Tales From the Front: Home Alone With Baby
Dear Cheryl: I've been with Jeb for more than 10 years. We've been married for six years and have a 1-year-old daughter. We have a fairly good marriage, except for one major problem: his need to go to a bar with his friends. On weeknights, he'll leave at 8 p.m. and be home by 1 a.m. On the weekends, he'll be home around 3 a.m. I've asked him to come home earlier, but he refuses.
I understand that guys need to be with guys to chill out, watch the game, have a few beers, play pool, etc.
What I'm upset about is that the nights he is home, he's exhausted. It makes me sad that I never get to experience fun, happy Jeb. Instead, I'm stuck with overworked, dull Jeb.
There's no spontaneity in our marriage, and whatever plans are made, I make. It's very tiring, and I'm drained. I stay home and take care of our daughter all day, and sometimes the only adult communication I have is with Jeb when he gets home.
He has his friends, and I have mine, but we have no friends in common. I feel very lonely when he's out. With a baby, it's hard for me to be out at night. Most of my socializing is during the weekend days.
Our sex life isn't that great, either. It's usually me pursuing him, and most of the time he's too tired to have sex. I don't think he's cheating on me, but it's possible. We've been in counseling and it did help, but nothing has worked.
I've considered leaving, but Jeb's a great dad, and with a new baby and me not working, it would be difficult. Also, it's not that I don't love him, I just don't think I'm his main priority or main source of happiness, and I feel I never will be. Should I leave? I can't imagine living like this forever. -- Bar Widow
Dear Bar Widow: Let's break your problems down. No. 1: You're a new mother who is home alone every day with a baby. You're dying for adult conversation and companionship. You need to enroll you and your daughter in some classes. Join a gym that has day care. Get out of the house, meet other new mothers and make new friends.
Get a babysitter one night a week so that you can go out with a girlfriend and see a movie, have dinner and a few drinks and go shopping. Join a book club. Take a class. In other words, make your life better, fuller, more interesting and more exciting without your husband. We'll get to him in a minute.
The second issue is your resentment of being the social director of your marriage. In most marriages, the wife makes the plans. Accept this; don't resent it. Then accept the challenge of coming up with something -- anything -- you and your husband can enjoy together. There must be something he likes besides hanging out with the guys. What did you do when you were first dating?
Rent a movie you'd both enjoy. Get some books on how to spice up your marriage. Show him a few new tricks. Get tickets to a concert or a sporting event. Watch sports with him. Make him a special dinner.
It's the holidays. Invite his bar buddies and their wives and girlfriends over to your house for a potluck dinner. Get to know them. Enlist the other women in thinking of some fun activities. Put some imagination into your nights together.
The third issue is fairness. You have to sit Jeb down and explain that he's not being fair to you and you're not willing to put up with it anymore. He can't give all his energy to his friends and have nothing left for you and expect you to be satisfied. If he loves you and wants to be married to you, he needs to compromise.
Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants, to email@example.com. And check out my new e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."