Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Has Your Spouse Checked Out of Your Marriage? How to Tell

One of my daily habits in retirement is taking some time to enjoy "The View." 

It's relaxing to spend time with the ladies mid-morning with my cup of tea and hear a little celebrity gossip, some discussions on issues of the day and the latest news. My little poodle Tarquin joins me on my lap so he can listen as well.

The show is often fodder for my blog too.

On "The View" recently, they were talking about this article from The Huffington Post, "Six Signs Your Spouse Has Checked Out of Your Marriage." Since Hubby and I will be celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary next month, that has been on my mind and that article made me think I should check in with my marriage to see if Hubby had checked out.

And the more I thought about it adding up the times Hubby has checked out, I thought, "Only six?"

Now these could apply to any long term relationship.  I don't want to be discriminatory. Whether or not you are married to a member of the opposite sex or to a member of the same sex or even if you are not married but in a relationship, you, too, might want to do a relationship check-up to see if either of you has checked out.

Here are a couple of the signs listed in the article:

They spend a lot of time around you but not with you.

Mmm. That's for sure.  Hubby is always around but there is not necessarily any "there" there, if you know what I mean. He will sit and watch a movie or even episodes of "The Real Housewives" with me but when I turn to say something to him he is either asleep or reading something on his phone.  But then I think, that's OK because when he is awake he either talks to the TV or makes inappropriate comments, thus ruining the entire experience for me.

They go to bed at separate times.

I actually think this could be a good thing, because how many people really have the same biological clocks?  I would guess that in most relationships, one of the people in it is adapting to the other and going to bed when the other wants to.  Not me. Hubby is a morning person and I decidedly am not, so Hubby often goes to bed before I do.  It doesn't matter what we are talking about or if we are in the middle of a TV program, when 11pm rolls around, Hubby pulls himself out of the chair (that he has already been asleep in) and announces that he is going to bed.  Since I am retired and have always been a night owl, that's a bit early for me. Granted, Hubby is still working and he gets up at 6am, but he doesn't have to get up that early.  He works at home and could easily catch a few more z's and waddle down to his office in his PJs if he wanted to, so I am not particularly sympathetic. 

The other four signs in the article? 

Your spouse never includes you in his or her after-work or weekend plans, they never ask you about your day, no sex, and they are hyper-critical of your friends and family.  I would add that if your significant other never includes you in after-work or weekend plans, that one right there trumps all of the others because what's the point of a relationship if they don't want to do anything with you? Hubby is not guilty of that.  Like I said, my problem is more that I can't get rid of him.

But I have my own opinion about "checking-out behaviors" that the article missed. Of course I do!

I will use Hubby as an example.  He said it was OK.  In fact, he expects it.

  • Lack of conversation. When we are driving in the car, an hour can elapse with long silences punctuated by comments about the traffic, how bad the other drivers are or the Seahawks.  I have just given up trying to have a meaningful conversation so I look at my phone.  He has checked out into his own head (god only knows what he is thinking or not thinking) and I have checked out into reading magazines on my phone.  We are beyond the "what are you thinking?" stage of our relationship.  At this point, I either don't really care or am scared to ask.

  • He doesn't remember to tell you things. I wonder aloud why we haven't heard from a particular friend we had planned to see when traveling.  Hubby replies, "Oh, he got in touch with me and said he will be busy.  Didn't I tell you?"

  • He never tells you he is going to stop at the store.  He just swings by when he is out and about and gets what he needs.  Now this might not seem like a big thing, but when you have gone to the trouble to make a little list of what is needed and you are out of eggs and bread and all he brings back is milk for his cereal and some cheese puffs, it can be irritating.  He has completely checked out on what you might need.

       Speaking of going to the store.

  • Going to Costco has become a leisure activity. Hubby has a bad case of antsy pants.  I think he must have been ADD when he was young.  He probably still is.  He has to be doing something at all times, so if things slow down a bit at home and he doesn't have dog poop to pick up or we already have gotten the mail, he decides it's time to go to Costco and off he goes. Maybe that's because if he sits down in a chair he will go to sleep.  

  • Which brings me to the issue of falling asleep, the literal, and ultimate act of checking out.
Have you seen videos of narcoleptic dogs?  Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder often associated with pleasurable activities.  The narcoleptic dog starts to eat, which is a pleasurable activity for him, and then instantly falls asleep. 

Well, Hubby is rather like that. 

