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LifestyleAdvice

Husband has a double standard for socializing

DEAR CAROLYN: I am beginning to realize my husband loves me to pieces as long as I stay "in my place," which in our marriage means I am a supportive help to him in all the things HE wants to do. I have been with him to countless weddings, work gatherings and family functions, and he always comments on how nice it is to have someone to bring along. I mingle and talk to (mostly his) people or else have a drink and entertain myself. And then last weekend, we attended the wedding of my college roommate. He complained bitterly about every part of this venture. The 45-minute drive. That he would not know anyone there. The "showy" venue and wedding style. That it cut into a football game he wanted to see. We left early. I see now that he's behaved this way EVERY time I invite him along to anything. I never drag him to my work parties and socialize with my friends mostly on my own. Other areas in our relationship feel uneven in this way. If it's been this way for our whole eight-year marriage, would it be bait-and-switch to insist that it change now?

Double Standard

DOUBLE STANDARD: OMG no. A bait-and-switch means you represented yourself as X to achieve some goal and then reverted to Y the moment you reached that goal. A bait-and-switch is tricking someone.

You're talking about an epiphany, a 2 + 2, a cosmic "aha." That's an honest process, even if its result is to make you Y when your husband married you for being X.

It is completely appropriate for you to say to your husband now that you replayed last weekend over and over in your mind, and realized the social good sportsmanship in your marriage goes only one way.

Have specific examples from other events/weekends ready.

And, too, be ready to see the whole picture of your marriage in weighing whether it's fair and meeting your needs. For example, he may be a terrible wingman, but the absolute champ at _______. In a way few people ever are. And going solo to your stuff is a minor emotional trade-off to make for it.

I am not not NOT inviting you to rationalize away your second-class citizenship. Just to think broadly before objecting specifically.

RE: DOUBLE STANDARD: I dated someone very loving and validating who loved having me by his side. Until I realized every time we went out with my friends, he didn't feel well. I still remember telling my friend we had to go home, as he didn't feel great, and the look on her face as we both had the same light bulb go on. Now it makes us laugh, but man, people are sneaky.

Light bulb

LIGHTBULB: Or oblivious, since he might not have been aware of it himself. But, yeah.

Sometimes, too, it's a sign of depression. I spent years hanging out with a friend who eventually showed up only when it was her idea. If I made the plans, then she'd cancel at the last minute. Every time. The eventual diagnosis did not come as a shock, though I didn't put it together in the moment.

Anyway. Garden-variety self-centeredness works, too. We contain multitudes.

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