enjoys our time together. When we are spending time together he is bullshiting with his teammates via text or planning for his next tournament. I am fed up! I was grateful at first that he found something that made him happy, but it’s been years and it has increasingly become his number one priority.

  • Kristi Brown says:

    My husband of 7 years is obssessed with playing softball. Playing or practicing at least 3 nights a week and playing tournaments every weekend that take up almost all of the weekend. When he is not playing ball he is at work or sitting his chair playing on his phone or watching tv. There is little to no interaction with me. Sometimes very little interaction with his 6yr old daughter. I have expressed my issues, concerns and despair many ways, many times and only get defensiveness and anger or major attitude back. So I know I ha e gone about it all wrong. My question is, how do I approach him now without him immediately becoming defensive? I tried to do it lovingly with positive words trying to reassure him that I dont want him to give it up completely, just scale it down a bit, but he rolled his eyes and said “So you’re gonna start that again?” So what do I do? I am feeling like there is no hope and that I should just give up 😭

  • francesca says:

    If anyones spouse/partner are obsessed to the point of ignoring you or their children and other responsibilities they have. Please research aspergers syndrome. It’s more common than you think and no, you can’t always spot it…..it’s usually wives that spot it eventually.

  • Savannah F says:

    My husband and I have been married for 14 years. He LOVES CYCLING. He has an obsessive personality. I cycle too, but I stay home with my 2 girls while he goes riding. He’s finally realized that it wasn’t fair for him to go all the time so he stays home on Thursdays while I ride. He also counts steps religiously. He works out after work instead of coming straight home b.c he says traffic is so bad it makes more sense to just stay there. In my head I’m thinking “REALLY”?? He’s home around 730 8..which is really late. I’m afraid he’s admiring the wrong things/qualities in women. His face lights up when he hears another woman talking “bike talk” . It annoys the crap out of me..any suggestions?

  • Heidi says:

    Selfish spouses should be taken to task for their selfish behaviors. I’m not sure all this ”gentle approach” stuff works enough. If people knew there were consequences such as being dumped/divorced they would step it up and be gentlemen and loyal partners. I think women put up with way too much. Many women know the nature of the guy they are going to marry and marry them anyway even if they display too much selfishness. Not smart ladies! No matter what our brain dimming hormones/heart tells us, there are billions of fish in the sea out there – ones who will treat you like they cherish you. Hold out for someone like that. (of course I know men can deal with this with their women as well) Anyone who has to deal with someone with this kind of attitude – my heart goes out to you so much because I know what it’s like to be treated that way, but you don’t need them! After all, its so easy for them to not need you. Think about that.

      • Tam Fitzgerald says:

        Haha right. I was in a car accident broke my collarbone bone my hubby was so obsessed with building a fence. He didnt notice was calling, he didnt even bother to come to the ER. Because he was “building my fence”. When i came home he was still building “my fence”. He didnt thinm i was serious about the car accident.

  • Sara says:

    Well, Dr, if you are still in the house…since I was 16 I’ve been with this man. I’ve single-handedly raised our 4 kids in 33 years of lonely marriage to a traveling salesman who pads weeks away to hike or explore, then takes vacation with his best friend (also married male) to hike Swiss alps, Kilimanjaro…all around the world. This started as a celebratory hike on their 50th birthday and I’ve been told, will continue annually. I raised the kids alone, tried working to fill the gap…helped our family members pass to the other side…and now in my 50’s I’m lonelier than ever. I can’t have friends because they all think I’m crazy to be with him and they don’t know him, but they all think he must be cheating. They don’t understand it’s not a woman…it’s mountains, and airplanes, and cars and anything he likes doing. These are things I can not join him on, physically it’s too hard. So I sit and wait (for his one or two days home)…in the same house, wondering if new paint would cheer me up. I worry that I’m enmeshed, needy, crazy…but wouldn’t anyone else feel the same? He doesn’t know why I can’t just be happy for him that he has accomplished such amazing hikes 😐. I’ve been to counselors and a psychologist. Their opinion was that I suffer abandonment issues and CPTSD. Their advice was this: if I stay…it’s my choice. What I need is a way to cope. He is otherwise a great man or I wouldn’t have stayed. I’m here until I die…but do I always have to suffer?