As soon as he joins me in front of the TV and settles into the comfy chair, it is not long until I hear the tell-tale signs of sleep, look over and sure enough, he is passed out.  I guess I should be flattered that it is a pleasurable activity for him to join me while I watch "Naked and Afraid (one of the best shows on TV, by the way)," but somehow I don't see it that way.  I don't think he has gotten through an entire TV program or movie in years.  Now if it's a football game, that's another story.

  • You have to always ask, "Did you hear what I just said?" I can never tell if Hubby is listening because he doesn't stand still long enough for me to get an entire sentence out.  I will be right in the middle of explaining something or asking a question and off he goes. Leaving the room when your significant other is speaking to you is checking out.

  • Being a boring person is a type of checking outHubby likes to meet for Happy Hour every day at 4pm when he gets off work.  If it's a nice day we will meet out on the deck and if not, we might sit in the kitchen or by the fire in the living room.  However, even though I am retired, I am a busy person and sometimes it is difficult for me to make it by 4pm.  I have to really hustle, so I have warned Hubby that if he doesn't have anything interesting to say and is just going to sit and listen to music or play his harmonica, I am not going to join him.  It's important to at least try to be interesting if you want to have a happy relationship.  You need to make the effort. I keep mentioning my blog post "How to be an interesting person" to him.

So I guess all of those are red flags that one, or both of you, has checked out of the relationship.

And lest you think I am too hard on Hubby, I am sure he could write his own blog post on how I check out:  shopping, going to the movies alone, watching TV shows he doesn't approve of, meditating, fantasizing about Chris Hemsworth...

But you know what?  Though I think it's a good idea to be aware of our behavior and the behavior of our significant other, I also think it's OK to check out from time to time.
For a healthy long-term relationship, we all need to be able to be ourselves and do what we want.  If you are a night owl and must make yourself go to bed earlier than you want to just to please your spouse, then that right there is not going to be a happy relationship for you.
As I said, next month Hubby and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage, and I am reminded of why our marriage has lasted that long when I re-read the blog post I wrote when we reached 30 years "How to stay (happily) married for 30 years."

Yes, we can irritate each other from time to time but taken as a whole, do the pros outweigh the cons?  Are there more happy times than bad? Has it been a meaningful ride?

If you can answer yes to those questions, then it's OK to check out by falling asleep, being forgetful and a little boring from time to time. 

We, all of us, may be in a relationship, but we are not joined at the hip.  We are still individuals and to be happy we need to be able to be ourselves, not become what our significant other wants us to be.  So it's OK to check out from time to time.

As long as we eventually check back in.

Now I am going to go watch "The View" while Hubby is at Costco! 

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
for my review of the new movie 

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."

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  1. All of the above at our house but I have to confess that I'm the one falling asleep in front of the TV. How many times can you watch Law and Order and Wallander without dosing off? Especially if you are the one that gets up every morning and goes to work! Loved it, Rosy! PS - I'm searching for Naked and Afraid tonight!

    1. Thanks, "Scout!" "Naked and Afraid" is on the Discovery Channel and it will keep you awake!


  2. Forty Seven this year....check out? Heck yes. I just spent a month in a small condo in Florida with my hubby. We are home trying to go, do, be. He wanted to go with me to pick something up at a friends' house I said either you go do it or just let me go alone. i\I went alone. I had a great time at the hairdresser reading magazines (this is after 3 days of unpacking, laundry, 5 weeks of mail, paying bills). Getting away for a couple hours might be all anyone needs to have a happy marriage.....and different hobbies! Great blog Rosy. Candy

    1. Thanks, Candy. I couldn't stand to have a Hubby who had to do everything with me, though it would be nice if mine could stay awake! :)


    2. Oh, and Candy, if I had stayed married to "the first one" I would have you beat - 49 years! But it took me three more marriages to get it right! Congrats on your making it on the first try!


  3. In my marriage I checked out of everything after the first 10 years. In a hot relationship after that (which was on and off over several years) I checked in and out depending on how clingy he was being. Sadly, I think my dogs are the best relationships I have had :(


    1. I get that, sazzy. When my little Tarquin is on my lap and looking lovingly up at me (I try to pretend it's not my wine glass he is looking at), I sometimes think he is a reincarnated hunk who is madly in love with me. Humans can't really compete with the unconditional love our dogs give us. The sad thing is, we usually outlive our little doggies!

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