Dear Wayne and Wanda,
First off, I adore my husband. He’s a ton of fun, a charmer, a great friend to all, the kind of guy everyone always wants to be around. I guess that’s the problem. There are always people around.
We hardly ever have experiences just the two of us. Whenever we plan anything — and I do mean anything — he is texting and calling buddies to join us. And people always, always join us.
I told him we were going to the fair; he invited three guys to come along. A few weeks ago we camped in Seward. We were almost there when he surprised me with news that three other couples were awaiting our arrival. I have a hard time remembering a vacation we’ve taken alone besides our honeymoon. As soon as we start to plan something, he starts asking others to join. We seriously can’t even go out for drinks without him inviting a bunch of friends.
We are planning our first real post-COVID vacation and doing a long weekend in Seattle. He immediately mentioned wanting to invite two other couples. I love these people, they are good friends of ours, but I want to do a trip with just my husband. When I said that, he basically said that it’s more fun with more people. I read that as he finds me boring. I’m feeling pretty down about all this and would love advice on how to navigate it.
Sounds like you have a Category 5 extrovert on your hands — someone who thrives on and gets energy from being around people, a more-the-merrier man whose measure of mirth hinges on the number of personalities in the room. Clearly he equates a crowd with a good time and loves to have fun, and judging from the uptake on his invites, he must be a good guy who people enjoy spending time with.
Of course, you enjoy spending time with him too. And I’m hearing loud and clear that you badly want to spend some more time with your husband without competing for time and attention with others, which is completely reasonable. It also sounds like fairly routine at this point that when you inform him of a plan, either fully formed or tentative, he charges forward with recruiting others.
So don’t tell him. Surprise him! Make a dinner reservation and tell him at the very last minute. Book a weekend getaway and tell him you have a special few days planned — but don’t tell him anything else. After all, if he doesn’t have the where-when-who information, he has no choice but to follow along, solo! Perhaps if your husband experiences some awesome couple time with you, he’ll come to appreciate that while a crowd can be a rollicking good time, so can the adventures of two people in love.
But Wanda, what about our letter writer being “Sleepless in Seattle” after having so much fun with all of her partner’s friends and being so annoyed with him for having the friends come along in the first place?
Look, I don’t care if he’s the Pied Piper of Party People, you’re married and deserve time together often. And sleeping in the same bed doesn’t count. Not only should he realize that you really want and need this as an essential part of your relationship, he should also appreciate that you are the most important friend he has, and you should be treated as such. You aren’t one of the homies. You aren’t an essential piece to complete his double-date plans. You aren’t his plus one. You’re his wife. And I’m sure at some point in your wedding, which I’m confident was attended by hundreds of friends and family members, he told you how important you are to him.
Maybe he forgot that and is taking you for granted. He needs a reminder, so tell him. Be clear that you need to have more quality time with him moving forward, and that starts in Seattle. You’ve been looking forward to this trip with him and you both deserve to have it. And if he doesn’t think that sounds fun enough, then maybe you should go on a trip alone and spend some time thinking about being committed for the rest of your life to a people pleaser who disregards the feelings of his best friend.