  • SLP says:

    I am on the opposite side of this issue. I have a hobby that I love. It brings me joy and keeps me physically active. I also have met some wonderful people that have become my friends. I don’t do anything other than this as a hobby and am conscientious of my time on anything that has to do with my hobby because I know my husband is not happy about it. I spend one to two hours a day 6 days a week on my hobby. My husband is the one that hates it. He thinks I don’t care about him and don’t devote enough time to our business. I am home all the time other than those few hours a day. I work on our family business from home and get a lot of work done daily. I do all the laundry, work in our office (invoices, organize jobs, make calls, enter all job information, emails, pay invoices, do the taxes, etc.) I organize and pay all the bills, keep the house clean, care for our kids and home school my youngest that is 12. I go golfing with my husband and go to car events with him as well. I ask him to go do things together to make sure he knows I want to spend time with him. He has quads and goes camping and I go too. Sometimes he goes with just his friends and I encourage that. The part I don’t understand about my husbands frustration of my hobby is that he has a HUGE car collection, motorcycles, quads, golfs but gets upset about my one hobby. We live in a small guest house and bought a 20 acre farm four years ago to build a house. We haven’t built a house but we built a 4,000 square foot garage that cost up over 250,000.00. Honestly, I am totally fine with that. I love cars too. I love my husband and want him to do what he enjoys. He has over 30 cars and motorcycles. He had a friend of his move into a trailer on our property to work on his cars. I was a bit irritated with this since he didn’t talk to me first about it… but okay, it makes him happy. I talk to him about the cars and his golf. I do not feel I am being hard or selfish in any way. He does work very hard; he is a General Contractor and his work gets very hectic. I try to support him through that as much as I can. I often feel his distaste for my hobby is that he is overwhelmed in his own world and craves simplicity and my 100% undivided attention and love. It is unrealistic really. I don’t think someone should give up what they love to make someone else happy. Unless it was something truly damaging to someone. As long as you make time and love each other it should work out fine. For me when I see him building his cars or golfing it makes me happy because it makes him happy! But mutual respect for ones passion should also be respected – in my circumstances anyway……

  • Nina Sealy says:

    My fiance and I have been together for 6 years and initially what brought us together was a shared enjoyment of a number of outdoor hobbies: hiking, biking, skiing. Over time he has surpassed my skills in each of these departments and has discovered he enjoys doing this with other hard-core guys, particularly skiing, and almost always leaves me at home. This is crushing on several fronts. For one, the main thing that brought us together and helped create so many wonderful memories has been replaced by him having fun instead with friends and not me; two I’m not getting to enjoy skiing anymore or as much as I would like because I don’t have the skills to keep up or maybe even embarrass him, and three, I honestly fear he might leave me for some female that is an exceptional athlete and who he admires or has more in common with than me. Every time I bring up the fact that I would like to come along more or miss I doing these activities together, he says I’m acting jealous and am being unreasonable for not wanting to let him spend time with his friends. I’m tired of being the one left behind, or a constant nag, but I don’t want this to be all I have to look forward to for the rest of my life.

    • Kaara says:

      I don’t have the answer for you, but I would give you this advice….don’t marry him until this is resolved. I made that mistake and now I’m stuck with a man who doesn’t have a lot of empathy for my needs. Your fiance made this clear to you when he refused to discuss options and called you jealous of his time. It’s probably time to call for the question or be prepared to spend the rest of your life living this way. I wish I had done that.

    • Chris D says:

      Nina I am in a very similar boat. Everything we used to do together, now he is better and just keeps stepping up the danger factor. (And I consider myself a pretty great athlete!) Who will stay home with the dogs after all…?

      Just wanted to say I hear you girl. Hope things are better for you.

  • My Soon to be X-husbands hobby is collecting World War 2 nazi memeroabila . While he is not a neo nazi he says he has like the this time period for the history. He started at 17 so i knew what i was getting into a little bit when marrying him. But my god the whole office was filled with this stuff from jackets to hats, to medals etc and he also collected guns he never went out and fired. this literally drove me crazy. He buys the stuff and sells if for more to make a profit but he has always spent more time on the phone and iPad looking at stuff day in and day out, he goes to this show of shows in St. Louis and meets up in this big arena of old guys selling there stuff. It’s really weird and bizarre to me.
    When he is deployed he would make purchases and send them to the house and i had to open the boxes and show him the stuff when it came in, i always thought that was very selfish of him due to the fact that we have children that need to be tended to no this hobby stuff. Then every time we would move in the military like overseas he could not bring the stuff with him so he would make this long drive with his stuff to his parents house to leave it there and when came back to the states he would make the trip to pick it up. so ridiculous it drove me insane, he would be on his phone and i pad all weekends and talk to people that collect on the phone that he has never met in real life and he would take life advice from these guys. He was definitely obsessed and still is, he just sprung the divorce stuff on me four days after I retired from the military he was not man enough to tell me he went to a divorce lawyer. So i had to live with him for two months at home with our girls before he took off to Fort Carson for his dream job in the Army , it was a living hell. I would watch him pack up his miltary collection which he left in the middle of the hallway as a reminder to us that he was leaving us. Now he is in Fort Carson and has set up his stuff in his small apartment. He is a selfish self absorbed narcissist with this sick obesssion. He has now idea how this has effected us and he only cares about his happiness and no one else’s. This hobby as far as i am concerned was a deal breaker and i am glad the stuff is out of the house i have always thought it was bad luck and had bad energies attrached to it. I had to smudge the room when he left and it feels so much lighter and happier. Ultimately he chose himself and his stuff over us and gave up and ran away like a little boy would, he picked up his toys and left, COWARD!!

