Author Topic: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's - UPDATE  (Read 17332 times)

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hobish

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2013, 05:23:18 PM »

I think I would turn it around on him in a different way.
"Honey, how many years have you known me? In all those years was I ever that excited about Halloween? Why do you think asking me about it multiple times a day is going to make me like it any more?"
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SlitherHiss

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2013, 05:27:53 PM »

OP, I'd go with something simple and in keeping with your normal communication style. Don't attempt to shame him, just be matter of fact as to how annoying it is. It's great that he's excited, and you can even be excited that he's excited, but partners are allowed to have different interests. As long as everyone is respectful of the other's likes and dislikes, it makes for a pretty healthy relationship.

hobish, Outdoor Girl, and Goosey have some great suggestions.

bopper

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2013, 05:29:38 PM »
I would go with "Imagine a holiday that is about everyone else getting something you can't have.  Imagine everyone else looking forward to Christmas Presents but you can't have presents because you are diabetic.  Would you look forward to it as much?"

SlitherHiss

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2013, 05:31:23 PM »
I would go with "Imagine a holiday that is about everyone else getting something you can't have.  Imagine everyone else looking forward to Christmas Presents but you can't have presents because you are diabetic.  Would you look forward to it as much?"

I gotta say, that sounds a lot like a guilt trip. I wouldn't want my spouse to feel sorry for me, or ashamed of his enjoyment, and I don't get the sense that the OP does either.

EllenS

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2013, 05:40:49 PM »
I didn't get from OP that Halloween was traumatic or upsetting for her as a child - her post just seemed like it is something she can take or leave, that it was never worth getting excited over.  It sounded to me like her major annoyance is DH's repetitive obliviousness, not the holiday itself.

She said she has tried explaining her attitude before, and he is being a pest.  That doesn't sound like a conversation that needs to escalate into drama about capital F "Feelings."

I suggested a light and snappy response, not to hurt him, but to deflect the annoyance and keep things on the level they deserve.  To me, and in my marriage, inflating "FEELINGS" into a drama when they are not really that serious, is just a different form of manipulation.

guihong

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2013, 05:55:47 PM »
My husband and I have the same issue around Christmas.  He loves Christmas, the whole thing.  I have mixed feelings and often get a bit melancholy because most of my family has died.  He used to want me to make a big Christmas dinner just like his mother did (and mine).  He wanted decorations, all of it.  What finally worked after I blew up was a compromise; I would find some parts of Christmas that weren't emotionally loaded and focus on those, he would let up and be OK with a pre-made dinner from the grocery.  Maybe a similar arrangement can be had here; your DH has some of his Halloween fun, but he doesn't pressure you.




Sharnita

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2013, 06:01:40 PM »
I'm a little unclear if she could take it or leave it. She dislikes being scared while he enjoys scarey decorations. It seems possible that some of what he enjoys could cause her discomfort. In that case I wouldn't expect her to say "It is great that you enjoy X"

Tea Drinker

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2013, 08:13:47 PM »
I'm a little unclear if she could take it or leave it. She dislikes being scared while he enjoys scarey decorations. It seems possible that some of what he enjoys could cause her discomfort. In that case I wouldn't expect her to say "It is great that you enjoy X"

I wonder whether it's too late for OP to say that there are things about Halloween that she likes, and some she doesn't, but that it's hard for her to keep enjoying the pumpkins or the candy corn or giving out candy bars to the neighborhood children when he keeps pushing her to be enthusiastic about haunted houses and scary decorations.

Some of the things that are coming to my mind as compromises might be difficult to convince him of, or expensive: e.g., he does all the decorating, and puts up scary bits only on Halloween itself and takes them down by sunset on November 1st, but it's fine to put out carved pumpkins or strings of orange lights before then. And she goes somewhere else for the day, so it's not chafing at her, even if it means paying for a hotel room because she doesn't have a non-Halloween-enthusiast friend or relative with a spare bed. Similarly, If he wants to dress up in a costume himself, maybe he would agree to pick something that might be either simple or elaborate--where elaborate might be King Henry VIII in full court regalia, or a unicorn, or a train--but not scary. Part of why this would be difficult is that there's emotional stuff built up here; another piece is that it sounds like he wants a quantity of decoration that would be hard to do in a few hours even if he took the day off from work and started right after breakfast.
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Sharnita

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2013, 08:33:10 PM »
Tea Drinker, those might be  reasonable compromises.

One thing about the quantity of stuff is that it can cost a lot in time and money. If these things make OP umcomfortable and her DH happy, that can be a pretty difficult situation to solve.

stkatie00

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2013, 11:14:44 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?

Do you just want the questions to stop, or do you actively dislike how he's decorating and preparing for Halloween? If you just want the questions to stop, I'd probably go with focusing on how the questioning makes you feel, as opposed to getting him to understand why you feel the way you do about Halloween. But if you want the decorations to be less scary, then you need to focus more on compromises. In both cases, it really comes down to respect: does he respect you enough to stop with the questioning and/or tone down the decorations, and do you respect him enough to realize it's an important holiday for him, so some level of decoration and excitement is to be expected?

