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My husband is socially useless

Tagged as: Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (1 May 2009) 3 Answers - (Newest, 4 May 2009)
A female United Kingdom age 36-40, anonymous writes:

Hi, i just don't know how to help my husband. Hes socially inept, and i have almost a fear of him meeting anybody in case he humiliates me and himself.

Hes a great partner and father, i cannot fault him. he treats me well and is committed to us and provides for us. He is an only child and his parents moved to a foreign country when he was ten to run a business. Therefore he spent most of his childhood and adolescence on his own. His parents are really quiet and i struggle to make conversation with them. My partner is used to doing everything independently, relying on himself and lived alone before me, works with computers and has only one or two people you could call "friends". He does not willingly mix with people and feels out of his depth in social situations, and sees them as phoney but rather than coming accross as shy, he comes across as rude and arrogant and defensive.

I on the other hand, am from a large family, lots of long standing friends, lots of brothers, a happy gregarious outgoing father who gets on with everybody and i fail to see or understand why or how my partner cant just be normal.

For example, he doesnt understand social codes, like if somebody is talking about something boring or trivial, you sit there going " oh did you? really? that sounds lovely, why did you do this instead of that? ah excellent, well i think it looks great!"

He will sit there with some puzzled expression on his face as if to say "why are you talking to me about this?" then give some flat reply like "well, i don't like this wallpaper/ tv programme/ whatever/ Its boring." Then fail to understand why this is such a faux pas. or he'll smile at people when theyre talking about something, as though he doesnt agree with it.

The worst thing he does though, is have an attitude about people he meets. I have friends and acquaintances and there are parts of them i tolerate because there are lots of positives. I have friends who read trashy books or watch trashy tv, or like awful bands, or make lifestyle choices i dont agree with. But i entertain them, whilst maintaining my own beliefs. He will just dismiss somebody for liking something he dislikes, or think there is something negative about somebody. I have friends who have taken drugs- i don't do drugs, never have. thats their lifestyle choice, it doesnt render them useless as a friend. To my husband it does. "he does pills. i wont associate with somebody like that. shes too materialistic. i don't like her. he's lazy."

Consequently, i live in fear of him meeting my friends, which is not such a problem as we live out of town, but i tend to see friends alone as i know hes not going to socialise with them or enjoy himself or think theyre great, and he'll probably be too direct with them, or ask an inappropriate question or rude joke and i'm on tenterhooks all the time. He has no sense of what is appropriate with different sets of people because i think hes spent waay too much time alone. Sometimes the way he mixes with people makes me cringe! I just wish that we could have a normal social life and mix with other couples and relax. Is anybody elses husband lacking in the social skills dept? Hes admitted to me he feels awkward and wants help, but i don't know what to do- this should just be something hes learnt at 31 already! help! x

View related questions: drugs, shy

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 May 2009):

My husband sounds identical to yours except for the "Hes a great partner and father, i cannot fault him. he treats me well and is committed to us and provides for us." mine can't be bothered to do that either, and there are probably 1000's of other women out there that would gladly trade places with you. You aren't going to change him or his attitudes no matter how hard you talk/beg/plead or throw tantrums - if you cannot accept these faults leave before it drives you crazy - either that or grow a thicker skin an let it wash right over you - those people that are true friends already know he makes you cringe and either ignore him back or let it go over their heads.

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A male reader, LazyGuy Netherlands +, writes (1 May 2009):

LazyGuy agony auntMy my, aren't we judgemental. You are normal, he is the freak. Well, "normal" girl, is he is so socially inept, how did he ever bag a party girl like yourself?

For that matter, what attracted you to him. Why not date a normal guy. I am sure there are lots in your cicle of friends.

We are all different and I got a distinct feeling that if he opened up about you there would be a few things to say that put you in a bad light.

Yet, you two are together. Perhaps opposites attract? Perhaps deep down you sometimes wish you could tell your friends that they are boring or you don't agree with them? Who knows.

What I do know is that a healthy couple got to meet each other half way and you don't seem to be doing that, why he should he then meet you half way. You knew what kind of person he was when you met him. Why is it an issue now?

He has a flaw, what is yours and he can demand you change your personality to get rid of your flaw? No? Then meet him halfway. Introduce him only to truly intresting friends who do not completely go against his personality.

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A male reader, iamthesupreamegod United States +, writes (1 May 2009):

iamthesupreamegod agony auntFirst you need to understand that there is no such thing as "normal."

I, being an introvert myself understand his point of veiw. His need for social interaction isn't as strong as yours, thus he doesn't see the need to tolerate that which annoys/bothers him.

Don't misunderstand, there needs to be balace, but to find that balance is going to be tricky, and time consuming.

If you want to get him used to interacting with people in a healthy way, then here is my solution.

Think about one of your friends that he would get along with the most. Doesn't have to be a perfect match... in fact a perfect match wouldn't help the situation. Explain the situation to the friend you choose, and talk to your husband and give him advise on how to tolerate certain aspects that he may not approve of. Have them meet in a confortable environment.

Start small and work your way up. In time he should get more confortable the social interaction and be ready for bigger challenges. Be patient and don't make him do anything that he isn't ready to do. You may have to play judge on that aspect sometimes, but be very careful when doing that.

Hope that helps.

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