  • Kaara says:

    I’m a new bride (older than most and it’s not my first rodeo). My husband was very attentive during the courtship period. I knew he had his own hobbies and activities but he didn’t seem at all obsessed with them. Here’s the problem….he’s 81 years old….still works two days a week as a golf ranger so he can have free access to all of the golf courses in the area. He plays golf two days a week…Tuesday and Saturday. When he comes home on Saturday, he watches golf or sports on TV. One a month he plays poker on Wednesday evening. I don’t mind spending time alone when he’s working or playing golf, but I would like the time we do have together to be quality time and it isn’t. When he comes home from work or golf, he’s dead tired, has a cocktail or two and by the time dinner is done he’s fast asleep in his chair and usually doesn’t wake up until time to go to bed. I’ve asked him to take a short nap when he gets home so we can spend a nice evening together, but he refuses to do this. Night after night I sit and watch a movie on TV while he’s sleeping…it’s very disappointing. When he wakes up to go to bed, many times he’s revived and wants to be intimate. This is very difficult for me because intimacy to me means that it’s something you lead up to after an evening of sharing time and romantic feelings. When I try to talk to him about this he gets frustrated and accuses me of making a big deal out of nothing. He doesn’t realize how this is getting to me…..I’m extremely disappointed in our life together that was supposed to be a partnership where we shared things together is turning out to be very one sided. He does pretty much what he wants and occasionally I’m included in his plans. This was my greatest fear about getting married again and I’m beginning to feel trapped. Am I making too much of this? I don’t know what to do to resolve this situation.

    • DW says:

      I have been married to my husband for 16 years, he absolutely loves hunting. When we first met I would go with him and I really did enjoy his passion. This year he decided to bow hunt so that meant buying a new $1000 bow that I have heard about every single day since February. At first I was excited for him until 60 days into his obsession, returning accessories for new ones weekly. It is bad, if he doesn’t have an issue with it, he finds one just so he can leave and go find something that he thinks might be better. His 3 day hunt is in August, he has already packed his hunting pack spending hours and days taking things in and out finding the perfect fit and of course returned that bag and now he has settled with bag #3. I am in his shadows, he told me I need to go do something so I stop nagging at him. I can’t compete with this anymore. I thought I would get attention from him by diving into his passion making tshirts and signs with a bow hunter on them. He was so proud and excited about me for once and he actually made me feel important. Now I can’t even listen to him talk about his bow, or I get angry and honestly jealous. Why do I feel jealous?? I just feel so alone and dismissed, like he no longer finds me interesting and it is ruining our marriage. When I talk to him, i get angry and he refuses to talk to me about it and leaves the room. All kinds of things go through my head, I am scared that our marriage is over.

  • kag says:

    wow

    All I can take away from this is that men are disappointing, selfish and sometimes cruel

    🙁

  • Shelly says:

    Mine owns and trains race horses. Although I went into our marriage sharing his hobby it quickly turned to his full time “job” while I raised our kids alone 70% of the time and managing our home life while having a full time career to pay for everything…his income kept his horse business going only….of course over time he dropped down in my list of priorities just as I dropped out of his, except when he wanted sex. Eventually I shut myself off. For 12 yrs we might have been intimate 2 dozen times, I was exhausted and always felt I was less important than 4 legged animals which I grew to despise. But I still worked hard to give our kids normalcy and I bought a farm hoping having horses at our own facility would give him more us time, nope…..only thing that happened was more debt, and more blaming me for not having a happy “healthy marriage”. 6 months ago after financial hardship he sold it all off (not to mention government cut backs to agriculture) I thought we might have hope, he still thinks all our issues was only me and that I never supported his passion (how could I, I was exhausted?), i tried asking for date nights, weekends away and he always says it costs too much. 1 month ago 3 horses made their way back into our barn and all of a sudden money is there to buy new equipment, feed, trailer…and i just look in the mirror wondering why i wasn’t worth spending money on…….

