Author Topic: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's - UPDATE  (Read 17037 times)

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BeagleMommy

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When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's - UPDATE
« on: September 24, 2013, 02:38:31 PM »
DH loves Halloween.  So much so that he decorates our front yard to look like a graveyard with zombies, severed heads, random scattered bones, etc.  It's quite a show.

Halloween has never been a big deal to me.  My participation is handing out goodie bags to trick or treaters and cooing over the itty bitties in costume.

He just doesn't get that I don't really care if Halloween happens or not.  Right around now I get a chorus of "How can you not love Halloween?!" (cue incredulous look).  This happens at least twice per day.

I've tried explaining that I don't like to be scared.  It makes me feel as if I'm going to faint.  I've also told him that growing up as a diabetic child, Halloween was not a big thrill since I couldn't eat anything I collected (I was allowed one item).

Either I've got to come up with a new way to make him understand or I'll have to bludgeon him with a shovel.  Suggestions?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2013, 12:44:13 PM by BeagleMommy »

Outdoor Girl

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2013, 02:41:24 PM »
Is there something you are enthustiastic about that he isn't?

'Honey, you know how I absolutely love underwater basket weaving and you don't?  Well, that's how I feel about Hallowe'en.'
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NyaChan

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2013, 02:51:30 PM »
I think this depends on why he is asking about your lack of enthusiasm.  Is he asking for help with his plans that you don't want to give, did you not give him the reaction he wanted to the things he is putting up on his own, are you not engaging with him when he brings it up in conversation? 

Maybe you could try focusing on Halloween as a thing that is awesome because it makes your husband so happy rather than looking at Halloween for what it is on its own (spooky, scary, not so fun for you).  "Dh, of course I'm happy that you are having so much fun - you do an amazing job with decorating every year.  I'm not interested in all the preparation or dressing up myself, but I am looking forward to passing out goodies with you and seeing all the kids' costumes.  That's how I celebrate Halloween."

SamiHami

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2013, 03:04:25 PM »
"Honey, why do keep saying that to me? I've told you that Halloween is okay but I'm not as big on it as you are. Why is this a problem for you? I'm not trying to stop you from doing your thing, but it really bothers me that you continue to harp on me about not sharing your enthusiasm. Please just have your fun and decorate all you want, but stop acting as though there is something wrong with me, okay?"

Or you could turn it around on him. Start going up to him with an incredulous look and say, "How can a grown man be so excited about Halloween? Don't you have better ways to spend your time and energy?" If he's smart he'll realize why you're doing that and back off (maybe).

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Bexx27

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2013, 03:10:43 PM »
I would tell him he needs to call his doctor about his memory problems since we've been having the same conversation twice a day. I might genuinely be concerned about his memory.
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ilrag

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2013, 03:13:28 PM »

Or you could turn it around on him. Start going up to him with an incredulous look and say, "How can a grown man be so excited about Halloween? Don't you have better ways to spend your time and energy?" If he's smart he'll realize why you're doing that and back off (maybe).

I love halloween about 100 times more than my husband does.  If he looked and me and said that I wouldn't react well.

He sucks it up and dresses up and pretends to be excited and have a good time for me, and I celebrate holidays I'd just as soon skip because he enjoys them.

esposita

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2013, 03:18:34 PM »
Ooh, ooh, ooh! I have it! How about you bludgeon him with a shovel on the front yard ...wait for it... on halloween?! Its a win win for both of you! You're participating in the show and he's... ???

No? Okay.

I'd tell him that you are really looking forward to certain parts of the day, like the handing out candy and the babies in costumes, but "all that other stuff? its honestly more fun to watch you enjoying it. Like Christmas when the little kids open their presents!" Tell him that you enjoy him enjoying it.

PS. I was totally joking about the shovel thing, really, I'm a very peaceful person!  ;D

Tea Drinker

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 03:25:50 PM »
It might be time to come up with a standard answer. Either something calming like "I just don't, people are different, but go ahead and enjoy yourself," a factual "I already told you why" and change of subject, or actually ask him "Why does it bother you so much that you're more into this than I am?"

You've tried explaining yourself, and it doesn't seem to be getting through, so maybe it's time to turn it around and get him to explain his position. Not as "how can a grown-up care so much about this?" That would just make him defensive, and it wouldn't stop him hassling you. The issue isn't that he cares more about Halloween: the issue is that he seems to need you to care about it as much as he does.
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LadyL

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 03:26:20 PM »

Maybe you could try focusing on Halloween as a thing that is awesome because it makes your husband so happy rather than looking at Halloween for what it is on its own (spooky, scary, not so fun for you).  "Dh, of course I'm happy that you are having so much fun - you do an amazing job with decorating every year.  I'm not interested in all the preparation or dressing up myself, but I am looking forward to passing out goodies with you and seeing all the kids' costumes.  That's how I celebrate Halloween."