VorFemme

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2013, 11:27:29 PM »
I like going to quilt shows, looking at quilts, reading quilt books, and sometimes I even make one...

VorGuy likes sleeping under quilts on cold days.  Or watching a football game on TV with a quilt tossed over his legs.  He likes to watch sports.  I don't like most sports...ice skating can be fun, sometimes.  I look at the costumes if the choreography doesn't appeal.

I offer to stay home from quilt shows - if he wants to talk about quilts with me.  Or help me sort out something in the fabric stash.

I end up at the quilt show and he watches sports on TV.  We are both happier that way.

Reminds me - I need to finish a couple of projects...
« Last Edit: September 25, 2013, 05:40:43 PM by VorFemme »
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Iris

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2013, 03:39:54 AM »
If you've already explained why you don't like Halloween then he's just being clueless. I get (perhaps childishly) enthusiastic about Christmas and sometimes want eeeeeeeeeveryone to share it with me, but DH is just not as into it as me. He doesn't dislike it, he just has less enthusiasm than me. He very sweetly says that he enjoys seeing me enjoy it, but I think that would fade fast if I was pestering him twice a day about it.

How you address this really depends on your communication style within your relationship. Personally I would go with "Sweetie, I need you to listen to me now. Do I have your full attention? Great. Now, it is very important for you to understand this because if you ask me why I don't love Halloween even one more time I'm going to have to kill you with an axe. 'Kay? You've asked me that question twice a day for the last week and I've really, really gotten over hearing it. You run along and put up more decorations now, but don't forget! Love you   :-*" And then I'd pretend I was looking for my axe any time he slipped up. Obviously, though, that approach would be seen as grounds for genuine spousal homicide in some relationships. So in short, just TELL him, in whatever way you know will get through, to stop asking you.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2013, 09:34:42 AM »
Thanks for all the replies.  Just to clear up a few things that were asked:

I don't mind the decorations and help him put up some things when he needs assistance.  He's tried to convince me to go to haunted houses, but all I have to do is remind him of the last time I went to one with him where I got so scared I nearly strangled him with his own T-shirt.  It was not pretty.

I don't want him to change his enthusiasm.  Honestly, it's nice to see him so excited and childlike.  I just don't want an endless amount of "How can you not LOVE Halloween" questions.  I've told him I don't dislike it, I just don't like it to the same extent he does.

He's just truly baffled that everyone in the world doesn't love scary stuff and Halloween like he does.  I'll try some of the suggestions offered here and maybe keep a shovel by the door in case they don't work.

Goosey

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2013, 09:46:54 AM »
My hubby is a big music guy. He knows songs/artists, etc. I have no clue. I go as far as "I like this song" and that's it. It's just not info I find easy to retain. BECAUSE he loves his music, he would often quiz me "Do you know who this is?" when a song came on. It made me feel (1) stupid because 99% of the time, the answer was "no", (2) pressured to start "studying" to remember these things that didn't really interest me, (3) frustrated with him because of these feelings.

It wasn't until I spelled that out for him that he really GOT why I didn't like when he did that and he stopped asking. He still talks to me about his favorite artists, etc but he doesn't push me at all.

I think a frank talk about how he makes you feel with his pressuring and questions is good. I by no means think your hubby is a bad guy, but if you need help digging, let us know!

VorFemme

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Re: When Your Level of Enthusiasm Doesn't Match Your Spouse's
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2013, 09:58:17 AM »
Wax overly enthusiastic about one of your "things" until he asks how you can be so over the top about it.

Look him straight in the eye and tell him that you feel the same way about YOUR thing as he does about HIS Halloween thing - you'll go to quiet enjoyment of your thing if he will go to quiet enjoyment of Halloween.

You could dress up to hand out the candy - but tell him that you like GOOD fairies, angels, and princess costumes (or other NOT scary costumes) better than scary ones - let him pick out one or two for YOU that you can handle.  If that turns out to be a Medieval Princess costume that can also go to a Renn Faire or SCA meeting - great.  Betsy Ross costume for Colonial Days or a sewing show the end of October - perfect.  Maid costume because the mawster and Igor are in the lab...he can come up behind you in a scarier costume if he just has to.  Mermaid costume because you always wanted one - sit on the porch with the candy and comb your hair to your heart's content!  Super hero costume - well, somebody had to get the monster to leave the kids and their candy alone!

I did learn that some people thought my hippy costume was a scarecrow costume....and a few thought that I was a man in jeans & a flashy top with long hair & a headband (umm - haven't been mistaken for a boy since puberty except in that ONE outfit in the dark on the porch - I think that they needed glasses).
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 10:48:21 PM by VorFemme »
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?