  • Kate says:

    I need your help. I’ve fallen for a man who is obsessed with golf: 4x/week, year-round, not including tournaments or golf vacations. My fear is, since he hasn’t adjusted his schedule now – while we’re in the honeymoon/dating phase – what are the odds of this happening later on? On the surface, golf seems like a healthy addiction. It’s healthier than a heroin addiction, but at least in his case, it appears to have crossed the line from choice/balance to the addiction driving choice/imbalance. Besides being addictive on it’s own, golf includes other addictive behaviors: gambling and alcohol. Google ‘golf widow’ or ‘golf divorces’ and you’ll realize how big of an issue this is. Anything that causes someone to spend a massive amount of time away from a relationship creates an imbalance and, puts the other person in a codependent position of accommodating their ‘hobby.’ Relationships should be about meeting close to the middle when it comes to needs. If the expectation is one person should just accommodate their need, and the other does, that’s codependency. And that goes for golf widows who ‘get busy’ while their partners golf, not because they like it, but because they don’t have a choice, or, who just take up golf to be with their partner (versus, truly enjoying it). If I took up golf to be with him, and ended up enjoying it, I wouldn’t spend as much time at it as he does because I prefer balance. And there would still be the issue of wanting to do non-golf things with my partner: breakfast, brunch with friends, daytime stuff! The issue is one person being the only one to accommodate the other person’s schedule. The issue is a difference of values when it comes to balance in relationships. I feel completely disheartened. My past relationships have involved codependent behavior, and my friends are worried I’m attracting relationships that position me to be codependent again. But while things don’t look good, I haven’t told him this is a problem for me, to give him a chance to respond. Appreciate ideas of how to broach the topic in a ‘Can we find a solution where you move a little closer to the middle while still meeting your need to golf?” way? Thank you!

  • Ann says:

    I have been married for 23 years and dated my husband for 7 years prior to that. He has always been into cars mostly building a drag racing car. He has always had limited funds for his projects and he enjoys doing a lot of the work himself. When we first got married he’d spend every Sat from morning till evening working on the car in his Mom’s yard (where he stored it as we lived in an apartment). When we bought a home we were consumed with fixing it up (needed a lot of work) and spent many years working on it every weekend. I have 3 children (pre & teen) and I thought after all the years of work and waiting for him to work on/race his car in his little spare time we could finally start enjoying some quality time on the weekend. My husband sold his racecar last year, mainly because the track in our neighborhood closed. I was relieved because it had consumed so much of his time in the past. He also started buying old Harleys and restoring them so I thought that would fill in the gap. But recently he purchased an old pickup truck and decided he is going to rebuild it. I have pieces of it in my garage, driveway, and backyard. I was obviously upset that he started planning this big project wihout consulting with me but he assured me that it would be something he does in his spare time….well if I knew spare time means he spreads out outdoor chores over the course of the entire weekend so that he doesn’t have to leave the house and in between he works on the truck in the driveway I never would have agreed. He is also always on his phone when he is in the house looking for parts online for it. I have spent the last 15 years waiting on him every weekend to do things with our family and I finally thought we could do that and this made me realize that he is not going to change. He will not make any plans ahead of time, when I look for him around our property I always feel like I am bothering him and he is missing out on quality time with our children.
    Am I being unreasonable?

  • Shelly says:

    Shelly says:
    June 4, 2019 at 8:48 am
    I need help. My husband has a very obsessive personality. When he finds something he loves, he can’t get enough of it. When we were dating it was a computer game and as silly as it sounds, it came down to me or the game because he would invite me over to watch a movie but he would sit at his computer and game out while I was supposed to watch the movie. Thankfully he chose me. But then he just dives into something else. Fast forward 13 years. We have now been married for 11 years and have two daughters ages 7 and 5. I am a teacher so now that it’s summer I am home with them all day long. My husband has always enjoyed playing disc golf but due to his work schedule he was never really able to play much. Well his schedule has changed and we recently moved close to a course. He asked if he could join a disc golf league where they play every Monday night. I agreed to that because after all, he deserves to have a hobby. However, he quickly became obsessed and wants to meet up with the “guys” to play every chance he gets. So not only is he gone all day Monday between work and league but then he wants to play on Saturday’s and sundays too. When he goes he is gone for 3-5 hours at a time. We got in a huge fight this last Sunday because I told him no he couldn’t go because I wanted to spend time as a family. After all, he works all week and the evenings are filled with making supper and bathing children, etc. I spend all week alone with the kids and I want to spend time as a family on the weekends. He turns it around and tells me to go do something to get away from the kids then. I get so mad when he tells me that because honestly, I don’t have any hobbies! He doesn’t understand that I don’t want to get away from the kids, I just want him home with me and the kids. But if we aren’t “doing” anything besides sitting around the house together he gets upset because he could’ve been out playing disc golf. This past Sunday I got mad at him when he asked to go and I said that this has become is new “computer game” that he is obsessing with and it is seeming more important to him than his family. He of course took offense to that which I don’t blame him. I told him that when i agreed he could do league I was under the impression that it would be a once a week thing and that is it. I think what upsets me most is that he is out having fun with people that are half his age. They are all 20-25 without kids and families and he is pushing 40. He turned it around and told me to come with them then. I said, I don’t want to hang out with a bunch of 29 year olds and what would we do with the kids? He’s always telling me to get out of the house and go do something but I don’t want to. I just want him home with us. Am I being selfish? How can I talk to him about this without it turning into a fight? As silly as it sounds, it is ruining our marriage and it’s breaking my heart. We got over the fight basically because he got mad at me and we both hardly talked to each other the whole afternoon and I had to come up with something for us to do as a family then because he wasn’t going to just sit around. We took the girls fishing and put on happy faces for the girls but it was very uncomfortable. Then he goes on that evening like nothing ever happened. We seem fine now, but I know it will be an issue again this weekend. Sorry for the book but it felt good to write this all out.