THIS. LordL is into photography and talks a lot about new gear that is being released, techniques he's learned from books he's reading, etc. Quite honestly a lot of it flies right over my head since I'm not a photographer. But he mostly just wants me to validate the effort, time, and money he spends on it by hearing him out. So I muster up the enthusiasm to be supportive even though I have little actual interest in ISO or shutter speed or lighting filters.

SamiHami

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 03:26:37 PM »

Or you could turn it around on him. Start going up to him with an incredulous look and say, "How can a grown man be so excited about Halloween? Don't you have better ways to spend your time and energy?" If he's smart he'll realize why you're doing that and back off (maybe).

I love halloween about 100 times more than my husband does.  If he looked and me and said that I wouldn't react well.

He sucks it up and dresses up and pretends to be excited and have a good time for me, and I celebrate holidays I'd just as soon skip because he enjoys them.

Well, that's the whole point. Maybe if he gets it turned around on him a couple of times a day he'll realize how annoying and insulting it is to have his feelings/likes constantly called into question.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Goosey

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 03:29:42 PM »
Well, that's the whole point. Maybe if he gets it turned around on him a couple of times a day he'll realize how annoying and insulting it is to have his feelings/likes constantly called into question.

Calling into question someone's maturity is a whole different level than calling into question their likes, though.

ETA: Have you talked to your husband about how it makes you feel when he pesters you about your lack of enthusiasm for Halloween? Not explaining how halloween makes you feel, but how you feel about continuously having to justify your lack of fandom makes you feel. It probably makes you feel critisized, pressured, judged, annoyed, etc.

He's your husband, you should just be able to say, "Stop asking. What's for dinner?" and be done with it.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 03:35:42 PM by Goosey »

ilrag

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 03:35:52 PM »
It just strikes me as being rude for the sake of being rude. Which isn't really how you build understanding with a spouse or anyone.

OP have you just sat him down and said "I'm happy to participate in X way but you're going to drive me nuts if you bring up how excited I'm not everyday"

EllenS

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 03:48:54 PM »
Is there something you are enthustiastic about that he isn't?

'Honey, you know how I absolutely love underwater basket weaving and you don't?  Well, that's how I feel about Hallowe'en.'

I would go with something like this and keep it short and snappy.  He knows how you feel, he just doesn't "get" / accept it.

Him: "How can you not love Halloween (incredulous look)"
You: "How can you not love [Bear Grylls/Knitting/Romance Novels/Underwater Basket Weaving/Lacrosse]?" (incredulous look)

[Insert whatever hobby/special event/interest you have that he thinks is frivolous, boring, or annoying]

Joeschmo

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2013, 05:11:51 PM »
I agree with telling him how you feel about him criticizing your lack of excitement instead of telling him how you feel about Halloween. I think it's rarely if ever a good idea to hurt someone you love on purpose to try to show them how it feels.  He's your husband and I would assume you could talk to him if someone is hurting your feelings or making you uncomfortable especially if that someone is him.  Marriage doesn't have the same etiquette rules for me as standard social interactions and if I have a problem with my husband I put it out there.  If that doesn't work for your marriage I hope you can find something else that does.

Eta:autocorrect switched some words on me.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 05:52:21 PM by Joeschmo »

mspallaton

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 05:16:07 PM »
I ran into this with my DH and Christmas... except I am the excited one!

I will admit it took me a long time to understand his dislike of Christmas.  In his case, it stemmed mostly from his family being frustrating at the holidays. 

What resolved it for us was a compromise.  I agreed not to pester, cajole or demand that he be happier than he was going to be.  He agreed to try and find something he really enjoyed about the holiday so that we could share the joy with each other.

It occurs to me that (even if he SHOULD), maybe your hubby doesn't understand that your patience is long past done with him.   Perhaps if you do offer a similar compromise it will help him understand that you care about him and his likes and wants... just not the overall holiday.  Maybe make a photo album of his decorations or something?

For the sake of honesty, let me clarify one thing about my compromise too -- it took DH looking me in the eye and saying "it isn't okay for you to push your feelings about this holiday on me and it needs to stop".  From there we had a dialogue about it, but not before.  To be fair to my DH too... I did wake him up about 7 times in the middle of the night to shake him and say "IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS".  It... was not my finest hour...