It really bothers me that my husband has no friends. We've been married for 18 years and he's never had tons of friends but he's always had a few. However, in the last few years, he's grown apart from certain people and never really replaced them. He makes no effort to make new friends and it bothers me.
He has many interests and is always busy but there are times when I know that he would like to have the company of friends and he doesn't. In this case, he will often do things on his own. For instance, he'll go golfing or dirt biking on his own and watch sporting events on his own. I have no complaints as far as his being a good husband and father. He's great and for the most part, we have fun when we're out together. He's close with our kids, too and is always available when they want to talk to him. As far as getting together with other people, over the last 3 years or so, it is always my friends. When we are socializing together, he is a great conversationalist and gets along well with others. However, after the event is over, I'm the one that keeps all the relationships going and he doesn't seem to care about his lack of relationships. I talked to him about it and he said that he's tired of always making all the plans and nobody seems to ask him to do anything anymore. He's just kind of given up.
I also feel alot of pressure to be everything to him; his wife and only social contact besides work and our kids. Soon, our kids will leave home and I'm worried about what our life will be like. I love to socialize, especially since we have more time now that our kids are older. I wish that he would make his own friends and add to our life that way. Also, I suspect that he's lonely but he denies it. It frustrates me that he won't make an effort to meet people who share his many interests. I know that in the grand scheme of things, this problem is not a huge deal but it REALLY bothers me. He's not perfect, but I see a lot of other people out there that aren't as great as he is who have friends, so I know he could too. He needs to try. But he says he's happy the way he is, that he prefers to do things on his own. Maybe I'm the one with the problem, if it bothers me? I just try to accept him the way he is, but it's hard and I feel stifled sometimes.
Some people just don't want/need a ton of friends. I have a very small, select group of friends, and I'm happy that way. Others might think I need more, but I'm happy with what I have. Each of my friends meets a certain need in my life, or more than one, and we all get along and have a history, together and individually. I make new friends when I meet someone that I feel strongly that I'd like to be friends with, but I don't go out looking for a new friend to do *this* with me. Maybe he's like that.
On the other hand, if he's making you feel pressured to be everything to him, that's a problem. While I strongly believe your romantic partner should be your best friend, and be ABLE to meet all of your needs, I don't feel they should HAVE to meet all of your needs. I think they need to be able to, so that in a situation where another friend might not be able or willing to help, your partner can, but they should not have to meet all of your needs all of the time, as that can be draining. I hope that makes sense there.
Have you sat down with him and talked to him about all of this? Not just a "I wish you had more friends" talk, but a real "I feel like I need to be everything to you, and it's hard on me" kind of talk. Maybe he doesn't even realize he's doing that to you. And sometimes we misinterpret our partner's behavior and put pressure on ourselves that they never intended us to feel. A good, air-clearing conversation could be all you need to change this. Getting it out there may make him pay more attention to his behavior and stop making you feel pressured, if that's what he's doing. And if it's just a misunderstanding on your end, he can clarify that and you can get some of that weight off of you.
And if...you have that conversation and it turns out he knows what he's doing, and does expect you to be everything, or you get him to see what he's doing but he refuses to change, maybe just stop trying to be everything. Be what you can be. Be a wife, be a partner, do what you feel you NEED to do as that role in his life, and refuse to feel that pressure to be everything. Maybe that will force him to find new friends to meet those needs that you aren't.
not to be to harsh..but he could be falling into the trap where he will let everyone do the small things like you mentioned..he needs to initiate some of the activities other than his own..since you said he used to then decided to let others, that is not a good sign..it will start to wear on you later down the road..obviously if this was his style when you first met him, then yes don't try to fix what you married, but you stated the last 3 years have really snowballed, not an expert but I was that person...and after 18 yrs my wife got tired of doing all the socializing and small things I used to do, oh I'd go after she made plans, then I'd stop going..if it reaches that point, at least in my case unhappiness in the marriage and not even realizing it until it is too late was the case...good luck, hopefully it's just a 3 year phase or 4 or 5 or...
I dunno... To me, this isn't something to worry about. I'm a HUGE extrovert, married for 13 years to an introvert. He's nice when folks come over, and he doesn't care what I schedule, but those people are at a distance for him.
he did have more friends when we were dating and first married, but I think I replaced them over time. He simply doesn't need them. If he doesn't talk to them for months, he doesn't care.
However, it's not like he is asking me to not have friends. I'm in clubs, go out with mom's nights, invite people to dinner, whatever, and he's still game. He's a good sport that way, understanding my needs.
Obviously, my support system is built up much different than his. However, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have what he needs. He has lots of opportunity to reach out beyond me, if he wants, and I'm certainly here for him. I think he's ok, y'know? No worries!
I know this isn't your scenario... just wanted to share another perspective on a similar dynamic. Can you just accept him for what he wants?
Thanks for the great feedback everybody. It really got me thinking, especially about who exactly has the problem here...me. We have to accept the people we love the way they are, and that can be tough. Thanks for the perspective.
My wife has the same complaint and she even berates me about it when she's feeling insecure. One reason for this situation is that between working a full time job, helping with the kid's various activities and watching the kids at night and on weekends so that she can go out for activities with her friends, I don't have a lot of time for myself, let alone time to cultivate friendships. Another reason is that we decided to settle in her home state, not mine, which is OK but it doesn't help me on the friend front. Additionally, her verbally abusive behavior leaves me in a pretty bad mood a lot of the time and I'm not real keen to go out and share it.
My wife uses it as an excuse - says it makes her feel guilty that I'm at home (with the kids) while she goes places with her friends... Interesting, since I'm the one taking care of things at home.