  • Gee says:

    It’s such a relief that I’m not the only one trying to work through this. My boyfriend is obsessive about dancing. We dance together a couple of nights a week, but even after that, he dances almost every other free night, which means he’s always tired when he sees me. It’s affecting our sex life, along with his finances, and I can’t seem to make him see any of the effects. He’s a bit sneaky about it too – he only tells me last minute that he’s going out because subconsciously he knows I won’t be happy about it. I don’t mind him going sometimes, but it’s just over the top and I don’t know what to do. We’ve spoken about it so many times but none of it seems to sink in. He says he understands and that he agrees it’s too much, but the he goes and does it anyway. It sounds ridiculous, but I’m actually at the point where I don’t know if I can deal with this long-term. I have visions of us moving in together and this being a constant frustration.

  • Julia says:

    Wow! I didn’t realize there were so many people in this situation. How sad. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 8 years. In the beginning we did stuff together, but it mainly revolved around him. I didn’t really realize what was happening. His hobbies vary, but he’s into cars, hunting and fishing. He also always has a house that’s torn apart and needs work. I kept thinking that when he was done with whatever things would be better but he’s obsessed with projects on top of his other hobbies. Right now it’s fishing. He talks about it constantly and when we get home from a long day of work he watches people fish on his phone or looks up things he can buy like boats, truck parts, etc. I’ve been fishing with him lots of times but I just would like to do something relaxing or something that I want to do for once. We aren’t married thank goodness. It’s just so hard to think of walking away from someone that you love, but he’s addicted and obsessed with everything but me!!!

  • Callum says:

    All of this has been very intresting reading for me.
    I love my girl dearly and feel that she would sympathise with a lot of you.
    I have a 9yo from a previous relationship. She has a 8yo and we have a 4 month old.
    In the past I have had many interests.
    I understood children/partner come first and have given up all but one.
    My motorcycle has become a root problem in our relationship.
    It’s the one thing I want for myself, however as we are saving for a house she sees it as a drain on resources.
    It’s nothing fancy. I have owned it for 13 years, this last year it’s been off the road while I do it up. (I scailed back the plans for it when we got together so i could spend time with her,
    I massively reduced the plans and costs when we found out we were expecting) It’s not on the road as every time it’s mentioned I stop work.
    It’s a cheap bike, I have worked out monthly excluding fuel (which will come out of my own money, & saves the car) costs will be less than £30 per month. The last 2 months the time I have spent on it including reading about the bike and things I’m planning I have spent about 5 hours on it. I now have all the parts, some have taken 13 years to find.
    Is it unreasonable of me to want to spend about 25-30 hours building it up over the next 8-9 months?
    When its back on the road is it unreasonable to use it a few times a year & occasionally to commute to work?

    • Willow says:

      My husband has gotten into 3d printing recently. I fucking hate it. He wakes up in the morning immediately starts messing with his printer. When we are trying to do something together he is intermediately checking on it or stopping what we’re doing to go print something. He doesn’t even wait for me to wake up or cuddle me in bed anymore, he’s up usually till midnight- 2am tinkering with it and then wakes up at 6 am to start messing with it more. And literally every other sentence he speaks is about his 3d printer or something he’s printing. I’m happy he has a hobby but it’s not something I’m interested in
      . If he could just make time for us instead of constantly worrying about his 3d printer I would be so happy. He’s done this before with other things…but the 3d printer has been the worst offender. It’s driving me insane.

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