I’m super outgoing and social, and love meeting new people. Unfortunately though, my husband is the opposite. He’s pretty shy with strangers, and shuts down even more when there are tons of people around. The other unfortunate thing is that he has zero poker face, so if we’re out at a party and he is at all uncomfortable, he looks about as miserable as he feels.
I know who my husband really is though. He’s funny and engaging and very friendly in the right environment, with people that he knows. Lately though, it seems like we spend every weekend going to birthday parties and school events, with kids everywhere, running and screaming, cracked out on chocolate cake. It’s loud, it’s chaotic, it’s overwhelming. He hates it. Hates it. I don’t think he’s alone in that, but he’s certainly more obvious about it.
I’ve asked him before if he could just fake it, just try to seem like he’s having an okay time. We’ve had fights about it, with me yelling at him for not trying harder and telling him that he should do it for me. I’ve suggested other dads who he could hang out with, telling him, “Oh, Tim is going to be there. You like Tim, right?” It’s like I’m his mother. And he does like Tim, but he hates the noise and mayhem of kids’ birthday parties, so in those environments, he retreats into his smartphone and becomes the absolute worst version of himself.
And people notice. My friends notice. And my friends, those who feel comfortable enough, will comment to me that it seems like he’s miserable, or how he’s so shy. When I tell stories about the goofy stuff my husband does, they’ll say things like, “Hmmm, I can’t picture that.” I don’t blame them — they don’t see what I see. And then, I find myself coming up with excuses, like that he’s tired from traveling or has a raging headache or that the kids have been really challenging lately.
The truth is though, I’m sick of making up excuses for my husband. I’m also sick of people forcing me to talk about whether or not he’s miserable. I just don’t want to talk about it anymore. It’s gotten to the point where I would rather just hit the kid-party circuit without him, not only to save him, but to avoid having to defend his grumpiness.
Sure, I’d love it if he was more outgoing, or at least knew how to pretend to be. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if it makes other people not want to hang with us. I have plenty of female friends and Mom friends, but we don’t have very many families that we hang out with or couples we do stuff with. When other families are having barbecues together on weekends, I wonder if the reason why we’re not is because my husband is a bummer. Like, if he was friendlier, would we be socializing more with other families? One of my very best friends even told me that she thinks that my husband doesn’t like her, and ever since, I’ve noticed that we never do stuff with our significant others anymore.
The reality is though, this is my husband. This is who he is. And I love him, warts and all. So, to that end, I would like everyone else to stop passively-aggressively criticizing my husband, and just shut the f$%k up already. Yes, yes, he seems miserable. Oh no, maybe he’s not having a good time. So what? Just let it go. Instead of harping on my husband’s bad mood, why don’t you worry about your own husband who’s been sleeping on the couch since October, or your husband who yells at you in front of people? I think those are real issues so, maybe, what these people are really doing is just deflecting from what’s happening in their own marriages. I’d take my anti-social guy any day.